Rab Solar Eco 3 sleeping bag review: Low cost, low impact, high performance

This super snug sleeping bag utilizes all recycled materials for an ultra warm night’s sleep at an affordable price

The Rab Solar Eco 3 sleeping bag
(Image: © Julia Clarke)

Advnture Verdict

This medium weight synthetic down bag offers superior warmth and comfort using innovative technology and recycled materials all at less than half the price of a typical Rab sleeping bag

Pros

  • +

    Plush and ultra warm, even when wet

  • +

    Fast drying

  • +

    Environmentally friendly

  • +

    Durable construction

  • +

    Hidden pocket for gear you want close

  • +

    Left/right zip options available

  • +

    Adjustable hood and collar

Cons

  • -

    Too warm for summer camping

  • -

    A bit heavy and bulky for backpacking

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Rab Solar Eco 3 sleeping bag: first impressions 

Rab’s newly launched Solar collection is its first line of synthetic sleeping bags and the Solar Eco 3 is less than half the price of many of its down sleeping bags. The company known as one of the best in the sleeping bag business doesn’t disappoint with this luxurious-feeling bag, and best of all, it’s environmentally-friendly too.

The Solar Eco 3 is a plush, warm bag packed with synthetic down that continues to insulate when wet, dries quickly and is designed to withstand temperatures as cold as -8F/-20C. This mummy-shaped bag with adjustable hood packs in more down on top, where you need it, with a dual-layer concertina blanket construction that traps loft and warmth. The outer is treated with DWR to repel morning dew, rain-soaked tent walls, and accidental spills in your backpack. 

Specifications

• List price: $195 / £155
• Sizes available: Regular: 72”/185cm, Long: 78”/200cm
• Unisex: Men’s and women’s versions available
• Materials: Recycled polyester ripstop with DWR
• Weight: 44 oz / 1235 g
• Comfort rating: -8F / 20F
• Pack size: 15.7” x 8.7” / 40cm x 22cm
Colors: Oxblood red
Best use: Winter camping, car camping 

Made entirely using recycled materials, this sleeping bag has a lower impact on the planet, but still manages to be high performing on freezing camping expeditions. A hidden zip pocket near the collar lets you stash any gear you want close by while you sleep, and there’s enough room inside to sleep in many positions. This robust bag is definitely a little heavier and less packable than your typical backpacking bag, and is too warm for summer camping, but for cold car camping and expeditions where you’re hiking out from base camp each day you’ll be thrilled with the quality, level of comfort and warmth provided, especially given the price.

Rab Solar Eco 3 sleeping bag: in the field 

Staff writer Julia Clarke testing out the Rab Solar Eco 3 sleeping bag

The company known as one of the best in the sleeping bag business doesn’t disappoint with this luxurious-feeling bag (Image credit: Julia Clarke)

This is my first synthetic sleeping bag (excluding cheap car camping bags I used as a kid) and it’s also my first bag that’s not ultralight and packable. For years I’ve been using my lightweight backpacking bag or camping quilt even when car camping, so the bulk and heft of this bag took me by surprise. However, what comes with all that extra down is unbelievable cushiness and comfort. This bag is so robust that at first I thought perhaps it had a built-in sleeping pad but in fact, it’s just really plush. I got to use it on a few car camping trips before things warmed up this year, and I can’t believe how toasty it is. 

The mummy shape design is definitely cozy and though I wouldn't want to foot box any narrower, there's enough room that I can sleep with one leg bent out to the side, but not both knees bent, so you might want to order the wider size if you like to sprawl out a bit. The adjustable hood and collar works a charm and one unusual detail I love is a little zip pocket in the collar where I can stash things I like close by, such as my headlamp, watch and earplugs – this would definitely come in handy if you’re tarp camping or building a shelter and don’t have tent pockets for gear, although you may find it annoying to have the zip close to your face. I didn't notice the zip while I was sleeping, personally. Another nice perk is that you can order this with either a right or left side zip, which I know will be game changing for some campers.

The Rab Solar Eco 3 sleeping bag has a zipped pocket for your gear

This sleeping bag has a hidden pocket where you can stash your headlamp for midnight toilet trips (Image credit: Julia Clarke)

Synthetic down doesn’t pack down as small as real down, so this takes up quite a bit of room in my backpack and I've saved it for car camping, but it also doesn’t leak feathers everywhere, which makes a nice change for me. I pulled it out of my tent to take a good picture of it and it got rained on so I actually got to test out the DWR – the water beaded on it nicely and I stuffed it away damp and it was dry when I pulled it out later, which is a huge bonus when camping in Scotland. Plus, synthetic down continues to insulate when wet.

Rab is a major player in sustainability and this bag is made entirely using recycled materials, which is a major plus for me, and the quality of this sleeping bag is extremely high end. Finally, Rab makes some of the absolute best sleeping bags on the market and this is the first I’ve seen from them that comes in at a pretty affordable price. I’d take this anywhere I’m going to be camping in cold temperatures and not going to be walking too far.

Here’s how it performed:

Comfort

This is the coziest, plushest sleeping bag I’ve ever slept in. The synthetic down has a nice, firm feeling to it and the out is really soft. 

Warmth

This holds up against freezing temperatures (and lower) no problem, especially with the adjustable hood and collar. 

The Rab Solar Eco 3 sleeping bag in its stuff sack with a water bottle for scale

Synthetic down isn't as packable as real down (Image credit: Julia Clarke)

Weather resistance 

DWR coating repels moisture from the walls of your tent, and synthetic down continues to insulate when wet. 

Packability 

Doesn’t pack down as small as down sleeping bags and I’d have a hard time fitting it in my pack along with everything else for a backpacking trip, but it will easily fit in the trunk of your car or in a duffel or travel bag if you’re hiking out from base camp each day. 

Durability 

Super robust and great quality, especially compared to other backpacking sleeping bags, which tend to be flimsy. 

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.