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NEMO Nocturne 30 Sleeping Bag Review

Extra width in shoulders and around knees is great for side sleepers
Extra width in shoulders and around knees is great for side sleepers

As a side sleeper, I’ve struggled to sleep comfortably in mummy shaped sleeping bags for years. They’re usually too tight around the shoulders and legs for me to roll onto my side.

But equally comfortable for back sleepers, too!
But equally comfortable for back sleepers, too!

So I was intrigued when I learned about NEMO’s new spoon-shaped sleeping bags which are wide in the shoulders and knees, making it easy to turn on your side when you sleep. I figured I’d give a NEMO Nocturne 30 sleeping bag a try and see if it worked as advertised.

I was a convert after one night and I’ve been using the NEMO Nocturne 30 on car camping and backpacking trips ever since.

Rip Up the Rule Book

The conventional wisdom among sleeping bag aficionados is that you need high fill-power down and a very narrow sleeping bag without a lot of extra interior space to maximize the weight-to-temperature efficiency of a sleeping bag, and to minimize the amount of body heat needed to heat it up. (see Sleeping Bags for Backpacking: How to Choose from REI, for their spin on the relationship between weight and sleeping bag volume).

But the Nocturne 30’s spoon shape contradicts that design philosophy outright. The spoon shape is wider and has much more interior volume than a conventional mummy bag, it’s as warm as sleeping bags that use higher fill power down insulation, less expensive, and lightweight. Plus, it’s packed with features like a waterproof foot box, a blanket fold (draft collar) and pillow pocket, that make it one of the most versatile and well-designed sleeping bags available today.

Mummy shape vs NEMO Spoon shape
Mummy shape vs NEMO Spoon shape

Spoon Shape

The Nocturne 30 is comfortable for side sleepers because it’s extra wide across the shoulders, hips and knees, allowing you to curl your  knees when you sleep on your side, much like you do at home in your own bed. Mummy bags tend to be shaped more like triangles with the greatest width across your shoulders, and then tapering towards the hips and feet, so they’re quite snug across your knees: they are really designed for back sleepers, who sleep like egyptian mummies.

As a point of comparison, my longtime ultralight mummy sleeping bag, a Western Mountaineering Ultralite 20 has the following shoulder/hip/foot box measurements: 59″, 51″, and 38″. Compare that to the Nemo Nocturne 30, which measures 64″, 60″, 68″ (shoulder/hip/foot box) and you can see just how different the Nocturne 30’s spoon shape is from a mummy sleeping bag.

In terms of comfort, there’s simply no comparison between a mummy bag which fits like a straight jacket and is designed for back sleeping vs a spoon-shaped sleeping bag that lets you side sleep and roll around at night. I’m not sure I can go back and use my other subzero mummy bag this winter after experiencing the freedom of the spoon shape!

EN13537 Temperature Ratings for the NEMO Nocturne 30 sleeping bag
EN13537 Temperature Ratings for the NEMO Nocturne 30 sleeping bag

Temperature Rating

Despite its product name, the NEMO Nocturne 30 is rated for 23 degrees Fahrenheit (for men), not 30, based on the EN13537 temperature rating, an industry-standard that lets consumers compare sleeping bags across different manufacturers and models. This standard has been used in Europe and provides a valuable way for consumers to compare sleeping bag temperature ratings. REI, for example, won’t sell any sleeping bags that aren’t  EN13537 certified.

I asked NEMO about this discrepancy and they acknowledged it, saying they kept the Nocturne 30 name because they wanted to have the warmest 30 degree sleeping bag on the market. I think the reason is a bit more complex than that. NEMO is a clever company and I think they decided that could sell more sleeping bags to people looking for a 30 degree sleeping bag than a 20 degree bag, since more people camp and backpack in warmer weather.

Regardless, if you’re on market for 20 degree bag, I’d take a hard look at the Nocturne 30. It’s got a 23 degree rating for cooler weather and it’s a lot less expensive than many of the other lightweight 20 degree down mummy bags available.

Duck Down vs Goose Down

The reason the Nocturne 30 is less expensive than other sleeping bags with comparable temperature ratings is that it’s filled with duck down and not goose down. More and more sleeping bag manufacturers are turning to duck down because it’s less expensive and more affordable than goose down. There’s also no difference between duck down and goose down in thermal efficiency when goose down is replaced by duck down with the same fill power rating (see Down Fill Power Ratings). Fill power is fill power regardless of the bird the down comes from.

Waterproof Foot Box
Waterproof Foot Box

Waterproof Foot Box

NEMO has added some interesting waterproofing features to the Nocturne 30 that also differentiate this sleeping bag, beyond the fact that it’s filled with waterproof down (DownTek), which has become commonplace in the outdoor industry.

The Nocturne 30 has a waterproof/breathable foot box that repels tent condensation from wetting the end of your sleeping bag at night. If you’ve ever woken up with a wet sleeping bag in the morning, you can understand what a great feature this is, especially in cooler weather on multi-day trips when you don’t have the time to let your bag dry in the morning.

The interior fabric of the foot box is a waterproof breathable nylon that prevents the down in the bag from getting wet and protects the waterproof breathable fabric because it’s inward-facing on the inside of the bag. The outside of the foot box is nylon coated with a DWR layer which will resist getting wet but will eventually need to be reproofed with a DWR treatment.

Ventable Draft Collar
Blanket Fold

Blanket Fold

The Nocturne 30 includes a feature that NEMO calls a blanket fold, which you can position between the collar of the sleeping bag and your chest to prevent hot air from escaping from your bag in cold weather. It’s very similar to a draft collar that you find on higher end sleeping bags, except its optional whether you use it or not. In hot weather you can fold it over so that it lies on top your sleeping bag instead of on your chest, so hot air can escape around your collar. This is a really smart and effective feature that NEMO uses on other sleeping bags as well.

Pillow Pocket

The Nocturne 30 also has a pillow pocket, really just a nylon sleeve, inside the hood that you can stuff an insulated jacket or pillow into at night so it doesn’t move around. If you use an insulated jacket for a pillow, which I do to save weight, it will wrap around your upper shoulders and neck, providing more insulation very much like a more conventional draft collar.

I like the NEMO Nocture 30 so much, I've started bringing it on all of my autumn backpacking trips
I like the NEMO Nocturne 30 so much, I’ve started bringing it on all of my autumn backpacking trips


The NEMO Nocturne 30 sleeping bag with its unique spoon shape strikes an excellent balance between the comfort you want in camp with the technical performance characteristics you need on backpacking trips. This three-season sleeping bag advances the state of the art in sleeping bag design, combining affordability and an excellent temperature rating, without a significant weight penalty when compared to costlier ultralight mummy sleeping bags.


  • 23 degree (EN13537 lower limit) temperature rating
  • Comfortable for side sleeping
  • Waterproof
  • Weighs 32 ounces
  • Chin cover at top of zipper


  • Left hand zipper
  • Hood adjustment is a bit fickle

Manufacturer Specs

  • Temperature Rating: 30F / -1C
  • Fill Type: 750 Fill Power Down with DownTek™ nanotechnology
  • Fill Weight: 15 oz / 415 g
  • Weight: 2 lbs, 0 oz / 907 g
  • Shape: Spoon
  • Capacity: 1P
  • Fits: Up To 6’0″ / 183 cm
  • Shoulder Girth: 64 in / 162 cm
  • Hip Girth: 60 in / 152 cm
  • Knee Girth: 68 in / 172 cm
  • Packed Size: 13.5 x 8.5 in / 34 x 22 cm
  • Compressed Volume: 5.2 L
  • Zipper Location: Left
  • Shell: Fabric 15D Nylon Ripstop + DWR
  • Foot box Fabric: 15D OSMO DT W/B + DWR
  • Lining Fabric: 30D Nylon Taffeta + DWR

Disclosure: NEMO Equipment provided Philip Werner ( with a sample Nocturne 30 sleeping bag for this review. 

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  1. I’ve been using this sleeping bag for over a year and love it. The company is located in NH too if I believe.

  2. I would be interested to see a comparison with a Mont-Bell Super Hugger, also a really comfy and light bag.

    • I think I tired to do a comparison, but MB doesn’t have one with a 20 dgeree rating. Can you find one?

      • Montbell DOWN HUGGER 900 (MDH) #2 Vs. Nemo NOCTURNE™ 30 DOWN (NND)
        All info per manufacturer’s website
        Temp –
        MDH [EN TESTED] 34?/1? (Comfort), 23?/-5? (Lower Limit), -7?/-22? (Extreme)
        NND 30F / -1C
        Weight –
        MDH 1lb.8 oz. / 690 g
        NND 2 lbs., 0 oz. / 907 g
        Fit –
        MDH [Max User Height] 6′
        [Shoulder Girth] 53″-75″
        [Knee Girth] 44″-62″
        NND Fits Up To 6’0″ / 183 cm
        Shoulder Girth 64 in / 162 cm
        Hip Girth 60 in / 152 cm
        Knee Girth 68 in / 172 cm
        Packed Size –
        MDH 5.9 x 11.7 in/ 15 x 30cm
        Compressed size 4.2L
        NND 13.5 x 8.5 in / 34 x 22 cm
        Compressed Volume 5.2 L
        MDH $519
        NND $329
        Too bad there isn’t a zzzs/hour rating!
        I’ve spent a lot of time in an old Montbell Super Spiral and love it. My only gripe is watching the really expensive down migrate out over time. I will definitely climb into a Nocturne when I get a chance as I think my next bag will probably have treated down and a little weight hit is worth it to me for good sleep.

        • exactly – I thought about comparing it to the 900 fill power MB down bag, but it didn’t seem like a fair comparison. 900 fill power down is extremely rare and expensive.

  3. Nice review. I’m a Montbell sleeping bag user, but I’m considering trying one of these.

    If you are interested in buying one, tomorrow is the last day of the Nemo 10 year sale. They are offering 25% off, plus free shipping. Use the code “10YEARS.” With the coupon, the Nocturne 30 Long is $262.46 shipped and the regular length is $247.56. Not a bad deal.

    • For just 10oz more you could get this bag as a 25F Primaloft bag (called the Rhythym), which is on sale now at Nemo bags for $154. If you could also apply that coupon to the sale price (not sure if they’ll allow it), you’re talking about $124 shipped.

  4. I have the Nocturne 15, which I haven’t used yet. After my REI rebate and some other coupons & credits I turned in, I ended up paying $50 for it! I’m taking it on my return trip to Shenandoah on Labor Day weekend (assuming my broken big toe heals sufficiently by then) — hoping to catch some trout for dinner and/or breakfast out of Jeremy’s Run. I will let you know how I like it. I think I’m going to love it.

    BTW, which tents are pictured in this review?

  5. Great review. I have a Nemo Nocturne 15. As a restless side sleeper, I have fallen in love with this design. I don’t think I can go back to a traditional mummy style bag after using the Nemo this past year.

  6. Great Review, but who wrote it??? The Review answered all my questions that came to mind as I read the review..But I FEAR you, if you wrote the review, you are starting to venture into the realm so many other Reviewers who have ventured before you and became corrupted, , which I fear the manufacturers Marketing Maggots have whispered into your ear or maybe suggested you add the comments to your Review. IF you wrote the Review..THis worries me because in my mind this would begin to destroy the creditablity I find in your Reviews and why I not longer subscribe or pay attention to the most subscribed to marketing Magazines on Backpacking and their Gear Reviews for over 15 years now…In fact your Reccomendation Statement reeks of it….Did you weigh the bag on your own Scales? And did you write this review?? and Since when is over $300.00 AFFORDABLE??? That was the give away to me and why I question who wrote this Review…Especailly with the use of cheap Duck Down….Which should reduce the price of the bag to $50.00…and that is about what I would pay for it….There is a reason all the Great Manufacturers of old who “Fathered or Sired or Developed the use of Down i.e.: LL Bean, Cabela’s, Gander Mountain, Eddie Bauer, all rejected Duck Down 30 – 40 years ago and I doubt todays Ducks are any different than the Ducks of yore….

    • I wrote it eddie. No one whispered in my ear. I weighed the bag on my own digital scale. It concerns me that you’d doubt my truthfulness. I wouldn’t throw away 8 years of credibility for a free sleeping bag. I really do believe that duck down is as good as goose down at the same fill power rating. I think the performance of this 700 fill power bag and the reason it’s comparable to an 850 fill power bag is 1) due to a good design 2) due to the fact that Western Mountaineering refuses to have their bags rated by an external testing agency because they’ll probably test way lower than the manufacturer rating.

      • I worry, your recomendation paragraph sounds exactly like and almost word for word for what the Marketing Maggots push the Editiors and Reviewers in other less creditable arenas to say, especally the $300 being “affordable” which it is not, since the average Bag only costs in the Neighborhood of $15.00 to make per some firends who work in the field..Hiuge Markup….and that is why I questioned your review..It reeks of marketing Maggot stink….So if you have just picked up the “lingo” from writing so many reviews I apologize….But there are very good reasons to avoid Duck Down and time will show you if you use the bag more than a few times. Our Bags in the Military were Duck down and Cold at 40 deg. though rated to -10. they finally got rid of them…

        • eddie, I’ve used the bag “more than a few times” and no ill effects so far.And yes, I consider a $300 bag to be more affordable than an western mountaineering sleeping bag that is 50% more expensive but doesn’t come close to the same performance. You are welcome to your opinion, of course.

        • Eddie – Feathered friends has a good write up that might explain your past experience with duck down here:

          Sounds like mature duck down creates problems but not juvenile duck down, possibly the reason you had so many problems in the past.

  7. (Is Eddie being facetious?)


    Do you have any opinion on the relative merits of wider bags like the Nocturne or Super Hugger versus quilts? Seems to me that a quilt solves the side-sleeping problem rather well. (I am a side sleeper.) They are also more efficient ounce-wise, in that a quilt removes the compressed under-layer of down. You have reviewed the big shop quilts (Sierra Designs and Therm-a-Rest), but I would love to hear your two cents on some others. Katabatic seems to be the Western Mountaineering of quilts (industry standard, but pricey). I have found the more budget-conscious Enlightened Equipment quilts to be lovely to sleep under, and plenty light too. (I have two from EE, one down, one synthetic, in different temp ratings.) What I love about quilts is just how damn simple they are. I chose sizes large enough that I don’t even have to worry about the straps underneath, I just use them like blankets. In a backpacking tent/bivy/hammock, the potential for drafts is negated by the restricting confines of the shelter or its netting. Thus the weight/warmth of quilts would seem to beat comparably priced sleeping bags. Am I alone here?

    • Quilts are definitely another alternative, but they are an acquired taste. I think they probably have an effective limit of 20-30 degrees. It’s also incredibly hard to rate them, unlike sleeping bags where a workable standard exists.

      As for Katabatic and EE, I’ve never invested in buying quilts from either company because are so confusing to spec out. Maybe they’ve upgraded their web sites since I last looked, but the thought of getting stuck with a custom made quilt that I don’t actually like is off-putting.

      • Thanks for the review, Philip. I’ve been contemplating these bags for a while in comparison to EE quilts. I was ready to go the EE route, but then started worrying a bit about spending that much money without knowing if my wife and I would like quilts or not, even though I know we could have returned them. I imagine we would like them, but we’ve always used bags. After your review, and especially with the 25% off that Nemo was offering, I decided this is probably the safer choice. Yes, these are heavier than what the quilts would have been, and a bit bulkier (they would be more similar if I go with aftermarket compression sacks), but the temp rating is similar, sleeping bags are familiar, and I think (and hope) we’ll be very pleased with these bags. I actually saved quite a bit by going this route (with the current sale), which kept the wife a little happier. By the way, I think you should try an Enlightened Equipment quilt if you’re at all interested. Even though I decided to go the sleeping bag route, I love what Tim at EE is doing. He will refund your purchase within 60 days if you find that his quilt isn’t right for you. They also recently upgraded their website, so it is much easier to navigate. Thanks again for the review!

        • Just checked the EE web site refresh. New pictures, but the instructions for sizing the quilts are as cryptic as ever. At least they have a decent return policy now although it doesn’t cover anything custom.

        • The regular options at EE provide all the customization I would think you need. Below are my tally of the options. (I took the liberty of including my recommendations for Philip in parentheses.):

          length (regular)
          width (wide, for extra luxury at a cost of about 1.5 oz over regular width)
          fill (800 duck down)
          dry down treatment option (about the same weight, costs $20, up to you)
          zippered or sewn footbox (meaning: revelation or enigma) (zip! (revelation) so you can use it like a flat blanket, for comfort in the tent at more temps, and so you can also use it on the sofa!)
          the inside is standard 10D (you choose your colors)
          the outside (get 20D for extra durability)
          and also the end stripes. (you could choose this if you want 20D fabric on just the ends)

          Now, temp rating. I bet the 20 degree is just as warm as the Nocturne. It costs $265 and weighs 21.25 ounces. I say you get the 0 degree though, and see whether your effective rating hypothesis is correct. $305 and 28.25 oz. (I included $10 for shipping and the extra 1.5 oz for the full 20D exterior fabric. Price does not include dry down treatment, so add $20 if you want that. Ships in 2-3 weeks. There is an option for expedited fabrication, 1 week, for an extra $30.)

          I use my 10-degree bag at temps up to 40 or 50 degrees. I shake a lot of the down all the way to the foot end. As a flat blanket, ventilating it is easy, I dont even wake up. Just flipping over can let in cool air. In colder weather, the extra width helps keep the seal you want, without needing the straps underneath. You will need use the straps and use a warm hat or jacket with hood for low low temps. But you would be carrying that anyway.

          (Eddie, I stand to profit exactly $0 from my endorsements of EE. I’ll be on the lookout for duck down problems, whatever those may be…)

      • Philip, As a very wide shouldered individual (and a side sleeper), I find it 100% impossible to sleep in a mummy bag. In my experience, even the 62″ shoulder girth in this spoon shaped bag would be too small for me. I had decent luck with the Big Agnes style bags in warmer weather, but you get a draft where the pad pocket ends and the insulation begins… no good for winter.

        I switched to quilts 2 years ago and never looked back. 1000% better for the broad-shouldered gent. I’ve slept in my 10 degree EE Revelation down to the mid-teens and my 40-degree EE Prodigy down to 29 with no problem. I must disagree with your “effective limit of 20-30 degrees”. EE makes a 0-degree, which I’m pretty sure could get you into the single digits. As long as you have adequate bottom insulation from ground (or convective heat loss in the case of a hammock), the quilt’s insulation should be more than adequate to keep you warm from all other directions. There is a bit of a learning curve, but, once you get the hang of keeping the drafts sealed out, quilts are quite lovely.

  8. While this looks interesting, I think it goes too far to the other extreme shape-wise. Useful perhaps for someone whose feet kick out at night, but I tend to sleep with my feet together with both knees drawn up, or one extended and one knee drawn up. What I would like to see (and will probably get from a cottage maker eventually) is something fat in the middle and tapered at both ends. Symmetric: Asymmetric:

    What I need most is a wide hip/wait section. Even this bag is tapered at the waist, which I find sort of baffling.

  9. Spelt – you might like a Mont Bell bag. I have one from several years ago and find it gives me the room I need (I like to splay a leg or knee out or just generally take up more room than traditional mummy bags can provide). Mont bell designs the baffles to be diagnol which allows the bag to stretch a little. I find the Mont Bell bag sleeps a little cold, but that might be me.

    That said, I’m looking for a new bag and these from NEMO look for very interesting. Thanks for the review. I might give one a try.

  10. ‘Twould be interesting to see some impartial research into the efficacy of duck vs. goose. Goose must be widely used for some reason (which could be simply a strong marketing push by goose farmers).

    This year I invested in a 10-deg ZPacks 900-fill quilt (hoodless), 23 oz. I am a “lightweighter”–not an ultralighter–and have no interest in being cold just to save weight. These cottage-built bags are expensive ($400+) but I was amazed at how warm they were when unzipped like a quilt (with the toe-box closed because I always have cold feet). At 40 degrees, anyway, I was warm under the quilt. Below 35, I did opt to fully zip. A balaclava kept my neck and head warm.

    But for side sleeping, my upper hip and arm always get cold, as they press against the bag. I agree with Spelt’s frustration on that count. (Fleece pants and fleece jacket have helped–they are thick enough to create air space.) Of course, Joe at ZPacks will sew you a bag in just about any dimension you want, if you have the money!

    The biggest dilemma about a quilt was that I like to put one hand under my pillow when side-sleeping. This requires leaving the neck loose when fully zipped so my hand can escape. :(

    The biggest surprise was how easy it is to slide out of a zipped quilt without unzipping! Just pull it down and eject yourself, because the top opens wide. Re-entry is just as easy. I hate fighting a zipper every time I want out of my bag. Of course, exiting an open quilt is easiest of all!

    Mountain camping in Colorado is usually below 40 degrees at night, but I used the 10-degree quilt in my truck for some 45 degree nights and was pleased that it was not excessively hot. Being an open quilt, you can partially throw it off to cool down.

    • I think geese get plucked more ‘cuz they’re so darn ornery! :-)

      • I think most of the “goose down is better than duck down” argument is a result of great marketing on the part of the goose down companies. Yes, marketing, which is exactly what Eddie seems to hate. I have read a lot on the subject, and it IS hard to decide who is telling the truth. Companies that only use goose down obviously claim that it is superior. Companies that use both claim that the species the down came from isn’t what’s important. A few things I’ve read (paraphrasing): A lot of factors determine the quality of the down, such as age of the bird, size of the bird, where the bird lived and the bird’s diet. Geese are larger than ducks, so they tend to have larger clusters of down, but this in itself doesn’t make it better. Down from an older duck will be better than down from a younger goose. Duck is less expensive and more readily available because of the simple fact that more people eat duck rather than goose. It’s a supply/demand thing. More supply will equal cheaper prices. Also, the best down in the world, according to numerous sources, is from the Eider Duck – not a goose. They are a protected breed of duck, so they collect the down from the nests without harming the birds. Interesting stuff, really.

  11. I was absolutely sure that the Western Mountaineering Ultralite was the bag for me. Luckily, Mel Cotton’s in San Jose stocks the WM bags. I put on a fleece, crawled into the Ultralite, rolled on my side, tucked up, and zipped it up. Wow, way too small. So I got a Western Mountaineering AlpenLite, the wide version at that temp rating. It is my most favorite gear of all time. Awesome.

    I wish I had bought one twenty years ago, because the bag will outlast me.

  12. Phil, thanks for the great write up. I bought the NEMO Nocturne sleeping bag this past spring and was able to test it out in variety of environments and I agree that this bag is the most comfortable sleeping bag I have used in years. I am a side sleeper all the way and this bag allowed me move around all I want without feeling like I was wrapped up like a mummy. This is a great site with lots of valuable information.

  13. Loved this report as I am a side sleeper. Any reviews on nocturne 15

  14. Been using the Nocturne 30 for a couple years. It’s a good bag. However, I am getting cold easily now, like around 40° farenheit, I may be too cold to sleep. So I’m just looking for ideas to help me continue camping.
    Currently, I car camp, in a tent, and sleep on a cot, with a Themarest pad beneath me. Last outing (in September) I shoved the Nocturne inside another sleeping bag and got by with that approach, but I still ended up putting toe warmers on my socks. My internet searches about this have not been useful, so any thought/suggestions are much appreciated.

    • Try a sleeping bag liner and get a warmer sleeping pad with a higher R-value.
      If you still get cold at night. Eat a small chocolate bar and have a drink of water. That will stoke the fire.

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