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Sleeping bags are a must if you want to fully get the outdoor experience. Whether you’re a fan of camping, hiking, or anything of the sort, getting a sleeping bag is a pretty integral part of ensuring you have the best time when you’re outdoors.
With that said, there are several things you want to consider when you’re getting a sleeping bag, for example, you’ll need to take into consideration the weight and size of your gear as well as the overall conditions of the place you’re going to be staying in, and of course, your personal preferences will come into play.
Now, when it comes to how much you’ll need to spend, it can vary from anywhere from $50 to $500 depending on the brand, the features, and the build quality of the bag. We’ll be listing 5 of the best sleeping bags for each category so you’ll be able to figure out what the best one for you.
As a bonus, we’ll also be including a guide on what to look for in a sleeping bag, so you don’t find yourself lost if you choose to go out hunting for a sleeping bag. And now, without further ado, let us start with the list
1. MaSrmot Phase 20
This is easily one of the best sleeping bags on the market. It’s warm, cozy, compressible and very versatile as it won’t be occupying much space thanks to its compressibility.
- Anatomical wrap-around footbox increases insulation and room for your feet
- More warmth and comfort
The Marmot Phase 20 sleeping bag features a fluffy goose down and a nylon shell that is water resistant and meticulously made to be as high quality as they come. You can also expect this baby to be very resilient to moisture and other unfavorable conditions. Additionally, the down is covered in a baffle construction to make sure it doesn’t bunch over itself.
When it comes to the design of the bag, it’s a mummy-style design that optimizes insulation and ensures that all of your body stays warm. You can expect to stay warm even in the coldest conditions.
When you mix all of these features and benefits together in one product, you get a sleeping bag that is truly worthy of the number one spot on this list. We highly recommend the Marmot Phase 20 for anyone who has the budget for it.
- Passive draft collar
2. Big Agnes Yock 0
What if we told you that this bag could keep you warm even in sub-zero temperatures without being cumbersome or costly? That’s one, really bold claim, and it is one that the Big Agnes Yock delivers on in spades.
- Traditionally insulated bag designed without the integrated pad sleeve found on Big Agnes System bags; Traditional mummy shape allows for light weight and increased thermal value
- Contoured hood follows the shape of your head for a more comfortable fit; Low profile cordlock lets you un-cinch the hood with one hand
This is a very great sleeping bag if you’re going to places where temperatures tend to be very low. Everything about this sleeping bag’s design is meant to optimize it for harsh conditions with as little cost as possible. It is also rather durable and very cost effective. Did we mention that it is lighter than its competition? Yep, that is also a big thing as it can help you save space for other things to pack and also lighten the burden.
- Lofty feeling
- Supreme fabric
- Extra vertical room
- Weak zipper
3. Western Mountaineering UltraLite 20
While we’re on the subject of burdens and weight, we can’t forget about this little beauty. The UltraLite is an impressively light, very durable bag that is also quite versatile thanks to its full-length zipper for those hot summer nights.
- Material: [shell] ExtremeLite, [lining] nylon taffeta
- Insulation: 850+ fill down
While there are other very lightweight options on the market, few of them can match this one in terms of features and luxury. For such a light sleeping bag, this is a very comfy bag that comes with all of the features you can expect from a luxurious sleeping bag.
- Warm, warm, warm!
- Breathable material
- Zipper garage to protect your skin
- The zipper snags easily
4. Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700
If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like sleeping bags because you think they lack in comfort, then the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700 is sure to change your mind with its wealth of features that make it unrivaled among its peer sleeping bags. For starter, this bag does not include any zippers, which means that you won’t have to worry about them causing any sort of discomfort. Instead, it has a built-in comforter.
- Material: [shell] 20D polyester ripstop, [lining] 20D polyester taffeta
- Insulation: 700-fill Dridown
Once you’re inside it, you’ll find that it has plenty of room so you can rest assured that you’ll sleep comfortably even during cold weather. It is also comfortable in hot weather since it allows you to push your feet out into the fresh air thanks to an overlapping flap.
Simply put, this bag is an excellent choice for those who are new to the concept of sleeping in these bags.
- Feels lofty
5. Kelty Cosmic 20
If you’re running a tight budget but still want something that is of high quality, there no better sleeping bag than this one in our opinion. The Kelty Cosmic 20 will amaze you with how great and comfortable it is, especially when you see its price.
- Made in USA or Imported
While not the warmest or most comfy on the list, it offers the best quality to price ratio here. It’s also still a great three season sleeping bag thanks to its heat retaining design.
When it comes to moisture resistance, it also delivers on that aspect thanks to its use of Dridown which prevents the down from absorbing any water, letting it slide down instead.
- Excellent for stomach sleepers
- Bulky and heavy
Choosing the Best Sleeping Bag – Buying Guide
Distinguishing between a good sleeping bag and a bad one trickles down to knowing what to look for in the first place. Here’s what you need to keep an eye out when you’re looking to buy a sleeping bag.
Sleeping bags can come in several different sizes. This is mainly done so that anyone, no matter their size, can enjoy a comfy good night’s sleep when in the outdoors. In order to get the sleeping bag which suits you the best, you need to make sure that you don’t get one which is too big, so you stay warm, while also not getting one that is too restrictive.
What we recommend is that you get a sleeping bag that has the same height as you, and when it comes to the width, just go with something that lets you comfortably change sleeping positions without any major discomfort.
You can also find bags that are suited for men and ones that are more suited for women. While there is a difference in body shape, we still recommend prioritizing the height and width of a bag over which gender it is meant for. Just so you guarantee that you’ve got the best bag for yourself, it’s best to try it out before buying if possible.
We talked about weight before and mentioned how important it is. You’ll always want to go with something that is not going to wear you down with its weight as you’ll probably going to be hauling that bag as you go hike and the last thing you want is a bag that is heavy and tiresome to carry around.
Well, what do we mean exactly by light? Light bags usually weigh between 2 and 3 pounds and are also often more expensive. There are also ultra-light bags that weigh 1 pound or even less. With that said, a lighter bag often comes at the price of worse insulation, so it’s all about finding a compromise between weight and insulation.
This is an indicator of the temperatures at which the sleeping bag will still keep you warm.
There are also other indicators you can find on some sleeping bags such as comfort rating and lower limit. The former will indicate the temperature at which the bag will keep you comfortably warm. The latter shows the lowest temperature at which the sleeping bag will keep you alive. It is usually 15 degrees lower than the comfort rating, so you can use either score to figure out the other if it’s missing.
You might find EN next to the ratings on some sleeping bags. EN stands for European Norm, which is a rating system that standardizes temperature ratings for all sleeping bags.
- EN Comfort: This is an indicator of the lowest temperature a woman will be able to comfortably sleep in a while wearing a hat and long underwear.
- EN Lower Limit: This is an indicator of the lower temperature a man will be able to sleep in comfortably. Note that men tend to sleep warmer than women.
- EN Upper Limit: This is an indicator of the highest temperature a man can sleep in without sweating
- EN Extreme: This is an indicator of the lowest temperature a woman can sleep in without the risk of hypothermia
Insulation is often confused for Temperature Ratings. In reality, the two signs are not the same thing.
When it comes to insulation, sleeping bags can either use synthetic down or down.
- Synthetic Sleeping Bags: These bags tend to be cheaper, but that comes at the cost of more weight
- Sleeping Bags with Down Insulation: These bags tend to be more easily compressible, lighter, and more durable. However, you’ll find that they are also more expensive than their synthetic counterparts.
Down Fill Power
Fill power indicates the quality of the down filler. It ranges from 500 to 900. You can say that it measures how fluffy the sleeping bag is.
Simply put, the lower the fill power, the heavier the bag will be. However, sleeping bags with a lower fill power tend to be better at keeping you warm.
This indicates the overall quality of them down. To keep it short and sweet, the more down compared to feather, the higher quality the down will be. Just so we’re clear, an 80/20 ratio means that 80% is down and the other 20% is feather.
There are two main sleeping bag shapes to look out for
- Mummy Shape: Just as the name implies, these sleeping bags will tuck you and your head in just like a mummy. This shape is more optimized for cold and windy weather since it offers great insulation around your head. As a result, they are also heavier and overall bulkier.
- Quilt-Style: These bags are shaped like a down comforter and are meant to be used just like one. These bags are lighter than their mummy-shaped counterparts and are optimized for mild environments.
Waterproofing/ Water Resistance
The majority of sleeping bags you’ll find on the market will have a nylon shell on the outside that is either be waterproof or water resistance. This means that the bag should be able to withstand unfavorable weather conditions.
With that said, this waterproofing capability will eventually weaken over time so that something that you’ll have to keep in mind.
One last thing we need to tell you about is that there are some bags that can stay warm even when they’re wet. However, this does not mean that they’ll also stay comfortable as that’s far from the truth. Just make sure to keep your sleeping bag dry at all times if possible.
Sleeping bags can have zippers that are either full-length, three-quarters, or other varying lengths. Full-length zippers tend to be more versatile. However, they are also heavier than sleeping bags that have three-quarter zippers or other non-full-length zippers. It’s always a matter of finding a compromise between flexibility and portability.
Sleeping bags are a staple of any outdoor trip, which is why you must pay special attention to how you choose yours. When looking for the best sleeping bag, make sure to set a budget and go over our buying guide before delving into the recommendation. That way, you’ll be able to pick the right product for your camping arsenal easily.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to get your new sleeping bag, pack it, and hit the road!