The Best Sleeping Bags Reviewed
When the great outdoors calls your name, you faithfully and excitedly answer it’s beckon for you to join the fun that only nature can provide. Sometimes, though, mother nature may be requesting your presence for a night, a week, or even a month.
There’s nothing wrong with being a newbie to camping and nature’s elements, but attention to your night’s comfort and warmth should always be a priority, even if it doesn’t seem like it. You may yearn to forgo the extra investment of finances in your sleeping gear, but much to many’s surprise, “A sleeping bag’s a sleeping bag” just doesn’t happen to be true.
Nothing is worse than cheerfully jogging towards your campsite, woefully unprepared for the night ahead of you. Those of us who’ve experienced a generic sleeping bag know that they most certainly are not all the same. A quality sleeping bag means that you will be snoozing like a baby all night long feeling comfortable, warm, and satisfied with the day’s adventure. Whereas, a not-so-great bag will have you potentially cold, tossing and turning, and maybe even itching from the cheap fabric.
So when you hop into buyer mode, how can you possibly make a wise choice among all of the endless options out there? Rest assured, in this guide, we will break down the best sleeping bag choices for hiking and camping based on a wide variety of reviews, including firsthand accounts from our testers. So let the fun begin!
Our Top 3 Picks
- Wenzel Grande
- Great performance
- Country Squire 0
- Great for cold weather
- Kelty Callisto 20
- Lightweight & feature-rich
10 Best Sleeping Bags
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.
Weight: 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.
Bottom Line: 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.
Great value bag for the price
Extremely warm insulation
Durable and comfortable design
Heavier than we’d like
Slumberjack Country Squire
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.
Weight: 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.
Bottom Line: 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.
The most comfortable sleeping bag on this list
The warmest sleeping back in this guide
Extremely durable hardware
Too heavy for anything but close camping
Very expensive, but not relative to its value
Kelty Callisto 30
Comfort & Warmth: The Callisto 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.
Weight: At 5 pounds exactly, this 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.
Bottom Line: The Kelty Callisto 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.
Quality hardware throughout
Lightweight for a rectangular bag
Can be linked together for two people
Not as warm as it could have been
Mountain Equipment Glacier 450
Comfort & Warmth: While it certainly isn’t the warmest bag in this guide, the Glacier 450 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: Weight is crucial for a sleeping bag like this, and we’re happy to report that the Glacier 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.
Bottom Line: This one is an excellent choice for hiking and backpacking in colder weather. It is also perfect for situations where every pound of pack weight matters.
Solid insulation compared to its weight
Pairs beautifully with the Hyperlite Duo
Not as warm as heavier bags
No seals on the seams and zippers
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.
Weight: 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.
Bottom Line: 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.
Large enough to move around in
Zipper snags a bit too often
Packing it can be a pain
Synmat Hyperlite Duo
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.
Weight: 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.
Bottom Line: 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.
- Great for couples
- Easy to carry
Nemo Salsa 30
Comfort & Warmth: With this sleeping bag, you get protection down to temperatures of 30 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning you get a lot of warmth. Plus, this sleeping bag has 14 ounces of 650 fill power down that brings some nice insulation.
Weight: Weighing in at two pounds and one ounce, this sleeping bag is standard in weight for its size. However, unlike bags that have a similar size, this sleeping bag packs down very well, making it easy to carry.
Bottom Line: For the price, which is quite affordable, you’ll get a lot of use from the Nemo Salsa 30. This sleeping bag is a great value, and provides you with durability, comfort, and warmth.
Lets you sleep in different positions
Could have better insulation
Marmot Phase 20
Comfort & Warmth: Designed with 14.1 ounces of 850-fill hand-stuffed down, you get a sleeping bag that’s got everything it needs to insulate you well. Plus, Marmot’s Phase 20 is also treated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellant) coating to help you stay warm and dry even when it’s wet outside.
Weight: Marmot’s Phase 20 sleeping bag is very lightweight considering how warm it keeps you on cold days. Weighing in at about one pound and seven ounces, this bag can handle temperate up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bottom Line: This sleeping bag is very lightweight and compressible, and it still does an excellent job of keeping you warm. For its price, it brings you a lot of benefits you’ll enjoy.
Zippers can snag
Sea to Summit Spark III
Comfort & Warmth: This sleeping bag says it is a 25-degree bag, and although it is very light, it still does a great job of keeping you warm. With it, you get a lot of insulation, and 14 ounces of 850 fill power down.
Weight: Comprised out of some very lightweight nylon material, this sleeping bag is one of the lightest on our list. It’s so light, you’ll find that it is very easy to carry whenever you need to pack it down.
Bottom Line: A nice combination of lightweight material and warmth, the Sea to Summit Spark III brings a lot to the table for its price. You’ll get a great, long-lasting sleeping bag that is certainly worth the price.
Interior can feel tight
The North Face Cat’s Meow
Comfort & Warmth: The North Face’s Cat’s Meow is a 20-degre bag filled with synthetic Heatseeker Pro insulation, which works well to thermally regulate your body temperature even when the weather gets very cold. This sleeping bag does a good job of keeping you warm even when the temperatures drop outside.
Weight: The North Face’s Cat’s Meow is a synthetic insulated sleeping bag, so it isn’t as lightweight as some other options, but considering its insulation it is still pretty light. This sleeping bag weighs about two pounds eleven ounces, and compresses well.
Bottom Line: Designed as an affordable and good all-around option in sleeping bags, you don’t get a lot of bells and whistles with this sleeping bag, but you will wind up with a great all-around bag.
Packs larger than some other options
Interior could be softer
The Criteria We Used To Find The Best Sleeping Bags
To make sure you find the sleeping bag that’s right for you, you’ll want to make sure you consider a few criteria before you make your purchase. Those criteria include durability, comfort and warmth, weight, and the bottom line. We’ll examine all of this in a bit more detail below.
A sleeping bag’s durability depends a lot on the materials that are used in the sleeping bag. There are a few stereotypes you’ll have to get past as well as far as durability of sleeping bags is concerned. First, you might think that if a sleeping bag is more lightweight, it probably isn’t as durable, but this isn’t always true. Some lightweight sleeping bags are designed with great external shell materials that make them very long-lasting.
When you’re looking for a sleeping bag with decent durability, make sure you check out user reviews and ratings. You can usually tell a lot about how long a sleeping bag will last by looking at what other people have said about the project.
Comfort & Warmth
Since you’ll want a warm sleeping bag, especially if you plan to use it when the weather gets cold, you’ll want to know how to measure your sleeping bag’s warmth. Warmth is affected by how much loft, or insulation, can be found in a bag, and insulation is usually measured by its thickness. Typically, the more insulation is packed into your sleeping bag, the more warmth you’ll experience when sleeping outdoors during cold winter nights.
Also, to make sure your bag is comfortable and warm, you’ll want to make sure it fits you correctly. If your sleeping bag feels too snug or isn’t long enough, you’re going to feel a lot colder than what you’ll want to experience. On the other hand, if you wind up with a bag that is too large for you, you’ll wind up wasting insulated areas and have open areas more prone to coldness.
Remember as well that warmth has a lot to do with conductive heat loss to the ground. So, you also want to make sure you get a good sleeping pad, especially if you know you’ll be outdoors when the temperature is quite cold, or there is snow on the ground. So don’t forget that you’ll also need to get a warm, comfortable sleeping bag to give you that extra layer of protection in comfort when you purchase your sleeping bag.
Comfort can really be a relative experiencer and is a matter of personal preference, but there are a few things that can affect how comfortable you feel in your sleeping bag. These things include sleeping style, fit, and the fabric on the interior of your sleeping bag. Having some room to move around as you sleep is also a nice thing, especially if you tend to toss and turn, or you don’t like sleeping on your back. However, remember, you won’t want too much extra space on the interior of your bag or your sleeping bag won’t insulate well and can allow in cold drafts. So, make sure you give yourself some space for comfort, but not too much space so you are sacrificing warmth.
The weight of your sleeping bag depends on the type of insulation that’s found inside the bag, the shell material used to cover the bag, and the amount of features you’ll find on a bag. Sleeping bags that are on the heavier end usually use synthetic insulation that’s got a lower fill power of down inside it. Sleeping bags that perform better usually have about 800 to 850 fill power down in them and are made to be lightweight with durable shell fabrics. Also, how a sleeping bag is cut can influence the weight of your sleeping bag. How many features your sleeping bag has can also affect weight, since the more weight your sleeping bag has, the more features it probably has as well.
When we reviewed the bottom line of each product on our list, we took a look at the value of the sleeping bag, meaning its overall price and how much it had to offer based on the price range it was in. So, bottom line measures the value you’ll get out of the sleeping bag, as well as the key benefits you’ll enjoy.
Other Important Factors To Consider
Another thing you’ll want to take a look at before purchasing your sleeping bag is the compressibility of the sleeping bag, since that will affect how easy it is for you to pack the back down and carry it with you. Certain insulation found inside of sleeping bags will pack down better than others. Natural goose and duck feather down do a great job of compressing down without getting damaged by the packing. Most high-end down bags are very compressible because they feature excellent down insulation and also are made to be lightweight and easy to pack. On the other hand, if you buy a sleeping bag with synthetic insulation, it will be much more difficult to compress and pack. Other than insulation, the fabric of the bag, its temperature rating, and its overall design can also influence how well the sleeping bag packs down into your backpack when you want to carry it.
Q: Should you opt for synthetic or down?
The main two kinds of filling you will find in most sleeping bags is down or synthetic. Down bags tend to be more pricey than synthetic sleeping bags. However, there is reason for this. Down tends to be warmer when it comes to warmth-to-weight ratio, and the nice thing about down is that it is highly compressible. Two pros that synthetic bags have over down bags are that they are less expensive, and they tend to hold warmth better when wet. In general, though, down is a higher quality option that will last you longer.
Q: What is a sleeping bag’s fill weight?
The fill weight if a sleeping bag measures how much insulation is placed in the interior of the sleeping bag. Most sleeping bags use either down or synthetic insulation materials. To figure out how warm the sleeping bag, remember to check out the fill weight, and the higher the fill weight, the stronger the insulation. For instance, if you are buying a bag with 800 fill down, it will be warmer than a bag with 650 fill down.
Q: What is an EN Comfort Rating?
An EN Comfort Rating measures the temperature at which the normal female can sleep through. Interestingly, women can sleep at colder temperature rates than men.
Q: What is an EN Lower Limit?
The EN Lower Limit measures the temperature at which the normal male can sleep through. This is typically a higher temperature than what most females sleep at.
Q: What is a Three-Season Sleeping Bag?
A three-season bag offers a lot of versatility, and can keep you ventilated and happy during your summer camping trips while still adjusting well to the weather in spring, fall, and even during alpine backpacking expeditions where you might hit below freezing temperatures.
Q: What are stash pockets?
Stash pockets on sleeping bags are extra pockets you can use to hide some of your items in to help keep you organized as you sleep. It’s nice to have stash pockets if you need to keep electronics or other items warm, but you do need to check out where on the sleeping bag you find those stash pockets. You don’t want to roll over on your phone or other items as you sleep, as this can be very uncomfortable for you.
Q: What do I need to know about features on a sleeping bag?
Remember that you don’t need a lot of features on a sleeping bag to get a great sleeping bag. The more features, the less performance and functionality you may actually get out of your bag. Plus, extra features add more weight to your bag while also making the price cost more. Some features you might really want in your sleeping bag, which is fine, but just don’t overdo it and think you need every feature a sleeping bag has to offer.