Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags

Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags

A read and a yellow backpacking sleeping bag

Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag of 2018

Backpacking has several perks, one of them is a good night’s sleep after a rewarding day on the trail. Gone are the days of cold and sleepless nights due to bad or simply inappropriate gear choice. A quality sleeping bag is an essential when out choosing what to carry with you to the backcountry. Staying cozy and warm while keeping in mind other considerations such as weight, temperature ratings and insulation as is critical.

Maintaining the right balance when choosing for the right backpacking sleeping bag can be confusing. That’s why we have created a thorough guide to help you distinguish between all kinds of sleeping bag options.  For more backpacking gear guides and completing your backpacking kit, check out our guides for best backpacking packs and tents.  

What to Consider When Choosing a Backpacking Sleeping Bag

  • Weight – Weight is one of the most important things to consider while taking into account that lighter sleeping bags are sometimes less warm. Best solution is to choose to right sleeping bag for the right kind of trip. Carrying a heavy sleeping bag around when not called for can be a literal pain in the back.
  • Warmth – Less interior space and good insulation are the trick here. The generated body heat is entrapped inside the sleeping bag in a level determined by the two aspects mentioned. Higher quality of insulation and a suitable sized bag will do the trick.
  • Temperature Rating – Choosing the right temperature rating is not easy and should be done individually. Some people tend to be hotter or colder than others, especially during sleeping time. Other factors weigh in as well like having the right accessories (such as a good sleeping pad), warm clothes and altitude. Most of the sleeping bags on this list are made to withstand freezing temperatures. Overall we believe that it important to take the temperature rating with a grain of salt and always leave a buffer. 
  • Insulation – The 2 main types of sleeping bag insulation are Synthetic and Down. synthetic material tends to be cheaper and heavier while retaining heat better while wet. Down bags are more expensive but are lighter and warmer when dry. Overall, we believe the down bags are a better choice even though synthetics hold better when wet.
  • Length – In most cases it would be better to select one size above if you are on the edge or just prefer roomier bags. Make sure not to go with to much free space as it would result in a draftier sleeping bag, reducing warmth. Most sleeping bags tend to come in 2-3 length sizes that are supposed to fit most men and women. 72 inches and 78 inches are the general men sizes while if there is no women version of the sleeping bag, a 55 inch option should be available or looked for. Take note though, that the lengthier the bag, the heavier it tends to get and will have a larger packed size.
  • Width – Shoulders, hips and feet are the 3 most common points for cut measurements. 
  • Mummy Sleeping Bags VS. Quilts – When can have all kinds of arguments here regarding which is better but eventually it all boils down to personal preferences. Some will claim that quilts are lighter but will require you to bring head protection, which in turn increases weight and size calculations. In terms comfort it is a general consensus that mummy sleeping mags are more comfortable than quilts.


Western Mountaineering UltraLite

Western Mountaineering UltraLite Backpacking Sleeping Bag

Temperature Rating: 20°F.
Weight: 1 lb. 13 oz.