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Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags

last updated Dec 05, 2018

After a long day on the trail, you will need to rest up for the explorations of the next day. Having a sack that is light on your back, warm, comfortable and best suits your needs will make that easier. The last thing you want is to be lugging around a heavy bag all day or be shivering all night. Keeping warm on your adventures is important for you to catch some sleep and still maintain energy for your next trail. Below we have listed the top ten best backpacking sleeping bags in the market today, including pros and cons for each product on our list.

Researched Sources
14
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1,294
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
9
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By Sami Kritz:

Cozy up this winter camping season with our updated list of backpacking sleeping bags. Our newest addition is the Marmot Trestles 30 bag. We love the drawstrings around the hood and the glow in the dark zipper toggles. Don't forget to cast your vote of which criteria you think is most important!

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Weight Size Materials Weather Resistance Water Resistance By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.5
Weight
98%
Size
100%
Materials
95%
Weather Resistance
97%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$369.00
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.8
Weight
99%
Size
96%
Materials
95%
Weather Resistance
93%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$470.00
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.5
Weight
90%
Size
92%
Materials
96%
Weather Resistance
100%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$167.96
See Deal
$254.00
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
Weight
84%
Size
91%
Materials
92%
Water Resistance
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$239.95
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
Weight
86%
Size
88%
Materials
91%
Weather Resistance
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$500.00
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.3
Weight
87%
Size
86%
Materials
82%
Weather Resistance
86%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$159.95
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.5
Weight
81%
Size
83%
Materials
84%
Weather Resistance
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$239.97
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.8
Weight
75%
Size
79%
Materials
89%
Weather Resistance
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$84.40
$99.00
See Deal
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.5
Weight
71%
Size
78%
Materials
87%
Weather Resistance
86%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$74.97
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.3
Weight
81%
Size
65%
Materials
88%
Weather Resistance
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$73.78
In Depth Review Top 10
  • SEA TO SUMMIT SPARK 2
  • WESTERN MOUNTAINEERING MEGALITE
  • MOUNTAIN HARDWARE HYPERLAMINA FLAME 20
  • SIERRA DESIGNS BACKCOUNTRY BED
  • WESTERN MOUNTAINEERING ULTRALITE 20 DEGREE
  • KELTY COSMIC DOWN 20
  • OUTDOOR VITALS
  • Marmot Trestles 30
  • TETON SPORTS TRACKER
  • KELTY TUCK 22 DEGREE SLEEPING BAG
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Buying Guide

1. SEA TO SUMMIT SPARK 2

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.5
SEA TO SUMMIT SPARK 2
Weight
98
Size
100
Materials
95
Weather Resistance
97
best offer for today
$369.00
Pros:

Light

Small pack size

Interior fabric feels very nice against the skin

Shoulder room, so that you can wear any extra layers you may want

25F bag

Cons:

Interior dimensions may be a bit tight for some

A bit expensive

The Sea to Summit Spark 2 is the way to go if you are desiring an incredibly light sack to pack up and backpack with. It doesn't offer all the bells and whistles that other bags offer, but this is because it forgoes some of the perks in order to be light. It looks just like the Spark 2, but it is made to be warmer.

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Weight

What is special about the Spark 2 is that it is designed to offer you warmth, so that it can be used all year round, but it only weighs 1.38 pounds.

Packed Size

The main benefit of the Spark 2 is its compressed packing size. It's 1/3 size that packs down to fit in a compressed sack that can fit in the palm of your hand.

Materials / Comfort

This comfortable sack feels soft and comfortable to the skin. It is 100% nylon that is treated with DWR, which will offer you protection from moisture. The inside is filled with 850 dry down and European goose down. This means that you will feel warm during colder nights of backpacking and camping.

Temperature Comfort Level

There are many factors that keep you warm in this mummy bag. A combination of the 850+ ultra dry down, the 10D nylon treated with DWR shell, 1/3 length zipper, and baffle construction all work together to keep you warm and cozy in the cold and beautiful environments. If you are looking for a sack that offers you a lightweight option that can be packed down to take up minimal room, then this is your perfect choice. It features a 3YKK zipper that is durable. And the Spark 2 will keep you feeling very warm with its premium down fill.

2. WESTERN MOUNTAINEERING MEGALITE

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.8
WESTERN MOUNTAINEERING MEGALITE
Weight
99
Size
96
Materials
95
Weather Resistance
93
best offer for today
$470.00
Pros:

Lightweight

Spacious

Compactable

Full-length zipper

Cons:

Quite expensive

The Megalite is truly one of the lightest bags the outdoorsman/women can purchase. The lightness and durability of the Megalite make it extremely versatile in many situations. This 3-season sack can travel with you on winter hikes, summer camping and even on mountain biking trips. It will also save you space with how well it can compact down in size. The Megalite offers a little extra room compared to others but is still super-efficient at keeping you warm. It is water-resistant which protects the premium down insulation from frost and condensation. Everything about the Megalite is high-quality and perfect workmanship, which reflects in the pricing. Reviewers of this product have no doubt it is worth the investment for many reasons, but a big one is for its versatility. If you are looking for an ultralight sack that will last you a lifetime, this is a top choice.

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Weight

This 1.8 oz sack is one of the lightest on the entire market, making it easy and light to travel with. It’s extremely lightweight does not give up quality or durability. The statement “less is more” is definitely true for the Megalite. The outside of the Megalite is made of ‘Extremelight.” This is a very lightweight, high-thread-count, top of the line 12D shell fabric. Reviewers loved that even after many seasons of using the Megalite, the light fabric remained intact and was very tough. Sharp objects should still remain away from the fabric, but the normal wear of nature will not impact the Megalite. The outer shell was also found to keep the goose down inside.

Packed Size

The Megalite folds up easily into a cotton storage sack. Users note that it is very easy to compress it inside and that there is even a little extra room afterward. It packs approximately 30-40% smaller than other backpacking sleeping bags. Surprisingly, it is still a spacious and comfortable, even though it packs down super small. When packed down in its sack, it is about the size of a cantaloupe, which is pretty impressive.

Materials / Comfort

Reviewers enjoyed the feeling of the brushed nylon fabric on the inside. You will not be confined to the mummy-like position inside. Spacious dimensions give room for hikers with wider shoulders or for those who like to sleep with their knees bent. Testers of the Megalite felt it was roomier in the lower body than other bags of this style. The dimensions of the Megalite are 64” for the shoulders, 56” at the waist and 39” around the feet.

Temperature Comfort Level

The Megalite is on the warmer side of 30 degree F sleepers. Several reviewers report that it is still very warm in even cooler temps. This is due to the 850+ quality European Goose Down that it is filled with. If you need to use the Megalite in cooler temps, adding a sleeping pad or liner will keep you warm through the evenings. Also, the continuous horizontal baffles built inside aid in regulating temperature. This allows you to move around without hitting a dreaded cold spot. The Megalite is equipped with a full-length zipper, allowing someone to have it all the way zipped for chilly nights or more open for ventilation on warmer evenings. The zipper was created with a 1” wide stiff material along each side of the zipper to avoid the outer layer from getting caught or tearing. Users also note that the zipper never snags.

3. MOUNTAIN HARDWARE HYPERLAMINA FLAME 20

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.5
MOUNTAIN HARDWARE HYPERLAMINA FLAME 20
Weight
90
Size
92
Materials
96
Weather Resistance
100
best offer for today
more shops
$254.00
$167.96
See Deal
Pros:

Well designed

Warm

Lightweight

Water-resistant

Cons:

Zipper snags

No lower venting

Tight mummy-bag

The Hyperlamina Flame 20 is a synthetic, mummy-style bag, which is affordable and well designed. It is efficient and innovative, as well as built with high-quality material. Synthetic bags are generally best if the hiker wants confidence that they will stay warm in wet conditions. Along with many others, that is one of this bags best qualities. It also has a ½ length zipper located on the front of the Hyperlamina Flame and a hyper-ergonomic foot box. The exterior was designed without seams or stitches, which makes it more water resistant and helps with retaining heat. Reviewers felt the fabric that the inside and outside were constructed with was comfortable and soft of the skin. Other synthetic bags can come with a heavy and smothering feeling, but the Hyperlamina was neither. Overall, this is one of the best synthetic bags out there for an affordable price.

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Weight

For the fast and light hiker who wants a synthetic bag, this is the best one on the market. At 43 ounces, it is not the lightest on the market. However, with a synthetic sack, you can rest assured that if it went wet, you will not be cold. Synthetic insulation insulates far better if moisture enters when compared to down bags.

Packed Size

Synthetic fill has a more difficult time packing small compared to down filling. When in its packed size, the Hyperlamina Flame is 7×16 inches, which is comparable to lower quality down bags. If packed size is really important to you, a down filled sack may be a better option.

Materials / Comfort

Most reviewers noted that the half zip design of the Hyperlamina made it easy to get in and out of. The zipper runs chin to belly button length and is located on the chest side. When fully zipped, the end of the zipper is protected behind the draft tube, so it doesn’t poke users all night. Reviewers liked the location of the zipper compared to other bags, but the short zipper does eliminate the option of venting the lower body on warmer nights. The zipper was also prone to snagging the outer material, which can lead to poor long-term durability if it rips the material. Reviewers reported that they thought the synthetic fill was overall very comfortable and that it maintained excellent loft.

Temperature Comfort Level

A little pack weight and size is given up for warmth in the Hyperlamina Flame. Testers agreed that the Hyperlamina Flame lived up to its 20-degree rating. Thermal-Q fill keeps users remarkably warm, even when it is below freezing outside. The construction of the Hyperlamina Flame also has no stitching, so there are no small holes for cold air or moisture to sneak in through. Reviewers noted that the design of the hood was well thought out. Users felt that the hood conformed to their head without limiting movement or vision. The hood has a passive draft collar, which is secured by a velcro closure. Reviewers felt the draft collar was comfortable and kept the warm air inside. They also noted that the velcro strip was strong enough to keep the tube in place all night. The Hyperlamina Flame provides a slim, snug fit, which helps keep the person inside warm. Most people loved the snug fit (slimmer people), but some didn’t like that it restricted their sleeping movements.

4. SIERRA DESIGNS BACKCOUNTRY BED

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
SIERRA DESIGNS BACKCOUNTRY BED
Weight
84
Size
91
Materials
92
Water Resistance
95
best offer for today
$239.95
Pros:

Lightweight

Comfortable

Compresses well

Warm

Innovative style

Cons:

Might feel too snug on some people

Expensive

The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed offers you an innovative sleeping sack without zippers, helping to create added comfort and a lot of great temperature regulation. It brings you a lot of comforts and will help you stay warm even during very cold outdoor winter nights.

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Weight

The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed is very lightweight, weighing in at about 3 pounds 5 ounces. That means it is very light and easy to pack and carry along with you as you venture through the great outdoors.

Packed Size

The packed size of this backcountry bed is 8.5x16, meaning it packs down small enough to be safe saving. That makes this sleeping back convenient to carry and pack.

Materials/Comfort

Made with a durable polyester outer shell, this backcountry bed helps to repel water as you sleep. Plus, the insulation in this backcountry bed is made with 24 ounces of duck down that has been treated with a molecular polymer to help it better repel water.

Temperature Comfort Level

The temperature comfort level of the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed is around 30 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this is a 3-season sack that would allow you to use it at temperatures of around 15 degrees Fahrenheit if you get a good sleeping pad as well.

5. WESTERN MOUNTAINEERING ULTRALITE 20 DEGREE

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
WESTERN MOUNTAINEERING ULTRALITE 20 DEGREE
Weight
86
Size
88
Materials
91
Weather Resistance
95
best offer for today
$500.00
Pros:

Warm

Lightweight

No catch zipper design

Great compression size

Cons:

Expensive

Too warm for summer nights

Slightly on the snug size for larger sized people

If you are looking for a sleeping sack that is a solid three season option, the Western Mountaineering UltraLite 20 Degree is a fantastic choice. The Ultralite 20 best suits people who tend to be cooler at night, or higher elevation backpack trips, and of course, colder months.

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In order to make sure that you feel completely cozy and warm in cooler months, or if you tend to be cold when you sleep, the Ultralite 20 will keep you warm. It has draft tubes that interlock and a down collar that wraps around your neck to seal in the heat.
Weight

The Ultralite 20 weighs in a 1.13 pounds, so it's not the lightest product on the list, but it's definitely not the heaviest.

Packed Size
On the manufacturer's website, the sac size is listed as XS.

Materials/Comfort

The shell is both waterproof and breathable, so you can rest assured that you won't feel overheated and that moisture won't sneak its uncomfortable way in.

Temperature Comfort Level

The Ultralite is rated for 20-degree weather, and it is filled with 850 down fill so that you are surrounded by soft and warm comfort. The down means that it packs down small. If you are looking for a product that you can purchase knowing it can be used all year long, this is an option you will want to consider. It's lightweight enough that it won't weigh you down.

6. KELTY COSMIC DOWN 20

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.3
KELTY COSMIC DOWN 20
Weight
87
Size
86
Materials
82
Weather Resistance
86
best offer for today
$159.95
Pros:

Warm

Lightweight

Packs down well

Affordable

Cons:

Could be more durable

Might not feel as warm as advertised.

If you need a warm, lightweight, and good all-around sleep sack that’s also affordable, then you might want to consider the Kelty Cosmic Down 20. While it doesn’t stand out in any particular area, it does offer you a good all-around sleeping bag if you are on a budget.

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Weight

The Kelty Cosmic is very lightweight, especially for its price, and tips the scales at 2.7 pounds. That makes it one of the lightest options on the list, so it’s very easy to carry.

Packed Size

The Kelty Cosmic compresses down into 8x14, meaning it does save space in your pack. You’ll love how easy it is to compress and carry along with you.

Materials/Comfort

Kelty’s Cosmic has a polyester shell, but it doesn’t feature ripstop fabric so it won’t be as durable as some other bags. However, for the price, it is still a viable option.

Temperature Comfort Level

Kelty’s Cosmic is designed to be 3-season and can handle temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit. It does keep you warm, and it can keep you even warmer if you sleep with a sleeping pad.

7. OUTDOOR VITALS

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.5
OUTDOOR VITALS
Weight
81
Size
83
Materials
84
Weather Resistance
90
best offer for today
$239.97
Pros:

Lightweight

Compresses well

Easy to pack and carry

Great warmth

Cons:

Expensive

Might not be as warm as advertised

If you’re looking for a great, lightweight sac that’s easy to pack down and brings you a lot of comforts when you have to sleep outside in the cold at night, then you’ll love the Outdoor Vitals Down. The Outdoor Vitals compresses easily, so it is easy to carry, and you’ll love how warm you’ll feel when you sleep inside of it.

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Weight

The Outdoor Vitals is very lightweight; in fact, it is classified as an ultralight sack. You’ll get a very warm, lightweight backpack with this one since it only weighs 2.75 pounds.

Packed Size

The Outdoor Vitals also packs down very well and compresses into 11x8x8 inches, so it is very easy to carry. You’ll love how light it feels and how easily it compresses when you need to take it with you.

Materials/Comfort

The outer shell material of the Outdoor Vitals is made from Rip-stop polyester, meaning it can keep water out and also help protect the down. Plus, the down insulation makes you feel the warmth, which can handle freezing temperatures.

Temperature Comfort Level

The Outdoor Vitals is able to hand temperatures down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it very warm. You’ll feel cozy and safe even when the weather outside dips to freezing.

8. Marmot Trestles 30

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.8
Marmot Trestles 30
Weight
75
Size
79
Materials
89
Weather Resistance
88
best offer for today
more shops
$84.40
$99.00
See Deal
Pros:

Glow in the dark zipper toggles

3 season

Affordable

Features a stash pocket

Cons:

Doesn't pack down very small

Some people feel claustrophobic in this bag

If you are looking for a versatile, lightweight, and moisture resistant sleeping bag, you may have found your perfect match here. This 3 season mummy bag is packed full of extra features. While the Trestles 30 isn't quite as lightweight or compressible as the Elite series, it will certainly keep you warm and is more transportable than a regular sleeping bag.

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Weight

This bag weighs in at 3.1-pounds. It is slightly heavier than some other options on our list, but still portable.

Packed Size

When this bag is packed, the volume of the bag is about 10.5 liters. It is about the size of half of a pillow. It is important to note that the stuff sack is not waterproof. Reviewers have not had complaints about the size of the packed bag, even though it isn't quite as compact as others. One reviewer fit the bag nicely into the sleeping bag compartment of their backpack, and the other had room to spare in their 50L backpack.

Materials/Comfort

The shell of this bag is DWR treated polyester. The DWR treatment allows you to stay warm and dry even if the bag is not. The Durable SpiraFil synthetic insulation, paired with wave construction on the top of the bag brings you an excellent level of warmth. The hood of the bag features two drawcords, making it easy for you to tighten the hood in the cold dark night.

Temperature Comfort Level

This mummy bag has a 30-degree rating. Through testing, REI has found that the bag is ideal for a temperature of 36.1 and the lowest temperature of 26.2. It all depends on you, as reviewers have found this bag to work well in under freezing temperatures, while others were cold sleeping in only 40-degree weather.

9. TETON SPORTS TRACKER

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.5
TETON SPORTS TRACKER
Weight
71
Size
78
Materials
87
Weather Resistance
86
best offer for today
$74.97
Pros:

Very warm

Lightweight

Packs small

Cons:

Some zippers can snag

Can feel tight on some people

If you prefer mummy-style for an extra boost in warmth, then you’ll love the ultralight Teton Sports Tracker Ultralight product. This sleep sack features excellent insulation to help regulate your body temperature even when the weather dips down and becomes very cold.

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Weight

The Teton Sports Tracker weighs in at only 4.1 pounds when it’s packed. That makes it very lightweight, and you’ll love how easy it is to carry along with you.

Packed Size

The packed size is 14x9.5, meaning it is very compressible. You’ll be able to save a decent amount of space in your backpack if you purchase this product.

Materials/Comfort

The outer shell of the Teton Sports Tracker is made from Ripstop polyester fabric, meaning the Teton Tracker is quite durable. Also, the material has the ability to repel water and keep you very dry at night.

Temperature Comfort Level

Made with Teton’s “Polarlite” insulation, the Teton Sports Tracker is designed to provide an extra boost of warmth during the freezing weather. The Teton Tracker can help you withstand temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

10. KELTY TUCK 22 DEGREE SLEEPING BAG

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.3
KELTY TUCK 22 DEGREE SLEEPING BAG
Weight
81
Size
65
Materials
88
Weather Resistance
87
best offer for today
$73.78
Pros:

Excellent venting options

Lightweight construction

Very compressible

Cons:

Non-compression stuff sack

Filled with 11 ounces of 800+ goose down and a temperature rating of 20 degrees F it excels in heat retention and compressibility. It is also lighter than most 20-degree bags on the market, which helps users maximize room in their pack. This versatile 3-season sack can be used on long trips, cold nights, or summertime treks, due to its excellent insulation and ventilation options. Those options make it a great choice for someone who is looking for one sleep sack to do it all.

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Weight

Weighing less than 2lbs (1 pound 8 ounces) the Kelty Tuck 22 Degree Sleeping Bag is extra light on your back. This makes it a lot easier to keep moving on your back country adventures. The Kelty’s main feature is its lightweight build, but it does not give up performance and features for its lighter weight. The Kelty Tuck 22 Degree Sleeping Bag has slightly larger dimensions than others weighing around the same weight.

Packed Size

Another main perk of the Kelty Tuck 22 Degree Sleeping Bag is its stuff size. It comes with a small, lightweight, non-compression stuff sack that reviewers concluded does a very good job at compressing it smaller than other stuff sacks. However, some found that using an actual compression sack could make it 25-40% smaller overall.

Materials / Comfort

The Kelty Tuck 22 Degree Sleeping Bag was designed with patented trapezoid toe box, which is wider at the toes and narrower at the heels. This gives your feet more wiggle room and provides a more natural, comfortable fit. It has also been designed with a full-length zipper, which can be ordered on the left or right side, depending on your preference. Whatever side the full-length zipper is not ordered on, a second 12” zipper will be placed, allowing for more ventilation options or to fold down part of it. Both zippers have zipper guards to prevent snagging of the material, as well as an insulated draft tube to prevent cold air from entering. The inside has soft-brushed nylon feel, making it very cozy when you are inside of it.

Temperature Comfort Level

Real testers and reviewers thought the Kelty Tuck 22 Degree Sleeping Bag was accurately rated for 20 degrees F. They also agreed that the hood added significant warmth when used on below freezing nights. The ergonomic, draw-string hood is designed to be super effective at keeping warm air in, but not being too tight around one's face. The outer layer is treated with Dri-Down Defender, which is a strong water repellent treatment that allowed the down to stay drier 10 times longer than untreated down. Down Defender also maintains 150% more loft and dries 30% faster, to make sure you stay warm and dry. The outer layer which is made of Pertex Microlight 20D fabric to keep it durable, but light. Another perk of this fabric besides saving weight is that most users thought it was very breathable.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Weight

Sometimes, every ounce in your pack counts. An ideal weight for a backpacking sleeping bag is two pounds or less. Carrying more weight than needed, can slow you down and wear you out. Many reviewers find the weight to be more valuable than the packed size, which is one common complaint about mummy-style sleep sacks. Finding one that is light enough, but also gives you the space you need to sleep comfortably can be difficult.

Size

Depending on how you will be exploring the outdoors, the size of your crucial items is incredibly important. The only instance that you wouldn't be stressing about this is if you were driving to a campsite or didn't have far to walk. If you have a long trek ahead of you, you will need to plan ahead with water, food items or cooking supplies, clothes, a first aid or emergency kit, and a tent. Fitting all of this into a 30L backpack can be difficult. A great solution to this headache is a sleeping bag designed specifically for backpacking. The packs we have included on our list are lightweight and most pack down quite small. If the packed-down size is still too big for your backpack, we recommend using a carabiner to attach the sleeping bag to a strap of your backpack. As long as you choose a lightweight option, this shouldn't be a hassle and will save you space inside your bag.

Materials

The material of your backpacking sleeping bag plays a big roll in how comfortable you will be on your expedition. We recommend bags with a DWR coating. If you get stuck in the rain or accidentally lay your bag down on a wet surface, the water will not seep through and you can still sleep cozily.
It's what's on the inside that really counts, right? There are a few different fillings available for sleeping bags. The most popular are down filling and synthetic. Down filling, especially goose down, is said to be the warmest and most luxurious. The only downside to down filling is that it can move around and you will have to re-position the feathers if you notice any cold spots. A synthetic filling is typically more cost-effective. While down fillings have seen recent improvement with moisture, a synthetic filling is known to keep you warmer in the case that moisture seeps in.

Comfort is key! Check whether it has zippers and what the length of them is. This will determine what type of ventilation is possible and how easy or hard it will be to get in or out of the bag. Some bags have draft tubes around the zippers and draft collars around the hood to improve insulation. Sleeping pad loops or pockets are also convenient so you do not roll off the pad. What you wear to bed, metabolism and if you use a tent can all affect a person’s comfort level while sleeping in nature as well.

Weather Resistance

Look for bags that are versatile so they can be used through multiple seasons and in different weather. If you are looking for a specific temperature sack, winter, for example, check the temperature rating or EN number on for a general guideline. Also, consider the type of hood and the types of zippers for venting. You want it to be warm enough on a cold night, but also comfortable enough on a summer evening.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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Weight
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Weather Resistance
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Function over fashion

Yes, of course, you want a sleeping bag in your favorite color or design, but that is the least important criteria when looking for a backpacking sleeping bag. Don't forget that your eyes will be closed 90% of the time you are using it.

Check the weather

Know the type of weather you're facing before you arrive. If your sleeping bag has a temperature rating of 30 and the low for the night is 0, you may wake up chilly. In this case, it would be best to pack an extra blanket or extra warm long johns.

A hood to keep in the heat

About 45% of your body heat escapes from your head. If you will be in an especially cold environment, it is recommended to invest in a sleeping bag with a hood. If you find yourself in a slightly warmer environment, you can usually roll or fold up the hood as a make-shift pillow!

Other Factors to Consider

Comfort

You will have to decide whether you want a synthetic vs down (goose or duck) insulated sleeping bag. Despite advances in synthetic materials, down fill continues to provide the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any insulation available. It is also easier to compress and excels in the cold. The one weakness of down filling is that it loses its ability to maintain warmth when it gets wet if not treated correctly. Synthetic, on the other hand, is quick-drying, insulates well when wet and is non-allergenic. It typically isn’t as light or compressible. Another thing to look for when it comes to down insulation is its fill power. This number is typically between 600 and 900 and measures the amount of loft or “fluffiness” of the down insulation.

Durability

Another important factor to think about should be the overall durability. In general, durability should be a major factor going into choosing all of your trekking gear. After all, what good is something if it falls apart at the time you need it the most.

The materials should be of good quality. You might even consider holding off on buying a product right when it is released onto the market. Sometimes it is smart to wait a bit, letting others put the gear to the test and looking at their reviews of how specific gear performs as well as any shortcomings that might be discovered. You probably don’t want to be the first one to discover that a what you paid a lot of money for, doesn’t quite hold up to your expectations. Let us try them out first, then you will have the info available to research.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Do I need to use a sleeping pad?
a:

If you can afford one, you should always use a sleeping pad to protect the underneath and to add warmth. It will keep you warm and safe when temperatures get very cold, and also add an extra level of comfort.

q: What do I need to know about the zippers?
a:

Most sleep sacks have zippers that need to be zipped with care. Although they are made not to snag the material, using extra caution and using patience will ensure no snags or rips happen from the use of the zipper.

q: How can a liner help me?
a:

Using a liner will help keep dirt out and add to the warmth if needed. Liners can help retain 5-15 degrees F of heat. Once your trip is over, simply wash your liner and you are good to go.

q: Should I wear clean clothes?
a:

Consider wearing clean clothes to bed. Sweat and dirt from the days excursion are the last things you want rubbing off on the inside of your bag.

q: How often should I use my compression sack?
a:

Only use it when you need to pack your sack down and carry it along with you. Avoid storing and keeping it in a compression stuff sack for an extended period of time. This can decrease the loft.

q: Do I need to worry about keeping my bag clean?
a:

Keep it as clean and dry as possible. Let it air out and dry completely before rolling up and storing for a long period of time. These tips will help improve the longevity and make your investment worthwhile. The more you take care of it, the more it will take care of you. Happy Backpacking!

Sources

  1. Outside Pursuits, The 7 Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags 2017, Informational Camping Website, Jul 05, 2017
  2. Backpacker, Sleeping Bag Reviews, Informational Camping Website, May 04, 2017
  3. Dave Collins, 6 Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags, Informational Camping Website, Apr 14, 2017