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When you are camping or hiking, a good night’s sleep is key for mental and physical recovery. As a hiker, the best backpacking sleeping bag is one of the best investments you can make.
You need to take the time to evaluate your backpack sleeping system if you want to get the best backpacking sleeping bag for your needs. To find the best backpacking sleeping bag for camping and hiking, you need to consider the construction, temperature rating, warmth-to-weight ratio, and other features.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Reviews
- 1.1 Our Top Picks for Backpacking Sleeping Bags:
- 1.2 The Best Summer Sleeping Bag: Western Mountaineering Summerlite
- 1.3 Best Winter Sleeping Bag: Western Mountaineering Kodiak MF
- 1.4 The Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag: Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 32
- 1.5 The Best 3 Season Sleeping Bag: Western Mountaineering UltraLite
- 1.6 The Best Double Sleeping Bag: Kelty Tru.Comfort Doublewide 20
- 1.7 The Best Sleeping Bag Under $100: Teton Sports Celsius XXL
- 1.8 The Best Backpacking Quilt: Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt 700
- 2 Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Buying Guide
- 3 Backpacking Sleeping Bag for Camping and Hiking FAQs
Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Reviews
To help you out, here are the best sacks on the market. No matter what type of backpacking sleeping bag you need, one of the listed models is sure to be the best pick for you.
Our Top Picks for Backpacking Sleeping Bags:
- Best Summer Sleeping Bag: Western Mountaineering Summerlite (32°F; 1.3 lbs; 850 fill down)
- Best Winter Sleeping Bag: Western Mountaineering Kodiak MF (0°F; 2.85 lbs; 850 fill down)
- Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag: Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 32 (32°F; 1.14 lbs; 900 fill down)
- Best 3 Season Sleeping Bag: Western Mountaineering UltraLite (20°F; 1.81 lbs; 850 fill down)
- Best Double Sleeping Bag: Kelty Tru.Comfort Doublewide 20(20°F; 8.8 lbs; Cloudloft fill)
- Best Sleeping Bag Under $100: Teton Sports Celsius XXL (0°F; 7.1 lbs; SuperLoft Elite 4-Channel Hollow Fiber)
- Best Backpacking Quilt: Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt 700 (17°F; 1.9 lbs; 700 fill down)
The Best Summer Sleeping Bag: Western Mountaineering Summerlite
- Temperature rating: 32°F
- Weight: 1.3 lbs
- Shape: Mummy
- Insulation: Down
- Fill power: 850
You will rarely find a lightweight summer sleeping bag that includes a full-length zipper, a draft tube, and a hood. The Western Mountaineering Summerlite packs all three of these features. It is one of the best mummy-style sleeping bags overall.
Read the reviews of the full range of the best summer sleeping bags.
The Summerlite has an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio. Even though it’s a summer sleeping bag, it will keep you warm during cold and windy nights.
And, when it gets hot, the full zip allows for excellent ventilation. It’s an excellent choice for warm summer nights. Western Mountaineering sacks don’t come with EN or ISO ratings, but the manufacturer’s own rating is fairly accurate.
The sleeping bag offers great insulation partly thanks to the continuous baffles. They eliminate dead air space as well as cold spots. The down fill weighs 10 ounces. However, the fill weight to fabric ration is very high, which explains how the sack can offer so much warmth.
To make sure the bag will be warm and lightweight, the manufacturer decided to sacrifice a roomy fit. If you are a still sleeper, this shouldn’t be an issue. But, sleepers who like to spread out may find the footbox to be a bit uncomfortable.
The space around the head and shoulders is roomy enough for the average sleeper. If you are a side sleeper, the oval shape of the hood will allow you to comfortably roll over. The velcro, the drawcords, and everything else on this sleeping bag is perfectly placed.
Since the model comes with a two-way zipper, it is extremely versatile. For instance, it allows for selective venting at the feet. You can easily adjust the #5 YKK zipper in the middle of the night; you won’t have to worry about it getting stuck into the teeth.
The Summerlite is one of the pricier sleeping bags out there. However, you can rest assured that you will be paying for quality.
The sack is made from durable materials, so it will serve you for years to come. Because it ventilates well, insulates well, and packs down well, the Summerlite is the best summer sleeping bag for the money.
- Excellent fabric
- Comfortable hood
- Great warmth-to-weight ratio
- Tight fit
Best Winter Sleeping Bag: Western Mountaineering Kodiak MF
- Temperature rating: 0°F
- Weight: 2.85 lbs
- Shape: Mummy
- Insulation: Down
- Fill power: 850
The Kodiak offers a perfect balance of comfort, weight, and warmth. To protect you from freezing temperatures, the sack offers 7” of insulated space on top. It is true to its zero degree temperature rating.
Full reviews of all the best cold weather sleeping bags.
One of the reasons the Kodiak is so comfortable is the extra roomy interior. Stomach and side sleepers really like the Kodiak since there is so much room to move around. If you want to keep extra clothes, batteries, water, and other essentials in the bag, there’s plenty of extra space inside.
But, even though there is more uninsulated dead space in the bag, the thermal efficiency of the sack isn’t compromised. However, if this isn’t to your liking, you can always fill that extra space with insulating clothing.
The hood offers plenty of loft. To ensure cold air won’t blast down your neck, it comes with two cinch cords that keep it in place.
If you have overestimated how cold it might be, the two-way zipper allows you to comfortably vent the sleeping bag. You can turn the bag into a cozy down blanket for two if you unzip it all the way.
This sack really shines when you compare the weight of the fabrics to the fill weight. The Kodiak comes with 30 oz of down. The rest of the best winter sleeping bag weighs a mere 15 oz. On top of being functionally durable—the drawcords, the zipper, and the Microlite XP shell fabric are exceptionally lightweight.
The Kodiak is competitively packable, despite the extra fabric. A roomy bag that is so compressible is a rare find. You will have enough space in your backpack for other hiking and camping essentials.
WM’s Microlite XP fabric has solid water-resistant properties. The exterior of the sack dries out quickly. As for the interior, you won’t have to worry about frost, mist, and light rain soaking through to the down. Unless you camp exposed to a downpour or sleep in an inch of standing water, you will stay dry.
The mega lofty draft tubes and the snag-free zipper action are worthy of every praise. The draft tube prevents cold air from getting in through the zipper and the zipper protects the draft tube from snagging.
- Great warmth to weight ratio
- Exceptionally comfortable
- Very warm
- Solid water-resistant properties
The Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag: Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 32
- EN limit rating: 32°F
- EN comfort rating: 41° F
- Weight: 1.14 lbs
- Shape: Mummy
- Insulation: Down
- Fill power: 900
Weighing just over a pound, the Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 32 is crazy light for a three-season sleeping bag. The sack feels like it’s no heavier than an average backpacking quilt. The reviews of the best ultralight sleeping bags are here.
Compared to most other sleeping bags in the same category, the Hyperion 32 is about 9 ounces lighter. This may not seem like much to someone who is new to hiking, but that is a huge difference in the eyes of ultralight backpackers.
Even though the bag contains only 9.2 oz of down, it has an impressive fill power rating of 900. This premium down has earned it an EN “limit” temperature rating of 32°F. Its narrow mummy shape is part of the reason why the Hyperion offers such great insulation.
The Nikwax hydrophobic down dries three times faster, absorbs 90% less water, and lofts up to 60 times longer than standard down. To minimize cold spots and maximize loft, the model comes with box-baffled construction that uses mesh walls.
To increase thermal efficiency, the sack’s lining features a one-of-a-kind reflective coating. Considering the weight of the bag, it’s warmth-to-weight ratio is more than solid. It’s a great choice for late spring and early fall adventures.
Like most other slim-cut bags, the Hyperion 32 is more restrictive in terms of comfort. If you are a side or stomach sleeper, you may have to sacrifice a bit of comfort.
But, if you are a back sleeper, you can rest assured that you will feel comfortable in the Hyperion 32. It seems that the bag was designed with back sleepers in mind since 30% of the insulation is on the bottom/back side and 70% of the insulation on the sides and the top.
You can easily compress the Hyperion 32 to its minimum volume, thanks to the 1.3 oz compression sack that comes with the bag. The Hyperion comes with a short, half-length zipper. You won’t be able to use the bag as a quilt since the zipper only has one side, but you will be able to vent the bag easily if it gets too hot.
The sleeping pad attachment system is one of the best features of the Hyperion 32. It does a great job of securing your sack to your sleeping pad. The button closure at the top of the zipper is a nice touch as well. If you roll over in the night, it prevents the zipper from sliding down.
- Comes with a great compression sack
- Includes a great sleeping pad attachment system
- Incredibly lightweight
- Great warmth-to-weight ratio
- Ideal for back sleepers
- Narrow footbox
The Best 3 Season Sleeping Bag: Western Mountaineering UltraLite
- Temperature rating: 20°F
- Weight: 1.81 lbs
- Shape: Mummy
- Insulation: Down
- Fill power: 850
By now, you have probably realized that Western Mountaineering is at the top of the sleeping bag game. If your budget lets you shop for the best 3 season sack, you need not look any further—the UltraLite outperforms most of its competitors.
It is one of the warmest and best 3 season sleeping bags on the market, even though it doesn’t come with a third-party temperature rating. UltraLite’s substantial draft collar is one of the main reasons behind its superior performance.
It effectively seals warmth inside the main compartment of the sack when cinched closed. It will keep you warm at high altitude or colder fall and spring conditions. The UltraLite may even be a great choice for camping in mild winter thanks to its ingenious draft collar.
For a size long, the sack weighs 1.86 lbs. Considering that it provides best-in-class warmth, its weight is quite impressive. The bag boasts an exceptionally light warmth-to-weight ratio—likely the best one in the 3-season category.
The sack doesn’t provide the same spacious feel as its aforementioned Western Mountaineering relatives. However, the ExtremeLite fabric and premium goose down make it really cozy. UltraLite’s gentle, cloud-like loft significantly boosts its overall comfort.
Because the sack features lots of warm insulation, you won’t be able to squeeze it down to a very small volume. The compressed volume of the bag is 8.7 L. However, the warmth per liter this bag offers is unrivaled.
In addition to the effective draft collar, the full-length zipper and the horizontal baffle construction make the UltraLite very versatile. The baffles are essentially fabric tubes, and the down is sewn into them.
So, depending on the conditions, you can shift the down to the underside or the top of the sack. For instance, if it’s too hot, you can shift the down to the underside to allow the excess heat to escape. The full-length zipper also allows you to cool the bag when the nights are warmer.
- Great draft collar
- Exceptional loft
- Best-in-class warmth
- It is a bit bulky when compressed
The Best Double Sleeping Bag: Kelty Tru.Comfort Doublewide 20
- Temperature rating: 20°F
- Weight: 8.8 lbs
- Shape: Rectangular
- Insulation: Synthetic (Cloudloft fill)
The Kelty Tru.Comfort 20 Doublewide is an excellent solution for couples that are tired of zipping two bags together. It works great in trailers, tents, or any other place that can fit a queen-sized bed. This is our choice for the best double sleeping bag out of the total reviewed.
The Tru Comfort doesn’t boast down insulation, but its airy and thick Cloudloft insulation does a great job of trapping heat. The sack will hold up more than well against nighttime temperatures in the mid-30s.
When you are a couple sleeping in a double bag, it can be difficult to find the ideal temperature for both people. Kelty has managed to tackle this problem quite well. The sack comes with built-in blankets for both sleepers and a large U-shaped zipper.
Each sleeper can add an extra layer while they are in the bag thanks to the permanently attached side blankets. Since the zipper is on the top, each sleeper can also fold back their half of the sack’s top layer without disturbing the other sleeper.
Since it is a large rectangular sleeping bag, it requires more body heat to maintain warmth. However, the Tru Comfort holds up pretty well when sleeping solo. Even though there is a slight decrease in warmth, there aren’t many cold spots.
The sack offers plenty of natural padding. Since it’s as wide as a queen-sized bed, you can rest assured that it will be comfortable for both sleepers.
You can comfortably move around at night without worrying whether you will bother the other sleeper. The Poly-Taffeta lining has a nice, silky feel to it.
If you’ve slept in a sleeping bag before, then you know how annoying it can be to have to search for a wandering pillow in the middle of the night. To prevent your pillow from escaping, the Tru Comfort features an effective tailored hood.
Considering everything this sleeping bag has to offer, the price is very attractive. The only downside of the Tru Comfort is the fact that the zipper doesn’t allow the sack to unfold completely.
- Packs up easily
- Plenty of room
- Attractive price
- Doesn’t unfold completely
The Best Sleeping Bag Under $100: Teton Sports Celsius XXL
- Temperature rating: 0°F
- Weight: 7.1 lbs
- Shape: Rectangular
- Insulation: Synthetic (SuperLoft Elite 4-Channel Hollow Fiber)
If you want a large, rectangular sleeping bag but don’t want to spend too much money, the Teton Sports Celsius XXL may be your best option. Unlike most sleeping bags in this price range, the Celsius XXL uses a synthetic fill instead of cotton fabrics.
Read the reviews of 10 of the best sleeping bags under $100
Because of this, it is an excellent choice for wet conditions and longer adventures. The Celsius XXL may not perform as well as higher-end 0-degree sacks, but it still provides excellent warmth. The brushed polyester lining has a nice feel to it.
To reduce airflow from the top, the bag comes with an adjustable neck collar. It also features a draft tube to the back. The Celsius XXL doesn’t include down, but it boasts two layers of synthetic insulation.
You can adjust the hood really tight if you want it to surround your head, or you can use it to secure a pillow. All the features do a great job of keeping cold air at bay.
The celsius is 36” wide, 90” long, and boasts a rectangular shape. It offers plenty of room for the average sleeper. However, the bag doesn’t unzip fully, so you won’t be able to use it as a blanket. Still, in terms of comfort, it beats many expensive, higher-quality sleeping bags.
The bag doesn’t come with many extra features, but the ones it does have work like a charm. The zipper offers snag-free operation and the zipper closure hides the prickly Velcro. For easy hanging, there are two loops sewn into the bottom of the sack.
The stuff sack is a really nice perk. If you want to save space, the compression straps allow you to really cinch the bag down. They also double as carrying handles. Undoubtedly, the Celsius XXL offers great value for the money—certainly more than one can expect to get at this price point.
- Small hood for warmth
- Soft synthetic lining
- The zipper doesn’t continue around the foot box
The Best Backpacking Quilt: Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt 700
- EN limit rating: 17°F
- EN comfort rating: 28°F
- Weight: 1.9 lbs
- Shape: Footbox quilt
- Insulation: Down
If you find sleeping bags to be too restrictive, a backpacking quilt may be a better choice for your adventures. Boasting an innovative hood, an extra-wide cut, and a unique design, the Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt 700 is one of the most comfortable quilts on the market.
Read the reviews of the best backpacking quilts.
The EN temperature ratings for this quilt are fairly accurate. It has everything you need to feel warm and cozy on a freezing night in the wilderness. You can slide your head through the hood and tuck each side of the quilt under yourself when you want to get the most warmth out of it.
The Backcountry 700 comes with 17.6 oz of Dridown hydrophobic duck down. Compared to most other backpacking quilts, it uses substantially more insulation. Its unique construction is another reason why the quilt is so great at retaining warmth.
Weighing in at just under 2 lbs, it doesn’t fall in the ultralight category, but it is still a fairly light quilt. It doesn’t pack down well, but the exceptional comfort it offers undoubtedly compensates for that.
The Backcountry 700 doesn’t feel like a piece of camping gear—it feels like a big comfy blanket. There’s nothing to come unlocked when you are sleeping, and there are no straps to lay on. This quilt is an excellent choice for restless sleepers.
The sewn foot box and the extra-wide blanket cut make the Backcountry 700 extremely versatile. You can sleep in it wrapped like a burrito or you can use it as a loose blanket.
The versatility it offers makes it a great choice for both warm and cold conditions. Every feature on this quilt is very easy to adjust. Unlike mummy bag hoods, the 700’s hide-away hood doesn’t put pressure on your neck. It nicely hugs your chin and comfortably wraps around your forehead. It is completely unnoticeable when it is not in use.
- Hydrophobic down
- Solid fill power
- Extremely comfortable
- Large and spacious
- Doesn’t pack small
Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Buying Guide
Each sleeping bag has its own temperature rating. It indicates the lowest temperature at which the sack was designed to keep an average sleeper warm. It’s recommended to take the temperature ratings with a grain of salt since not everyone is an average sleeper.
Some people sleep hotter than others, so your own metabolism also plays an important role in this matter. However, “EN” and “ISO” sleeping temperature ratings are usually much more reliable than a brand’s temperature ratings. If two models come with an “EN” or “ISO” rating, you can truly compare the temperature ratings between them.
ISO is the new standard while EN is the old one. Even though ISO is an improvement on the EN rating, the two are quite similar, so you can easily compare them. With EN/ISO testing, a sleeping bag is assigned a limit rating and a comfort rating.
The “limit” rating indicates the lowest temperature at which a “warm sleeper” will still feel comfortable. Generally, it is assigned to unisex or men’s sleeping bags. The “comfort” rating is the lowest temperature at which “a cold sleeper” will feel comfortable. This rating is generally used for women’s bags.
If the temperature rating doesn’t include the term “limit” or “comfort”, it is most likely not an EN or ISO test result, but the manufacturer’s estimate. And, keep in mind that no temperature rating is an absolute guarantee of warmth.
Whether you are getting a sleeping bag with an ISO, EN, or brand’s own rating, it’s best to get a model that’s rated for lower temperatures than you expect to encounter. To make sure you will sleep comfortably in your new sleeping bag, it’s best to take other factors into account as well:
Sleeping Bag Sleep System
When it comes to the temperature inside your sleeping bag, clothing, ground conditions, type of shelter, wind, and humidity are also factors. However, the key factor may be your sleep system.
Your sleep system consists of your clothing, your sleeping pad, and your sleeping bag. Your sack night may not live up to its temperature rating if you don’t use a sleeping pad. While a sleeping bag liner is not an absolute must, it is recommended to include it in your sleep system.
Moreover, manufacturers consider the “average sleeper” to be someone who is sleeping on an insulated pad (R-value of 5.5) and wearing socks and long underwear when sleeping in a sleeping bag. To simplify things, here’s a rule of thumb you can follow:
- If the expected nighttime low is 50°F, it’s best to get a sleeping bag with a temperature rating of 30°F or lower and a sleeping pad that has an R-value under 2.
- If the expected nighttime low is 32°F, go with a sleeping bag that has a temperature rating of 20°F or lower and a sleeping pad that has an R-value between 2 and 3.9.
- If the expected nighttime low is 20°F or lower, go for a sleeping bag that has a temperature rating of 15°F or lower and a sleeping pad that has an R-value between 4 and 5.5.
- If the expected nighttime low is 0°F, go with a sleeping bag that has a temperature rating of 0°F or lower and a sleeping pad that has an R-value over 5.5.
When you are choosing a sleeping bag, the type of insulation may be the most important consideration. There are two types of sleeping bag insulation: down and synthetic.
Generally, down is the preferred choice because it is more durable, more compressible, and lighter than synthetic fill. Down is pricier than synthetic insulations, but it can retain a consistent level of warmth for longer periods. If you care for your down sleeping bag properly, it can last for decades.
However, not all down is the same. When considering down insulation, you also need to consider its “fill power”. This spec measures the insulating properties of the down as well as its loft or “fluffiness.” A higher rating indicates down that has better insulating efficiency for its weight.
The higher the fill power rating is, the better the down. A fill rating of 500 is considered good, while ratings between 750 and 900 are excellent.
A lightweight down sleeping bag with a higher fill power will keep you just as warm as a heavier sleeping bag with lower fill power. But, keep in mind that fill power isn’t the only factor. The amount of down also counts.
Down loses some of its insulating properties when wet. Many manufacturers fill their sleeping bags with down that has a water-repellent treatment to combat this issue.
For damp climates, it may be best to go with synthetic insulation. Synthetics continue to insulate when wet, unlike down.
Synthetic sleeping bags perform well and come at an affordable price. Synthetics are usually made of polyester. They are available in a variety of branded names.
Unlike down, synthetic insulation is hypoallergenic. However, evaluating the performance of synthetics is tricky since synthetic sleeping bags don’t come with fill power ratings.
Some sleeping bags feature a combination of synthetic and down. A typical down/synthetic sleeping bag comes with down on top, where it lofts better, and synthetic insulation on the bottom, where it compresses less. Sometimes, synthetic insulation and down insulation are blended together.
The type of insulation also affects the size of a sleeping bag. To better understand size differences, look for “compressed volume” specs.
It’s important to note that the distribution of the insulation between the outer shell of the bag and the liner also plays an important role. To avoid cold spots, the insulation should be distributed evenly. Synthetic sleeping bags use shingled, offset quilted, or quilted constructions, while down sleeping bags generally use baffled constructions.
Sleeping Bag Weight and Shape
When it comes to the weight of a sleeping bag, the shape of the sleeping bag and its insulation are the biggest factors. High-fill-power downs and advanced synthetics deliver greater warmth for less weight.
But, insulation still adds weight to the sleeping bag. To get a warmer temperature rating, a bag requires more insulation. So, when comparing bag weights, be sure to compare bags that have the same or similar temperature rating.
Some hikers use fill weight as an indicator of bag warmth. While the fill weight tells us a lot, ISO and EN temperature ratings are more reliable indicators of warmth.
When you are carrying a sleeping bag in your backpack, the overall bag weight matters the most. The shape of a sleeping bag will also affect its weight.
How warm a sleeping bag can be depends on how efficiently it can retain the heat emitted by your body. And, your body can’t warm an expansive space as efficiently as it can a small space. To make up for this, roomy bags use more insulation and therefore weigh more. Sleek and snug sleeping bags are usually lighter.
For instance, a sleeping bag that is nice and roomy will be heavier than a bag with a snug fit and a sleek shape. Sleeping bags come in 3 basic shapes:
- Rectangular: To maximize roominess, many sleeping bags have a simple rectangular shape.
- Mummy: A mummy sleeping bag has a contoured hood and a slim cut. This type of design reduces weight and boosts warmth. The overall fit is snug and you can even cinch the hood tight for greater warmth. You can’t really roll and turn inside an average mummy bag, but you can roll over with it.
- Semi-rectangular: Also called “barrel” shape or “modified mummy,” this category includes various different shapes, all of which offer a compromise of roominess and warmth.
If you want to continue your research, check out this list of sleeping bag brands.
Backpacking Sleeping Bag for Camping and Hiking FAQs
Which is best down vs synthetic sleeping bag?
Each type has its pros and cons. If you want a sleeping bag that is durable, light, compressible, and offers a great weight-to-warmth ratio, down insulation is the way to go. Synthetic insulation is best if you want a sleeping bag that dries quicker and insulates when wet. Synthetic sleeping bags are more affordable than down sleeping bags.
Which is best backpacking quilt vs sleeping bag?
If you are an ultralight hiking gear purist, a backpacking quilt may be the best choice for you. Generally, backpacking quilts are lighter and more compact than sleeping bags. However, sleeping bags offer better insulation. If you need better protection from wind, drafts, or the cold, a sleeping bag is a better choice.
Do you need a sleeping pad?
Unless you are camping in warm sand, a sleeping pad is essential for a good night’s sleep in the backcountry. It will provide extra cushioning and thermal protection. And, if you plan on sleeping in albergues, a sleeping pad can serve as a protective layer between your sleeping bag and bed-bug infested mattresses.
What about sleeping bag liners?
A sleeping bag liner is a great investment. It will protect your sleeping bag from dirt and sweat, lending it durability. If you get the best sleeping bag liner, you won’t have to wash your sleeping bag as frequently. Instead, you can simply wash the liner when it gets dirty. A sleeping liner will also add extra insulation to your sleeping bag.
I love hiking, backpacking, and camping. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.