Many people assume that a sleeping bag is something you just zip yourself up in and fall asleep. In reality, it is one of the most critical components of your camping trip! Spending the night in the wilderness comes with a whole array of new variables like temperature, wind, precipitation, animals, unfamiliar noises, etc. If you plan on getting a good night’s sleep on your trip, keep one thing constant; a comfortable sleeping arrangement! We evaluate these products using the following criteria:
- Temperature & Insulation
- Shape & Fit
- Sleeping Bag Accessories
Temperature & Insulation
One of the toughest things to deal with in a camping or backpacking scenario is plummeting night time temperatures. If your equipment isn’t up to snuff, you’ll be an ice cube by morning. Sleeping bags are rated based on their ability to keep the average user warm in a specific temperature range.
- Summer | 35+ Degrees
- 3-Season | 10 to 35 Degrees
- Cold Weather | -10 to 10 Degrees
- Extreme Cold Weather | Below -10 Degrees
You’ll need to evaluate the environment that you’ll be sleeping in, in order to choose the best bag for you. Also consider your own personal sleeping habits. Are you usually cold at night or do you kick the blankets off in your sleep? Factors like body type, circulation, and metabolism can affect your comfortable sleeping temperature and should be taken into account. You’ll also need to think about what you’ll be wearing to sleep, which will certainly affect your temperature needs.
These temperature ratings are achieved by using varying amounts and types of insulation. Goose down is a very high quality insulator, which unfortunately comes with a high price tag. Down feathers is the animal’s natural insulator, which makes it a great choice for keeping you warm. You’ll find some higher end bags using this insulation, which also allows for higher compression and a smaller packing footprint. The more common type of down is Synthetic. Synthetic down is cheaper, quickly drying, non allergenic, and will withstand years of abuse. Synthetic down comes in a number of different custom names like Coletherm and PrimaShield.
Here’s a nice video that demonstrates the usefulness of Synthetic vs. Natural insulation:
Shape & Fit
Most casual sleeping bags are a standard Rectangular fit. These offer a comfortable and more universal fit that will work for most people. Rectangular bags typically zip up on one side and can be linked up with another bag of identical zipper type. If you like a lot of wiggle room, or if you have someone to share it with, you should look into a double-wide two person! Most summer and 3-season bags will come in a rectangular shape.
Barrel or tapered fit bags are usually better suited for colder weather. This type of sleeping bag conforms tighter to the body, thus sealing in body heat that a rectangular bag may waste. For extreme cold weather, you’ll find that a Mummy sleeping bag is the most common shape and the best choice for the temperature range. Mummy bags take the barrel style to the next level and conform tightly to your body for maximum efficiency. Most also have a head wrap which allows you to fully encase your body inside the bag. Shape and fit are important things to take into account, because they modify the effective temperature range.
Finally, you should review the actual dimensions to make sure that you’ll fit it in! There are many different lengths available for taller users as well as varying widths. Keep in mind that bags designed specifically for women will typically be shorter in length and wider in the middle.
1. Shell – Sleeping bags usually have exterior shells made of rip-stop nylon. Durability is the key when you’re in the outdoors and nylon or polyester shell should do the trick. Many also have a water resistant coating to keep dew and light rain from seeping down into your bed. A wet sleeping bag is not only uncomfortable, but will decrease the effective temperature rating significantly.
2. Liner – The inside of the bag is generally a soft quilted or flannel cotton liner. The inside of the bag will not be water resistant, so that the bag can disperse any moisture from the body.
3. Hood – As mentioned above, bags for cold weather will have an attached hood. This allows you to fully enclose your body and trap the most amount of body heat. Maximum efficiency is the key to staying warm in extremely cold temperatures.
Sleeping Bag Accessories
1. Sleeping Bag Liners – All bags have built in liners, but you can actually add an additional one. Benefits of a secondary liner include increased temperature rating (of up to 15 degrees!), extra waterproofing, and a more comfortable inside. You can actually buy a silk sleeping bag liner for maximum comfort! Liners make great additions to your gear bag if you plan on travelling to a location that is outside your normal temperature range.
2. Storage – All sleeping bags come with a stuff or compression bag of some sort, but there are aftermarket storage options for specific applications. Going rafting? The best sleeping bag storage for you better be waterproof! You can also buy storage sacks for long term use that don’t compress the bag as much (thus leading to longer useful life).
3. Pillows – The essential piece of the comfort puzzle! Some of the best sleeping bags actually have built in pockets to hold your camp pillow.
4. Sleeping Bag Pad – Need some extra cushion between you and that rock hard ground you’re sleeping on? A sleeping bag pad is the solution. Air based pads are a good lightweight solution. You body heat will warm up the layer of air, creating extra insulation between you and the cold surface you’re laying on. Foam pads can be bulky, but offer increased durability and don’t need to be inflated.
The best choice is the one that fits you and the environment that you’ll be camping in. Below are some of the best sleeping bags, find the one that is right for you!
Check out the 11 Best Sleeping Bags on the market right now:
1. Outdoor Vitals – Down 0 Degree Down Sleeping Bag
It’s time to stop sleeping cold or packing too heavy! Enjoy warmer nights, lighter packs and more happy outdoor experiences now! Highest quality down fill (800 fill power or 90/10 down to feather ratio) generates amazing weight to warmth ratios! Weights in at 2lbs 13oz for bag only, compresses down to 11×8 inches easily! Double draw string design allows the user to keep cold air out. Comes with compression bag for travel & hanging hooks for storage!
2. Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed 600-Fill Sleeping Bag
Sierra sleeping bags were designed in response to monumental deficiencies in traditional backpacking bags. Old-fashioned mummy bags were designed to be thermally efficient, but the resulting product doesn’t know whether it wants to be a bed or a garment. As a result, they perform poorly in both applications and so Sierra Designs has introduced the most versatile and intuitive sleeping bag design on the market. Free of extraneous hardware such as zippers or Velcro, the versatile oversized comforter is free to be tucked into or pulled out of the bag opening – adapting to any of the sleeping positions you prefer-back, stomach or side. Adjusting to variable temperatures throughout the night is equally intuitive. Tuck the sides of the comforter snuggly around and beneath you when the temperature drops, or pull out and tuck back the comforter during warmer nights. It’s the ultimate in flexibility and comfort. DriDown technology represents the evolution of down insulation and is treated with a molecular polymer that creates a hydrophobic finish on each individual down plume. DriDown stays dry longer, lofts better and dries faster than untreated down. Greater warmth in any environment. Regular Weight: 2 pounds, 7 ounces, Long Weight: 2 pounds, 11 ounces. Stuff size: 7.5″ x 15″.
3. Hyke & Byke Snowmass 0 Degree Down Sleeping Bag
This premium quality ultralight 0 Degree mummy duck down sleeping bag for backpacking is the lightest, most compressible bag with the highest quality available. Professionally designed for thru-hiking, backpacking, and camping, this bag boasts superior weight-to-warmth ratio and the ultimate sleeping bag for saving space and weight. This bag comes with top of the line 400T Rip-Stop Nylon Fabric, heavy duty YKK zippers, grid designed baffles to retain heat evenly, 90/10 premium quality duck down filling to ensure extra loft and an amazing warmth-to-weight ratio! Fits up to 6′ 1″ tall and weighs 3.86 lbs.for size Regular and 6′-6″ at 4.14 lbs for size long even with the free compression bag included!
4. Hyke & Byke Quandary 15 Degree F Ultralight Mummy Down Sleeping Bag
Save space and shave weight with ultralight premium quality duck down filling (superior to synthetic) – nature’s best light insulator with the highest warmth-to-weight ratio to beat the cold outdoor winter weather. Stay warm as a result of duck down insulation capabilities and waterproof fabrics. Hike Farther with the lightest mummy down sleeping bag available (weighs 3.15 lbs. for size regular and 3.32 lbs. for size long). Long lasting durability from ultralight water repellent 400t 20 d ripstop nylon fabric liner with two ykk zippers, wide shoulders and large footbox, snag-free velcro, drawstring, horizontal baffles, and compression stuff sack case for storage included.
5. Browning Camping Klondike -30 Degree Sleeping Bag
The Klondike is a “heavy duty” oversized hooded rectangle bag. The Klondike uses Techloft insulation. Techloft insulation consists of multi-hole staple-length micro-denier fibers that have a siliconized finish for maximum insulation, loft, and compactness. The Techloft insulation will keep you warm and toasty on those colder nights when you’d prefer to have more “wiggle room” than you get with your mummy bag. It uses two layer offset construction to eliminate cold spots. For transporting, they include webbing straps with quick release buckles that keep your “rolled-up bag” secure.
6. Kelty Tuck 22 Degree Sleeping Bag
Like being comfortable outdoors? It’s hard not to have an affinity for the fully featured, highly versatile Tuck 22°F sleeping bag. Filled with performance ThermaPro™ insulation that’s designed to retain warmth and easily compress, this bag takes synthetic fiber blend to a whole other level. There’s even a unique comfort tuck that you can unzip, to put your feet out on a warmer night. Wherever you’re going, this is sure to become your go-to bag.
7. Coleman North Rim Extreme Weather Sleeping Bag
A loaded 0° mummy bag at an unheard of price. the coleman north rim 0 degree sleeping bag has all the features you’d expect from a technical sleeping bag. Double batt, offset quilt construction eliminates potential cold spots. Semi sculpted hood surrounds head with warmth. Insulated chest baffle holds heat in the body of the bag. Box foot silhouette fives feet extra wiggle room. Full length, insulated draft tube locks out chilly drafts. 2-way zipper for maximum ventilation. Stuff sack included. 5 year limited warranty. Commercial machine washable.
8. TETON Sports Mammoth Queen Size Sleeping Bag
A truly HUGE family camping bag, the Mammoth easily fits couples and even a child or pet. It’s nearly as big as a queen size bed, with zippers on both sides to get in and out without waking up your partner and controlling the temperature on each side. A third zipper on bottom means you can separate the bag into two quilted blankets. Use the side zippers to connect an unlimited number of Mammoth bags. The Mammoth has two choices for warmth. The Green Mammoth bag is very warm, rated for -18°C/0°F and the Grey Mammoth bag is warm, rated for -7°C/+20°F and both are made with the same construction and materials as the highly-rated TETON Sports Celsius series sleeping bags. Both contain SuperLoft Elite 4-channel hollow fiber insulation with Double layer offset stitching. Shoulder baffle cinches around the top to trap warm air inside the bag. Full-length side draft tubes and Velcro tabs at the top of zippers keep zippers in place and cold air out. Drawstring mummy-style hood can be flipped over head and ears. Includes a massive stuff sack with compression straps. If you stuff rather than roll, they promise the bag will fit.
9. Grizzly by Black Pine 2-Person Sleeping Bag
For couples camping, this two-person sleeping bag from Grizzly by Black Pine shares the same superior insulation and comfort features you’ll find in the Grizzly one-person version, but with a larger sleeping area to accommodate two adult sleepers. It’s available in three temperature ratings (-25-, 0-, and +25-degree) and in either cotton duck canvas or polyester ripstop exterior fabric. Both the cotton and ripstop models feature two-layer offset construction, ensuring the seams don’t overlap to prevent cold spots. The super-large windstop walls along the zippers, thick chest baffles, and double-layer offset quilting will keep everyone toasty, while the giant built-in hood helps keep warmth from escaping at head level. The bags features a microfiber insulation fill as well as a flannel lining to add to the cozy factor. Each measures 90 inches long and 65 inches wide (shoulder to foot). Machine washable on the gentle cycle, it should be hung to dry. Stuff sack with compression straps included.
10. Coleman The Tandem 2 Person Rectangular 45 Degree Sleeping Bag
Why put a couple of zippers between you? Double up with the Coleman the tandem 2 person rectangular 45 degree sleeping bag. Quick and easy rolling and folding. Plows fabric away from the zipper to prevent snags. Storage tote with adjustable shoulder strap included.
11. Ohuhu Double Sleeping Bag with 2 Pillows and a Carrying Bag
This Ohuhu Double Camping Sleeping Bag is designed for one couple or family with single young child using in cabins and camping tents outdoor in temperate conditions. It is a must-have item for camping or hiking. Use it has two separate sleeping bags or connect the two together and combine it into one large bed for two. When use it as a double sleeping bag, zippers on both sides design for easy entry and exits. This sleeping bag fits snug into the carrying bag for quick and convenient portability. The carrying bag included can be compressed into 11″ height for portability. Withstands weather of up to 23°F ( -5°C); stay warm and cozy even when it’s 32°F~ 50°F (0°C ~10°C). Don’t look further, this Ohuhu double sleeping bag has everything you’ve been looking for.