Until this year, I hadn’t slept in anything other than a Feathered Friends or Western Mountaineering bag since about 2014. I know those bags. I trust those bags. Why mess with my system?
But then I started to become curious about what else was out there. I have several friends who are moderately interested in backpacking, and I frequently encounter acquaintances and even strangers who learn of my outdoor adventures and become interested in doing those things themselves. I want to be able to make solid, personally tested recommendations to people who are just starting out, as well as those who want to invest just a bit more in their outdoor gear without going full cottage industry broke. I also want to add more variability to my own options when I head out for a trip.
So here I am. Sleeping bags are such an essential piece of camping gear, and the range and variability of options is enormous. I’m chipping away. After testing the Outdoor Vitals Summit Down 30 this summer, I was excited to turn to the NEMO Disco 30 this fall.
NEMO Disco 30 At-A-Glance
Weight: 2 lb. 5 oz.
Temperature Rating: 31˚F (Comfort) | 20˚F (Limit)
Materials: Nylon (shell, lining, and footbox)
Gender: Female (also available in a male version)
Fill Power: 650 hydrophobic down (RDS certified)
The NEMO Disco 30 is designed for camping in nighttime temperatures down to 30°F. With a waterproof footbox and hydrophobic down, the Disco is made for all weather conditions.
Circumstances of Review
I tested the NEMO Disco 30 on summer and fall backpacking trips at or above 6000 feet in western North Carolina. I am a 5’2″ female and tested the regular-length women’s bag (fits people up to 5’6″). Unlike other regular-length bags I’ve tested that felt like they had way too much extra room, the Disco felt a lot more comfortable and less airy.
Disco 30 Features
- Classic Spoon™ shape
- Waterproof footbox
- Thermo Gill™ vents
- Integrated pillow pocket
- Blanket Fold™ external draft collar
- Full-length draft tube
- Lifetime warranty
Versatility and Durability
I slept very comfortably every night I tested the Disco 30. The coldest temperature I tested was slightly below the comfort rating at about 28°F, and the warmest was about 45°F. I am a cold sleeper and was honestly bracing myself for an uncomfortable night when testing below the comfort limit of the bag’s temperature rating. But I was pleasantly surprised!
I had no issues taking this bag slightly below its comfort rating, though I should add the context that, at the time, I was right next to my partner (who is a human furnace) in a 2-person, double-wall tent. In contrast, I was by myself and in a single-wall tent when I tested at 45°F. Had I been with my partner when testing the Disco at 45°F, I probably would’ve still been pretty comfortable, if slightly on the warm side.
As it was, I was very comfortable everywhere between 30 and 45°F in varying combinations of tents and sleeping arrangements. The Blanket Fold external draft collar and Thermo Gill vents really do their jobs of insulating and cooling, respectively.
When I’m testing gear, I rarely feel like I’m able to beat things up as much as I would during a thru-hike. That said, based on past experiences with NEMO and as much testing as I could do, I feel reasonably confident that the Disco would hold up well. And if you’re not planning on a thru-hike, I feel very confident that it will hold up well over many shorter trips—provided you care for your bag appropriately (e.g., washing and drying with appropriate detergent and frequency, not storing the bag in its compression sack, etc.).
NEMO Disco 30 Pros
Price point: This is a terrific choice for someone who wants a solid, relatively lightweight, reliable 3-season sleeping bag that isn’t the absolute nicest thing on the market. It’s the type of item I would recommend to most people stopping in a local gear shop looking for backpacking gear.
There are lighter-weight bags. There are more compressible bags. There are bags with better warmth-to-weight ratios. For most people, most of the time, it doesn’t matter. You don’t need the fanciest bag to get out and enjoy the wilderness comfortably and safely.
Fit: Personally, I don’t know that I can really tell if the spoon shape makes a huge difference in comfort. I appreciate the innovation, though, and maybe it would feel especially noticeable to you, so I’ll call that aspect of the fit neutral. But I do really appreciate that the regular-length women’s bag is made for people up to 5’6″. That sizing is tailored to a realistic estimate of average women’s heights. It’s also a perk over a unisex bag. (However, more on sex/gender labeling issues below.)
Warmth: I’ve slept in a lot of sleeping bags, and except for bags from Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering, I have rarely felt confident taking a bag out in temps consistent with its actual degree rating. For me, it’s a pro that a 30°F bag can actually be used at 30°F.
Pillow pocket: I wish that all sleeping bags had this extraordinary feature. A pillow pocket is an amazing idea. No more waking up and trying to stop your pillow (or sack of clothes) from moving underneath you—this sleeve keeps whatever is elevating your head secure without compromising your warmth. Well done, NEMO.
Lifetime warranty: I think this is self-explanatory. It’s a great guarantee.
Sustainability: I always make note of what companies are doing about climate change. It just doesn’t make sense to me to buy gear to go into the wilderness from a company that doesn’t care about the wilderness.
NEMO is absolutely not messing around when it comes to sustainability. As of 2022, they are Climate Neutral Certified. They are also working with Quantis to establish a carbon footprint baseline and have a goal to reduce their emissions by half by 2030. They are a bluesign partner and also at least have a public statement about their intention to use their platform to promote social justice, diversity, and inclusivity. In my opinion, NEMO demonstrates a visible, quantifiable effort and intention to do their part to protect people and planet.
NEMO Disco 30 Cons
Zipper: The Disco 30 women’s sleeping bags all have a right-sided zipper, and the men’s sleeping bags all have a left-sided zipper. The idea behind this is that opposite-sided zippers on men’s and women’s models allow them to be zipped together into a double sleeping bag. I appreciate this idea, but as a right-handed person, I really wish I could’ve chosen for my zipper to be on the left. It’s much easier to zip up that way.
I also think the opposing-side design (common to many sleeping bag manufacturers) promotes heteronormativity and potentially alienates prospective customers. I would love to see a line of sleeping bags that are simply differentiated by a person’s height and not by gender.
Compression: This wasn’t a huge con for me, but I do want to note that the compression sack is a bit heftier than some others I’ve used, and the Disco doesn’t compress nearly as much as other bags I’ve used.
Overall, the NEMO Disco 30 is a terrific investment; it would be an excellent 3-season bag for weekend warriors and long-distance trekkers alike. And at a reasonable price point with a lifetime guarantee, it’s hard to feel like you’re taking a big risk. If you need to save pack space as much as possible, you might want to look into a slimmer, stronger compression sack to cut down on packed size.
Comparable Sleeping Bags
Weight: 1 lb 6.5 oz
Weight: 1 lb 11 oz
The NEMO Disco 30 was donated for purpose of review.
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