Choosing the right sleeping bag for your needs is important for optimal warmth and comfort. However, sleeping bags specifically made for backpacking are somewhat different from those made for general camping needs. The former tend to be lighter, more compact and differently shaped. Choosing the best backpacking sleeping bag that will serve your needs for years to come depends primarily on these criteria:
- Temperature Rating
- Type of Insulation
With these guilelines, we’ll take you through our top picks below.
10. Smart&Cool 1 Year Warranty Waterproof Outdoor Sleeping Bag
This bag features a waterproof outer layer to deter unwanted moisture. Weighing less than 3 pounds, it is an ideal choice for the backpacker who knows that space is at a premium on the open road.
We do find that it could be better in size as many users complain it is too small. It is also best for temperatures above 50 degrees, fine for mild nights but not much colder.
Although it has flannel insulation, some users find it to be a bit too thin, though this could be because the bag is being used at less than ideal temperatures.
9. Outdoor Vitals OV-Light 20°F Ultralight Mummy Sleeping Bag
This backpacking bag is a “mummy-style” design to keep the whole body warm. It utilizes new specially-compressed fibers for double the insulation of comparable models. Has a good temperature rating of 20 degrees that should serve most needs quite well. In addition, the construction is not only lightweight but ultralight at less than four pounds, so that you can pack this up and not know it’s there until you need it.
The bag is sized well to fit most persons, up to six and a half feet in height.
8. Aircee 30 Degree F Flannel Liner 4 Season Cool Weather Traveling Camping Hooded Sleeping Bag
This backpacking bag from Aircee could certainly use a few extra features, but as a simple, no-frills bag, it offers good value. Although it is marketed as an all-seasons bag, its temp rating is for cooler weather rather than cold. It should serve well above 30 degrees. It’s slight heavy at around 6 pounds, but the cotton flannel lining provides decent insulation.
Users had minor problems with the bag unzipping at night but are mostly very satisfied.
7. Outdoor Vitals – Down 0 Degree Down Sleeping Bag
There are a number of things to love about this one. The down provides excellent insulation and a great temp rating, allowing you to stay warm even in 0-degree temperatures if necessary. It only weighs about 2 pounds making for a very lightweight bag, that can be easily compacted for storage and travel. Some of the more attractive features include a compression bag, hanging hook, and double drawstring design for increased heat retention.
This is a great buy, but the price can be somewhat prohibitive for the average backpacker.
6. Hyke & Byke Shavano 32 F Ultralight Mummy Down Sleeping Bag
This one is a great choice when weight is the primary factor for the seasoned backpacker. At only 2 pounds it will not weigh you down and it will be there when you need it. Also has down insulation for some of the best heat retention found in nature. Can be used in fairly cold temps around 32 degrees.
The bag is light on extras and features but does what you need it to do. Price may be slightly high for some, but it’s an excellent choice.
5. Coleman Big Basin Extreme Weather 15 Degree Fahrenheit Sleeping Bag
An excellent choice for those who need the warmest bag in the coldest weather, this bag has a temp rating that should appeal to the most hardcore hikers.
However, the bag is wide and large, which gives you some extra room at night but increases weight and size. This is something to consider for the space-conscious hiker. Some users even use this one when car camping.
Note that it is designed for very cold use, and will likely be too hot in mild weather.
4. Big Agnes – Buffalo Park 40 Sleeping Bag
This one is very roomy, but also lightweight at 2 pounds, giving you space without sacrificing room. It also has an excellent temperature rating that will keep you warm in temps of 40 degrees, though some use it at 20 degrees or less. One neat feature is that there are no zippers to mess with in the middle of the night.
However, that also means it can be difficult to squeeze into the bag from the top. It may prove somewhat pricey for certain users as well.
3. Kelty Tuck 22 Degree Sleeping Bag
This backpacking bag from Kelty is among the best for hitting all points in our system. Featuring excellent synthetic ThermaPro insulation, it is sure to keep you warm even in temps of 20 degrees or below. It only weighs 3 pounds, so it’s very lightweight and can be easily packed and carried. Also, features a natural fit foot box and anti-snag zipper for ease of use.
A few users have had zipper issues, and some claim it can be cold even in weather that is warmer than the bag’s rating.
2. SEMOO Comfort Lightweight Bag
An affordable bag in an envelope design, this one is very lightweight and portable, ideal for the backpacker. Its primary usefulness is in mild to cool temperatures though, perhaps not ideal for those who may be venturing into the frozen wastes.
However, with added features such as doubling as a quilt and water resistant, synthetic lining, this backpacking bag is one of the best for the average hiker.
1. Coleman North Rim Extreme Weather Sleeping Bag
Last but not least is another Coleman bag designed for those users who need something that holds up in extreme conditions. Rated for temperatures as low as 0 degrees this bag will be sure to keep the heat in on those nights. Utilizes polyester fill and lining for increased insulation. In addition, you can vent the foot area to cool off on the warmer nights, making this bag quite versatile. At less than 2 pounds it’s one of the lightest fully-loaded mummy style bags out there.
Some bags might have extra features that offer additional comforts depending on your needs. Ultimately, you should choose a bag in your price range that provides the warmth and insulation you think you’ll need without feeling too weighty. Remember that some are best for mild weather, others for colder temperatures.