What is one of the most important things to pack when you go out roughing it? Of course, a lightweight sleeping bag which protects you from the cold but and still doesn’t weigh you down when you’re on the road. We want to give you some good advice about what you need to look for when you want to buy a lightweight sleeping bag and present you the best lightweight sleeping bags for backpacking.
Best lightweight sleeping bags for backpacking – Directory
Two of the most important things to consider when you want to buy a sleeping bag for backpacking are weight and compression. When you’re on the road, should aim to be carrying no more than 20% of your body weight, especially when you have to hike up hills or mountains. Also, you don’t want your sleeping bag to take up your precious packing space either.
Lightweight sleeping bags are usually not very cheap, as there is a lot of technology packed within them. But if you buy a lightweight, good quality sleeping bag with excellent compression, it can last you for several seasons, if not a lifetime.
Another thing you have to consider before you buy a sleeping bag for backpacking is for what kind of temperatures you’re going to need it. Sleeping bags for camping in winter with colder temperatures are usually more cumbersome and more expensive than sleeping bags for warmer outside temperatures.
Most manufacturers categorise their sleeping bags in three different categories: Summer, Winter, and Three-Season (spring to autumn). In most cases, the best option is a three-season sleeping bag, as even in summer, temperatures can drop unexpectedly. This counts especially when you’re camping in the mountains.
In case of doubt, I’d recommend to err on the safe side and buy a warmer sleeping bag. You can always open the zip or use the sleeping bag as a sheet when you’re hot, but it’s not that easy if you’re cold.
A word to temperature ratings. Some manufacturers give you a temperature rating for the sleeping bag, like for example -12 C (10 F). This is a vague rating of how cold it can be outside of your sleeping bag with you still feeling warm inside. I say vague because there is no proper way to test this objectively as every person experiences cold and warmth differently. It will, however, give you an approximate idea for which temperatures the sleeping bag is suitable. To be on the safe side, always add 20-30 F (10 – 15 C) to the temperature rating.
For the filling of your sleeping bag, you have the choice between down and synthetic materials (mostly polyester). A synthetic sleeping bag maintains its insulation better than a down sleeping bag when it gets wet. However, a down sleeping bag has a lot better warmth to weight ratio than a synthetic one, resulting in a lighter weight and a better compression. Also, these days a lot of the down sleeping bags are treated with a special water-resistant (not water-proof!) coating.
If you are on a tight budget, you should opt for a synthetic sleeping bag, as they tend to be cheaper. Down sleeping bags are the better choice if the quality, weight, and compression are more critical for you than price. No matter which one you choose, make sure you also get a waterproof bag to keep your sleeping bag dry!
If you prefer warmth over the ability to move freely, you should pick a mummy sleeping bag. They generally keep you warmer and only leave your face exposed to the outside. However, it can be a bit tight in a mummy sleeping bag, and your movement is somewhat restricted.
The quilt sleeping bag is more like an insulated blanket and allows you to move more freely than a mummy sleeping bag. The fact that you also can use them as a blanket gives them a considerable advantage over mummy sleeping bags when it gets unexpectedly warm outside.
Hyke & Byke Goose Down Lightweight Sleeping Bag for Backpacking
The Hyke & Byke Goose Down Lightweight Sleeping Bag for Backpacking is one of the lightest mummy down sleeping bags for this price. This light sleeping bag for backpacking only weights about 3 lbs (about 1.4 kg). It has a water-repellent nylon fabric liner and is very comfortable with wide shoulder space and a large foot-box. This is a good sleeping bag for backpacking because it is suitable for temperatures down to 0 F (-17 C). To comfortably sleep in it we recommend to use it only down to about 20 F (-7 C) though. It is probably one of the best sleeping bags for cold weather.
Marmot Helium 15F Degree Down Sleeping Bag
Weighing only 2 lbs and 1oz (935g), this top sleeping bag for adults is very lightweight, especially given how warm it can keep you in cold temperatures. You can use it from 15 F (- 9 C) upwards, and the Down Defender improves the water-resistance in wet conditions. The hood drawcord makes sure that only the bare minimum of your body is exposed to the air. The anatomically designed foot-box with a wrap-around construction spares you from having cold feet. This great sleeping bag is available with the zip on the left or the right side, making it perfect for left-handers as well. It’s definitely a contender for the best lightweight sleeping bag for backpacking!
Mountain Equipment Helium 600
The Mountain Equipment Helium 600 is one of the best ultralight sleeping bags for backpacking during those early spring and late autumn days. You can have a good nights sleep with temperatures down to 18 F (- 8 C). The outer shell of this top sleeping bag is very light and highly breathable. This also makes it great to use when it is a little warmer outside. With only 38oz (1070 g) it is super light to carry around with you. This sleeping bag also comes with a waterproof roll-top stuff-sack and a storage cube.
Sea to Summit Trek I 3 Seasons Down Sleeping Bag
This Sea to Summit Trek I 3 Seasons Down Sleeping Bag is the perfect companion for the camping season from mid-spring to mid-autumn. It weighs only 28 oz (800g), and you can store it perfectly in your backpack. The sleeping bag unzips completely, which makes it useful as a quilt when it’s getting too warm. The sleeping bag comes with an included lightweight compression bag and a combined storage cell/laundry bag.
The North Face Cat’s Meow Unisex Outdoor Left Hand Sleeping Bag
The North Face Cat’s Meow Unisex Outdoor Left Hand Sleeping Bag is a blessing for all left-handers. It has not only a zip on the left side, but the zip also glows in the dark, which is perfect to find it when you don’t want to use a flashlight. The weight is 35 oz (1000g), and with a temperature rating of 20 F (- 6 C) you can use it perfectly as the best 3 season sleeping bag for backpacking. A shaped hood guarantees you warmth and comfort, and the draught-proof collar prevents heat loss. This sleeping bag feels very roomy, so you will not feel like a sardine in a tin box.
Kelty Cosmic 40 Degree DriDown Sleeping Bag
This is a great three-season sleeping bag for this price category. The Kelty Cosmic 40 Degree DriDown sleeping bag has water-resistant insulation which lofts great and dries fast. This makes it a great sleeping bag for when you get surprised by a shower. It weighs about 31 oz (880 g), and you can open the zip up to your feet. The thermal-comfort hood and the natural fit foot-box makes you feel all snuggly in this top candidate for the best sleeping bag for backpacking.
Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed 600-Fill Sleeping Bag
The Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed is one of the best sleeping bags for warm weather. It comes without any zippers, but with a big entry hole and an oversized comforter inside of it. This way you can perfectly adapt to the temperature and sleep the way you like, be it on the back, the side or even on your stomach. The DriDown technology insulates very well and stays longer dry than other untreated products. And in case your sleeping bag gets wet, it dries a lot quicker as well. This compact sleeping bag for backpacking weights only 43 oz (1200g). With its awesome design, it is probably one of the coolest sleeping bags I’ve ever seen!
Nemo Women’s Rave 30-Degree Insulated Down Sleeping Bag
The Nemo Women’s Rave 30-Degree Insulated Down Sleeping Bag is one of the best sleeping bags for women. It has some amazing features like two zippered vents in the front of the sleeping bag. Using the vents, you can determine how much air circulation you want to allow. The form is wider on the shoulders and knees to give you more space to move around. This also makes it a perfect sleeping bag for a side sleeper. The foot-box is waterproof and breathable to keep your feet warm and cozy. There is also an included blanket fold, made from an extra-soft material, for added comfort and warmth. The Nemo Rave is rated to 15F (-9C). To be honest, we are not sure why men cannot use this sleeping bag too!
Sierra Designs Women’s Eleanor Plus 20 Degree Sleeping Bag
The Sierra Designs Women’s Eleanor Plus 20 Degree Sleeping Bag comes with a temperature rating of 20 F (- 6 C) and keeps you warm from spring to autumn. With the special DriDown insulation it keeps dry ten times longer than sleeping bags with untreated down, and it also dries a lot quicker. This bag weighs only 37 oz (1050g) and has a very snuggly feel to it. One of the best features is that this mummy bag can be opened from both sides simultaneously, giving it a quilt-style closure area to create a more bed-like comfort.
Teton Sports Celsius Junior Kids Sleeping Bag
The Teton Sports Celsius Junior Kids Sleeping bag is one of the best sleeping bags for children. With a size of Size 66×26 inches (168×66 cm), it is big enough that a child can grow a little while using it and you don’t have to buy a new sleeping bag every new season. The bag has a temperature rating of 20 F (- 6 C) and keeps the warmth perfectly isolated inside. The zip on the side opens to the bottom. This sleeping bag weights 42 oz (1.2 kg). You can order this sleeping bag in two different colours: blue and pink. If you plan to go camping with your kids, you should also have a look at these great family camping tents.
Did you enjoy this post? Then please share it on Pinterest or Facebook 🙂 Thank you very much!
Photo credit for the featured image goes to Destination Addict.