Best Lightweight Sleeping Bag for Backpacking

Your sleeping bag is one of the most important – and one of the bulkiest – items you’ll need with you on a backpacking trip. This means you need to pay careful attention to the weight of your bag when making your choice.

Of course, you also need to be sure the bag is warm enough, which can add weight. The good news is the average sleeping bag has enough insulation to keep you comfortable in most climates so that you can focus more on the weight you’ll be carrying as opposed to the filling when shopping for a lightweight sleeping bag.

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So how do you find the right backpacking bag?

It can help to evaluate bags based on a few of their most important features:

Weight and Insulation

When making decisions about a sleeping bag’s warmth, make sure to use the 20-degree rule of comfort. This rule means that if a sleeping bag says you’ll survive the night at a specific temperature, this doesn’t mean you’ll be comfortable sleeping in that temperature. To determine the comfort rating based on the survival number you’re given, add about 20 degrees. For instance, if a sleeping bag is listed as suitable in temps as low as 10 degrees, you’ll probably be comfortable in it with no additional layers at about 30 degrees.

Do you prefer a down or synthetic fill? Down is lighter and warmer, but not everyone wants a bag filled with down feathers. Synthetic might be more cumbersome and not as warm, but it performs better if it gets wet, and bags filled with synthetic materials tend to be cheaper.

There synthetic and down-filled bags, and as you might guess, there are pros and cons to each style. Down tends to be lighter, but it doesn’t hold up as well when it gets wet. Down is warmer, but some people are ethically opposed to it. Synthetic is cheaper, but many people find it to be an inferior all-around. You need to decide what’s important to you and choose your sleeping bag based on that.

Though five pounds might not seem like a lot when you’re shopping for a sleeping bag, when you’re carrying it along on your hike with everything else you need to bring with you, the difference between two or three pounds and five pounds can be significant. The key to getting the right bag is to choose the lightest weight possible within your budget and within the level of warmth you need based on your usual hiking destinations.

Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Bag

Compressibility

Everyone wants a bag that can be compressed down into a small bundle, whether they are hiking or not. But if you are walking and you have limited space on your back, compressibility in a sleeping bag is essential. The warmer the bag, the bulkier it will be. Some bags offer straps and ties to make compression easier. Compression doesn’t necessarily affect weight, but it does affect the efficiency of packing and how much you can carry with you in total.

Interior space

You’ll want to consider how much room you’ll have in a given bag. What the “right” amount of space is in a sleeping bag is a matter of personal preference. Some people love the idea of being tightly cocooned into their sleeping bag, while others loathe the thought of it and need room to thrash about all night long. Keep in mind, the tighter the bag, the warmer it will be, so you might need to compensate for temperature rating if you prefer a looser bag.

Also, make sure you take into consideration both the length and width of the bag. You might have plenty of room to spread out your arms, but if your toes are pressed up against the bottom of the bag, you won’t be that comfortable. Also, be sure to allow for the varying sizes of your body. People usually aren’t the same width at their ankles as they are at their hips and belly, so you want to make sure something fits all parts of you.

Zipperless sleeping bags are all the rage now and understandably so. Zippers are just one more thing you need to worry about when you’re camping. They break, and they get caught on things, and you’ll find yourself wasting time or being stuck with a bag that can’t do its job because of the zipper. If possible, opt for a zipper-free sleeping bag. If you prefer a bag with a zipper, stay away from more substantial metal zippers. Nylon and plastic zippers tend to be lighter weight and are more durable. If you must choose a sleeping bag with a zipper, make sure it’s one that’s coated, and that offers some kind of guarantee that it will work properly.

How easy is the bag to get into and out of

Style 

If you are traveling with a sleeping pad, does the bag offer a way to fasten the pad into place? Both pouches and loops for attaching your pad tend to add weight, but might be worth it if it makes for a secure evening of sleep.

Do you prefer a mummy or quilt style bag? You need to decide which shape of bag you prefer. You have plenty of options: mummy, rectangular, and quilt, to name a few. Again, they all have pros and cons, and in many ways, it comes down to a matter of personal preference. The conditions in which you’ll be backpacking or camping are also an important consideration when choosing the type of bag that’s going to offer the performance you need. Mummy bags offer head coverage and therefore tend to be warmer, but they are too constricting for some sleepers.

Now that you have an idea of what’s essential when it comes to choosing a lightweight sleeping bag check out our top recommendations when choosing an ultralight sleeping bag for backpacking.

Here are our favorites:

Western Mountaineering Ultralite Sleeping Bag

Western Mountaineering Ultralite Sleeping Bag: 20F Down Royal Blue, 6ft/Left Zip

This bag is lightweight at 1 lb. 13 oz. and has a 20 degree F warmth rating and is a mummy bag that’s guaranteed to keep you warm in a variety of different climates. It’s a down-filled bag that features a down collar and high lofting down pump filling. It features a full-length YKK zip and comes in three different sizes. At nearly $500, it’s one of the most expensive bags on our list, but it’s one you’re going to be happy with when backpacking and camping.

NEMO Siren Down Ultralight Quilt

NEMO Siren Down Ultralight Quilt - 30F/-1C

Camping quilts tend to be lighter than most sleeping bags, and this one from NEMO is no exception. It weighs one pound seven ounces and has a temperature rating of 30 degrees F (comfortable at about 50 degrees F). It’s filled with 850 power down and is one of the lightest weight hoodless sleeping bags/quilts you’ll find on the market today. It’s ideal for restless or side sleepers and can be coupled with a sleeping pad for ultimate comfort. It retails for a little under $500.

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700 (Long)

This is one of the more budget-friendly options on our list, but it doesn’t sacrifice warmth for price. It has a temperature rating of 27 degrees F (so you’ll be warm between 40 and 50 degrees F) and is filled with 700 PFC-free Dridown. It weighs in at a tad over two pounds and features insulated hand and arm pockets.

Hyke & Byke 0 Degree F 625 Fill Power Hydrophobic Sleeping Bag

0 Degree Backpacking Sleeping Bag – Zero F Ultralight Mummy Bag for Cold Weather, Lightweight Synthetic Goose Down Like 625 Fill Power Bag For Men's and Women’s Winter Camping (Forest Green, Long)

The Hyke&Byke 0 Degree Mummy Bag is filled with 625 synthetic Fill Power and has a 0-degree rating (comfort level 10 degrees F for men and 30 degrees F for women, according to the bag description). It comes with a lifetime warranty and keeps you warm and dry. It’s a great lightweight bag and weighs about 4 pounds. This makes it one of the heavier bags on our list, but it’s also one of the warmer bags and is filled with synthetic fiber instead of down. It’s an excellent option for those who prefer a synthetic-filled bag instead of one that utilizes animal products. It retails for just above $100.

Getting a good night’s rest when you’re camping is essential. This is especially true for camping trips that aren’t all about relaxation. If you’re hiking or doing any physical activity during your trip, you’ll want to be sure to get plenty of sleep at night. A good sleeping bag is essential for this.

How Do You Choose The Best Sleeping Bag For Adults?

There are several things to consider.

First, you need to know what type of sleeping bag is going to offer you the best opportunity to get a good night of rest based on where you are sleeping. How cold are the nights at your campsite? Will you be camping in a tent? Will you be sleeping in an RV, vehicle, or tent? Do you have a sleeping pad to put beneath your sleeping bag?

All of these things are important considerations when you are shopping for a sleeping bag.

There are two main factors you’ll want to evaluate when choosing your sleeping bag: shape and insulation

We’ll start with the shape.

Sleeping Bags for Adults

Sleeping bag shape

When most people think of sleeping bags, they picture a cocoon-like swatch of material that can be zipped up to cover the sleeper fully. But there are different shapes of sleeping bags, and each serves a different purpose. The goal is to be as comfortable and temperature-controlled as possible when in your bag. You might even want to “try on” a few bags before you buy.

  • Rectangular: Offer plenty of room for legs and arms, many can be unzipped entirely and used as blankets
  • Semi rectangular: AKA the “modified mummy” or “barrel” bag, this type of sleeping bag covers a variety of shapes and offer a blend of warmth and roominess.
  • Mummy: A bag with a snug fit that fits tightly around your body, it’s known for being very warm
  • Double bags: These bags are made for two people or one person who needs a lot of extra space

Insulation

Idea of what shape bags

Now that you have an idea of what shape bags are available, so let’s talk about insulation. The insulation in a bag is going to be one of the most important factors concerning how warm and comfortable the bag is when you’re using it.

The two main options for insulation are down-filled or synthetic (human-made). Synthetic insulation bags tend to be more affordable, dry fast, and are non-allergenic. They are also useful even if they get wet. Down-filled bags are lighter weight, don’t work as well when wet, and are more durable over time. They are also easier to compress so you can pack them easily when you are limited on space.

Are down-filled bags ethical?

It’s understandable why vegans and other people concerned about the ethical treatment of animals might be worried about down-filled bags. Most of the more reputable brands tend to monitor the treatment of the animals used to provide the down. Bags that feature the RDS (Responsible Down Standard) or TDS (Global Traceable Down Standard) label are more trustworthy in their claims of ethical down sourcing.

Other Things to Consider

In addition to the shape and the insulation, you might also want to consider other features in your sleeping bag. For instance:

Zipper: Multiple zippers on a bag made it easier to adjust when you need to cool down or warm-up. It’s also a good idea to look for a bag with a zipper that isn’t likely to snag or break.

Pocket: Many bags come with pockets, so you can keep what you need close by without it getting lost in your sleeping bag. The most common use of sleeping bag pockets these days is for a cell phone.

Sleeping Bag Hood: Bags with hoods tend to be much warmer, so if you plan to camp in three or four seasons, it’s best to look for a hooded bag.

Stuff Sack: This is a bag that comes with your sleeping bag that allows for easy packing. Most sleeping bags are rolled, but many of them tend to come undone when jostled around. A bag prevents this from happening.

Sleeping Bag Liner: Some bags come with a soft sleeping bag liner to enhance warmth and comfort. You can remove it during warmer weather.

blue backpacking sleeping bag with synthetic insulation

How that we’ve given you a few things to think about when choosing an ultralight sleeping bag for backpacking,

Here are our favorites:

FARLAND Lightweight Mummy Sleeping Bag

FARLAND Mummy Sleeping Bag 0 Degree centigrade 20 Degree F,Cold Weather 4 Season for Adults, Youth, Kids, Unisex for Camping, Hiking, Waterproof, Traveling, Backpacking and Outdoors

2.4 pounds. Temperature Rating is 59 Degrees Celsius.

This sleeping bag is known for offering extreme comfort because of its vast dimensions at the shoulders and tighter fit at the legs.

Made from waterproof material and has no moisture buildup inside or outside the bag.

Hyke & Byke Quandary 15 Degree F 650 Fill Power Hydrophobic Down Sleeping Bag

Hyke & Byke Quandary 15 Degree F 650 Fill Power Hydrophobic Down Sleeping Bag with ClusterLoft Base - Ultra Lightweight 3 Season Men’s and Women’s Mummy Bag Designed for Backpacking

This bag comes with a lifetime warranty and is third-party tested and IDFL Certified. The newest model bag offers warmth, durability, and water-resistance.

It’s made from Hydrophobic 650 FP Duck Down on top, and Allied’s revolutionary LofTech Summit on the bottom where down isn’t necessary. LofTech performs better than down for durability under compression and moisture resistance, and it has been called “the closest synthetic insulation to natural down ever developed” by the Outdoor Industry Association.

Keeps you warm in temperatures as cold as 30 degrees F for men and 50 degrees F for women. Claims to be the lightest weight mummy down sleeping bag available on the market today. Features anti-snag slider, broad shoulders, and large footbox, snag-free velcro, drawstring, horizontal baffles

Oaskys Camping Sleeping Bag – 3 Season Warm & Cool Weather

oaskys Camping Sleeping Bag - 3 Season Warm & Cool Weather - Summer, Spring, Fall, Lightweight, Waterproof for Adults & Kids - Camping Gear Equipment, Traveling, and Outdoors

A three-season sleeping bag designed to keep you comfortable in temps around 30 to 50 degrees F. Weather-resistant design. Separate zipper at the bottom allows you to expose your feet only

Outer Cover made from premium 210T Anti-tearing Polyester Fabric, and the lining is made from 190T polyester pongee. Fill-Material is 100 percent hollow cotton. This bag features a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, and you can return it with no questions asked and get your money back.

What Are The Best Rated Youth Sleeping Bags?

Anyone who has taken kids camping with them knows how fun it can be – and how challenging. Camping is an excellent activity for families with kids of all ages, but it takes some planning and some investment in the right kind of gear. Letting kids use adult equipment and hoping it works out isn’t always the best or safest solution. And when it comes to sleeping bags, it could mean nobody gets a good night of sleep.

Instead, you should invest in a youth sleeping bag that is specially designed for little sleepers. Kids’ sleeping bags aren’t as expensive as the adult versions, so you’ll get exactly what your child needs for a reasonable price.

But how do you choose an excellent youth sleeping bag?

Lightweight-Sleeping-Bag-for-Backpacking

There are a few essential factors you’ll want to consider:

Weight and Insulation

Usually, the weight is only a concern with sleeping bags when you’ll be hiking to your campsite. Often, that’s not something you do with children in tow, at least not for long distances. This means the weight of the sleeping bag isn’t as important. Not to mention, children’s bags are much smaller, which means the weight is automatically reduced.

Insulation is still a concern because it can affect the warmth and comfort of the bag. This is especially true if the bag gets weight. Down-filled bags rarely do you much good, so you’re better off choosing a children’s sleeping bag that’s insulated with synthetic materials. This is not only a good idea because of weather conditions, but also because of spills. If you do opt for a down-filled bag for a kid, make sure it’s water-resistant.

Make Sure Your Sleeping Bag and Sleeping Pad Are the Correct Size

Temperature Rating

The last thing any parent wants when camping with their child is to wake up to complaints of being too hot or too cold. And if the sleeping bag is not appropriate for the temperatures you’ll be camping in, it can be a downright dangerous situation. This is why it’s so important to check the temperature rating on the bag.

Most sleeping bags use the EN 113537 scale to determine temperature rating. It was developed in Europe, but it’s used for most North American brands now, as well. It provides three temperature ratings, including:

  • Comfort rating, which is the lowest temperature the bag will keep the average cold sleeper comfortable at.
  • Lowest-limit rating, which is the lowest temperature the bag will keep the average warm sleeper comfortable at.
  • Extreme rating, which is the average temperature the bag is safe to use it.

When it comes to the temperature of a kid’s sleeping bag, you can also consider the seasonal rating. Most three-season bags are comfortable in temperatures as low as the 20s, approximately, so they are usually suitable for spring, summer, and fall camping in most locations.

However, if you plan to camp during the winter in a location with colder conditions, you’ll need a bag that’s suitable for the teens or lower. For a child, it’s a good idea to get a bag that can handle subzero temps if you plan to camp during the winter. Kids tend to be warmer sleepers, but you want to make sure they are safe and uncomfortable if you’re facing extreme temps.

Style

You’ll want to consider the form or shape of the sleeping bag. Most kids’ bags are fairly standard sizes. Kids’ body types aren’t as varied as adults, so you don’t need to worry about extra-long or extra-wide bags. You will want to make sure the bag fits snugly around your child’s body because this helps to hold in the heat.

Heat loss is one of the main reasons it’s not smart to allow a child to use an adult sleeping bag. The large empty spaces allow pockets of cold air to get into the bag, and you aren’t able to use body heat as efficiently when the bag isn’t snug to the body.

Price

Finally, you’ll want to consider the cost of the bag. Because they are smaller, most youth sleeping bags tend to be less expensive than adult bags.  You can get high-quality children’s sleeping bags for as little as $50 to $100. This might seem like a lot, but when you consider the adult version of the same bag would run you up to $400 or $500, it’s easy to see how much you’re saving on the smaller bag.

The cheapest bags, the ones you usually find with novelty characters for about $20 to $25, aren’t suitable for outdoor camping. They’ll work for indoor sleepovers, but if your child is in scouts or you’re planning a family camping trip, you’ll want to spring for a high-quality bag that’s a little more expensive.

Sleeping-Bag-Temperature-Rating

Our Picks for Best Youth Sleeping Bags

Now that you have some idea what is essential in a youth sleeping bag, here’s our list for the top picks available.

Big Agnes Wolverine Kids’ Synthetic Sleeping Bag

Big Agnes Wolverine 15 Kids' Synthetic Sleeping Bag, Red, Right

This sleeping bag is a great option for kids who are camping in frigid temperatures – 15 to 20 degrees or so. This bag has several great features, including a pillow pocket. It’s fairly lightweight for a cold-weather bag and has a mummy design, so it keeps kids warm even in frigid temps.

The North Face Dolomite Sleeping Bag

The North Face Youth Dolomite 20F/-7C, Cosmic Blue/Zinc Grey, Regular

This North Face bag is great for kids. It weighs just slightly over two pounds and is made from water-resistant materials. It’s a pretty warm bag with a sturdy zipper. It also has a pillow pocket and comes with storage back and stuff sack.

Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Under $150

Backpacking and camping are great hobbies, but like most hobbies, they can get expensive. The good news is backpacking is a great way to save money overall. After all, there are few things more cost-effective than walking through the wilderness and sleeping in the great outdoors instead of in a hotel. Camping and backpacking are the most affordable options for traveling, especially if you’re budget-conscious when choosing your gear.

The trick to planning a successful backpacking trip that is affordable is to find quality gear at a reasonable price. You don’t want to buy gear that is too cheap because you’re going to get lower quality. That can make things pretty uncomfortable when you’re spending time outdoors, especially if you intend to sleep under the stars. It can also be dangerous if you sacrifice certain features in equipment to save yourself money.

So, is it possible to get a quality sleeping bag at a reasonable price? Can you find something that will suit your needs for under $150? We think so.

Comfortable Sleeping Bag Under $150

We’ve put together a list of our favorite backpacking sleeping bags for under $150

Some are significantly under that price point. But first, let’s consider what you should look for in a sleeping bag.

Lightweight and Isolation type

Perhaps the most important consideration for backpacking sleeping bags is weight. You want a bag that is lightweight as possible while still offering appropriate warmth and protection. Backpacking means you’ll be carrying everything you need for your time away on your back, so the lighter, the better for all of the items. And since your sleeping bag is one of the largest items you’ll have, it’s imperative you choose something as light as possible.

The type of insulation in your bag is going to affect a few things. Down-filled bags tend to be warmer than synthetic, so if you are concerned about cold weather, you might want to lean toward natural filled bags. Down filling tends to be lighter weight, too. However, down bags don’t stand up to wetness as well as synthetics do and they are a lot more expensive, so you might not have that many down options in the price range. You can find a quality synthetic filled bag at less than $150, and the chances are that’s your best bet if budget is an issue for you.

Temperature Rating

As you want to consider the season and conditions you’ll be camping in and choose a bag with an appropriate temperature rating. Chances are for less than $150 you aren’t going to get something suitable for subzero temps, so limit yourself to camping in three seasons until you’re able to afford a more highly rated bag. However, for this price point, you can find plenty of fantastic bags that will keep you comfortable in temps below freezing. Some bags are even safe for camping in temperatures as low as the teens.

Remember, when choosing a bag, consider the 20-degree rule. If a bag says it’s rated for as low as 10 degrees, that means you’ll probably be warm and cozy in temps as low as 30 degrees. You’ll survive in colder weather, but you’re not going to get as good a night of sleep, especially if you tend to be a cold sleeper.

Size and Shape

You’ll want to consider two factors when looking at the size of the bag: the size it is when it’s packed up and you’re carrying it, and the size it is when it’s unrolled and you’re sleeping inside of it. Obviously, one affects the other. You want a bag that’s large enough to fit your body comfortably, but small enough to help you retain heat and that fits easily on your back with your other equipment.

The shape of your bag can affect comfort and how warm the bag can keep you. Mummy bags tend to be warmer, but they are smaller overall, and many sleepers find them too constricting. Mummy bags are also usually lighter weight because fewer of them feature zippers. You can find bags of any shape in this price range, so it really comes down to a matter of personal preference.

Durability

Finally, you’ll want to evaluate the durability of a bag. Consider what it’s made from and what other campers have had to say about the bag. Even though budget is an issue, you’re still investing up to $150, which is a solid chunk of change for most people. You’ll want to get a sturdy, long-lasting bag for this price, even if it lacks some of the features available in more expensive bags. You’re looking for simple and high-quality, as opposed to a cheap knock-off of a bag with all the bells and whistles.

Our Choices for Sleeping Bags under $150

Marmot Trestles 30 Mummy Sleeping Bag

Marmot Trestles 30 Long Mummy Sleeping Bag, 30-Degree Rating

The Marmot Trestles Bag is known for keeping camping warm for an affordable price. Both layers feature 70D polyester, which is durable and able to stand up to the elements. And of course, it’s a mummy bag, so if you need to you can cover yourself head-to-toe and pull the closure around your face. It’s filled with Spirafil High Loft insulation, which adds extra warmth. We love this bag because it offers comfort and warmth for the more-than-reasonable price below $100.

Teton Sports TrailHead +20F Ultralight

TETON Sports TrailHead Sleeping Bag for Adults; Lightweight Camping, Hiking, Orange/Grey, Adult - 87

This is Teton’s basic bag that offers comfort in temps as low as 20 degrees F. This makes it a great three-season sleeping bag. It is water-resistant and features a Double-brushed Poly lining that is soft and comfortable. It’s a thin bag, so it’s lightweight, but it’s fairly warm considering its size. It features an interior pocket for your belongings and can be purchased for $50

Teton Sports Tracker +5F Ultralight

TETON Sports Tracker Ultralight Mummy Sleeping Bag; Lightweight Backpacking Sleeping Bag for Hiking and Camping Outdoors; All Season Mummy Bag; Sleep Comfortably Anywhere; Green/Grey

Another bag from Teton, this is one of the most versatile you’ll find at this price point. It’s lightweight and thin, so it’s great for backpacking. But it claims to keep you warm at temps as low as 5 degrees. These bags have the unique feature of shaping to fit your body, which is great for using your body heat to add extra warmth.

The bag features an interior pocket for belongings you want to keep close to you while you sleep. We think this is a fantastic backpacking sleeping bag for those who are going on heavy-duty hiking trips with just the bare minimum along with them. It’s available below $100.

 

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