The Bottom Line: The Big Agnes Hazel SL 15 is a lofty, warm down sleeping bag option for women who don't mind a mummy bag shape and appreciate a wealth of extra features. The customizable hook and loop system to cinch the bag down around the foot and leg areas is the first of its kind and a great addition for women who have issues keeping their feet warm on cold camping nights.
First of all, this bag is rich with extra features, many of which no other bags on the market currently possess. The crown jewel of them all is the customizable fit system in the foot-box and leg area. This is essentially a series of hooks and clasps along the bottom and sides of the bag that are designed to clamp down just enough to hold heat inside without crushing the down feathers too much. This is a great feature for women under 5 feet 2 inches who will have a few inches to spare, even in the petite size, because it allows trekkers to trim a couple of inches of length off the tail end by clipping together the clasps for a tighter foot-box.
Another unique feature I enjoyed was the ability to turn the Hazel's storage sack inside out and clip it to hooks on the outside of the upper portion of the sleeping bag for use as a sleeping pad holder. This is awesome for campers who know they roll around a lot during the night, and it ensures that you won't thrash off your sleeping pad and onto the frigid ground during the wee hours.
Apart from these two incredibly unique and noteworthy extras, the Hazel SL 15 comes with an additional, smaller stuff sack (size 7 x 8 inches for the petite or 7.5 x 8 inches for the regular) and features a zippered pocket near the neck ruff to store tiny items overnight like lip balm or earplugs. The face area of the bag has a tightening cord to lock in heat as well as an extra lofty neck puff to keep your core toasty while you slumber.
Given their clear commitment to extra features on this bag, I was a little surprised and disappointed that the Hazel SL 15 does not come with a compression sack with tightening straps to compress the bag down to its smallest possible size. This might be because the bag only has 650-fill power down as its insulation, meaning it's not nearly as compressible as a bag with 700- or 750-fill down.
I did a side-by-side compression comparison with the Big Agnes Hazel SL 15 and the North Face Blue Kazoo 15 in my own personal 10-liter stuff sack and found that the Big Agnes didn't come close to fitting inside, while The North Face's superior down quality allowed me to easily pack and unpack the sleeping bag from my small compression sack every day during a chilly 10-day trek through the Himalayas. If you like to ultralight backpack or head out on weekend adventures with only a 30-liter pack in tow, this might not be the bag for you.
Another thing worth noting is the ultra-girly fuschia that this bag comes in. The 15-degree version of this bag has no other color options, so it is definitely a bag for people who love bright colors! The outer lining of the Hazel is high-quality nylon rip-stop, and the inner lining is a silky-soft nylon taffeta that will have you feel like you're hovering in the clouds while you sleep.
At this price point, the Big Agnes Hazel SL 15 faces some tough competition. Yes, it is warm, and yes, it comes with a wealth of truly unique features, but at 2 pounds, 12 ounces for the regular, it's not nearly as light as some of its ultralight competitors. Plus, it's significantly less packable than a 700-fill down bag. For women who always go out with at least a 50-liter pack, love pink, or who really want to lock in warmth around the foot-box area, the extra bulk and special features might be worth it, but for real ultralighters, it may be worth spending just a tad more for a true alpine bag.