REI Co-op Magma 15 Review
Cons: A notch behind the best in terms of loft, comfort, and versatility
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
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Our Analysis and Test Results
According to our research, the Magma 15 is one of the most popular products on the REI website. In fact, it seems to be even more popular than the Magma 30. This perplexes us because we consider the 30F Magma to be more than warm enough for the most common outdoor applications. The 30 is also less expensive and weighs less. Both bags are great though. We would just steer people towards the lighter, more affordable 30-degree version unless they have concrete plans for cold shoulder-season overnights.
The Magma 15 is filled with 15.9 oz of 850FP goose down. Although this down is certainly premium quality, it doesn't feel quite as lofty as the best down from Feathered Friends or Western Mountaineering. With its 850FP down, the Magma 15 receives a 16F lower limit EN temperature rating. This seems accurate to us compared to other EN ratings. Compared to Feathered Friends or Western Mountaineering bags though, the warmth seems to be on par with their 20F offerings.
We measured a size long at 1.85 lbs on our independent scale. That's impressively light for a bag that supplies this much warmth. The Magma 15 also comes with an ultralight stuff sack that weighs in under an ounce (0.6 oz). Together they're an excellent combination, but once again these numbers are just a little behind the top-performing backpacking sleeping bags.
The comfort of the Magma 15 is above average. The combination of high-quality down and 15-denier nylon creates a soft and cozy sleeping space. The 63-inch shoulder girth also felt ample in our tests. Some testers complained, however, about the narrow dimensions at the foot of the bag. They believe this made the bag feel uncomfortably restrictive so bigger folks or those that like to sprawl may want to consider a wider model.
One of the biggest benefits of down insulation is superior compressibility. The Magma 15 exemplifies this benefit. We were able to pack it down to 9.1 liters in a third-party compression sack. That's an outstanding size for a bag in this temp range. The included stuff sack, however, is not very effective at achieving full compression so you will need an after-market compression sack to fully enjoy this bag's minimal packed size.
The Magma 15's versatility stacks up a little above average. Its full-length, two-way zipper is plenty long enough for venting excess on warm nights. This bag's down is contained inside horizontal baffles, but these baffles are unfortunately interrupted by a vertical stitch along the right side of the bag. That means that it's not possible to move insulation from the top to the bottom of the bag like you can with some ultra-premium bags that have truly continuous horizontal baffles. This reduces the Magma's usable temp range by a modest extent.
Features & Design
This bag includes a basic, but well-executed, set of features. The Y-shaped zipper slide ensures that the sturdy stays smooth and snag-free. An internal organizational pocket offers a nice place to keep your small electronic devices warm and at hand. We also appreciate the sizeable neck baffle because it allowed our testers to really seal heat inside and provide a cozy surface to nestle into. Although the Magma 15 doesn't include very many more notable features, the ones that it does have feel more than adequate for most uses.
The primary attraction of REI products is often their value. The Magma 15 is no exception. It offers excellent performance at a price that's a little less than the ultra-premium models. Still, the Magma 15 ain't cheap, and we think that if you're already committed to dropping serious cash on a sleeping bag, it's worth spending a little more to get the absolute best. Our testers believe the superior loft of the Feathered Friend and Western Mountaineering bags is well worth the higher cost. The Magma 15 is still worth considering, especially for REI members or when it goes on sale.
The REI-Coop Magma 15 comes close to matching the performance of the top-scoring backpacking sleeping bag, but it falls just short in a few ways. It boasts excellent warmth, weight, and comfort. However, its interrupted horizontal baffles diminish its versatility slightly and our testers think its 850FP down is a little less lofty than the best they've seen. We like this bag a lot, but not enough to recommend it over our favorite models from the small specialty manufacturers.
— Jack Cramer
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