NEMO Forte 20 - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Comfortable, inexpensive
Cons: Bulky and heavy
Manufacturer: NEMO Equipment
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Forte is rated to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but we would not trust it to keep us warm in those temperatures. Because of its roomy cut, there is a lot of extra air that would need to be kept warm. Its synthetic insulation also doesn't seem as lofty as the other synthetic models we tested. We do like that most of the Forte's loft is on top side of the bag, with a thinner layer of fill underneath, since when you lay on insulation it compresses and becomes less effective anyway. We think you could be comfortable in this bag with a high R-value sleeping bag in temperatures around the high 30s.
This bag weighs in at a hefty 3.4 pounds and we would not recommend carrying it for long distances if you can help it. Typically synthetic bags weigh more, but there are lighter models in our selection. With all of the Forte's added features like the two additional zippers and the "blanket fold", we're not surprised how heavy this bag is.
This weight penalty really only matters to backpackers. Car campers shouldn't worry about weight and will appreciate the features that make the camping experience more comfortable, even if they add ounces.
The Forte's main focus is on comfort. It features Nemo's trademark "Spoon" shape while also being extra wide and a more rectangular shape. It has interesting "Thermo-Gills" that are designed to provide ventilation when things get too warm. Our testers tend to sleep on the colder side, so we never found these gills all that helpful. We think the Forte would be a good fit for someone who runs hot and wants extra room in their bags.
The women's regular length is plenty roomy for our 5-foot, 5-inch tall tester. The Forte's hood is so deep that when it's over our heads it comes down past our chin and feels almost claustrophobic. While some of our testers enjoy the cozy feeling up the "blanket fold" (neck baffle), others have found that it frequently comes untucked and ends up covering our face in the night, potentially causing a rude, smothering awakening.
The Forte comes with a decent compression sack to squish it down quite small. However, it can't compete with any of the down products in this review and isn't as compressible as some of the other synthetic models we have tested.
We've alluded to all the Forte's features above, because this bag is feature-packed. The main standout feature is the two "Thermo-gills" that are meant as temperature regulators. We don't find these gills particularly useful or effective. We found it more effective to roll down the blanket-like top portion of the bag to release heat, or to unzip the side of the bag even further. There is an interior stash pocket, the "blanket fold" draft collar, and the trademark "Spoon-shape" that is meant for side sleepers. The size and shape of this bag means that if you're a smaller person you'll have a lot more space to heat up, but also more freedom for your legs, hips, and torso.
We think the Forte is a good value for a comfortable, highly featured bag that you can take on short backpacks, and is a great choice for car camping or trips where you won't have to carry it very far.
This feature-filled, comfortable synthetic bag could be a good choice for all your car camping needs. We think it will keep you warm in temperatures down to the high 30s and if you run warm has great potential for venting. The Nemo Forte 20 is not the best choice for backpacking because it is bulky and heavy.
— Jessica Haist
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