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Zenbivy Light Bed

Review: Zenbivy Light Bed

An innovative sleep system for lightweight adventures or luxury summer camping

Front sleepers, side slumberers and nighttime wrigglers, listen up! Finally, your sleepless camping nights of twisting yourself in knots with your sleeping bag are numbered. The Zenbivy Light Bed has arrived! Combining an adaptable quilt with a hooded sleeping pad sheet, campers can enjoy comfort and warmth in whatever position they like to sleep in. Oh, and did I mention how packable, lightweight and durable this thing is?

Zenbivy Light Bed: The stats

Comfort rating:25ºF / -4ºC
Insulation type:800 fill-power Hyperdry duck down
Weight:1.8lbs / 822g
Size:Regular (20 x 72in / 50 x 183cm)
Shell material:20D nylon taffeta
Included:Quilt, sheet system and pillow

Features of the Zenbivy Light Bed

Insulation and outer fabric

Zenbivy fabricThe quilt and hood of the sheet are insulated with 800 fill-power Hyperdry duck down. This is water resistant, fluorocarbon-free and responsibly sourced.

Unlike other mega lightweight sleeping bags that use 10D fabric, the outer fabric of the Zenbivy is constructed with 20D nylon taffeta. This makes is more durable and less likely to snag or tear. The outer fabric is also treated with a fluorocarbon-free DWR coating.

Sheet

Zenbivy sheetThe Zenbivy sheet is designed to fit around most standard sized sleeping pads. It is secured by straps that connect underneath your pad. Integrated into the sheet is a down-filled hood and side panels that connect to the quilt, should you wish.

Clips and hooks

Zenbivy connector clipsBoth the quilt and sheet feature small hooks and clips. These enable the quilt to be set up more like a sleeping bag which can then be connected to the sheet for a cosy, yet roomy sleeping setup.

Drawcord

Sleeping bag drawcordThe bottom of the quilt has a drawcord through its hem. Cinch it right in on the cold nights and the quilt can be used more like a sleeping bag.

Packability

Packed ZenbivyThe Zenbivy comes in a mesh storage sack to prevent the down from being compressed when not in use. However, if you pack it into your own stuff sack it will compress down to a miraculously small package.


Zenbivy Light Bed review

I’ll be honest with you, I saw the Zenbivy a year or so back and dismissed it as just another gimmick with good branding and marketing that makes us believe we really need one in our lives. It looked mega faffy and unnecessary. Surely the trusty sleeping bag does the job just fine?

Well, yes, and no! Sure, if you’re a back sleeper or someone who tends not to move around much, a traditional sleeping bag is pretty darn good at doing what it does. But how many of you out there use the same sleeping bag for all your adventures? Exactly. I bet you have at least two in your gear stash, neither of which are as versatile as the Zenbivy, right?

You’ve guessed it: having reluctantly agreed to try out the Zenbivy for myself, I am now a convert! It’s not as faffy as I first thought, although certainly not as easy as a regular sleeping bag. But the versatility and comfort it offers mean that I’m about to let go of two of my three sleeping bags. (My mega warm winter one is staying!)

Oh Zenbivy, where have you been all my life?

Versatility

Probably the most appealing aspect of the Zenbivy Light Bed is its versatility. You can use it in three different ways: quilt mode, mummy mode or rectangular mode — and that’s just as a sleep setup!

Quilt mode

If you’re familiar with using camping quilts then you’ll understand just how useful they are. For summer camping — when you just want a little more ventilation or the option to stick your arms and legs out for temperature control — quilts rock. For hammock camping — when all the down below you gets compressed and becomes useless — quilts rock. For bikepacking, lightweight backpacking and minimalist camping — when low weight, packability and minimal comfort is key — quilts rock. So yes, as a quilt, the Zenbivy unavoidably rocks!

I also use the Zenbivy loads in quilt mode, outside of sleeping hours, way more that I ever have with my sleeping bags. So far it’s been used in the following ways:

  • Wrapped around my shoulders watching the sunset
  • Draped over my knees while eating dinner by the campfire
  • Lazing in the garden when it’s not quite warm enough to be lazing in the garden
  • Beach picnics when it’s always a little breezier than you anticipate
  • Outdoor movie nights
  • Indoor movie nights
  • Sleepovers, when there’s no spare bed
  • Afternoon snoozing in my hammock

Rectangular mode

Setting up the Zenbivy in rectangular mode involves connecting the quilt to the sheet around the foot area, but leaving the drawcord at the base of the quilt un-cinched, or partially cinched. You can then either tuck the upper part of the quilt inside the sheet sides, or leave it free to use as you would a quilt. This provides tons of wriggle room from your head right down to your toes. This mode is best for comfort and movement without sacrificing cosiness. But it also doesn’t keep you as warm as mummy mode, so it’s best to set up the bed in this way on warmer nights.

Mummy mode

To get the most warmth out of the Zenbivy, mummy mode should be adopted. This essentially creates what looks like a sleeping bag, but feels much less restrictive when you’re all tucked up in it. In this mode the drawcord is cinched right in, the back of the footbox is connected together and the upper sides of the quilt are connected to the sides of the sheet. It’s dead cosy!

Zenbivy bed joined together

Comfort

As well as versatility, the other main point of the Zenbivy is to provide greater comfort to those who move around lots when they sleep. I am one such person. I can’t count the number of times I’ve woken up lying on my back in a claustrophobic panic with the opening to my sleeping bag facing downwards. If you turn lots in your sleep it’s easier than you might think to get yourself in a right old pickle with your sleeping bag.

Well, there is no risk of doing this with the Zenbivy. You move within the bed and the bed doesn’t move with you. Sure, you may find your head fully cocooned under hood and quilt. But you just pull it off and you’re free! No tangled cinch cords or zipper pulls to contend with before you’re able to draw your first breath.

The hood feature of the sheet is mega cosy. On warm nights you can sleep on top of it. Or you can cocoon your head under it on colder nights. There’s a load of space in there to fit a pillow, which doesn’t slip off the end of your sleeping pad because it’s tucked up in the bed with you!

Side view of Zenbivy

Warmth

The Zenbivy Light Bed, even in mummy mode, will always struggled to compete directly with a mummy-style sleeping bag when it comes to warmth. Despite the fact that the drawcord cinches pretty darn tightly and you can really tuck yourself in at the top, there will always be little bits of draft here and there. There’s also a lot more space inside the bag to warm up.

The first time I used it the air temperature was around 2ºC overnight. I used it in mummy mode and also wore my super cosy down Rab jacket. I was still cold. However, I survived. I didn’t get hypothermia and I did manage to get just enough sleep. I’m a cold sleeper anyway, but I’m also a woman which makes me even more of a cold sleeper! So, I guess it did the job. But, as with all temperature ratings on sleeping bags, it’s worth bearing in mind that they are very much a guide. In this case, Zenbivy aren’t claiming that users will be toasty and warm all night as long as it doesn’t drop below -5ºC. They’re just saying that you’ll be OK. I was OK!

Usability

It’s worth spending some time figuring out how to use the Zenbivy Bed. This is best done before you’re out on the side of a mountain with fingers slowly freezing, as it’s not quite as simple as unzipping, getting in and re-zipping. The main thing that’s easy to get wrong is which side up the quilt goes if you want to connect it to the sheet. The website has good instructions. Try it out at home and you’ll realise it’s actually pretty simple, and not as faffy as I first thought it would be.

The clips are nice and easy to connect, which is actually really important. Think frozen fingers at the end of a long and tiring day. It also packs down quickly, easily and into a VERY small package.

Woman wrapped in a camping quilt

What I love the most about the Zenbivy Light Bed

The comfort it provides is really great. But for me, it’s the versatility of the Zenbivy Light Bed that has me smitten.

What I don’t love so much about the Zenbivy Light Bed

It’s not as warm as I’d hoped. But if I’d have gone for the 10ºF quilt instead of the 25ºF quilt it would be too warm for summer camping, which is when I camp the most. Other than that, I’m still searching for something to moan about. Happy days for all involved!


Verdict

Though it will struggle to compete with a regular mummy-style sleeping bag on the warmth front, for summer camping, bikepacking, backpacking and minimalist camping in moderate conditions, the Zenbivy Light Bed is the sleep system you’ve been waiting for! Aside from cold weather camping, it is lightweight and packable enough for all kinds of three season adventures. And if you’re a nighttime wriggler then you’ll struggle to find comparable, unrestricted comfort in any regular sleeping bag. It’s versatile, easy to set up (once you know how), and for many people it may be the only ‘sleeping bag’ needed in your life.

Find the latest price at:
Zenbivy

Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.

About the author

author-joey

Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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