to top 10 table

Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags

last updated Jun 13, 2019

After a long walk 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 on the market today, including pros and cons for each product on our list.

This is the best product on our list that is currently in stock:

icon
MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR HYPERLAMINA FLAME 20
94.3/100 our score
Weight
96
Size
91
Materials
95
Weather Resistance
95
MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR HYPERLAMINA FLAME 20
Why is it better?

Well designed

Warm

Lightweight

Water-resistant

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR HYPERLAMINA FLAME 20
Test Winner: MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR HYPERLAMINA FLAME 20
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
17
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1.7k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
14
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
17
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Jordan Coleiro
By Jordan Coleiro:

This list of backpacking sleeping bags has been put together to show you the best researched and reviewed sleeping bags to keep you comfortable and allow you to sleep easily during your next backpacking trip. A new addition to our list is the Tenton Sports Leef. We love this addition because it is highly rated, lightweight, easy to transport, and made to last.

Sorting Options
Weight Size Materials Weather 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.
94.3
Weight
97 %
Size
92 %
Materials
94 %
Weather Resistance
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Amazon Link
$299.00
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.3
Weight
96 %
Size
91 %
Materials
95 %
Weather Resistance
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Gear Coop
$203.20
See Deal
Amazon Link
$254.00
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.3
Weight
89 %
Size
96 %
Materials
96 %
Weather Resistance
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Amazon Link
$74.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.5
Weight
89 %
Size
93 %
Materials
95 %
Weather Resistance
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Amazon Link
$160.56
Cabelas
$169.99
See Deal
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Weight
90 %
Size
91 %
Materials
93 %
Weather Resistance
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Amazon Link
$239.97
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Weight
94 %
Size
88 %
Materials
90 %
Weather Resistance
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Amazon Link
$84.40
Cabelas
$99.00
See Deal
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
Weight
91 %
Size
90 %
Materials
91 %
Weather Resistance
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Amazon Link
$239.95
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
Weight
90 %
Size
91 %
Materials
90 %
Weather Resistance
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Amazon Link
$74.97
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Weight
90 %
Size
88 %
Materials
88 %
Weather Resistance
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Cabelas
$69.99
See Deal
Amazon Link
$73.78
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.3
Weight
82 %
Size
90 %
Materials
88 %
Weather Resistance
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.07.19)
Amazon Link
$500.00
In Depth Review Top 10
  • SEA TO SUMMIT SPARK 2 SEA TO SUMMIT SPARK 2
  • MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR HYPERLAMINA FLAME 20 MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR HYPERLAMINA FLAME 20
  • TENTON SPORTS LEEF TENTON SPORTS LEEF
  • KELTY COSMIC DOWN 20 KELTY COSMIC DOWN 20
  • OUTDOOR VITALS OUTDOOR VITALS
  • MARMOT TRESTLES 30 MARMOT TRESTLES 30
  • SIERRA DESIGNS BACKCOUNTRY SIERRA DESIGNS BACKCOUNTRY
  • TETON TRACKER TETON TRACKER
  • KELTY TUCK 22 DEGREE KELTY TUCK 22 DEGREE
  • WESTERN MOUNTAINEERING ULTRALITE 20 DEGREE WESTERN MOUNTAINEERING ULTRALITE 20 DEGREE
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Expert Interviews & Opinions
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags

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.
94.3
SEA TO SUMMIT SPARK 2
Amazon Link
Weight
97
Size
92
Materials
94
Weather Resistance
94
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$299.00
Pros:

Light

Small pack size

Interior fabric feels very nice against the skin

Cons:

Expensive

The Sea to Summit Spark 2, in our opinion, is one of the best sleeping bags we looked at for several reasons and is the way to go if you are desiring an incredibly light sleeping bag 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.

Read more

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. Weight is what you're looking at when it comes to sleeping bags you'll be carrying long distances. This is one of the reasons we picked this as the best sleeping bag in our guide. This one could fall into the ultralight bag category.

Size
If you prefer mummy bags, the main benefit of this particular sleeping bag 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
Like most of their sleeping bags, 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 the sleeping bag keeps you warmer on those colder nights out backpacking and camping.

Weather Resistance
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. Maybe this is a bold statement, but we felt like this was one of the best sleeping bags that we looked at.

2. MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR HYPERLAMINA FLAME 20

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.3
MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR HYPERLAMINA FLAME 20
Amazon Link
Weight
96
Size
91
Materials
95
Weather Resistance
95
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:

Well designed

Warm

Lightweight

Water-resistant

Cons:

Zipper can snag

Mountain Hardwear's Hyperlamina Flame 20 is a synthetic, mummy-style sleeping 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 zipper located on the front of the 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 sleeping bags out there for an affordable price.

Read more

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 sleeping bag, 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.

Size
Synthetic filled sleeping bags are a bit tougher to pack small compared to down filling. When in its packed size, it is 7×16 inches, which is comparable to lower quality down bags. If the packed size is really important to you, a down filled sack may be a better option.

Materials
Most reviewers noted that the half zip design of the Hyperlamina sleeping bag 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.

Weather Resistance
A little pack weight and size is given up for warmth. Testers agreed that this is one of the sleeping bags that actually did live up to its 20-degree rating. Thermal-Q fill keeps users remarkably warm, even when it is below freezing outside. The construction 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 warmth inside. They also noted that the velcro strip was strong enough to keep the tube in place all night. The Flame provides a slim, snug fit, which helps keep the person inside warm. Most people loved the snugness (slimmer people), but some didn’t like that it restricted their sleeping movements.

3. TENTON SPORTS LEEF

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.3
TENTON SPORTS LEEF
Amazon Link
Weight
89
Size
96
Materials
96
Weather Resistance
96
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$74.99
Pros:

Weather-resistant

Keeps you warm

Durable

Cons:

Feet may get caught on inside of the material

This sleeping bag for you fellow backpackers is brought to us by Teton which is a brand known for their quality sleeping bags and other gear that are fitted to exploring the wilderness. One of the key factors you want to consider when looking for a backpacking sleeping bag is that it is lightweight, will compress to a smaller size for great portability, and that it will keep you warm at night. The Tenton Sports Leef provides all those features and is definitely one to look at if you're in the market for a new sleeping bag.

Read more

Weight
This sleeping bag when all packed up and ready to be connected to your backpack comes in at a five pounds which are perfect for a weekend backpacking trip. A normal backpacking sleeping bag is between 3-7 pounds and this bag fits that specifications. It also is able to be compressed to under 15" so it will be easily connected to your backpack and allow those five pounds to be secluded to a specific area of your backpack.

Size
This sleeping bag when compressed is under 15" which is a perfect size for backpacking sleeping bags. This is a perfect size because it is able to be packed inside your backpack or connected to the outside of your backpack to give you more room inside. When in use, this backpack will fit an adult up to 7' 3", so you should have no issues being uncomfortable while getting a good night sleep.

Materials
Like all of the other sleeping bags on our list, this one is made from durable materials and you can be sure that it will be a part of your gear for many years to come. It is made with double insulation to ensure even if you are camping in cold climates that you are protected. To be specific you would be able to use this sleeping bag in 0 degrees Fahrenheit if needed.

Weather Resistance
Again this sleeping bag is not only made from durable and insulated material but will keep you warm and comfortable in the cold. To be specific this sleeping bag can be used in temperatures as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. KELTY COSMIC DOWN 20

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.5
KELTY COSMIC DOWN 20
Amazon Link
Weight
89
Size
93
Materials
95
Weather Resistance
93
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$160.56
Cabelas
$169.99
See Deal
Pros:

Warm

Lightweight

Packs down well

Affordable

Cons:

Could be more durable

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 option if you are on a budget. This is one of those sleeping bags that is great for getting started.

Read more

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.

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. A lot of people felt like this one has a little more room than many other mummy bags.

Materials
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.

Weather Resistance
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.

5. OUTDOOR VITALS

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
OUTDOOR VITALS
Amazon Link
Weight
90
Size
91
Materials
93
Weather Resistance
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$239.97
Pros:

Lightweight

Compresses well

Easy to pack and carry

Great warmth

Cons:

Expensive

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.

Read more

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.

Size
Although roomier up top compared to some others, 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
The outer 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.

Weather Resistance
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.

6. MARMOT TRESTLES 30

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
MARMOT TRESTLES 30
Amazon Link
Weight
94
Size
88
Materials
90
Weather Resistance
91
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$84.40
Cabelas
$99.00
See Deal
Pros:

Glow in the dark zipper toggles

3 season

Affordable

Features a stash pocket

Cons:

Hard to pack up after use

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.

Read more

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

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 worth noting that the storage 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
The shell of this bag is DWR treated polyester. The DWR treatment allows you to keep 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.

Weather Resistance
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.

7. SIERRA DESIGNS BACKCOUNTRY

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
Amazon Link
Weight
91
Size
90
Materials
91
Weather Resistance
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$239.95
Pros:

Lightweight

Comfortable

Compresses well

Cons:

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 keep warm even during very cold outdoor winter nights.

Read more

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.

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
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.

Weather Resistance
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.

8. TETON TRACKER

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
TETON TRACKER
Amazon Link
Weight
90
Size
91
Materials
90
Weather Resistance
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$74.97
Pros:

Very warm

Lightweight

Packs small

Cons:

Some zippers can snag

If you prefer mummy-style for an extra boost in warmth, then you’ll love the ultralight 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.

Read more

Weight
The 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.

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
The outer shell of the 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.

Weather Resistance
Made with Teton’s “Polarlite” insulation, the Teton 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.

9. KELTY TUCK 22 DEGREE

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
KELTY TUCK 22 DEGREE
Amazon Link
Weight
90
Size
88
Materials
88
Weather Resistance
89
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$73.78
Cabelas
$69.99
See Deal
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.

Read more

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 backcountry 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.

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
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 the cold from creeping in. The inside has soft-brushed nylon feel, making it very cozy when you are inside of it.

Weather Resistance
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 keep 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.

10. 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.
88.3
WESTERN MOUNTAINEERING ULTRALITE 20 DEGREE
Amazon Link
Weight
82
Size
90
Materials
88
Weather Resistance
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$500.00
Pros:

Warm

Lightweight

No catch zipper design

Great compression size

Cons:

Expensive

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.

Read more

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.

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

Materials
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.

Weather Resistance
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.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Weight

Sometimes, every ounce in your pack counts. An ideal weight for backpacking sleeping bags 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 sleeping bags. Finding one that is light enough, but also gives you the space you need to sleep comfortably can be difficult.

Overall when looking at investing in a new sleeping bag for your next backpacking trip, keep the weight of the bag in mind as it will make all the difference as even though these sleeping bags can be compacted down for easy transport if they are heavy they will cause you discomfort. The last thing you want after hiking for hours in the wilderness is to be uncomfortable. Going a bit further with it, you really want to consider the warmth-to-weight ratio that your choice offers. You can find a bag that insulates properly while still maintaining a decently lightweight package. Lightweight sleeping gear is a must. We are seeing more and more people going with the more ultralight sleeping options, as it saves a little more on the weight that you'll have to carry. Just remember, the best sleeping bags for backpacking are going to be the ones that have an acceptable warmth to weight ration. you have to carry it, and it has to work.

Size

Depending on how you will be exploring the outdoors, the size of your crucial items is incredibly important, and this goes especially for sleeping bags. 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, 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. For the taller people out there, you should make sure your pick fits comfortably. That way you can get the best sleep experience you can get on your trek.

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. The better the material, the more versatile sleeping bag you'll have fo all kinds of different occasions.

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. But, you do want to find a bag that is breathable, especially for the warm summer nights. This is also where choosing the right items for the location is important.

Comfort is key for all of this kind of outdoor gear! 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. Another good thing to think about is that the materials can also dictate the temperature ratings. Also look for durable materials, such as abrasion resistant panels and a ripstop nylon shell. Many of the newer and more durable materials are light enough for those ultralight sleeping options.

Weather Resistance

Like all of your backpacking gear, your stuff has to work in not so great conditions. Look for sleeping 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. This is really one of those factors that should be considered with all of your outdoor gear.

Overall you are looking for sleeping bags that are fitted for the season as this is the most efficient way to make sure you stay comfortable. When backpacking sleep is one of the most important things you can do to recharge your energy for the next day's activities and journey. So make sure your sleeping bag is fitted for the season you intend to use it, that way you will be sleeping easy. The weather resistance properties can also influence the temperature ratings of a particular bag. To get the best sleep experience on the trail, the weather resistance matters. A water-resistant shell is also a good idea, just in case you find yourself waking up in a wet area in the morning.

You should also put some thought into where you're heading. Are you going to be in cold weather, moderate temps, or are you heading into warmer weather? If you stick to warm weather, you should be able to get something pretty light in overall weight.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
Sort criterias acording to:
Experts Opinion Editors Opinion Users Opinion By Default
Click on a to rate the most important criteria:
#1
ico Weight
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#2
ico Size
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#3
ico Materials
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#4
ico Weather Resistance
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
expert tips icon
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 can't always guarantee the best sleeping conditions out there. 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, maintains decent temperature ratings 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. You also have to decide what shape is more comfortable, traditional or mummy bags. One thing to keep in mind with the mummy style is that many side sleepers are less comfortable in them. One item that will absolutely add to the comfort factor is a ground pad. There are a ton of really great sleeping pads to choose from that won't add much weight to your pack.

Durability

Another important factor to think about with just about all of your backpacking gear 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. You can add to your sleeping bag's durability a bit more by also putting a pad under. Yes, it is more to carry, but many of the sleeping pads available today are super light and compact.

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.

You have to keep in mind that when you are backpacking, even though you will be sleeping in a tent, the tent will not have a padded ground pad. Most likely you will be sleeping and feeling whatever ground you decided to lay your tent over. So if you have extra space and want to have a comfortable sleep without twigs or roots poking you in the back during the night, it may be a great idea to invest in a sleeping pad for extra support and comfortability.

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.

There is nothing worse than getting to your campsite after a day of backpacking and getting ready to get a good night rest and when you slip into your sleeping bag and go to zip it up, the zipper breaks and you can not completely wrap yourself in your sleeping bag. This can cause your sleeping bag not to maintain your body warmth and keep you warm in colder temperatures, so when you go to invest in a new backpacking sleeping bag, make sure you check the customer reviews to get an idea of the quality of the zipper.

q: How can a liner help me?

a:

If you have your eye on a sleeping bag that includes a liner than this is always a positive. 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 when getting into my sleeping bag?

a:

When getting ready for a good nights rest after a long day of adventuring, it is best to clean yourself as much as you can as you may have a lake near you or a portable shower. Then have a fresh pair of clothes that you can change into as that is the best way to be comfortable in your sleeping bag. The last thing you want to do is get ready to go to sleep and still be wearing the clothes that you hiked in all day. The sweat, dirt, and muck will not only have you uncomfortable but can also stink up the inside of your sleeping bag and if you are sharing your tent with others, this may be a nuisance to them as well as yourself.

q: How often should I use my compression sack?

a:

You should compress your sleeping bag into your compression sack only when you are traveling. If you have decided to stay at a campsite for a couple of days, it is best to leave your sleeping bag unraveled inside your tent. If you are moving to another campsite it is best to compress your bag up as it will be easier to transport that way.

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 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
  2. Backpacker, Sleeping Bag Reviews, Informational Camping Website
  3. Dave Collins, 6 Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags, Informational Camping Website