Whether hunting, mountain biking, motorcycling camping, backpacking, it’s important to get a good night’s rest when spending time in the outdoors to keep you alert, refreshed, and at your best. And while bunking in the backcountry may mean forgoing your bed at home, today’s latest and greatest sleeping bags offer surprisingly-comparable warmth and comfort. A slew of advancement over the last few decades has enabled sleeping bags to perform at remarkable levels, delivering exceptional warmth while still weighing shockingly-little and capable of taking on a highly-compressed form.
However, the varying materials, insulation, and quality of different sleeping bags intended for different applications can make sorting through the scores of available offerings difficult. Furthermore, simply buying the most expensive sleeping bag available is also a bad idea, as utilizing a given model for its intended application and climate is crucial to achieving a comfortable temperature. So no matter what kind of off-grid adventures you’ve got planned, or what type of conditions you’ll be facing, from frigid winter nights to warm and arid summer overnights, we’ve compiled this list of the best presently available sleeping bags for camping.
Getting Comfortable With Backcountry Bedding
The Qualities To Consider When Buying A Sleeping Bag
Shell: A sleeping bag’s first line of defense, the shell — as its name suggests — protects the sleeping bag’s internal layers, and plays a substantial role in both a model’s warmth and ability to protect from the elements, as well as how durable a sleeping bag will be over the years. For more extreme, abusive situations, look for shells with higher denier nylons, or ones backed with wind-stopping materials.
Liner: While not always as impactful as insulation or shells, liners can play a pivotal role in a sleeping bag’s quality and/or performance. Not only can come materials provide incredible warmth, but this mid-layer can also be infused with properties to bolster their heat retention properties, making for even warmer sleeping bags without the added weight of additional insulation.
Insulation: Unsurprisingly, insulation is a major factor in a sleeping bag’s warmth. While there are a handful of insulation types — all varying in cost — capable of delivering sufficient heat, their weights can differ wildly, as can their efficacy. In this area, you want to keep your eyes peeled for insulation type and fill-power figures.
Weight: Like most camping gear, a sleeping bag’s weight ultimately will determine what applications it’s appropriate for. Sleeping bags weighing more than 10lbs might not be a problem for car camping, though they are certainly less-than-ideal for backpacking trips.
Rating: A sleeping bag’s T-Comfort or T-Limit (Lower Limit) tells you how cold of conditions a model can stand up to while still keeping its user safely and comfortably warm. While your first instinct may be to opt for the lowest-rated model available, there is very much such a thing as a sleeping bag that is too warm. You want to find a sleeping bag with an appropriate T-comfort rating relative to your intended uses, or there’s also the option of purchasing a modular sleeping bag system that is conducive to a variety of seasons and conditions.
ALPS Mountaineering Fusion 40 Sleeping Bag
This accessibly-priced sleeping bag forgoes the traditional mummy bag setup in favor of a design that implements a blanket-like hydrophobic-down-filled quilted section that can be detached from the bottom and side. This same section can be slipped into the sleeping bag where a toggle closure system connects to the sides, trapping in warmth. With a 380T 20D nylon shell and liner, stuffed with 2.5 denier TechLoft Micro insulation that enables this sleeping bag to perform in temperatures as low as 40° F. Also equipped with an adjustable drawstring hood, this unique ALPS Mountaineering sleeping bag design ultimately allows for markedly more freedom and range of movement than traditional sleeping bags, making this a great choice, so long as the weather permits it.
Shell: 380T 20D Nylon
Insulation: TechLoft Micro Insulation & Hydrophobic Down
Temperature Rating: 40° F
ALPS OutdoorZ Redwood -25 Degree Flannel Sleeping Bag
Though synthetic materials are king in today’s sleeping bag world, one would still be foolish for overlooking the classic flannel sleeping bag, as this timeless design not only offers incredible comfort but is capable of holding its own against modern synthetic-made offers when it comes to temperature ratings. This particular flannel item from ALPS OutdoorZ features a workwear-style cotton canvas shell paired with a 100% cotton flannel liner and a liberal amount of TechLoft Silver Insulation that makes this old-school sleeping bag good for trips in conditions as low as -25° F. Sporting a rectangular design that measures 38” by 80”, the Redwood -25° F also has a hardwearing #8 zipper, and retro-style roll-up straps with quick-release buckles. Despite its immense warmth, one downside to this offering is its hefty weight.
Shell: Cotton Canvas
Insulation: TechLoft Silver
Temperature Rating: -25° F
L.L.Bean Ultralight Aerogel Sleeping Bag
Anytime we hear about a piece of gear that calls on NASA-developed technology, our ears perk right up, and L.L.Bean’s Ultralight Aerogel Sleeping Bag is no exception. Constructed around a 20D ripstop nylon shell and liner, this mummy-style bag offers incredible warmth thanks to the use of Aerogel: an ultra-advanced form of insulation that was developed by the space agency and is currently the very lightest insulator in existence. For this sleeping bag, L.L. Bean has taken the trick material and infused it into 100-gram Primaloft Gold insulation using what’s called “Cross-Core” technology. Available in regular and long sizes and also offered in a 35° F version, the sleeping bag’s use of Aerogel allows it to keep its user comfortable in temperatures down to 20° F, all while weighing in at under 2lbs.
Shell: 20D Ripstop Nylon
Insulation: 100g Primaloft Gold Insulation & Aerogel
Temperature Rating: 20° F
The North Face One Bag Sleeping Bag
First released over the summer of 2018, The North Face’s One Sleeping Bag is a modular design that can be adjusted to suit a number of different conditions. The One is made up of a trio of sections: the first of which is a sleeping pad (or base mat) with a built-in travel pillow, then a 40° F synthetic layer, and finally a 20° F 800-goose down layer. These aforementioned layers can be used a la cart or combined to form a sleeping bag that’s rated to 5° F. Better yet, it does all of this while weighing in at less than 4lbs. Outfitted with a 20D nylon shell, this modular system allows for backcountry comfort, regardless of what season it is.
Shell: 20D Nylon
Insulation: 800-fill Goose Down
Temperature Rating: 5°, 20°, 40° F
Big Agnes Camp Robber Double Bedroll Blanket
It’s hard to match the comfort of your bed at home while camping, but if any modern day offering comes close, it’s Big Agnes’ Camp Robber Double Bedroll Blanket. Designed to provide a plush off-grid sleeping arrangement for two, this item is comprised of a roll-up, pad sleeve (pad sold separately) with a rugged polyester ripstop bottom, a soft poly-cotton fitted cover, and a pair of slots to accommodate pillows. A detachable comforter with quilted construction can be used as a regular blanket or can be zipped to the bottom pad for a sleeping bad-style setup. And, despite its relatively ample size, the use of a lightweight shell and 600-Fill DownTek insulation allows this backwoods-ready bedroll to clock in at less than 3.5lbs. Transporting this two-person sleeping bag is a breeze, too, thanks to an integrated bedroll-style stuff sack with carrying handles and adjustable compression straps.
Shell: Polyester Taffeta
Insulation: 600-Fill DownTek
Temperature Rating: 45° F
NEMO Riff 15 Sleeping Bag
NEMO is known for producing updated, modern versions of outdoor gear, from its advanced cooking systems to its pressurized camp showers, to its sleeping bags. One of the brand’s most popular models is its Riff 15, thanks to a DWR-coated 20D ripstop nylon shell, 30D nylon taffeta lining, and 800-fill-power down that come together to offer a T-comfort rating of 15° F. What makes this item unique, however, is its versatility, with “Thermo Gills” and an extended draft collar that allow warm air to be trapped inside, or released in less extreme climates. And, in addition to a waterproof yet breathable foot-box, this bag boasts a unique “Spoon” shape that affords its user markedly more space and movement around the elbows and knees.
Shell: 20D Ripstop Nylon
Insulation: 800-Fill-Power PFC-Free Down
Temperature Rating: 15° F
Rab Mythic Ultra 360 Sleeping Bag
The newest entry on this list, the Rab Mythic Ultra 180 is another thoroughly modern sleeping bag, calling on advanced materials and manufacturing techniques to deliver an offer that’s incredibly warm and durable, though still extremely lightweight. Rated to 32° F, the Mythic Ultra 180 utilizes a specially-developed Fluorocarbon free Hydrophobic Down developed by the folks at Nikwax. And, while this item does have a trapezoidal baffle chamber design and baffle construction, what really makes it shine is its lining’s fabric which is interwoven with titanium, reflecting heat and bolstering warmth without adding weight, allowing for a wildly-impressive, featherlight sub-1lb weight. Rab has also implemented this titanium-backed technology into a number of other sleeping bags with different lengths and temperature ratings, too.
Shell: 7D Ripstop Nylon
Insulation: 900+ FP European Goose Down
Temperature Rating: 32° F
Patagonia 850 Down Sleeping Bag 30°F / -1°C – Long
Even prior to the company’s inception in 1973, Patagonia’s founder (and avid climber), Yvon Chouinard was designing and hand-making his own bespoke sleeping bags. So, in 2017 when the California-based outdoor brand announced that it would be launching a new line of sleeping bags that employs a host of materials, technology, and manufacturing techniques used in Patagonia’s jackets, it was a fairly big deal. The highly-anticipated result was a plainly-named range of bags including the 850 Down Sleeping Bag. Inside its DWR-coated 15D nylon ripstop Pertex Quantum fabric this sleeping bag boasts ethically-sourced (and traceable) 850-fill-power down. This ultimately makes for a hardwearing and minimalistic sleeping bag that provides stellar warmth relative to its lightweight and compact size it compresses into when not in use.
Shell: DWR-Coated 15D Nylon Ripstop Pertex Quantum Fabric
Insulation: 850-Fill-Power Advanced Global Traceable Down
Temperature Rating: 30° F
Mountain Hardwear Phantom GORE-TEX -40 Sleeping Bag
The most extreme exploration and conditions call for the most extreme gear, and when it comes to ultra-robust, top-end sleeping bags, it doesn’t get much better than Mountain Hardwear’s Phantom range. Also offered in a 0° F version, this sleeping bag was engineered for high-altitude expeditions, calling on RDS-certified 850-fill-power down with compressibility and warmth-to-weight ratio that’s all the more impressive thanks to a super rugged and protective GORE WINDSTOPPER shell that shields from even the most extreme arctic winds. The Phantom GORE-TEX -40 also sports a 3D anatomical-contoured foot-box, a cinch-able face gasket, and tuck-stitching that protects this impressively-rated sleeping bag’s vertical sidewall baffles. Despite its unparalleled performance, the Phantom also benefits from what’s an incredibly lightweight considering its T-comfort rating, along with an impressively compact form of just 14.6 liters when compressed.
Shell: 30D Ripstop Nylon & GORE WINDSTOPPER Fabric
Insulation: 850-Fill-Power Goose Down
Temperature Rating: -40° F
Western Mountaineering Kodiak Gore WindStopper Sleeping Bag: 0F Down
Western Mountaineering’s Kodiak GWS sleeping bag is another ultra-hard-wearing and incredibly-warm item. The Kodiak offers complete protection from even the harshest winds with a full GORE WINDSTOPPER shell stuffed with more than 30oz of 850-fill goose down, a draft collar, and a clever down-filled draft-tube arrangement. Rated to keep you toasty down to 0° F, this sleeping bag still manages to tip the scales at less than three and a quarter pounds, making it the perfect addition to kits compiled for winter hiking trips or other arctic exploration. American made using premium construction techniques and materials, the Kodiak GWS is also backed by a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer, so you don’t have to worry in the unlikely event of the product being damaged.
Shell: GORE WINDSTOPPER Fabric
Insulation: High-Loft 850+ Fill Goose Down
Weight: 0° F
Temperature Rating: 3.187lbs
The 12 Best Backpacking Sleeping Pads
Now that you’ve got a proper sleeping bag, you’re going to need to get it up off of the ground. Fortunately, we’ve pieced together this handy guide to the best backpacking sleeping pads to help keep you insulated from the earth.
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