The size of the sleeping bag is reasonable for an adult, while two kids can fit in. Widely separated baffles are a recipe for cold spots because there often isn’t enough filling to spread evenly throughout the chamber, so we stayed away from bags with wide baffles. The snap is on the outside of the sleeping bag, which means it can be tough to secure from inside the bag. However, our testers have noticed significant differences in how warm they feel in bags with similar advertised EN ratings. Check out the difference between budget down and ultra-premium. This detail is kind of nice but requires additional weight (zippers are common culprits of adding weight) and results in lower overall versatility than the KSB's smarter design. Depending on the types of overnights you like to do, this may or may not be an important issue. Admittedly, she sleeps cold and usually reaches for a decade-old down bag rated to 0 °F whenever there’s a chance of temperatures dipping into the 30s. Our advice for sleeping bag purchases, therefore, is to follow the airline travel analogy. If moisture can easily seep through the shell fabric, your down will get wet and you’ll feel cold. This is nothing that some strategic cord cinching and careful sleep adjustments can’t fix, but it does seem like a small oversight in an otherwise great bag. These tests use a dummy named Simon that “sleeps” on a 1.5-inch-thick sleeping pad with an R-value (rating of insulation) of 5 while wearing expedition-weight long underwear and thick socks. Assembling all the gear for backpacking is a daunting barrier between many people and a night in the backcountry. For particularly strenuous activities, however, cutting a few ounces can be worth the added cost. The 13 Best Sleeping Bags & Pads of 2017. We consider it one of the best sleeping bag deals out there. Compared with our other picks, this bag has less overall padding inside. While some bags, like the Mountain Hardwear bag we tested, use a stiff fabric for the shell or liner, Marmot’s fabric is soft and silky—some of our testers even called it “seductive.” At first we thought we’d gotten the price wrong because the bag was so extremely puffy and well-made—the Marmot Teton looks and feels like a $400 bag, but it actually costs less than $300. Kit Dillon has worked for Wirecutter for six years in various capacities, writing about everything from backpacks to cooking gear to luggage to road-trip gear to car-camping tents. Most of the other couples she and her husband camped with that weekend were also colder than they would have liked inside rival double bags. (Most bags less than $150 don’t have down filling, and the synthetic filling they do have isn’t the kind of high-quality insulation you’d need on a longer backpacking trip. Ultralight hikers who are counting each ounce in their pack might not consider bags with less than 850 fill power, but we think 600 to 700 fill power is good enough for most people. That’s not great for a dedicated backpacking bag, but for weekend hikers who take only a few longer trips per year, it should be fine. It’s warmer and slimmer than the Montbell Down Hugger, but it’s also among the softest, warmest bags we tested: The fluffy insulation feels plush and almost overstuffed; it swaddles you while you sleep. Car camping is the first experience many people have with sleeping bags and tents, so we started our testing there. When it comes to sleeping bags, we think the lower weight and smaller packed size of a premium bag are easily worth it for frequent, or more serious, backcountry travelers. The Best Backpacking Apparel of 2020. Our testers overwhelmingly noted this comfortable and homey design. The problem is exaggerated if you pitch your tent on anything but perfectly flat ground. The North Face … Even though it only weighs two pounds, seven ounces it’s packed with one pound, nine ounces of HL-ElixR™ synthetic insulation to give it a warm feel … Features like a neck baffle and an easy to adjust hood help keep warm air in and cold air out. If you always camp with a partner, you may want to consider a purpose-built double sleeping bag. Men’s and women’s bags often come in different sizes based on length and width (think of short, regular, long, wide). Photo: Caleigh Waldman, The Super Spiral-Stretch System sounds like marketing BS, but the bag itself was very comfortable to sleep in—especially for our more restless testers, who found mummy bags to be too constricting. One bag in this review takes the zipper length even further for more versatility. The most distinctive feature of the Big Agnes bag is its integrated sleeping-pad sleeve that allows it to dispense with insulation in the bottom half of the bag. Consider using a sleeping bag liner. The Teton is one of a few backpacking bags we tested that includes a zip pocket accessible from the inside of the bag. Limit ratings, on the other hand, refer to survivable temperatures. The best backpacking sleeping bag on a budget doesn't have to be made of budget-quality material to save on costs. Insulation: Most well-designed women’s bags have additional insulation to protect the areas where the majority of people are more sensitive to changes in temperature: the feet, the head, and the upper body. REI Co-op Women's Joule 21: This bag is aimed toward campers who want a down bag but are concerned about keeping it dry in damp conditions. If you’re going to be investing in a high-quality double bag like this one, we recommend pairing it with a double pad that fits perfectly. The reasonably priced, poly-fill Siesta 30 is great if you need a bag that you’ll use primarily for car camping—it’s warm, comfortable, moisture resistant, easy to clean, and easy to stuff away. Several bags in this review, including the Trestles 30, are advertised as backpacking sleeping bags but are really better suited for car camping due to their substantial weight. It’s not made of advanced materials, either, and it would be considered heavy by thru-hikers. increases their longevity and ensures you won’t wake up to a dead battery. Enough users have complained about it that the company actually posted a video proving that it can be done. If you're searching for the absolute best bargain on a sleeping bag that's suitable for backpacking, our recommendation is the REI Trailbreak 30. To insulate against the cold, down needs to be able to fluff out as much as possible. Unlike other mummy bags, this adaptive stretch is included in the footbox, which is flexible between your feet rather than wrapped around them like traditional muffler-shaped footboxes. When they do, your comfort and safety often depend on the performance of your sleeping bag. Picking the best sleeping bag, however, is not as simple as picking the bag with the highest warmth score. Today, that's thankfully no longer the case. For evaluating the minimum packed size, we tried to keep things fair by using the same 15L Outdoor Research compression sack for all the bags. Down is expensive but light, compresses well, and proves to be incredibly insulating for its weight. As we mentioned above, the best way to stay warm is to avoid having body parts in constant contact with your sleeping bag. We’ve included our favorite here, but it’s important to note that many single rectangular bags can zip together with another twin bag to create an impromptu double sleeping bag. That said, we don’t think it would make sense to buy this bag if you’re not intending to use the integrated sleeve. It's not light, compact, or super comfortable, but its performance is good enough for most backcountry applications. The 4" wide piece of red fabric seen here serves as a passive draft collar. REI partners with Rainy Pass Repair to offer a. Sew up any holes by hand. In a slight contradiction, accessory zippers on the Nemo Kyan 35 boost versatility while adding minimal weight. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. The zipper versatility also makes it easier to continue "wearing" your sleeping bag on cold mornings as you prepare breakfast or enjoy a hot beverage. However, if your adventures include hikes through dense woods, off-trail, or even some climbing and scrambling, then a bulkier sleeping bag becomes less desirable. Like the Swallow, the Feathered Friends Egret YF 20 is a high-end bag that is, nonetheless, a rare find for its price. We loved the material for its softness, as well as for the fact that it eliminated the constant swishing noises that inevitably accompany a night in a nylon- or polyester-lined bag. The sleeve fits one of Big Agnes’s 50-by-78-inch double air mattresses (such as the Hinman) or two standard 25-by-78-inch pads, like the Air Core Ultra. The weight or packed size of your sleeping bag matters little if it's uncomfortable. Privacy | Cookies | Terms, The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear. But after three weekend car-camping trips and a half-dozen nights with the bag layered on Kalee’s own bed at home, we’re convinced of the superiority of this design. Many manufacturers use independent, third-party labs to determine temperature ratings based on the universally accepted European Normal (EN) 13537 testing protocol. the world's most carefully tested and objective gear reviews, Awesome warmth-to-weight ratio for the price, very compressible, tons of venting options, nice compression sack included, Thick synthetic insulation, well-balanced performance, easy to use zipper, included stuff sack, Cheap, anti-snag zipper, sturdy materials, versatile synthetic insulation, Inexpensive, burly, decent warmth, roomy fit, Extra-long zipper, lightweight, packs small, unzips into a quilt, Not as warm as its temp rating, no draft collar, uncertain durability, Bulkier than expected, mediocre warmth-to-weight ratio, Moderate warmth-to-weight ratio, doesn't compress well, limited extra features, Heavier than average, bulky, no storage sack, no compression sack, Colder than its warmth rating, no draft collar or stash pocket, unpleasant smell, Great warmth-to-weight ratio for an affordable price, This synthetic mummy bag is simple and effective, Among tough competition, this workhorse holds its own admirably, An affordable option that's still suitable for overnight backpacking, This bag is packable and light, but not very warm. Here, two testers comfortably share a single bag that's been fully unzipped into a quilt. While this bag works just fine, unless you’re in particularly wet conditions, we think you can spend a little less and get a bag, such as our top pick, that’s more comfortable and still plenty water resistant. Best Ultralight Sleeping Pad for Backpacking 1. This model isn't the warmest bag, though, and the 20°F manufacturer rating is somewhat generous. Other bags have clever designs that allow you to adjust the amount of insulation to extend the usable temperature range. However, if you’re packing a small car with a weekend’s worth of stuff, you may be fighting for every inch you can manage. An industry-standard test has been developed to address this problem and to give consumers more consistent temperature ratings. Photo: Caleigh Waldman. Most of our testers think these attachment systems are unnecessary because it can be downright tricky to roll off a pad inside a cramped two-person tent. Thickness: 2.5 in. On chilly mornings, we appreciate a sleeping bag you can unzip all the way around the bottom and "wear" as you sip your coffee. Packability: A bag’s packed size and weight are less of a concern for a car camper than for a thru-hiker out on a monthlong excursion—and it might not be a concern at all for some car campers with larger vehicles. It's not our favorite sleeping bag by any stretch, but it does supply acceptable performance for human-powered adventures. Read review: Kelty Cosmic 20 and Kelty Cosmic 20 - Women's. Warmth doesn't match the temperature rating, Finicky zippers on "gills" and stash pocket, Doesn't compress as well as other down bags. From a materials perspective, most of the budget bags had similarly soft fabric linings made of glossy ripstop nylon. The Siesta 30 is surprisingly warm for how thin it feels. We’ve selected the 650 #1 because of its reasonable price and three-season rating, but if you want to upgrade to a warmer bag, or you want to shave off a little weight with the help of a higher fill power, you’ve got those options. We liked several of the company’s three-season bags, but we’d recommend the unisex 30-degree Swallow YF (formerly called the Osprey) as a good bag for serious backpackers looking for a high-quality, lightweight sleeping bag. Find the perfect bag for your backcountry camping needs with in-depth sleeping bag reviews from Backpacker… It’s billed as a women’s bag, but we found it to be a good bag for anyone shorter than 5-foot-9 who sleeps cold. However, if you're new to backpacking and daunted by steep price tags, this down bag can provide a tremendous performance-to-price ratio. We also look at how each carries, packs, and weighs when loaded up for long adventures. From left to right, bottom row: Nemo Kyan 35, Klymit KSB 35, Mountain Hardwear Lamina 30, Kelty Comsic 20, The North Face Cat's Meow. Draft tubes and draft collars, for example, ensure that heat doesn't escape out the main zipper and hood closure, respectively. These European Norm (EN) ratings use a copper mannequin, rather than a human being, to scientifically measure warmth. A built-in sleeping-pad pocket eliminates the middle-of-the-night bunching and sliding we’ve experienced with other bags (the pad is sold separately). We backpacked and camped with each model, evaluating key metrics like comfort, versatility, and warmth on-trail. Sleeping bag makers have come up with many ways to make their products stand out from the crowd. The Feathered Friends Egret YF 20 is a high-end bag for serious backpackers who want a lightweight and well-constructed bag that will last a lifetime. Our camping specialist at the REI store in Colorado Springs, Colo., puts it this way: “When I’m talking to customers, I tell them that the Magma is the best sleeping bag REI sells. Our backcountry experts have researched 50+ different bags under $200 and purchased 10 to test side-by-side. This feature extends the bag's usable temperature range to colder conditions. It has two short side vents near the chest area, which expand the width of the bag slightly but don’t open up, but we weren’t convinced they made enough difference to justify the extra labor and cost required to add them. Though none of the bags are intended for winter use, Liz also camped out in Colorado in January, sleeping under the stars without a tent near a snow patch. Unfortunately, it is difficult to evaluate the warmth of the bags objectively because none of them adhere to EN standards, protocols in which researchers establish the warmth of a bag through standardized laboratory testing. The lightweight Swallow YF 30 Sleeping Bag is a solid choice for people who bring a sleeping bag with them often while hiking or traveling. Make sure to fluff your bag after it has sat compressed at the bottom of your pack all day. There are two primary types of sleeping bag insulation: down feathers and synthetic fibers. Some of the best pieces came from GearLab, which has many comprehensive reviews. That’s why we examined brands to come up with this list of the backpacking sleeping bag. The zippers include anti-snag covers, which have worked well so far in our testing. A high price tag doesn’t necessarily mean premium quality and with hundreds of different products and brands available, finding the right compromise between cost and functionality can be tricky. R-value: 4.2 What we like: Ultralight, comfortable, and well-built. It didn’t have a built-in draft collar, but the stuffing in the hood was generous enough to make up for it. While Liz was camping in Colorado, her inflatable sleeping pad popped a hole and went flat in the night, but the Teton was so fluffy that her back still felt supported. The Dream Island is also unusually lofty and comfortable—more like sleeping with a big, soft quilt draped over you than bunking in a typical sleeping bag. Unzip both bags fully, lay one on top of the other, then zip them together. Belly- and side-sleepers will especially enjoy the spaciousness of the rectangular design of our top pick, the REI Co-op Siesta 30. Synthetic fibers, in contrast, don't clump when wet and retain a considerable portion of their insulative power even when soaked. Full-length zippers allow you to vent excess heat or use the bag as a blanket on warmer nights. The Montbell Down Hugger is the most versatile sleeping bag we tested. Buy now from Amazon. This design gives you the option to use it as a true quilt or share it between two people on an ultralight mission. Our digital scale, however, accurately measured it at 1.49 pounds. You won’t die, but you certainly won’t be comfortable if you take your 20-degree-limit-rated sleeping bag into 20-degree weather. We spotted a few feather quills poking out during testing, and we saw one review on Marmot’s page complaining about feather leakage in an earlier model. Most backpacking sleeping bags are mummy bags that hug close to the body, holding in heat without drafty gaps of space. We thought that its comfort and price made it a good entry-level bag; anyone could get a decent night’s sleep in it. Behind weight, the second biggest drawback of a budget bag seems to be the packed size. We’ve made your choice a bit simpler by selecting ten of the best backpacking sleeping bags for different price ranges and seasonal needs. Other bags use stiffened fabric adjacent to the zipper to keep the silky lining fabrics away from the zipper's teeth. Fear not, though; there's a 20F version that's filled with six extra ounces of Primaloft Silver insulation. The sleeve stretches over and around the pad to secure it, avoiding the dreaded midnight pad roll-off all too common with nonintegrated setups. If you do manage to find one—and it remains less expensive than our top pick—we still think it makes a good purchase. The Dream Island’s sleeve fits one of Big Agnes’s 50-by-78-inch double air mattresses. While most sleeping bags are quite expensive, this review looks at the best of the bargain options out there. Big Agnes Hazel 15: The down insulation of this bag felt lumpy, and it didn’t have much bounce back. It’s a solid buy for those looking for a more serious lightweight sleeping bag to take backpacking. Though a couple of our tested bags might take up a third of the space in a small trunk and weigh close to 12 pounds, the Dream Island packs down to a relatively compact 13 by 23 inches when in its stuff sack; it weighs 9 pounds 7 ounces. Having undergone thorough testing, we hope that you’re going to find one of them impressive. This is a real problem with some ultralight premium bags that have shrunk their dimensions to shave ounces. The Klymit KSB 35 has a longer-than-full-length zipper that lets you unzip all the way around the foot of the bag. The Egret and Swallow are very light, feel soft against the skin, and are filled with high-quality, responsibly-sourced 950+ goose down. Photo: Caleigh Waldman, No catches: A sturdy nylon ribbon runs the length of the zipper, protecting against snags while you get in and out of the bag. Here are the basics: Jason Wanlass, The Best Sleeping Bags for Camping of 2019, OutdoorGearLab, November 8, 2019, Aaron Martray and Kris Diers, designer and owner and director of operations at Katabatic Gear, in-person interview, February 18, 2018, Kate Mansfield and Emilee Campbell, designers at Marmot, telephone interview, October 26, 2017, Scott Shimonek, designer and owner of Wex Gear, telephone interview, October 26, 2017, Garrett Nixon, production manager and lead designer at Feathered Friends, telephone interview, October 26, 2017, Jessica Haist, How to Choose a Women’s Sleeping Bag, OutdoorGearLab, May 17, 2019, Casey Sumnicht, equipment product manager at Sierra Designs, phone interview, May 2016, Katie Hughes, senior marketing specialist at Big Agnes, interview, 2016, David Creech, The Science of Sleeping Bag Design, Trail Sherpa, March 19, 2013, How to Choose Sleeping Bags for Camping, REI. 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