The drawstring at the hood cinches in four spots, allowing each member of a couple to adjust the hood precisely to their own preferences. Though the Dream Island’s outer shell is ripstop nylon, the bag’s inner lining is made of a soft cotton-polyester blend that feels like a good-quality bedsheet. Nor do they have decent warranties.) The Big Agnes Husted 20 is another great deal, receiving better performance scores than other similarly priced bags. To enjoy the cost savings, you need to be willing to accept a few compromises, most notably in terms of comfort and versatility. *At the time of publishing, the price was $390. However, the Teton uses waterproof down, so this is arguably less of an issue than with other bags. The classic mummy shape of most sleeping bags is designed to provide maximum warmth with minimum materials. There is also a large enough difference in cost that it will factor into most people's decisions. One of our testing couples, a 6-foot-6 man and a 5-foot-10 woman, slept in the bag at Wheeler Gorge Campground near Ojai, California, in April and found it plenty big and warm, though they had a hard time keeping it on their side-by-side sleeping pads. 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. The Big Agnes Dream Island comes closer to feeling like a real bed than any other double bag we tested. Additionally, the 4-chamber hood, combined with a draft collar, and contoured footbox prevent the loss of body heat. Contour: Women’s bags are warmer than unisex and men’s bags because they are designed with narrower shoulders in mind. From a materials perspective, most of the budget bags had similarly soft fabric linings made of glossy ripstop nylon. Many sleeping bags now receive EN temperature ratings. We figured that down filling was too expensive and unnecessary for a bag of this design—and our testing bore that out. A sleeping bag is a cornerstone piece of gear in the modern overnight kit. A full-length zipper gives you plenty of venting options, and a Y-shaped zipper slide does an excellent job preventing snags. A women’s bag might be better for you than a unisex bag if you consider certain factors, such as your age, level of exhaustion, health conditions, medications, body height and mass, level of nourishment, state of hydration, the altitude of your campsite, and wind chill and humidity of the air around you. That’s based both on the bag’s specs and my personal experience.” Buy here. Never leave any kind of sleeping bag in its compression sack while in storage—doing so destroys the overall loft and heat retention of the insulation. 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 MegaLite is our favorite backpacking sleeping bag because it performs exceptionally in every aspect. After more than 100 hours of research, considering 150 models, and dragging 34 bags through the wilds of California, Hawaii, and Colorado, we think the REI Co-op Siesta 30 Sleeping Bag is the best for basic camping—and we have picks for the best backpacking and double sleeping bags too. We liked this bag’s plow-shaped zipper shoe, which helps prevent snags when you’re opening and closing the bag. The Husted, however, costs 70% less. It’s not made of advanced materials, either, and it would be considered heavy by thru-hikers. An industry-standard test has been developed to address this problem and to give consumers more consistent temperature ratings. This rectangular bag is easy to stuff into its included stuff sack, which you can leave expanded with a mesh wrapper to help ventilate the bag while it’s in storage, or compress for overnight hiking or loading into a packed-full car. If it’s taken care of properly, down will also last longer than synthetic fillings. Generally premium sleeping bags are made with glossy lightweight fabrics, like the 10-denier nylon on the Rab Mythic (top). These factors work together to prevent your body heat from escaping to the outside world. The down inside the Marmot Teton has a high fill power rating, which isn’t great for compression but is good for keeping you warm—at times, too warm. Full-length zippers allow you to vent excess heat or use the bag as a blanket on warmer nights. She now has closets full of dusty backpacking gear, a hot-sleeping husband, and two cuddly little boys who like to wake up at least a half-hour before the crack of dawn and snuggle into bed with Mom and Dad. Another feature we like is the zippered "gills" on the top of the bag that allow you to spread the insulation out on warmer nights. The bag’s shape and diagonal baffles made it feel far roomier and more accommodating than most of the traditional mummy bags we tested. Another problem with trying to squeeze yourself into a too-small bag: When your feet, hips, or shoulders press against the edge of the bag too much, you end up squishing the down. 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. It’s big enough to hold a phone, which is helpful because keeping lithium batteries warm (though not hot!) There are two primary types of sleeping bag insulation: down feathers and synthetic fibers. Getting the right one in a market with various options is a time-consuming task. Ten of the top-rated bags were then purchased to undergo full hands-on testing. By generously insulating these key areas, a so-called women’s sleeping bag can make you feel a lot warmer without needing to have extra stuffing all across the bag. She once held the women’s unassisted speed record on the Appalachian Trail. My Top Pick: The Best Sleeping Bag Western Mountaineering Alpinlite 20° The best backpacking sleeping bag in terms of all-round performance is the Western Mountaineering Alpinlite 20°.The reason why it is undoubtedly the best sleeping bag for hiking is that it uses premium-quality material, is extremely lightweight, packs ridiculously small and yet delivers full functionality. Fortunately, budget bags haven't gone to the same extremes to reduce weight, and there aren't any bags in this review that we believe are narrow enough to disturb the sleep of the average backpacker. Related: How We Tested Budget Backpacking Sleeping Bags. Additionally, the polyester exterior is water resistant, and REI’s return policy is generous. When clumped, the feathers lose virtually all their ability to insulate. While it’s true that many long-distance hikers, ultralighters, or alpinists wouldn’t consider carrying a bag that heavy, we think it’s fine for most hikers. Also, the light-blue fabric on the foot box on the bag we tested (it comes in three color combinations) showed dirt. In addition to reading reviews, we spoke with experts and then evaluated each of the 200-plus bags on our initial list based on how they were reported to perform according to the following criteria: Warmth: Your body creates warmth, then your sleeping bag traps that warmth in an enclosed area. The Nemo Kyan 35 stacks up well against sleeping bags that cost up to twice as much. The Teton also has thoughtful features, like a pocket within the bag to store electronics. Our testers overwhelmingly noted this comfortable and homey design. Again, the shell fabric is now a different nylon that the company says is more downproof and water resistant; we’ll be testing this new version, but if you do find yourself surrounded by feathers at any point, the Egret is backed by Feathered Friends’s lifetime warranty. Men’s and women’s bags often come in different sizes based on length and width (think of short, regular, long, wide). We slept on 15 sleeping pads on five camping trips and found the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite to be the best for backpackers; the Therm-a-Rest LuxuryMap is tops for car campers. It’s uncommon to find a sleeping bag of this quality for less than $400. The advice covers how to sleep in it, clean it, treat it, and store it. Our only concern is the Kyan's overall warmth. ; Sleep system: Being comfortable at a particular temperature depends on many other variables, especially the R-value of your sleeping pad, the other key component … It’s best for people with broad shoulders and narrower hips. The other significant factor that affects warmth is sleeping bag design. Fill power measures the “fluffiness” of down. This is another fantastic sleeping bag from Teton company that is meant to make your outdoor activities worthwhile. Terra Hiker Down Sleeping Bag, Outdoor Mummy Bag for Backpacking and Mountaineering, Lightweight 4-Season Sleeping Bag for Men, Women, Max User Height … R-value: 4.2 What we like: Ultralight, comfortable, and well-built. Make a patch out of adhesive gear-repair tape or duct tape. Each backpacking sleeping bag has a recorded temperature rating. Side and stomach sleepers will likely appreciate particularly wide bags like the Kelty Cosmic 20, Therm-a-Rest Saros, or Nemo Forte, which give you a larger foot box to stretch your legs. A bag heavier than 3 pounds starts to become a real chore after anything more than a short-to-moderate hike. The Slumberjack Latitude 20 degree sleeping bag has a polyester diamond ripstop shell, which is extremely durable, even in rugged conditions. Sleeping bags are like any consumer product--price often corresponds to quality. After we made our picks, we took the mummy bags to the Katabatic Gear factory in Golden, Colorado, where designer Aaron Martray and director of operations Kris Diers gave us their thoughts on the bags’ stitching and fabric quality, and commented on their design features. Unfortunately, the second zipper, which secures the hood, doesn’t have a plow, and ours snagged on the surrounding shell fabric. The stitching is usually aligned horizontally, although some manufacturers are experimenting with vertical or diagonal arrangements. Enough users have complained about it that the company actually posted a video proving that it can be done. The Siesta 30 comes in three size options to accommodate nearly any size sleeper without excess weight and material. The North Face Dolomite Double 20/-7: Simple yet functional, the Dolomite gets glowing reviews from users on the company’s site, REI’s site, and Backcountry. It's also essential to consider the temperatures in which you will use the bag. The KSB's best feature might be its longer than full-length zipper. Best Overall: Mountain Hardwear Phantom at Backcountry "Does everything extremely well." The Trestles' 1/4-length accessory zipper certainly improves ventilation. The Down Hugger’s draw cords, which cinch the hood and draft collar tight, are not as elastic as the rest of the bag. This weight probably isn't a dealbreaker for short overnights near the trailhead, but it becomes problematic for a longer trip deep into the backcountry. Temperature Rating; You need to consider that temperature range you’ll be going to camp in or backpack. The zipper on this bag is in the front (instead of the side), which exposes your core to the cold. 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. Our testers found themselves unzipping the bag and sticking their feet outside of it in temps above 40 °F. 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. Among its budget peers, its weight and packed size are near average, yet its price is near the bottom of the field. "Economy" sleeping bags can go for under $100 while "first-class" bags filled with goose down retail for $500+. 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. The Big Agnes Dream Island is the most comfortable double bag for car-camping couples. Best Extra-Roomy Backpacking Bag The pad, bought separately, replaces the synthetic polyester insulation on the bottom half of the bag, making the Big Agnes, which is rated to 15 °F, extra warm relative to its packed size. Photo: Jeremy Pavia, Once the mattress is inflated, you slip it into the sleeping bag’s dedicated sleeve. When you’re not using your bag, store it unstuffed and inside out so that the liner doesn’t trap smells. Nylon or polyester bags can be slippery atop also-slippery air mattresses, with a tendency to either shimmy down the mattress or flop off one side. We also found that the hook attachment system meant to anchor the bag to a sleeping pad was too complicated. Almost all of our testers preferred a more sheetlike lining when presented with the choice. When you click on links to buy products we may earn money to support, Expert Advice on Choosing the Right Backpacking Sleeping Bag. 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). If you want a summer backpacking sleeping bag, then choose one with a temperature rating of 30 degrees or higher. This step helps you get all the loft, and therefore warmth, you’ll want while sleeping. Their rectangular shape, loose fit, and usual lack of a head cover limit their overall ability to retain heat. It’s not as noticeable if you have a thick sleeping pad or air mattress, but next to a down sleeping bag, for instance, it stands out. We prefer the pad attachment system on the Therm-a-Rest Saros (far right) over several designs on more expensive bags because it's fully removable and durable enough for long-term use. The Klymit KSB 35 has a longer-than-full-length zipper that lets you unzip all the way around the foot of the bag. Slowly, we started to see some amount of consensus form across a few major brands and designs, which we used to narrow our scope. The included compression sack has 6 points where you can apply tension, packing down the sleeping bag to a nifty 15″ x 9″ x 9″ bundle. 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. age, level of exhaustion, health conditions, medications, European Normal (EN) 13537 testing protocol, Institute for Environmental Research at Kansas State University, REI even suggests choosing a bag that has a lower rating, L.L.Bean Camp Sleeping Bag Cotton-Blend-Lined, Cabela's Mountain Trapper 40 °F Sleeping Bag, The Best Sleeping Bags for Camping of 2019, designer and owner and director of operations at Katabatic Gear, production manager and lead designer at Feathered Friends, equipment product manager at Sierra Designs, Wearable Sleeping Bags: the Height of COVID Function and Fashion, The Best Sleeping Pads for Backpacking and Car Camping. The problem is exaggerated if you pitch your tent on anything but perfectly flat ground. Pick the temperature rating that fits your needs, and we're confident you'll get a great backpacking sleeping bag at an even better price. Depending on the types of overnights you like to do, this may or may not be an important issue. It's not uncommon to find some of these budget backpacking sleeping bags on sale. When deciding on a sleeping bag for backpacking, consider these key factors: Temperature rating: Choose a sleeping bag rated a little bit lower than the typical low temperatures you anticipate on your backpacking trips. Initially, we were taken aback when we compared similarly rated men’s and women’s bags and found that the women’s bags were more expensive than the men’s bags. 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. As already mentioned, we're big fans of the extra-long zipper on the Klymit KSB 35 because it allows you to vent only your feet or to unzip the bag into a true quilt. "Full-length" zippers actually come in a variety of lengths. The Marmot Women’s Teton was the coziest women’s bag we tested. Here are three of the most important sleeping-bag variables to take into account: Length: Regardless of gender, you need to choose a bag that’s the right length for your body. The REI Co-op Siesta 30 Sleeping Bag is as much sleeping bag as anyone could want for basic car camping, and it costs almost a third the price of more specialized backpacking options. Feathered Friends does not use EN ratings, but the general consensus among backpackers is that the company’s self-ratings tend to be accurate. It is rated to 30 °F and offers a looser fit for wide bodies, making it a good buy for larger people. If you’re a person with wider hips, you may prefer to sleep in a women’s bag because of the contoured design. This bag is simple and unadorned yet filled with top-quality down. There’s no doubt: It takes a near-Herculean effort to wrestle this bag back into its carry bag. 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. (Since weather can be unpredictable, REI even suggests choosing a bag that has a lower rating than the temperatures you expect to experience while camping—specifically, they recommend buying a bag that is limit rated for at least 15 degrees colder than the weather you expect to encounter. It’s rare to find a comfortable down bag that costs less than $300, yet the Down Hugger was softer and had more loft than some bags that cost $100 more. The Nemo Rave was a “spoon-shaped” women’s bag with vertical baffles and lots of innovative features, some of which didn’t seem to add up. All trademarks property of their respective owners Learn more. Weighing less than many of the other rectangular, synthetic-fill bags we tested, it’s still warm enough to use in spring and fall as well as summer. These versions of the premium Marmot Phase and the budget Big Agnes Husted have identical 19F EN temperature ratings, but the Phase packs 35% smaller. Try as you might, it's tough to find a cheaper down sleeping bag than the Kelty Cosmic. If you’re sleeping in clothes, try to make sure they’re clean. Back in the lab, we weighed each bag on our scale, measured their packed size in a third-party compression sack, and slept in them under controlled conditions to determine their warmth. This winter, a wearable sleeping bag will keep you cozy during your socially distant outdoor hangouts with friends. We've tried to differentiate between the two by referring to sacks that can fully compress a sleeping bag as compression sacks and ineffective designs as stuff sacks. The most common style of sleeping bags for backpacking are mummy bags that are designed to fit your body shape, providing warmth and insulation where it is needed most. To share our hands-on knowledge with you, we've scored each bag's warmth relative to the others on a scale of one to ten. Any bags with similar characteristics that cost more than $200, we called a premium backpacking sleeping bag. The Nemo Kyan's synthetic insulation is ideal if you're worried about rain getting your sleeping bag wet. The bag comes in either a left or right zip configuration, and it’s available in 5-foot-6 (Regular) and 5-foot-10 (Long) lengths. If an ounce of down has higher fill power, it can trap more air. Of course, when there are two or more bodies shifting around, there’s twice as much sound. The Down Hugger felt loftier than any other bag we tested; it envelopes you the minute you’re inside. The sleeping bag covers your body from head to toe for ample warmth. We've also tried to comment on a bag's warmth relative to its advertised EN rating. It’s worth noting, however, that this is a much warmer bag than many of the others we tested; at times it was too warm. During Liz’s 160-mile backpacking trip across San Diego County, the Egret 20 repelled water better than any other bag she tried. Mummy-style sleeping bags haven’t changed much in the past few years, so it’s the details that make the Feather Friends Swallow YF 30 stand out, especially for the price: durable water-resistant nylon outer shells, 900-plus-fill-power down, luxuriant inner nylon materials, hardy snap retainers around the collars, and a lifetime warranty. Assembling all the gear for backpacking is a daunting barrier between many people and a night in the backcountry. 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. We used the Insulated Double Z, which has since been discontinued, but Big Agnes now makes double-size versions of its Hinman and Insulated Air Core Ultra models. Big Agnes Spike Lake: This budget down bag felt thin and lumpy. It’s also the only bag we found that comes with a separate mesh storage bag, making it easy to store correctly for maximum loft protection. 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. Comfort: This is an unavoidably subjective criterion. It's not our favorite sleeping bag by any stretch, but it does supply acceptable performance for human-powered adventures. After a poor night’s rest they declared the effort required to get the bag back in the way-too-tight sack “absolutely not worth it.”. We took a total of 15 kids on two weekend camping trips and found that the REI Kindercone 25 is the best sleeping bag for most little campers. … Material on GearLab is copyrighted. That’s when packability becomes important. 4.Teton Sports Trail and Ultralight Mummy Sleeping Bag. It is … A well fitting sleeping bag contributes greatly to the warmth of a bag, ensuring that dead air space is kept at a minimum. Both accomplish the same purpose, but one is vastly more enjoyable. If the bag you're considering comes with a stuff sack, expect to spend an extra twenty bucks on an aftermarket compression sack if you want to pack it down to its minimum volume. Good enough for most backcountry applications our list of the top-rated bags were then purchased to undergo hands-on... 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