The Grüezi Bag Biopod DownWool Nature Sleeping bag does a unique thing: it uses wool and down to keep you warm. And it is 100% sustainable. Watch the videoreview!
Grüezi Bag is a relatively young sleeping bag brand that does something very special: they are the first to combine down and wool in a sleeping bag to keep you comfortable and warm at night. The Grüezi Bag Biopod DownWool Nature & Nature Comfort are the most special ones of the Grüezi bunch. I am reviewing the mummy – the Nature – and the blanket – nature Comfort – model in this review.
The review of the mummy model started about a year ago when the blanket model was still in development. Since the Dutch outdoor/camping market is very keen on blanket model sleeping bags, I decided to fit this one in the review too. I have been testing the blanket since late November so I have had a decent amount of time with it. Since I had two Grüezi bags my wife and I tested simultaneously and exchanged a ton of information. Now on to the bags.
Biopod DownWool Nature size and weight
The Biopod DownWool Nature – the mummy model – sleeping bag has an inner length of 215 cm and it fits people up to 185 cm. Because it is a mummy model, it is wider at the shoulders than at the feet: 80 cm at the shoulders and 50 cm at the feet. The weight of the sleeping bag with stuff-bag is 1650 grams and the pack size is Ø 19 x 35 cm. With my own measurements things are a bit different: length is 215 cm, shoulder width between 75 and 82 cm (I’ll explain later) and at the feet it is 47 cm. The weight I measure on my precise scale at 1766,8 grams and the pack size is Ø20 x 38 cm. So all a bit different but not a big deal.
Biopod DownWool Nature Comfort size and weight
For the Biopod DownWool Nature Comfort – the blanket model – everything is a bit larger and more of course. According to Grüezi specifications it has a inner length of 215 cm, fits people up to 185 cm and is 80 cm wide at the shoulders and feet. The claimed weight is 1950 grams and the pack size Ø 21 x 38 cm. I measure an inner length of 215 cm, shoulder inner width between 77 and 88 cm (I’ll explain later too) and at the feet it is 70 cm. On my precise scale I weight it at 2016,4 grams and the pack size is Ø21 x 37 cm. Again, slightly different but not a big deal.
With Grüezi bag, sustainable production is important. Since both sleeping bags are made from the same materials let’s discuss both in one go. The Biopod DownWool Nature bags have an outer and inner liner made from cotton. A different kind of cotton is used for the inside and for the outside: the outside is a cotton with long fiber chains because they resist water in a better way. The cotton is impregnated to make it even more water repellant. Don’t be mistaken here: it does not have a DWR coating!
Biopod DownWool: The Wool part
On the inside Grüezi uses a combination of wool and down for the isolation. The wool that Grüezi uses is European wool and is and mainly collected from farmers in Zwitserland, Germany and Norway. This means automatically that the wool is mulesing free. Why? Well than you first need to understand what mulesing is.
Mulesing is a way of removing the wrinkled skin around the anus of a sheep. Because of the wrinkles poo and pee tend to build up around the anus and this is the preferred place for an in Australia and New-Zealand living fly to lay their eggs. The eggs hatch and the maggots start eating the sheep’s bum. With removing this wrinkled skin farmers prevent infections from these flies. The removing of this skin is far from animal friendly and when farmers take good care of their sheep, it is also not necessary.
And in Europe… this particular fly does not even exist…so there for every European sheep is free from mulesing. Why does Grüezi Bag state this then? A lot of wool is coming from Australian and New-Zealand sheep and a lot of jackets and sleeping bags are filled with it. So not stating this might suggest that Grüezi Bag uses non-mulesing free wool and that is NOT the case. Back to the Biopod DownWool. Want to know more about mulesing? Follow this link.
Biopod DownWool: The Down part
We continue with the insulating material: DownWool or down mixed with wool. The underlying idea from Grüezi Bag is far from crazy. Down is a very good isolation material since the down traps air very well and trapped air means isolation. But down does this only as long as it is dry. If down gets damp, the insulation value will be – sometimes drastically – reduced.
Now you need to know the following. Every waterbird floats on water because of their by nature water-repellent or hydrophobic down and feathers. And because of the air trapped between it. After plucking – the down Grüezi uses is RDS certified: no live picking or forced feeding – the down needs to be cleaned and with cleaning and washing the natural water-repellency characteristics of the down are washed out. Many manufacturers therefore treat their down with a material that makes the down water-repellent again.
Since Grüezi Bag wants to use natural and responsible materials, they find this method of making down hydrophobic again not an option. They chose for a down quality that has been cleaned and washed but not that thorough that all the natural water-repellency characteristics are gone. So the down Grüezi Bag uses is still in some way water-repellent. Now back to the wool. And yes I know, this is complicated but this a complicated sleeping bag…
Biopod DownWool: The Secret
Unlike down, wool has the characteristic that it can withstand moisture very well and moreover retains its insulating properties. Wool is also a very good temperature controller. The Grüezi secret of combining down and wool is that wool likes the moisture more than the down, it is more hydrophilic. So when moisture – mostly sweet – gets in the down-wool mix, the wool absorbs it first. If the wool cannot ‘absorb’ more moist, then the down gets wet. So concluding: the down is mainly there for the insulation and the wool – although having good insulation values, it is still far away from down – is there for warmth but also to secure the isolation properties of the down.
Biopod DownWool: The mix
Now let’s be precise on the DownWool material mix. The Grüezi Bag Biopod DownWool Nature (the mummy) contains 380 grams DownWool and the Grüezi Bag Biopod DownWool Nature Comfort contains 460 DownWool. Of those 380 and 460 grams, 70% is duck down with a ratio of 90% down clusters and 10% down feathers. Down clusters are those very soft fluffy down ‘feathers’ that have a hardly noticeable pin on them, while the latter are slightly larger and less fluffy and do have a noticeable pin. The down has a CUIN value of 650+. This CUIN value indicates the quality of the down with 650+ being a nice average value. The higher the value, the higher the insulation and therefore you need less down to achieve the same insulating effect.
Speaking of insulation value: the Biopod DownWool Nature & Nature Comfort have a comfort temperature of 6 degrees Celsius and an Extreme temperature of -13. These values are determined in an independent laboratory. At the comfort temperature a woman can sleep comfortabel for a whole night without waking up because of being cold. While at the extreme temperature she can survive 6 hours in the sleeping bag. However, the freezing of body parts is possible. Just so you know. More on CUIN and temperature rating in this review.
It might be clear by now: Grüezi Bag spend a lot of effort on producing a very sustainable sleeping bag. Because it is completely free of harmful substances, the whole sleeping bag has received the independent OEKO-Tex certificate. To get an OEKO-Tex certificate all parts of a product have to be tested. That means each yarn, each print, even the filling is tested. Did I already mention that both sleeping bags are free from PFC’s?
Olive wood buttons
In the sustainable design of the sleeping bags Grüezi didn’t want to use zippers since they use plastic materials. So they went for buttons. The buttons are made from olive wood since they were the only ones that have a OEKO-Tex certificate. And with the buttons I have covered everything on the material and sustainability side of the Grüezi Bag Biopod DownWool Nature & Nature Comfort sleeping bags.
Getting in to the Comfort sleeping bag is easy, even with the buttons closed. The mummy requires that I open a button or two. A big thing why people don’t like mummy shaped sleeping bags is the fact that they can become claustrophobic in the middle of the night. To prevent this Grüezi made two rows of buttons and a row of buttonholes. Let’s call them ‘double breasted’ sleeping bags. Because of this I can close the sleeping bag tighter or more spacious.
And now you understand why in the beginnen I wrote that the inner width at the shoulders varies. The result is that I have a snugger or wider fit – which is good for isolation – and that I have a nicer feel that is less claustrophobic. And also that I have more or less insulation material on top of me so I can also play with the warmth of the sleeping bag in this way.
Since I am Dutch I am probably very sensitive to the comfort that the cotton fabric gives. There is nothing that feels nicer to the skin and the Grüezi bag’s are no different. I love it! Thanks to the cotton there is no ‘plastic sticky feeling’. An additional advantage of cotton is that I will never be bothered by static electricity and hair that stands upright when I get close to my ‘plastic’ tent fabric.
Also the fact that the sleeping bags have no hard parts – funny, the buttons feel soft – makes a difference. Most sleeping bags have an adjustment system around the hood with a plastic toggle and a elastic cord. This toggle often finds it’s way into my face during the night. The Grüezi bags have a cotton cord to adjust the hood and the adjustment system is made from fabric and a wooden toggle. It is in the right spot so I don’t feel it at night when turning and it works. One remark: In the mummy model I do miss an adjustable collar around the neck but since it is not a hardcore outdoor sleeping bag it is understandable.
The other thing that I – and my wife even more – do like, is the construction of the footbox. On both sleeping bags the footbox is a real box so even when I open the bags this part will still keep my (wife’s) feet warm. And because of the placement of the buttons, it is also possible to sleep in a closed sleeping and then unbutton one of the buttons near the footbox and move my feet outside for cooling. By the way: Using the buttons takes a little getting used to when you – like I – have always used a zipper, but this is certainly not a problem.
I love the comfort of the cotton but the DownWool inside is briljant. Both sleeping bags sleep really well and when it gets a little (too) warm, the cotton and the DownWool absorbs sweat very well and I can not recall that I ever tested a sleeping bag with a similar unique comfortable sleepingclimate. The advantage of the construction with the double row of buttons is that I can also open the sleeping bag perfectly and use it as a blanket. When opening the Comfort model it is large enough for me and my wife to sleep under it.
Since both sleeping bags use buttons and not a full zipper, there are openings between the buttons. At first I thought that I would feel some drafts between them but this is not the case. There is enough material overlap to prevent this.
What my wife and I both noticed is that the temperature rating of both sleeping bags is a bit on the positive side but nothing to worry about; it is not a four season winter sleeping bag. We slept fine with temperatures about 8 degrees. What is important when camping, to have a good insulating mat under the sleeping bag. The top side may be double layered, but the bottom side is sometimes a bit fresh.
Both sleeping bags come with a nice cotton stuff bag that is large enough to get the sleeping bags in it. Getting the sleeping bags out of them is a slightly different story. Since the sleeping bags relax in the stuff bag I need sometimes a bit of force to get them out. Cotton on cotton is not the best sliding combination.
My wife and I agree on this one: we never experienced a sleeping bag like the Grüezi Bag Biopod DownWool Nature & Nature Comfort. Yes we own some really nice Dutch made down filled cotton sleeping bags but this is different. The sleeping comfort is exceptionally high. Next to that we love that it is very well designed, well made and very sustainable. We also think that both are primarily sleeping bags that are temperature wise suitable for mid-spring to mid-autumn.
Both the sleeping bags are designed for camping and glamping, with a tent, a roof top tent, caravan, camper or motorcycle. Or at home… For backpacking and cycling they or on the heavy side but I would rather leave something else at home to compensate for the extra weight. Now the price…. The Grüezi Bag Biopod DownWool Nature retails for € 399,00 and the Nature Comfort for € 449,00. That is a high price but if you managed to read everything I wrote on the sleepings, I hope you understand. My wife and I think likewise and rate the Grüezi bag Biopod DownWool Nature & Nature Comfort both at 9.0 out of 10 points total.