Marmot Trestles 15 Review 2019

  • Car Camper
  • Wilderness Backpacker

Marmot Trestles 15 Men's

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Last updated: 2019-05-17 12:05:21

Marmot Trestles 15 Overview

Marmot’s Trestles series of sleeping bags continues to set a standard for functional, affordable sleeping bags for a variety of conditions. Combining warm synthetic insulation, durable materials, and thoughtful design, the Marmot Trestles 15 strikes that elusive balance of field functionality and value that makes it a great 3-season companion for car campers and new or infrequent backpackers alike.

Backpackers.com Star Rating
  • Comfort
  • Warmth
  • Durability
  • Fit
3.6

Summary

The Marmot Trestles 15 is a classic synthetic fill mummy bag which nods to Marmot’s history of creating industry-leading sleeping bags. Lightweight and packable enough for backpacking and comfy enough for all your car camping trips, the Marmot Trestles 15 is a great option for the budget-conscious adventurer who won’t be held back by their gear.

While the Marmot Trestles 15 is a great hybrid bag, we don’t think it’s quite specialized enough to receive one of our Picks. For backpacker-specific folk we highly recommend starting with the Kelty Cosmic Down 20, because while it’s more expensive, you get a much more compressible, lightweight, and warm sleeping bag that will last longer. And if you’re car camping, we recommend either the NEMO Forte spoon-style bag as they are more comfortable, or the Kelty Callisto, a rectangular bag that can unzip into a full blanket. That said, if you’re dead set on a synthetic, warm, hybrid sleeping bag and don’t want to spend much, the Marmot Trestles 15 is the one.

Side Note: The name “Trestles” is still a mystery to me. Most outdoor products are named after an epic location or random verb or something just over-the-top, but “Trestles” evades me. If you or a loved one know the origin story, please tell me so I can get back to sleep.

Check out our comprehensive Guide to Sleeping Bags for a deep-dive on the sleeping bag category to ensure a great night’s sleep on the trail.

Read the full Marmot Trestles 15 review below.

Marmot Trestles 15 Specifications

Feature Type Feature Specs What This Means
Weight 3 lbs 6.1 oz (1.53 kg) Lightweight for a camping sleeping bag, slightly heavy for a synthetic backpacking bag rated to this temperature. A good middle ground.
Type Mummy Bag+ Your standard mummy bag design, with a bit more room than normal. The plus is for the second zipper that acts like a comforter. For more info on the difference between quilts and sleeping bags read our guide.
Size Regular, 72 inches A standard six feet in length. Also offered in a Long.
EN Testing EN Lower Limit: 16 F, EN Comfort Limit: 27.3 F EN Tested is a universal testing method to determine warmth. This bag is rated quite warm, but our tests show that it doesn’t feel as warm as it tests. Read more about how temperature ratings are determined in our guide.
Insulation Type SpiralFil LT Synthetic Synthetic insulation with a fancy name. Not the highest end on the market, thus not being crazy packable, light, or warm. Gets the job done though. Read more about sleeping bag insulation in our Guide.
Fill Weight 2 lbs 4 oz. (1 kg) A high amount of fill, usually indicating a very warm bag.
Fabric 70D 100% Polyester and Polyester Embossed A thick denier creating a robust, durable exterior and interior. The thick interior helps with warmth, but doesn’t let it breathe very much. Read more on sleeping bag and quilt shell fabric material in our Guide.
Water Resistant? Yes Synthetic insulation’s inherent trait is water resistance, and this bag does well.
Baffle Pattern Horizontal Standard horizontal baffling. Read more on sleeping bag and quilt baffle patterns in our Guide.
Zipper 3/4 Length Main Zipper, Left or Right, YKK Two-Way, Fold-Down Zipper Standard 3/4 length zipper for a mummy bag, with an extra fold-down zipper on the other side for blanket-like functionality. Offered in Left or Right.
Draft Tube? Yes Basic draft tube along the main zipper to keep cold air from getting in.
Neck Baffle? No A full neck baffle is behind the neck, and locks in warmth from below. This doesn’t have that, but does have a small insulated flap near the chin and front of the neck.
Pocket? Yes Small utility pocket for a phone, headlamp, etc.
Manufacturer Warranty Limited Lifetime Warranty Marmot has a solid limited lifetime warranty, get in touch if parts fail, like a zipper.
Retail Price $109 A surprisingly affordable bag for its build quality, warmth, and weight.

Gear Review of the Marmot Trestles 15

Origins: Easing You In

Life has a funny way of showing you what you need, whether it’s subtle hints or hammers to the head. The month I received the Marmot Trestles 15 for review, I bought a van to convert and move into and resigned from my job. No big deal. Or was it yikes?

Marmot-Trestles-15-review-camping-in-the-van
#Vanlife.

After a busy month of packing, tying up loose ends, and saying tearful goodbyes, I hit the road in the van destined for northwest Washington. I was able to van camp along the way and see some amazing country before starting work. Waking up by rivers flanked in snow and peeking out the van’s window from the comfort of the Trestles 15 was exactly what I needed before starting my new adventure up north.

2-Marmot-Trestles-15-review-in-the-van-1
The Marmot Trestles keeps you warm in the van.

Before leaving southern California for my new job, though, I knew I needed to get to the high country to do some testing and to say “hasta la proxima” to the backcountry that I then considered home. I loaded up the car, Trestles 15 in hand, and hit the south side of Mount Piños in the Los Padres National Forest for some snow camping.

Revelation: The Moment I Knew

Conditions on Mount Pinos were great for shoulder-season testing: highs in the low 50s, snow on the ground, and only small pockets of mud and muck to trudge through. I decided to leave the snowshoes in the car (still debating if that was a mistake), and hiked about four miles into the Chumash Wilderness.

Marmot-Trestles-15-review-backpacking-in-snow
Trekkin’.

The only others I saw on the trail were locals taking dogs for walks and at the first camp, a large group of Boy Scouts. As I walked by their camp and continued into the deepening, untrodden snow, I attracted looks of disbelief from the troop leaders and scouts alike. As a solo backpacker, I’m used to being the lone nut who hazards alone into the elements.

I settled into a secluded flat spot on a promontory overlooking Lockwood Valley. Snow blanketed the ground and I setup my Hilleberg Akto 1.

Marmot-Trestles-15-review-camping-on-snow
That night, with the Marmot Trestles 15 nestled snugly with the Big Agnes Insulated AXL Air.

As the sun dipped below the distant hills, the temperature quickly dropped into the 30s and then into the 20s. I was expecting cold weather, but unsure of snow conditions, I neglected to pack a closed-cell foam pad to put under my inflatable sleeping pad, the Big Agnes Insulated AXL Air, to insulate from the snow. Even the warmest sleeping pads can have their insulating oomf zapped by snow underneath, which sucks out any warmth.

As I settled into bed in my normal heavyweight sleeping baselayers, I got nervous as my butt and back started to feel chilled. I tossed and turned, working to move my body heat through the bag and get more comfortable as the thermometer on my watch dipped to 24.

Despite my cold butt, I was never concerned about safety. I zipped on my down jacket and zipped the Trestles up as much as possible —  and was able to power through the night.

Marmot-Trestles-15-review-checking-the-weather
Making it through the night.

This may sound like something to be critical of, but I had taken the Trestles 15 into what I would consider extreme conditions and without an essential piece of gear, namely a secondary insulating buffer under my sleeping pad. The Trestles 15 kept me safe and comfortable enough to catch some sleep before the hike out in the morning.

When I woke up ready for coffee and a trip to the cat hole, this was the moment I knew the Marmot Trestles 15 was still as trustworthy as ever.

Marmot-Trestles-15-review-snowy-sunrise
A sunrise in the Chumash Wilderness.

Digging Deeper

The Trestles 15 is a favorite for many campers and backpackers who want a do-it-all bag at a great price, and its package of features continue to make it a go-to piece.

A roomy cut on this mummy bag made for comfortable sleeping in pretty much any position. Some mummy bags are cut extremely narrow to decrease weight and increase thermal efficiency. I’m medium build and 5’8, and I had plenty of room to toss and turn in the Trestles 15.

Marmot-Trestles-15-review-full-shot
The Trestles 15 is a mummy, but a wide-cut mummy for decent rolling-around capability.

The bag features a two-way adjustable hood with a bungee cinch at the chin for comfort and a drawstring at the forehead to trap heat around your noggin. When tightened completely, the face opening is pretty small, yet allows for breathing and visibility. The Trestles 15 does not, however, have a draft collar to seal out cold air, which I consider a must on any bag rated below freezing. Not a deal breaker, but something to think about if taking the bag down to its limits. This can be combated by wearing more upper body layers or a scarf/neck gaiter to bed.

Marmot-Trestles-15-review-hood-adjustments
Two toggles allow tightening of the hood to your particular preference, but without a neck baffle it lacks some umpf.

The Trestles 15 has a small zippered stash pocket by the face opening, which is great for storing a headlamp, a beanie, or even a midnight snack if you’re not in bear country or unconcerned with critters. I love a stash pocket, and this one is well placed.

Marmot-Trestles-15-review-hood-area
This exterior zippered pocket is great for storing small at-hand items, like a phone or headlamp.

Zipper snag on sleeping bags is impossible to eliminate in my experience, but the Trestles 15 does well in this area. The wide, insulated draft tube has a stiff ribbon to help keep the fabric out of the zipper slider and the slider itself has guards that all but eliminate the issue. Upon reflection, I think I’m going to start a nonprofit that focuses on finding a truly snag-free zipper (stay tuned!).

My favorite feature of the Trestles 15 is the secondary zipper opposite of the two-way, full-length entry zipper. This allows the bag to open about one third of the way down on both sides, and create a comforter-esque experience.

Marmot-Trestles-15-review-two-zipper-opening
A little hard to see, but the Trestles 15 can fold down like a true blanket with a second zipper. Versatile.

Mummy bags tend to lack the cozy feeling of your bed at home or even that of a rectangular bag because of their efficient shape and single zipper. The second zipper allowed me to keep the hood on and my torso covered while reading or watching Netflix on my phone before nodding off — and no T-rex arms! (Yes, sometimes I download shows to watch in the backcountry. Sue me!) Combined with the second pull at the bottom of the primary zipper, I found dialing in the warmth easy without having to shed layers.

Comfort – 3.8 Stars

The Trestles 15 uses 70D fabric for the shell and liner fabrics. This makes for a more durable package (think hangnails and jacket zippers snagging the interior fabric), but the coarser weave decreases the cozy factor.

Thoughtful features like the second side zipper, stash pocket, and drawcords at the head make for a pleasant and adaptable night’s sleep in the front- or backcountry. The synthetic fill feels good, but is not as lofty or snuggly as down fill.

1-Marmot-Trestles-15-review-in-the-hood-3
Comfortable? Fairly.

The Trestles 15 has a roomy mummy cut which is great for side-sleepers and users with broad shoulders.

Warmth – 3.5 Stars

The Trestles 15 is a great 3-season or summer bag, but it struggles to meet its 15-degree rating and I am a warm sleeper. I would recommend the bag for use at or above the mid-20s Fahrenheit.

I don’t knock the Trestles 15 for this as the 15-degree rating represents the Lower Limit for most male users rather than the Comfort rating.

Marmot-Trestles-15-review-temperature-rating
The temperature rating on the Marmot Trestles 15 indicates that this bag has a comfort rating of 27.3 degrees F, and a Limit rating of 16 degrees F. This means it is survivable at 16 degrees, but not really built for that kind of cold.

Overall I tested the Trestles 15 down to its cold-wire, and while it’s not outstanding it did better than expected.

Durability – 3 Stars

As mentioned, the Trestles uses relatively high-denier 70D fabrics that increase durability when compared to ultralight bags using featherweight fabrics in the 10-30D range. The bag is still in good shape, though some of the exposed stitching has come loose or popped in places. I only used the bag a handful of times, so I can’t speak on the life of the bag, but I wasn’t inspired by the stitching.

Fit – 4 Stars

I tested the Trestles 15 regular fit. I am 5’8 with a medium build and found the bag roomy and comfortable for moving around from head to foot. The bag has a roomy mummy cut which is great for side-sleepers, flip-floppers, and users with broad shoulders. Extra room does make for a less efficient cut. Read: takes longer and more energy to warm up if you’re slim or short.

Marmot-Trestles-15-review-on-snow-size-comparison
A compressed Marmot Trestles 15 compared to a standard map.

Grievances

My major issue with the Trestles 15 is some anxiety around durability. The bomber fabrics had me flying high, but the popped stitching and pulls make me wonder about the overall quality. That said, the Trestles 15 is a value-oriented bag, so I’m not shocked.

Personally, I enjoy the roomy cut of the Trestles 15 for car camping and couch surfing, but I would likely choose a slimmer cut for backpacking in temperatures near the bag’s lower limit. A slimmer cut bag would warm up more quickly and easily and less fabric would save on weight.

Final Word

If you need to make a simple choice in your life, try the Marmot Trestles 15 on for size. Versatile, feature-rich, and wallet-friendly, it’ll make choosing what to binge watch feel like buying a house.

Where to Buy Marmot Trestles 15

We tested the Men’s Marmot Trestles 15 in a Regular size, which fits people to roughly 6 feet in length. It’s also available in a Long and a Long Wide for those who are larger, or want more room. You can also select a Left Zipper or Right Zipper, which we find is all about preference.

Marmot offers the Trestles 15 women’s, which carries the same name. The women-specific bag is much warmer, generally accounting for the fact that most women run colder than men while sleeping. The women’s bag weighs 4 pounds 8 ounces and has an EN Comfort rating of 16.7 degrees and a Lower Limit of 3.6 degrees.

Marmot offers the Trestles series in a 30-degree bag as well, which is great for summer, but we prefer the versatility of the 15-degree version.

Finally, the Marmot Trestles Elite line of bags is very similar, but weighs less and is built more for backpacking. It’s an excellent bag as well, and has a slightly higher price point.

Compare Marmot Trestles 15 prices below.

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Sebastian Cancino

Sebastian devotes his energy to camping, cycling, hiking, and backpacking in the mountains of the west coast. His favorite trek was a thru-hike of the Big SEKI Loop in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, and he hopes to complete more long hikes in the future. Peek on his Instagram to see where his latest adventures are taking him and to check out his van conversion project in progress.

Review Policy: We do not accept payments or gifts from brands and vendors, and strive to provide unbiased, independent advice. Brands typically provide review samples which we return, and in some cases we purchase the item so we can keep using it long after the review. Affiliate Policy: We support the hours that go into our reviews and testing through affiliate commissions on purchases made through links in this article. These don't effect the outcome of our reviews or selection of gear, as per our Review Policy.