The Best Sleeping Bags, Reviewed
When the great outdoors calls, you faithfully answer. Sometimes, though, that call is for an overnighter. When it comes to this type of gear, rookie campers are likely to tell you that they’re all the same. “A sleeping bag’s a sleeping bag”, they’ll say, cheerfully jogging towards the campsite, woefully unprepared for the night ahead of them. Those of us who’ve experienced “any” sleeping bag know that they most certainly are not all the same, and for many people, choosing the right bag for your needs can mean the difference between a successful camping trip, and an early return home. In this guide, we will be breaking down the best choices for backpacking and camping based on reviews from across the Internet, including firsthand accounts from testers and end-users. Let’s begin!
Top Pick: Wenzel Grande
Great value bag for the price
Extremely warm insulation
Durable and comfortable design
Heavier than we’d like
The Wenzel Grande combines a lot of value with a low sticker price, giving it an edge over almost all the other products listed in this guide. The Grande keeps things simpler than many sleeping bags, but its heavy design is sure to please those looking for something serious on a budget. The rough, outer shell fabric is extremely durable, and the inner flannel lining is soft and comfortable. That setup is ideal to spread out as a blanket when needed, and the exposed velcro folds over to avoid any chance of getting scratched. There aren’t many other extras, so if you’re looking for bells and whistles, the Slumberjack Country Squire below might be a better pick for you.
Comfort & Warmth
The heavy duty materials in use on the Wenzel Grande aren’t just for looks; this is a serious sleeping bag that will keep you warm and comfortable in a variety of different situations, from car camping to general use. We found that the Grande was the 2nd warmest of all of the sleeping bags we tested, losing out only to the Slumberjack Country Squire. Wenzel has stated that the bag is rated to 0 Degrees Fahrenheit, but we’ve discovered that it really starts to test the limits of its capabilities around 20 degrees or so. The only thing missing that could have improved the warmth of this sleeping bag is a draft tube, but this is a feature usually reserved for bags that cost much more than this one does, so that can be forgiven. Overall, if you’re looking for warmth and versatility on a budget, you really can’t do better than this.
Coming in at around 11 pounds, this is, without question, a heavy bag. At that weight, this really isn’t an ideal sleeping back to take on long backpacking jaunts. If you’re going further than a mile or so from your car, you’ll probably be better off with a lighter option, such as the Kelty Callisto 20 below. The bag includes compression straps and carrying handles that are sewn directly into the fabric, which can be a plus for hauling the thing out, but they actually get a bit annoying whenever you are using the bag as a blanket.
The Wenzel Grande is a fantastic sleeping back for campers looking for cold weather gear on a tight budget. The warm fabrics, heavy duty build, and simplistic design make it ideal for camping in a variety of conditions, but the heavy, bulky material means that it isn’t ideal for backpacking.
Slumberjack Country Squire 0
The most comfortable sleeping back in this guide
The warmest sleeping back in this guide
Extremely durable hardware
Incredible bag can hold all of your camping gear
Too heavy for anything but close camping
Very expensive, but not relative to its value
The Slumberjack Country Squire 0 is one of the more fully featured bags we’ve ever reviewed. Far and away the most unique feature, though, is the removable cotton sheet. For those of you who want a bit more to wrap yourselves up in, this is the killer app of killer apps for sleeping bags. The main zipper, along with all the rest of the hardware, is extremely durable and has the looks to match. All of the zippers are two-way, allowing you to vent the bottom as needed, or grab socks without having to venture into the depths from the top, which was a small but welcome feature. The heavy duty storage duffle that comes with the main bag is very high quality as well, and even though this thing is super thick, we didn’t find that there was any trouble getting everything packed up when it was time to go. In fact, we found that the oversized bag that comes with the Country Squire 0 was large enough to fit loads of other supplies in, which, depending on your setup, might be the coolest feature about this bag for camping. Imagine being able to load all of your clothes, odds and ends, tools, survival supplies, and even a small tent into a single bag that also holds your sleeping bag. Talk about a one-stop-shop!
Comfort & Warmth
The Slumberjack Country Squire 0 turned out to be the single most comfortable, warmest bag in this entire guide. We found that laying in this bag felt essentially like laying in a comfortable bed at home, which is a statement we don’t take lightly. The inner sheet was an excellent addition, but in all reality, the more space you have to move around, the likelier you are to feel comfortable in a sleeping bag. Coming in at 84” by 42”, this bag has the largest surface area of any in this guide, giving you plenty of room to move around, no matter how big and tall you might be. For many, this feature alone might make this bag the right choice for you, and found that it was so great, that it almost took the top spot in this guide, despite the much higher price. This is the only bag that we feel confident in saying is up to just about anything you can throw at it, reasonably speaking. Virtually wind and cold proof, the insulating liner is robust enough to ward off even the harshest conditions, and the insulated draft tube really shines here, illustrating the main edge this bag has over the Wenzel Grande above in terms of keeping you warm. Cold air getting in through the zipper is one of the most common flaws found in many bags, so the fact that this was accounted for on the Country Squire 0 really shows the level of detail Slumberjack put into creating it. You’d be hard pressed to find another bag that competes with this thing.
Predictably, this is the burliest, heaviest bag in this guide, weighing in at 14 pounds. Like our top pick, the Country Squire 0 definitely isn’t suitable for long backpacking excursions. As mentioned above, the oversized bag is incredibly handy, but it’s also insanely large. For times when you aren’t packing heavy, the bag can compress down quite a bit, so there’s no need to get too worried if space is at a premium in your car.
If you’re looking for the most durable, most comfortable sleeping bag out there for the money, this is it. The Slumberjack Country Squire 0 is so warm, it’s almost cheating, and we feel this should almost have a “glamping” tag next to it on our site; it’s that luxurious. If you’re looking for something similar for a bit less, our top pick, the Wenzel Grande, is another fantastic option that will keep your warm in cold conditions. Not even the Grande, however, can compete toe-to-toe with this bad boy in terms of warmth.
Mountain Equipment Glacier 400 Super Light
Very insulative compared to its weight
Pairs beautifully with the Hyperlite Duo
Not as warm as heavier bags
No seals on the seams and zippers
The Mountain Equipment Glacier 400 SL represents the brands lighter-end sleeping gear, made with backpacking and hiking in mind. The fabric in use is the ever-popular 30-denier nylon, which is incredibly dense for its weight, and has some very impressive water resistance to boot. The entire outer shell of this mummy-shaped sleeping bag is coated with a waterproof PU, and we found that even in no-tent scenarios, the Glacier 400 held up its end, keeping moisture out of the inside. Smaller details, like a high-quality, snag-free zipper and snaps in lieu of itchy velcro were very welcome additions. One feature that would have elevated this bag even further would have been sealed zippers and seams, but sadly, this isn’t included. All the same, this is the best sleeping bag in this guide for hiking and backpacking, with its low-weight design and high quality, durable build. Draft tubes also go a long way towards helping this issue, and we are absolutely glad they made an appearance here.
Comfort & Warmth
While it certainly isn’t the warmest bag in this guide, the Glacier 400 SL honestly surprised us with its 725-fill duck down. The hood area, in particular, was a notable feature, as heavy padding and a bit of extra room meant that a cocoon of warmth could be created when zipped all the way up. As far as comfort is concerned, we found that the down insulation did a good job of keeping testers comfortable through the night. This bag definitely can’t compete with something like the Slumberjack Country Squire on its own, but add in one of the excellent Synmat Hyperlite Duo pads, and you’ve got yourself a seriously effective (and comfortable) combination.
Weight is crucial for a sleeping bag like this, and we’re happy to report that the Glacier 400 Super Light lives up to its namesake. Weighing in at just over 2 pounds, this thing is about as light as they come. Even if paired with the Hyperlite Duo, you’d still only be looking at a total combined weight of just over 3 pounds! We say that’s incredibly impressive, and if you’re looking for an amazing one-two punch for your next hiking excursion, we think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better fit.
The Mountain Equipment Glacier 400 SL is an excellent choice for hiking and backpacking in colder weather. It is also perfect for situations where every pound of pack weight matters.
Kelty Callisto 20
Lots of helpful features
Quality hardware throughout
Lightweight for a rectangular bag
Can be linked together for two people
Not as warm as it could have been
The Kelty Callisto 20 is one of the more feature-rich bags in this guide. We found that far and away the most notable one was the adjustable top opening; something that many bags do not include, especially rectangular ones. There are two large hoops at the foot of the bag for hanging, as well as two smaller hoops on either side of the edges. The zipper included on the Callisto 20 is probably the highest quality out of all of the bags we’ve included in this guide. We found that its operation was as smooth as butter, and the tape-backed zipper itself never snagged or got caught even once. One other potentially great feature for couples who camp together is the fact that two of these bags can be zipped together at the bottom to create one, larger sleeping bag. Coupled with a Synmat Hyperlite Duo, this is our favorite way to camp with our significant others.
Comfort & Warmth
The Kelty Callisto 20 proved to be a very warm and comfortable bag during extensive tests in colder weather. The bag is roomy enough, at 81” by 31”, to provide ample room for an average sized person to move around comfortably in, and the synthetic polyester taffeta materials used felt great on the skin. Two-way zippers allow for easy ventilation if things get a bit too warm, and failing that, they allow you to fully fold the bag out into a blanket for when temps get up into the 40’s and 50’s. The insulation itself is nearly as thick as the Wenzel Grande, but we found that it couldn’t compete directly with the Grande in terms of warmth. It comes very close, though, largely thanks to an excellent draft tube that runs the entire length of the zipper. We found that this tube did a fantastic job alongside the insulation to lock in the heat and keep testers comfortable all through the night.
At 5 pounds exactly, the Callisto 20 is the lightest rectangular sleeping bag in this guide. This is definitely still heavier than what you’d typically backpack with, but we felt comfortable carrying this thing around packed, and it never became too much of a burden, even when walking a few miles to the campsite. The included stuff sack is nice enough, but other reviewers have noted that you can cut down the volume even more by using a better compression-style stuff sack instead.
The Kelty Callisto 20 is a fantastic sleeping bag for those who are looking for a couple-friendly bag, or those simply looking for great warmth in a lightweight package.
Large enough to move around in
No hoops for hanging
Not very warm in cold conditions
Zipper snags a bit too often
Packing it can be a pain
The Coleman Dunnock is a sleeping bag that has a number of unique features that make it standout, but nothing quite as killer as some of the others in this guide. For example, a small media pocket is included near the chest area, which is something that testers found to be handy, but not invaluable. Even if not groundbreaking, it certainly is unique. The zipper is tape-backed, but testers unfortunately still reported some snagging during repeated use. Another annoying omission is that there are no loops sewn into the foot area for hanging. Many of our readers and staff alike love to hang sleeping bags out in the sun during extended camping trips, in order to keep the bags dry and fresh. While not including this isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, it would have been great to see it included.
Comfort & Warmth
The Dunnock is best suited for moderate weather situations where the temperature isn’t likely to dip below the mid 30’s. We found that the insulation on the Dunnock was sewn to both the shell and the lining fabric, preventing the material from holding heat in during freezing conditions. In addition, the zipper is not sealed, but a foldable, two-part draft flap is included to seal it off. Testers found that this tended to fail during the night due to wind, however, letting cold air in through the zipper teeth. In the comfort end of things, this sleeping bag is on the larger and more spacious end of the spectrum, coming in at 81” by 39”. Only the Lumberjack Country Squire 0 was larger in this guide. The lining is cotton flannel, which is indeed quite comfortable, but we found that it tends to shed after repeated usage. Pet lovers might not find this to be that big of an issue, but for the rest of us, it became pretty annoying pretty quickly.
This is a rather hefty bag, coming in right at 7 pounds, 8 ounces. That isn’t as heavy as some others in this guide, but we found that for the weight, we were hoping for more in the warmth department. Rolling and packing this bag proved to be frustrating for testers, but the inclusion of a handle was a welcome feature.
The Wenzel Grande is both warmer and heavier than the Dunnock, and for many, it will be the better value overall. Still, if you are looking for a larger bag for warmer weather camping, the Dunnock is comfortable and spacious enough to accommodate you.
BONUS – Top Pick For Couples: Synmat Hyperlite Duo
The Hyperlite Duo is the real deal, folks; a sleeping mat built for two in order to solve one of the most frustrating issues for couples who camp; the infamous gap. Traditionally, sleepings bags and mats haven’t been made with couples in mind, leaving them vulnerable to all manner of inconveniences and design flaws, such as the gap between two sleeping bags that prevents couples from cozying up to each other. The Hyperlite Duo’s design allows for this, while also providing enough room for things not to get uncomfortable if you decide to share it with a friend. The mat features two separate chambers, meaning that you light sleepers don’t have to worry about getting awakened in the night by any sleep rollers! This also means that each user can adjust the level of rigidness they prefer, inflating and deflating each side independently. Overall, there’s plenty here to love.
Comfort & Warmth
In the comfort department, the Hyperlite Duo really shines. The doublewide mat has specifically contoured “cells” that actually provide real support for the body that is even throughout, and we found that laying on the mat felt consistently great, even on uneven, cold terrain. The Hyperlight Duo kept testers warm and dry throughout the night as well, and also allows for couples to truly feel “at home” without having to worry about being exposed to the ground. Somewhat surprisingly, we found that the mat felt incredible when flying solo as well, as the semi-rectangular shape and larger size really allowed for a luxurious, cozy night’s sleep. The mat features an R-value of 3.3, meaning you can rest comfortably in this thing, even in freezing conditions.
The Synmat Hyperlite Duo packs down to the size of your average single user mat, which is incredibly impressive. What isn’t quite as impressive is the fact that you’ll need to purchase the stuff sack separately. This is annoying, but we found it to be worth the purchase regardless, if only for efficiencies sake. The total weight is 1 pound, 12 ounces, which is light enough to carry, even with a lightweight sleeping bag like the Mountain Equipment Glacier 400 SL above.