Home Hiking ZenBivy Gentle Mattress 25 Bundle Evaluation

ZenBivy Gentle Mattress 25 Bundle Evaluation



ZenBivy LightBed 25 Bundle Review

The ZenBivy Gentle Mattress 25 Bundle is a quilt-style sleep system that prioritizes consolation whereas staying light-weight sufficient for backpacking.

The Gentle Mattress 25 Bundle consists of:

Zen Bivy Light Bed Bundle
  • a down quilt
  • a fitted sheet with an hooked up insulated hood
  • an inflatable sleeping pad with artificial insulation
  • a pillow
  • two drybag-style stuff sacks
  • compression straps

I desire sleeping in a hammock when backpacking as a result of I don’t sleep notably properly when tenting on the bottom. However I’ve sleep rather well utilizing the Gentle Mattress and its by far the perfect sleep I’ve ever gotten on the bottom.

The quilt attached halfway up the wings on both sides
The quilt hooked up midway up the wings on each side.

If the ZenBivy Gentle Mattress seems considerably acquainted, you could be remembering the Backcountry Mattress System launched by Sierra Designs a couple of years in the past. Michael Gavin was beforehand Sierra Designs’ common supervisor and introduced lots of product improvements to the corporate, together with the Backcountry Mattress and a collaboration with Andrew Skurka for the design of the Excessive Route Tent and the Flex Capacitor Backpack. After leaving Sierra Designs, Glavin based ZenBivy and continued to innovate. Whereas the Gentle Mattress shares some ideas with the Backcountry Mattress, it applies these ideas fairly in another way in a definite product.

Specs at a Look

Measurement: Common dimension (20” extensive x 72” lengthy)

Producer’s Said Weights:

  • Whole: 3 kilos, 9 oz / 1.62 kg (Whole weight consists of Gentle Mattress (quilt + sheet), Gentle Mattress, Gentle Pillow, 7L Dry Sack, 7L Compression Caps)
  • Quilt plus Sheet with hooked up hood: 1 pound, 13 ounces / 0.82 kg

Examined Weights:

  • Whole: 57.2 (3 kilos, 9.2 oz) / 1.62 kg
  • Quilt plus Sheet: 29.4 oz (1 pound, 13.4 oz) / 0.83 kg
  • Quilt alone: 21.7 oz / 0.62 kg
  • Sheet alone: 7.7 oz / 0.22 kg
  • Gentle Mattress: 20.9 oz / 0.59 kg
  • Pillow and case: 2.5 oz / 0.07 kg
  • Inflation dry sack (for mattress): 2.4 oz / 0.07 kg
  • Dry sack (for quilt and sheet): 2.1 oz / 0.06 kg
  • Compression caps for quilt dry bag: 2.3 oz / 0.07 kg


  • Gentle Quilt: (the producer offers the size for minimize material, with the word that “crammed, lofted quilts shall be a number of inches smaller in each size and width.”): 78” x 54” / 198 x 137cm
  • Examined: 76” lengthy, 51” extensive on the head, 47” extensive on the toes / 193 x 129.5 – 119.4 cm
  • Gentle Mattress: 20” extensive x 72” lengthy x 3” thick / 50.8 x 182.9 x 7.6 cm
  • Quantity of drybag stuff sacks: 7 liters


  • Gentle Quilt: 20d Nylon Taffeta, 800 fill energy HyperDRY fluorocarbon-free waterproof duck down (RDS)
  • Gentle Sheet: 20d Nylon Taffeta, 800 fill energy HyperDRY fluorocarbon-free waterproof duck down (RDS)
  • Gentle Mattress: 20 denier (high and backside) polyester taffeta, 180 grams of 3d XD artificial insulation
  • Drybag stuff sacks: Absolutely welded (not sewn) 30d ripstop nylon physique, 75d polyester backside
  • Velcro strap for holding Gentle Mattress rolled
  • Giant mesh storage sack for Gentle Quilt and Gentle Sheet

Gentle Mattress Setup

The fundamental hot-weather setup is fairly simple: slide the Gentle Sheet over your mattress, put the pillow contained in the hood, and drape the quilt excessive. The unfastened quilt means that you can simply kick a leg out from beneath it. For cooler temps, the setup is a bit more concerned, as you’ll wish to join the Gentle Quilt and the Gentle Mattress collectively to reduce drafts.

ZenBivy produced a fast setup video right here:


On the Gentle Mattress’s product tags, you might be instructed to go the web site to search out setup directions. Whereas there are movies there you possibly can watch, they’re laborious to observe.  I discovered it far more useful to go to ZenBivy’s YouTube website and watch the movies that includes Glavin, who’s nice at explaining issues, particularly walks and talks you thru totally different setups.

Let’s take a better take a look at every of the items within the system and see how they work collectively.

Gentle Quilt and Gentle Sheet

The Gentle Quilt and the Gentle Sheet are the keystones of the Gentle Mattress system. The Gentle Quilt seems very like a typical backpacking quilt: it’s a 76” by 51”- 47” near-rectangle, with a drawcord cinchable footbox, a soft-feeling 20 denier nylon taffeta shell, 800 fill energy hydrophobic down, and a neck cinch with a snap and draft collar.

The footbox of the quilt snaps together before cinching, creating a baffle so there's not a drafty hole in the end
The footbox of the quilt snaps collectively earlier than cinching, making a baffle so there’s not a drafty gap in the long run.

The footbox closes with a snap earlier than cinching closed, and the cinch twine runs on a slight arc as a substitute of a straight horizontal line, making a baffle that permits it to shut up with out a gap. A drafty gap is widespread with many drawstring footboxes, and this can be a artistic answer that beats plugging the outlet with a sock. Good.

Loops connect the Light Quilt to the Light Sheet, as well as the arc of the foot drawstring, which also aids in creating a baffle for the footbox end
Loops join the Gentle Quilt to the Gentle Sheet, in addition to the arc of the foot drawstring, which additionally aids in making a baffle for the footbox finish.

The most important distinction between this and different backpacking quilts is a collection of tiny twine loops set in a bit from the perimeters alongside the size of the quilt on each side. These loops permit the quilt to snap into the hooks on the Gentle Sheet.

The Light Sheet slips over any 20x72rectangular air mattress, and is held in place by a compression strap that runs underneath the mattress.
The Gentle Sheet slips over any 20×72 rectangular air mattress, and is held in place by a compression strap that runs beneath the mattress in addition to nook cutouts.

From the underside, the Gentle Sheet seems a bit like a fitted bedsheet, with a rim of material that stretches over the corners of your mattress. It’s additional held in place by a single compression strap with a wafer buckle, working beneath the mattress.

When flipped right-side-up, you’ll see:

  • an outsized, down-filled hood hooked up to the sheet.
  • two material “wings” alongside the edges,
  • and a bunch of hooks on the wings and alongside the perimeter of the sheet
The Light Sheet and Light Pillow before adding the Light Quilt
The Gentle Sheet and Gentle Pillow earlier than including the Gentle Quilt.

Utilizing the outsized hood is far much less claustrophobic than sporting a separate balaclava-style down hood with a quilt system, and you may toss and switch with out getting smothered by a mummy-style sleeping bag hooked up hood.

You place the pillow contained in the hood and slip the hood excessive of your head. Its form means that you can transfer backward and forward with out it being restrictive. After I sleep on my aspect with my hand close to my face, I like to stay my hand contained in the hood together with my head, like a giant mitten. Whereas the hood doesn’t cinch tightly round your face, you possibly can all the time tuck the quilt up round you to seal these gaps. When it’s too scorching for the hood, you possibly can sleep on high of it with the pillow inside.

The hood is oversize and not restrictive at all.
The hood is oversize and never restrictive in any respect.

The wings on the Gentle Sheet are ZenBivy’s reply to the issue of drafty quilts. The quilt and the wings join to one another with the loops and hooks. The wings connect partway up the edges of the quilt so there’s overlap between the items. They forestall drafts in a manner that feels a lot much less restrictive than utilizing straps connecting the quilt to the pad. It additionally permits for tossing and turning, with out the “bellows impact” of pumping heat air out of the sleep system.

The Light Quilt and Light Sheet attach to one another, via plastic hooks and cord loops
The Gentle Quilt and Gentle Sheet connect to at least one one other, through plastic hooks and twine loops.

You possibly can clip the entire loops and hooks collectively to batten down the hatches, however I like to go away one aspect unclipped (the aspect I’m dealing with when mendacity on my aspect) and wrap that aspect of the quilt tight round me, whereas leaving the opposite aspect clipped to stop drafts on my again. Leaving one aspect unclipped additionally makes it very straightforward to exit the system in the midst of the night time.

Gentle Mattress

The Gentle Mattress is a rectangular-shaped, vertical-baffled inflatable pad stuffed with 180 grams of artificial insulation for heat, which an R-5 ranking. ISO-ratings for sleeping luggage are decided utilizing an R-5 sleeping pad. Nevertheless, many common pads in the marketplace are lower than R-5, so it is not uncommon for folks, particularly new customers, to search out themselves chilly utilizing a sleeping bag rated for the temperature they’re sleeping in.

The Gentle Mattress will not be crinkly or noisy to sleep on in any respect, and the insulation is compressible, however it does add some bulk to the rolled dimension. It comes with a Velcro strap that may be helpful in holding it rolled up tightly. I normally roll it horizontally after which fold it in thirds, however you can even fold the flat mattress to your required packed width after which roll from there.

The drybag-style stuff sack for the pad doubles as its inflation bag, with a nozzle on the backside that seals tightly onto the pad’s valve. Sadly, the valve on the Gentle Mattress will not be appropriate with the 45L Exped Schnozzel pack liner/ inflation bag, which is considered one of my favourite equipment. The valve on the Gentle Mattress is a flat valve type, which is extra sturdy than stick-type valves, though it doesn’t sit absolutely flush with the remainder of the pad. Regardless of the valve protruding considerably, Glavin, in considered one of his YouTube movies, suggests orienting it towards the bottom, to not get in the best way of the sleeping consumer.

The Light Mattress dry bag stuff sack doubles as an inflation bag
The Gentle Mattress dry bag stuff sack doubles as an inflation bag.

The web site product web page reveals a repeating video of the truth that you possibly can rotate (flip) the valve 180* which blocks it from releasing any air, however doesn’t give any clarification of what the aim of that might be, since there’s already a closure cap. You employ the one-way valve for inflation, pop it out solely for fast deflation, and shut the cap to maintain air in. When you inflate the pad absolutely utilizing the inflation bag, you possibly can calmly press the button within the middle of the one-way valve to launch slightly little bit of air till the mattress is a agency or as smooth as you need it. Many individuals discover that air mattresses are softer and extra snug if slightly air has been let loose.

Gentle Pillow

The Gentle Pillow has two elements: a transparent polyurethane inflatable pillow with a one-way inflation valve, and a soft-touch polyester pillowcase. I like the truth that you possibly can take the pillowcase off to launder it, as a result of everyone knows drool occurs, particularly if you’re exhausted. To not point out the oil your face produces, sweat, sunscreen and bug repellant! The pillowcase is considerably outsized to the pillow, so you possibly can add a puffy or fleece in there too to bulk it up, or simply use these clothes objects within the pillowcase in case your pillow springs a leak.

Sadly, the Gentle Pillow valve will not be appropriate with the inflation sack. I do know it solely takes a breath or two to inflate, however, as a lot as potential, I prefer to keep away from utilizing my breath on any inflatable in order to not get moisture, and finally the expansion of mildew, inside them. The usage of a hard and fast one-way valve on the pillow means there’s no manner for moisture trapped contained in the pillow to dry out or be uncovered to the air. I hope that ZenBivy will change to utilizing the identical valve for each pad and pillow within the subsequent iteration.

The pillow has a removable pillowcase that you can wash, or stuff additional clothing into.
The pillow has a detachable pillowcase that you would be able to wash, or stuff extra clothes into.

Drybag stuff sacks and Compression Caps

The Gentle Mattress Bundle comes with two water-tight welded rolltop drybags: one for the Gentle Mattress, which doubles as an inflation bag, and one for the Gentle Quilt and Gentle Sheet packed collectively. This second drybag has a one-way valve to let air out after the rolltop is already sealed. That is particularly useful / vital when utilizing the Compression Caps.

Compression Caps in use on the Quilt and Sheet dry bag to reduce volume
Compression Caps in use on the Quilt and Sheet dry bag to scale back quantity.

In case you’ve used a sleeping bag compression stuff sack earlier than, Compression Caps are just like the ends and straps of the compression sack with the bag minimize away. This design serves two functions. One, because the compression system will not be sewn into the stuff sack, you might be much less more likely to rip the stuff sack whereas cranking down on the straps. Two, it means that you can deliver compression if you want it/ need it, and go away it dwelling to avoid wasting weight when minimizing quantity will not be a excessive precedence.

Gentle Mattress in Use

Whereas I normally get uncomfortable and transfer backward and forward to abdomen, I discovered that I wanted to maneuver a lot much less within the night time once I was utilizing the Gentle Mattress. I believe this was on account of three elements: the consolation of the mattress, the draft safety from the wings, and the best way the hood stored my head heat with out me getting snarled in it.

I’ve used the Gentle Mattress 25 right down to 35 levels Fahrenheit and was snug, however beneath that I would want extra insulation, like a puffy jacket. This is sensible to me as a result of ZenBivy makes use of the Decrease Restrict ranking for his or her naming conventions (as do many producers), and as a chilly sleeper, I normally must go together with the Consolation ranking (or add 10 levels to the Decrease Restrict quantity).

Throughout my testing, I primarily used the Gentle Mattress in Mummy Footbox mode, and clipped the footbox to the underside of the pad with a single hook, to maintain it from falling off the pad, whereas nonetheless permitting most vary of movement. I additionally largely clipped one wing closed and left the opposite one open as described above.

There are many clips to secure the Light Quilt to the Light Sheet
There are various clips to safe the Gentle Quilt to the Gentle Sheet

I’d be curious to check consolation between the common and extensive sized Gentle Beds. Over the previous few years I’ve migrated to enormously preferring extensive pads when I’m not in a hammock. Regardless that I’m fairly small (5’4”, 30” waist), shifting from aspect to abdomen to aspect at night time signifies that my arms usually fall off an everyday width pad. However, in my testing, I discovered the Gentle Mattress so snug I actually didn’t miss the width of a wider pad.


It’s unimaginable how snug the ZenBivy Gentle Mattress 25 Bundle is, and at a weight that’s low sufficient for backpacking. Not ultralight, thoughts you, however not unreasonable, both, given the profit it offers of a superb night time’s sleep. It’s adaptable throughout a large temperature vary and is the perfect sleep system I’ve seen for sustaining each heat and suppleness for rotisserie / lively sleepers. People who’ve had chronically dangerous sleep open air, or those that wish to guarantee consolation for a beloved one they’re introducing to backpacking and tenting, will profit probably the most from this technique.

The most important draw back of the Gentle Mattress Bundle is its value. It’s a very costly system particularly when bought all collectively. Some could argue that the worth of particular person items of backpacking gear bought a la carte–a sleeping bag, then a pad, then a pillow, and many others, all at totally different instances–can appear extra economical, even when the overall value is simply as a lot, since you’re not seeing the associated fee . This can be true, however it nonetheless doesn’t make the price of the bundle accessible to numerous backpackers. I used to be glad to see a 25% off sale just lately on ZenBivy’s web site, and hopefully extra gross sales will come sooner or later.

Luckily, the inspiration of the system–the Gentle Quilt and Gentle Sheet, could be bought on their very own for a lot lower than the total bundle value, and the system can be utilized with a 20×72” rectangular pad you could have already got or be capable to borrow–you don’t must solely use the Gentle Mattress with these items. You could possibly even use a closed cell foam pad or an previous Therm-a-Relaxation mattress with these dimensions (or each collectively), and nonetheless have the advantages of the pliability of the interface between the hood, sheet and quilt.

We examined the Gentle Mattress 25. Additionally it is accessible in a ten diploma (F) model and an artificial 40 diploma (F) model. ZenBivy makes a couple of different related merchandise at larger weights for automotive tenting. Moreover, wider and bigger programs can be found, however the items have to be the identical dimension (i.e. a large Gentle Mattress wants a large Gentle Sheet).

Disclosure: ZenBivy donated a Gentle Mattress Bundle for this evaluation.

In regards to the writer

Greg Pehrson is an ultralight backpacker who was bitten laborious by the MYOG (make-your-own-gear) bug. He repairs, tinkers, and builds gear, usually searching for to upcycle throwaway objects or repurpose issues from exterior the backpacking world.

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