8 Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags (MUST READ • 2019)

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If you’ve ever spent a night out in the woods, or camping in the shadow of the Himalayas, freezing your ass off and anxiously waiting for the night to be over, you probably already realize how important it is to pack one of the best sleeping bags for your adventures!

I spend a lot of time camping out on my adventures and I know from experience that it’s well worth investing in the proper gear – you want a sleeping bag that is lightweight, warm, comfortable and packs down small.

My style of travel involves a lot of camping, when I’m backpacking across the world I always travel with a tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad.

I’ve put together this detailed guide after personally testing and reviewing some of the best sleeping bags out there.

When you’re choosing a backpacking sleeping bag, you need to take into account warmth, weight, comfort functionality and price to find the best sleeping bag for your adventure style.

 

Quick Answer: The Best Sleeping Bags for Backpackers

 

How to Choose a Great Sleeping Bag…

Below I have listed the key specs to look for when choosing the perfect backpacking sleeping bag. Your requirements depend entirely on what you need the sleeping bag for, if you’re just looking for something to take to the occasional campout or music festival, you can make do with a budget sleeping bag.

If however you are planning on traveling the world (and camping a lot), or embarking on regular hikes and campouts in frigid conditions, then it is well worth investing in one of the top pick backpacking sleeping bags listed below.

Best Sleeping Bag with view of mountains

Let’s take a look at the crucial factors you need to consider when choosing a sleeping bag…

 

Warmth and Season Ratings

Sleeping Bag Temperature Rating

Backpacking sleeping bag temperature ratings are often rated on the European Norm (EN) 13537. EN is a European rating system many outdoor brands use to standardize the temperature ratings on sleeping bags. EN uses three temperature ratings:

  • Comfort rating: The lowest temperature a sleeping bag will keep the average woman or “cold sleeper” comfortable.
  • Lower-limit rating: The lowest temperature a sleeping bag will keep a man or “warm sleeper” comfortable.
  • Extreme rating: Some bags come with an extreme rating, which is the temperature the average woman or “cold sleeper” can survive a night without getting hypothermia!

Many countries are warm by day but cold by night so even if you’re heading to somewhere like Namibia, you need to be prepared if you’re hiking and camping at higher elevation.

If you’re a world traveler and will be jumping between many countries, I recommend picking up a three-season backpacker sleeping bag as it is a lot more versatile than a heavier, bulkier four-season bag.

 

Backpacking Sleeping Bag Types

sleeping bags for backpackers in iran

Summer Bags: Summer sleeping bags are typically rated 32 F (0 C) or higher, which means they are made for sleeping in 40s F and 50s F (4 C – 10 C). Summer sleeping bags may not have the features that keep you warmer in colder temperatures like built-in hoods. Most summer bags are rectangular.

3-Season Bags: 3-season bags are the most versatile bags for hikers and travelers. 3 season sleeping bags are usually rated from 10 F to 32 F (-12 C to 0 C)  for sleeping in around 20 F to 40 F (-6 C to 4 C). You can easily use a 3 season sleeping bag in the summer by unzipping or just draping it over you like a blanket.

Winter Bags: These are tough-as-nails sleeping bags made for camping in the snow and extreme temperatures. Unless you are traveling and camping during the winter season, you probably won’t need a winter bag. They usually rate at 10 F and lower (-6 C to 4 C).

 

Weight and Insulation

Whether you’re looking for one of the best backpacking sleeping bags for backcountry hiking or traveling the world, a lightweight sleeping bag is a top priority.

The different types of insulation will make a huge difference in weight (as well as cost). If you’re looking for a lightweight sleeping bag with the smallest pack size, then look for down because down weighs significantly less and packs lighter than synthetic. The drawback is down costs more.

  • Down: Down sleeping bags are lightweight, warm, and packable, but they are also more expensive than synthetic bags. Despite their cost, down sleeping bags last much longer, often for decades of use. The downside with down (see what I did there) is that they are not water resistant, so if the sleeping bag gets wet you’re in for an uncomfortable night’s sleep.
  • Water-Resistant Down: Some companies are coming out with water-resistant down that speeds drying with a very thin synthetic coating that reduces the amount of water trapped by the down.
  • Synthetic: In general, synthetic sleeping bags are largely viewed by the hiker community as inferior to down sleeping bags. Synthetic material doesn’t make as lightweight sleeping bags as down, but it’s less expensive and faster drying. If you are traveling to a humid place, synthetic does have it’s advantages.
  • Hybrid Down & Synthetic: Though less common, these sleeping bags are lighter than an all-synthetic bag and faster drying than an all-down bag.

 

Down Quality Fill Power

Down fill power correlates with warmth. Sleeping bag insulation (or “fill”) provides warmth by minimizing the amount of heat your body loses while sleeping. The highest down fill power is 900. The higher the fill power, the more expensive the sleeping bag. The lower-end fill power is about 500, which means these sleeping bags must weigh more to provide similar levels of warmth.

The most lightweight sleeping bags are going to have a high down fill power.

And remember, everyone’s bodies lose warmth differently. If you’re a “cold sleeper”, aim for a warmer sleeping bag.

 

Why Lightweight Sleeping Bags Kick Ass

quality sleeping bag in tent

Traveling with a lightweight sleeping bag is the most ideal option for backpackers. The benefits are numerous. First of all, you never need your sleeping bag on EVERY single day of any given trip. That means the other days in which you are NOT using your sleeping bag, it is stuffed down somewhere in the depths of your backpack.

Investing in a quality lightweight sleeping bag to take traveling is an important decision. Ideally, you want a lightweight sleeping bag that is still functional for your intended purposes (IE warm enough for the mountains, yet lightweight enough to not be overly cumbersome in your backpack.

As with mot things in the outdoor gear world, the lighter (and better quality) the gear, the more expensive it tends to be. The best lightweight sleeping bags are indeed not cheap. That said, you should keep in mind that you probably don’t need an ultralight, zero degree sleeping bag for most adventures.

The best lightweight sleeping bag is the one that is versatile in a variety of climates. You want a lightweight sleeping bag that you can take on just about every backpacking adventure you embark on.

You can easily find a lightweight sleeping bag that should cover most of your travel and hiking needs.

Below, I cover my top pick for the best lightweight sleeping bag and also a couple of warmer alternatives that still fit into the lightweight sleeping bag category.

 

Best Sleeping Bags for Comfort

  • Sleeping Bag Length: Most adult sleeping bags come in Regular or Long. A bag that is too long for you may leave you with cold feet; whereas, a bag too small will leave your torso more exposed.
  • Women-specific Sleeping Bags: Women-specific bags are designed to fit a woman’s body shape, and are usually shorter in length, to help women and “cold sleepers” trap more heat. Many of them come with extra insulation in the upper body. Smaller women may find that youth bags are the best fit.
  • Mummy bags: Mummy bags are warmer because they are tight fitting, and usually have hoods to keep heat in from your head.
  • Rectangle bags: Rectangular sleeping bags are often the most comfortable because you have more room to move around. Some sleeping bags have a hybrid design, where they combine the pros of both.

 

Best Sleeping Bags Reviewed

Alright, let’s get stuck into reviewing the best sleeping bags for backpackers! Before we dive into the in-depth reviews, let’s take a quick peek at how our top four sleeping bag picks rank against each other…

PRODUCTDESCRIPTION
tbb-table__imageBest Overall Sleeping BagBest Overall Sleeping BagFeathered Friends Swift 20 YF

  • Best Use > 3-season
  • Weight > 1 lb 15 oz.
  • Insulation > 900-fill goose down
  • Temperature Rating > 20 F
  • Best Use > 3-season
  • Weight > 1 lb 15 oz.
  • Insulation > 900-fill goose down
  • Temperature Rating > 20 F
Check on REI
tbb-table__imageBest Lightweight Sleeping BagBest Lightweight Sleeping BagSea to Summit Spark 2

  • Best Use > Summer, ultralight
  • Weight > 12 oz.
  • Insulation > 750-fill goose down
  • Temperature Rating > 54 F
  • Best Use > Summer, ultralight
  • Weight > 12 oz.
  • Insulation > 750-fill goose down
  • Temperature Rating > 54 F
Check on REICheck on Amazon
tbb-table__imageBest Lightweight Sleeping Bag #2Best Lightweight Sleeping Bag #2REI Magma 10

  • Best Use > Year round backpacking
  • Weight > 1 lb 14 oz.
  • Insulation > 850-fil water resistant down
  • Temperature Rating > 20 F
  • Best Use > Year round backpacking
  • Weight > 1 lb 14 oz.
  • Insulation > 850-fil water resistant down
  • Temperature Rating > 20 F
Check on REI
tbb-table__imageBest Four Season Sleeping BagBest Four Season Sleeping BagKammok Thylacine

  • Best Use > 4-season, cold weather backpacking
  • Weight > 1 lb 15 oz.
  • Insulation > 750 Fill Power European Goose Down
  • Temperature Rating > 15 F with liner
  • Best Use > 4-season, cold weather backpacking
  • Weight > 1 lb 15 oz.
  • Insulation > 750 Fill Power European Goose Down
  • Temperature Rating > 15 F with liner
Check on Amazon
tbb-table__imageBest Sleeping Bag for WomenBest Sleeping Bag for WomenREI Joule 21

  • Best Use > 3-season, very versatile.
  • Weight > 2 lb. 3 oz.
  • Insulation > 700-fill duck down
  • Temperature Rating > 21 F
  • Best Use > 3-season, very versatile.
  • Weight > 2 lb. 3 oz.
  • Insulation > 700-fill duck down
  • Temperature Rating > 21 F
Check on REI
tbb-table__imageBest Cheap Sleeping BagBest Cheap Sleeping BagREI Siesta 30

  • Best Use > Summer, car camping.
  • Weight > 3 lb 9 oz.
  • Insulation > Synthetic
  • Temperature Rating > 30 F
  • Best Use > Summer, car camping.
  • Weight > 3 lb 9 oz.
  • Insulation > Synthetic
  • Temperature Rating > 30 F
Check on REI
tbb-table__imageBest Festival Sleeping BagBest Festival Sleeping BagSEMOO Envelope

  • Best Use > festivals, summer, warm weather camping
  • Weight > 3 lb
  • Insulation > 250g/m2 polyester hollow fiber
  • Temperature Rating > 42 F
  • Best Use > festivals, summer, warm weather camping
  • Weight > 3 lb
  • Insulation > 250g/m2 polyester hollow fiber
  • Temperature Rating > 42 F
Check on Amazon

A good quality sleeping bag isn’t going to be cheap; however, look at your backpacking sleeping bag as an investment.

Many of the sleeping bags on our list come with lifetime warranties, and you can expect them to last for decades. Moreover, I think it is worth investing in a lightweight sleeping bag if you want to keep your overall backpack light so as to avoid straining your back.

I’ve listed a couple of backpacker friendly sleeping bags from the store REI (USA). REI has a one-year warranty on all of the brands they carry, so you can use the gear for up to a year, and return whatever isn’t perfect for a full refund.

Here is a list of the most kickass backpacking sleeping bags no matter what kind of adventure you are on…

 

#1 Feathered Friends Swift 20 YF

Best Overall Backpacking Sleeping Bag

feathered friend backpacking sleeping bag

This sleeping bag is not cheap, but the Feathered Friends Swift 20 YF is one of the best (if not the best) sleeping bags for its quality, comfort, and durability. It is comfortably fluffy (900+ fill down), yet durable, and the bag still compresses to the size of a loaf of bread. It’s large, durable zipper doesn’t get caught in the material, and the outside fabric is treated for water and stain resistance far beyond typical sleeping bags. Whilst the bag isn’t waterproof, it’s one of the most water resistant down sleeping bags on the market.

Feathered Friends bags are the highest quality sleeping bags, made by hand in Seattle, USA, and are filled with down from geese raised with the highest humane standards. You can customize the bag on their site, and even have the sleeping bag customized after purchase (years down the line) if ever needed. The Swift 20 YF is my pick for the best overall quality sleeping bag because of its weight, durability, and comfort. Treat this bag as an investment and you won’t be disappointed.

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#2 Sea to Summit Spark Quilt

Best Lightweight Sleeping Bag

lightweight sleeping bag Sea to Summit

At 12 oz. of total weight, the Sea to Summit Spark is one of the most lightweight sleeping bags on the market. If you are traveling with very limited space and weight, you’re a minimalist, a biker, or a kayaker, this is the sleeping bag for you. It packs as small as a softball! (That’s smaller than most down jackets!)

Lack of insulation to save weight means this hiker friendly sleeping bag carries most of its fill in the space for heat where you need it most: over your core. The hood has a simple drawcord on the right, snugging around the face.

The drawback? It has a 54F comfort rating, so this is not for backpacking in cold conditions. On the other hand, if you like this Sea to Summit bag, you can get its big brother (Spark III), which handles temperatures at 25F; however, this makes the sleeping bag heavier and more expensive as well, which kind of defeats the ultra lightweight minimalist approach.

View on Amazon                      View on REI

 

#3 REI Magma 10

Best Lightweight Sleeping Bag Honorable Mention

rei magma sleeping bag for backpacking

Ok so the REI Magma 10 might be nearly double the weight of the Sea to Summit Spark Quilt, but it also WAY warmer for when you need a truly badass lightweight sleeping bag in the mountains.

At 1 lb. 14 oz, the REI Magma 10 isn’t what I would call ultralight. That said, it packs a lot of warming power into a lightweight sleeping bag feel. For colder climates, a super lightweight sleeping bag simply will not keep you warm enough to be comfortable (or safe).

When you start dipping below 32 F (0 C), having a warm lightweight sleeping bag isn’t just a luxury, it is a necessity for survival!  If you plan on taking a backpacking trip to the Andes, Patagonia, the Himalayas, New Zealand, or other cold-climate/high-altitude destinations, I strongly recommend that you go with a lightweight sleeping bag that has an EN comfort rating of at least 20 degrees F.

The REI Magma is just that. It features an abundance of 850-fill water resistant down that will keep you toasty when the weather turns cold in the mountains.

For $350, the Magma 10 is actually a great value when compared to other burly lightweight sleeping bags offering the same temperature rating. It’s a solid buy for those looking for a more serious lightweight sleeping bag to take backpacking.

View on REI

 

#4 REI Co-op Siesta 30 Sleeping Bag

Best Cheap Sleeping Bag

rei siesta best budget friendly sleeping bag

If you are looking for a sleeping bag under $100, the REI Siesta is the best sleeping bag for you. It is a rectangle style sleeping bag, which is much roomier than mummy styled bags, as many campers prefer. A nice feature is its stash pocket for your keys, wallet, and torch.

The downside is it’s much heavier than most backpacking sleeping bags. Nevertheless, the Siesta 30 is the lightest rectangle style bag on the market. And for the price, you can’t get a better quality sleeping bag that finds a balance between weight, warmth, and comfort. In my opinion, this is the best value cheap sleeping bag for backpackers.

View on REI

 

#5 Tough Outdoors Sky Gazer XL 

The Most Affordable Sleeping Bag

sky gazer best cheap sleeping bag

If you need something quick and easy that does the job well enough, the Sky Gazer XL is a sleeping that you should very well consider. For less than $50, it’s one of the best deals in town and will keep you warm in moderate climates.

The Sky Gazer XL is one of the lightest sleeping bags in the Tough Outdoors catalog. Weighing under 4 lbs., this sleeping bag travels light and packs easy. It features a 40°F lower-limit rating for a restful sleep in colder nights.

Big and tall individuals will find this sleeping bag roomy and comfortable, as it fits persons under 6’6″. It is also water resistant and a storage pocket for your phone, keys or wallet.

View on Amazon

 

#6 REI Co-op Joule 21 Sleeping Bag – Women’s

Best Women’s Sleeping Bag

Joule 21 best womens sleeping bag

REI’s Joule 21 is consistently rated one of the best women’s sleeping bags for its comfort, warmth, and durability.

REI makes great quality, affordable camping gear, and in the last few years their gear caught up to the same quality as many of the other brands in the outdoor space.

The Joule 21 can actually handle temperature’s at 21F without extra clothing or a liner. One cool feature is its waterproof finish (despite its down material)!

The most important feature is the Joule is designed to fit a woman’s body and offers increased room at hips, decreased room at shoulders, and extra insulation in critical heat-loss areas. This is a great quality sleeping bag for a woman traveler and comes with a one year warranty.

View on Amazon

 

#7 Kammok Thylacine (3 in 1 Sleeping Bag)

Best Four Season Sleeping Bag for Travelling

Kammok Thylacine best four season sleeping bag

Many winter sleeping bags will run you $500-600+. The Kammok Thylacine, however, is one of the most versatile sleeping bags on our list because of its unique 3 in 1 feature. You essentially get three sleeping bags for a fraction of the cost.

The bag is normally at a 30°F temperature rating, but with its attachable liner, it can withstand 15°F. Add the liner insert and the Kammok becomes a winter bag for 0°F temperatures. While I wouldn’t use the Kammok as a replacement for a winter only sleeping bag, it’s a great choice for the four season traveler, who plans to camp in multiple temperatures and climates!

Other cool features include a pillow pocket to keep the pillow in place and storage pocket for your head torch. Plus the Kammok compresses quite small for a 3 lb bag!

The drawback? They do not have a short size for the vertically challenged. Its regular size is 78” and fits a person up to 6’3”.

View on Amazon

 

#8 SEMOO Envelope Sleeping Bag

Best Festival Sleeping Bag

best sleeping bags

The Semoo Comfort Lightweight Sleeping Bag is a good choice if you’re on a serious budget and won’t be sleeping out in truly frosty conditions. For a festival or casual weekends camping, the Semoo can handle it! It packs down small, it’s lightweight and it’s double zip feature lets you open it up fully so you can use it as a blanket to lie on or under whilst watching the stars.

View on Amazon

 

Conclusion for the Best Sleeping Bags for Backpackers

Everyone has different requirements and budgets when backpacking, so I decided to break down our top picks for sleeping bags based on different types of travel needs.

If you are aiming for an overall amazing quality backpacking sleeping bag, the Feathered Friends Swift 20 is without a doubt the best sleeping bag that I have ever slept in.

I understand though that many hikers and travelers are looking for something a little cheaper – The REI Siesta 30 Sleeping Bag is a steal at $85 and if you don’t mind the extra weight it’s a solid choice and is definitely one of the best backpacking sleeping bags.

For the best lightweight sleeping bag on the market, the Sea to Summit Spark Quilt is a great option.

If you are off camping, don’t forget to take a headlamp. Oh, and check out the backpacking packing list if you are hitting the road, and unsure of what else to pack in your backpack!

Happy traveling!

Yay for transparency! The links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you buy anything, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse crap. Your support helps me keep the site going.

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