Backpacking requires some of the most durable gear out there. In this article, we’re taking a look at a key piece to your setup- the best backpacking sleeping bag.
Are you one of the 4.25 million Americans heading out into the wilderness to go backpacking? Anyone with experience will tell you that the gear will make or break your trip.Your sleeping bag is a key piece of equipment you’ll need when settling down for the night. You need to find one that is light and small enough to carry but also warm enough to keep you comfortable.
Finding the best backpacking sleeping bag is about fitting your needs and not having the best ratings. Use our essential guide to find the best one for you.
10 Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Choices of 2018
Before we get into the details and specs of backpacking sleeping bags, we’ve got our Outdoor Nirvana picks from our favorite hiking and camping brands. After you take a look through these, make sure you peruse through our buyers guide to help decide what features and benefits you want the most from you bag.
Best Budget Backpacking Sleeping Bag
This four-season sleeping bag will keep you warm in temperatures down to 20 degrees. It has water-resistant treatment to help you warm, dry, and comfortable on your adventures. The durable polyester material lets it have plenty of room without adding too much weight. The polyester fill dries quickly and is non-allergenic.
Best Double Sleeping Bag for Backpacking
At 2.8 pounds you’ll take this sleeping bag with you through three seasons of backpacking. The mummy style design will help keep you warm in temperatures down to 30 degrees. There is plenty of room to sleep on your side. The foot area has a box shape with stretch to give your feet extra room.
A double zipper anti-snag design will help make you a comfortable temperature while your sleeping. Large draft collars and tubes help keep the warm air in and the cold air out. This bag is machine washable thanks to the 350T polyester shell and the 200G hollow fiber fill. The inside lining is also 350T polyester making it comfortable on your skin.
Best Lightweight Sleeping Bag for Backpacking
This is the best lightweight sleeping bag for backpacking at 1.18 pounds. You won’t sacrifice warmth as the fill is 850 Fill Power Down. A quilting design will keep the goose down in place. The only downside is that it doesn’t come with a hood.
It has a temperature rating of 30 degrees. This makes it perfect for the weather that most hikers will experience. A lacing system gives you the ability to either place your pad in the bag or lay on top of it. The bag compresses down to 10 x 10″ inches.
Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Under 100
This is the best backpacking sleeping bag under 100. Coming in at 3 pounds and 8 ounces it is not the lightest option on the list. You get a bargain price for decent warmth. Unfortunately, that extra weight makes it bulky for backpacking.
You will find premium features on this bag such as a full-length baffle along the zipper. There is also extra insulation in the places you are most likely to get cold.
Best Sleeping Bags for Backpacking Season
This three-season sleeping bag is perfect for your hikes through spring, summer, and fall. You’ll keep warm in temperatures down to 22 degrees. At 3 pounds it will weight slightly more than others on this list. For the extra weight, you will have a comfort tuck zipper system with extra foot venting.
Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bag Backpacking
This down sleeping bag is another of the best lightweight sleeping bags for backpacking. The ultralight down will keep you warm in the freezing temperatures of 32 degrees. To keep you even warmer select one of three sizes for a custom fit. The short size weighs 2.03 pounds and works well for those up to 5’6″ tall.
The regular size weighs 2.15 pounds and works well for those who are up to 6’1″ tall. The long size weighs a light 2.27 pounds works perfectly for hikers up to 6’6″ tall.
Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag 0 Degree Weather
This 3.6-pound sleeping bag will keep you comfortable in 50-degree weather. The weather-proofed and water-resistant material will keep you dry in the wettest of elements. For those who are larger, you will appreciate the extra room built into this sleeping bag. You’ll appreciate the small touches like the no-snag 2-way zipper.
You will have a lot of versatility with the ability to use it as a sleeping bag or unzipped as a quilt or mat. As a sleeping bag, you can cinch the hood down to keep your head warm.
Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags for Summer
For those that backpack in warmer weather, this 1.65-pound sleeping bag is all you need. You’ll be comfortable as long as the temperatures stay over 50 degrees.The insulation is TC Cotton to make it breathable. Opened up, you can have a quilt measuring 60 by 83 inches. Packed up it up into the small 11.4 sack.
Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags 2017
Marmot packs a ton into this 1.7-pound sleeping bag. The SpiraFil High Loft insulation will keep you warm in temperatures down to 55 degrees. There is a Snagless draft tube lining the zipper to keep you warm. If you do need ventilation, you have two-way zipper sliders.
Best Hammock Sleeping Bag for Backpacking
This sleeping bag is unique with the ability to turn into a hammock. You’ll stay cozy in temperatures down to 30 degrees with the 800 fill down insulation. At a lightweight 1.72 pounds, you won’t notice the weight of this sleeping bag. Once compressed it will fit into a 10 x 7 x 7 bag. which makes it our final best backpacking sleeping bag.
Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Qualities
We have gathered a list of factors you need to consider when buying a backpacking sleeping bag. You need one that is lightweight and the proper temperature rating for the climate.
Prepare for your sleeping bag to be one of your most expensive pieces of equipment. Prices will range from $50 to $500.
After you select your tent, your sleeping bag will also be one of your heaviest pieces of equipment. You need to find a balance between weight and warmth. Ideally, you would have a couple different sleeping bags to choose from for each trip. Most people only have one though. Choose the bag that will keep you warm in the lowest temperatures you plan to experience.
Your sleeping bag traps the heat your body creates by insulating you. The more insulation your bag has, the warmer it will keep you. Try to not buy a bag with too much space inside. The more space, the harder your body will work to warm it up.
Take care with the temperature rating you see on a sleeping bag. This rock-bottom temperature is the lowest the sleeping bag will keep you alive in. You don’t want to simply survive though. Look at the comfort rating as a more accurate rating for the temperature the bag is meant for. If you don’t see a comfort rating, add 10 to 15 degrees to the lower limit rating.
An EN rating system standardizes temperature ratings across the industry. This is a European Norm system of rating. Not all companies use this rating though. For those that do use it, the number listed is the lower limit temperature.
What Is the Right Temperature for a Backpacking Sleeping Bag?
When choosing the right temperature rating, consider more than the environment. Factor in what you wear to bed and the camping mattress you use. You will also need to adjust what you buy depending on if you are a hot or cold sleeper. Then factor in the type of tent you use.
Features to Look For
Down vs Synthetic
You will need to choose between down or synthetic insulation. Down has a better weight to warmth ratio but is more expensive. Synthetic bags are less expensive but don’t last as long. They also tend to be heavier and compress down less.
Warm and Wet
Synthetic bags tend to perform better when they are wet. Consider this, you are going to be miserable in a wet sleeping bag no matter what the material is. Don’t use this as the deciding factor for your selection.
The sleeping bag you buy needs to fit your height. If you are close in length, always go bigger. Factor in whether or not you plan to use the hood of the sleeping bag. You will want enough space to be comfortable but not so much that you feel a draft.
If you choose a mummy bag you will have limitations of the width. Women’s bags tend to be slimmer through the shoulders. The advantage of a slim cut bag is that it will save on weight and keep you warm better. These bags are also more restrictive of your movements.
To cut weight some bags have shorter zipper lengths. If you like your feet wrapped up this won’t bother you. Most people prefer to have a full-length zipper. This gives you the freedom to open the whole bag up for ventilation.
Durable Water Repellent
Do not think this treatment will make your bag waterproof. It is a nice feature that will give you an added bit of protection.
No matter what sleeping bag you buy, never store your bag compressed. Hang it up so the insulation can spread out and stay fluffy. If you don’t do this you will damage the insulation and it will become less effective over time.