The 11 Best Value Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Bags

    In 2018 there is a large selection of ultralight backpacking sleeping bags available.
    Your sleeping bag will be one of the heaviest items you lug around each day.
    Most ultralight backpacking sleeping bags come with a lightweight stuff sack
    Pick a bag where the EN rating is slightly lower than the temperature you plan to sleep.

In the following article, we give recommendations along with tips on helping you find the best ultralight backpacking sleeping bag for your adventure.

Best Sleeping Bags

Best Of ListIn-Depth Comparison Chart
    Weight 2.3 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 7.5" x 15"
    Assembled Dimensions 80"
    Insulation Material 600 Fill Down
    Sack Included Yes
    Temperature Rating 27°
    Width Shoulders 60"
    Width (Lower) 61"
    Sleeping Bag Style Mummy Bag
    Current Price from $219.00
    Pros Unique zipperless design makes this one of the most versatile sleeping bags available, Flexible comforter built in makes it good for cold or warmer sleeping, Its lightweight at under 3 pounds, ,
    Cons Only 3 season and not the best in temps under 40 degrees, , , ,
    Our Take:

    The Sierra Design Dridown Backcountry Bed is a nice 3 season lightweight sleeping bag that can almost be considered state of the art.

    This mummy bag comes in 2 sizes, regular and long, and is built to comfortably fit campers of all different shapes and sizes.

    One of the best parts is the Sierra Design Dridown Backcountry bed is built without any zippers or velcro but instead built with an internal comforter that’s separate from the shell.

    This gives you not only extra insulation but the option to remove the comforter entirely from the bag on warmer nights and just cuddle into the shell.

    You’ll also have the ability to sleep comfortably in a number of different positions including your back and your side.

    There are also insulated Hand/Arm Pockets that provide insulation under your arms when the comforter is used outside of the bag.

    In the spacious foot box, there’s also the ability to keep your feet warm inside, or poke them outside the main shell on warmer nights, also with no zipper.

    On the bottom, there’s a pad sleeve so you can have some buffer between your body and the ground.

    Inside the bag is insulated with 600 fill Dridown which keeps it very warm and lightweight under 3 pounds for the even the bigger bag.

    If it’s colder outside, the bag easily pairs with a liner and heavier clothes.

    Can’t say enough good things about the Dridown series.

    Read our full review of the Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed 600-Fill Sleeping Bag


  1. Hyke & Byke 800 Fill Power Goose Down Sleeping Bag

  2. Editors Rating:
    (4.9 / 5)

    Best Value Option

    Weight 2.75 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 9" x 6.5"
    Assembled Dimensions 78"
    Insulation Material 800 fill 90/10b down
    Sack Included Yes
    Temperature Rating
    Width Shoulders 22°
    Width (Lower) 28°
    Sleeping Bag Style Mummy Bag
    Current Price from $134.97
    Pros 0 degree EN Temperature rating, Comes in 2 sizes (regular/long), Vertical baffles, Premium goose down, Comfy mummy style
    Cons Smells odd out of the packaging, Manufacturer doesn't recommend machine washing, , ,
    Our Take:

    The Hyke & Byke 800 Fill Power Goose Down Sleeping Bag is a great 4 season sleeping bag that delivers a ton of value for the lightweight, cold weather backpacker.

    At just under 3 pounds this EN temperature rated 0-degree bag is giving you a ton of cold weather insulation thanks to the ultralight premium quality goose down filling.

    This also helps it compress down a bit to fit comfortably into a bivy sack or even a hammock.

    The DWR face coated water repellent 400T 20 D ripstop nylon fabric liner adds to the durability of the bag.

    Of course, you want to care for your sleeping bag and not treat it too roughly, but if you do the bag can handle the rougher terrain.

    There’s a hood with a drawstring which is nice to use when sitting around the campfire.

    To make things easy on the trail the Hyke & Byke 800 fits easily into a 6.5-liter compression sack to take up minimal space in your pack, about the size of a normal size water bottle.

    The vertical baffles are a nice touch as well to be able to adjust the down more throughout the length of your body.

    There’s also good room in both the shoulders and the foot box along with plenty of down to protect your feet from getting cold.

    Read our full review of the Hyke & Byke 800 Fill Power Goose Down Sleeping Bag


    Weight 3.15 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 10" x 7.5"
    Assembled Dimensions 78"
    Insulation Material 550 fill 90/10 down
    Sack Included Yes
    Temperature Rating
    Width Shoulders 22"
    Width (Lower) 28"
    Sleeping Bag Style Mummy Bag
    Current Price from $134.97
    Pros Temperature rated 14 degrees, Rip stop nylon for added toughness, Fits taller campers, ,
    Cons Zipper sometimes catches on the fabric, Strong odor when pulled from the packaging, , ,
    Our Take:

    The Hyke & Byke Quandary 15 Degree Down Sleeping Bag is a great cold weather sleeping bag that keeps you warm while taking up minimal space in your bag.

    The Quandry bag is well insulated with 90% duck down and 10% duck feather which keeps warm inside and when you’re done compresses down to 10″ long and 7.5″ in diameter to fit seamlessly into Hyke and Byke’s included compression sack made from 400T 20D ripstop nylon fabric.

    This helps keep the bag portable and safe while tucked away in your pack or clipped to the outside.

    Also at just a little over 3 pounds, the bag won’t be a burden on your back.

    The sleeping bag itself is EN temperature rated down to a lower limit of 14°F.

    There are 2 sizes available, long and regular. The long can fit a person up to 6’6, so plenty of room even for taller campers.

    For a mummy style bag especially, this bag offers plenty of room at both the shoulders and in the feet.

    Speaking of feet, there is a 2-way zipper that allows you the ability to open up the bottom to allow your feet to stick out if it’s a little warmer outside. For all that you get this Hyke and Byke bag is very low priced.

    Read our full review of the Hyke & Byke Quandary 15 Degree Down Sleeping Bag


    Weight 4.2 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 8" x 15"
    Assembled Dimensions 80"
    Insulation Material 800 Fill Down
    Sack Included No
    Temperature Rating 20°
    Width Shoulders 61"
    Width (Lower) 61"
    Sleeping Bag Style Mummy Bag
    Current Price Price not available
    Pros State of the art removable comforter design, 800 Dridown fill to keep you warm and light in your pack, Hand and arm pockets, ,
    Cons No stuff sack included, Not warm enough to be considered 4 seasons, , ,
    Our Take:

    The Sierra Design Dridown Backcountry Bed 800-Fill 3 Season Sleeping Bag is a nice 3 season lightweight sleeping bag that can fit campers easily over 6 feet tall and can compress down to take up very little space in your pack.

    This uniquely built sleeping bag offers campers the ability to sleep in a number of different positions thanks to the roomy interior, the flexible added comforter, and arm/hand sleeves.

    There’s a sleeve for your sleeping pad on the bottom which helps keep it in place and provides more warmth from the cold ground.

    It’s insulated with 800 Fill DriDown making it not only incredibly warm but light and very packable.

    Unfortunately, the Backcountry Bed doesn’t come with a stuff or compression sack but will pack down into an 8L stuff sack that you can buy separately.

    Its lower temperature rated at 20 degrees and should keep you warm at least down to 30 degrees.

    Along with the wide room, the bag can fit someone a little over 6′ tall.

    Anyone over 6’3 might start feeling cramped in the feet.

    The Backcountry Bed has no zippers and works great for those of you who sleep on your side while not having to worry about being jammed by pesky zippers.

    If you’re a side sleeper I know sleeping bags can be a tough adjustment, this bag has got your back and your side.

    Read our full review of the Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed 800-Fill 3 Season Sleeping Bag


    Weight 2.5 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 10" x 8"
    Assembled Dimensions 75"
    Insulation Material Down
    Sack Included Yes
    Temperature Rating 20°
    Width Shoulders 31"
    Width (Lower) 66"
    Sleeping Bag Style Mummy Bag
    Current Price from $159.97
    Pros Ultralight under 3 pounds, 800 fill duck down keeps you well insulated., Packs down very easily, ,
    Cons The down isn't hydrophobic making it susceptible to soaking, The drawstrings can easily fray, , ,
    Our Take:

    The Outdoor Vitals Summit 20°F Down Sleeping Bag is an awesome 3 season mummy bag that will keep you warm in the cold but has the versatility to be used in warmer weather as well without getting too hot.

    The outer shell is made from made from 20D ripstop nylon making it super tough while still keeping it lightweight.

    The 800 fill duck down insulation adds to the warmness and the lightness.

    It is also extremely water resistant which can be a challenge with down.

    The Summit 20°F bag comes in 3 different sizes to accommodate campers of varying dimensions including small (69 x 31 inches, Fits those with height of 5′ – 5’6″), regular (75 x 31 inches, Fits those with height of 5’6″ – 6′) and long (81 x 35 inches, Fits those with height of 6′ – 6’6″).

    You also get a 4 point compression bag that packs each size bag down to 10 x 8 inches.

    The packed weight is very light for each size as well, small: 2 lb 5 oz + 4oz compression bag, regular: 2 lb 6 oz + 4 oz for compression bag, long: 2 lb 9 oz + 4 oz for compression bag.

    My only complaint was that on our particular unit the zipper tended to snag the fabric.

    It may have been just a random flaw on this and can’t knock the whole brand on this one thing, overall a great bag that you’ll love.

    Read our full review of the Outdoor Vitals Summit 20°F Down Sleeping Bag


  3. Snugpak Softie Elite 3 Sleeping Bag

  4. Editors Rating:
    (4.3 / 5)

    Weight 3.5 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 9" x 10"
    Assembled Dimensions 86"
    Insulation Material Synthetic
    Sack Included Yes
    Temperature Rating 14°
    Width Shoulders 25"
    Width (Lower) 31"
    Sleeping Bag Style Mummy Bag
    Current Price from $119.99
    Pros Temperature rated 23°F to 14°F, Zip Baffle Panel System provides an adjustable width for more comfort, Lots of value for a bag under $100, Comes with a stuff sack,
    Cons Made in China so the integrity of materials can vary from bag to bag., , , ,
    Our Take:

    The Snugpak Elite 3 sleeping bag is a great cold weather rated bag that keeps your pack super lightweight, especially for how warm it keeps you.

    The Snugpack Elite 3 is EN temperature rated 23°F to 14°F. Paired with a 4 season tent or bivy sack you can use this bag in frigid temps and feel fine.

    Along with the insulated fill, the Snugpack uses a Reflectatherm metalized barrier that works with your body’s natural heat to help keep the temperature warm on the inside The outer shell is built with ripstop nylon to keep it tough and resilient to the wear and tear of the trail. Inside it sleeps nicely even if you’re a bit on the bigger size.

    You can comfortably fit a person around 6’4″ and even if you are a bit on the heavier side the expander Zip Baffle Panel System helps to adjust for more room inside.

    While it can handle the bigger campers in very cold temperatures the bag itself weighs only 3.5 pounds and also comes with a stuff sack that helps pack it down to 9″x10″.

    The Snugpack is extremely lightweight to carry while taking up minimal space in your pack.

    Read our full review of the Snugpak Softie Elite 3 Sleeping Bag


    Weight 3.6 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 10" x 8"
    Assembled Dimensions 86"
    Insulation Material 400 Fill Down
    Sack Included Yes
    Temperature Rating 32°
    Width Shoulders 19"
    Width (Lower) 35"
    Sleeping Bag Style Mummy Bag
    Current Price $50.63
    Pros Fits anyone up to 6'5" comfortably, Filled with easily compressible duck down, 320T ripstop nylon shell for outer protection, The Ykk zipper,
    Cons Might not keep you warm in temps below 40°F, At 3.6 pounds it's not ideal for ultralight backpackers, , ,
    Our Take:

    The Trekr Outdoor 32°F Lightweight Backpacking Sleeping Bag gives a ton of value for a great price.

    First, off the bag itself has a nice, cozy interior. Its rated 32°F thanks to the duck down fill that absolutely keeps you warm without an extra liner or heavy clothes in cooler temps.

    Keep in mind that it is only a 3 season bag so if you take out in anything under 40°F you will feel some chill.

    The Trekr bag’s length is right at 7 feet so anyone up to 6’5″ will comfortably fit.

    Anyone taller might start feeling a bit cramped at the feet. It’s built with a sturdy, robust Ykk zipper that adds some worry-free integrity while zipping up and down along with 2 drawstrings, one of which goes around your shoulders to seal you up for those extra cold nights.

    The outer shell is made from 320T ripstop nylon to handle the rigors of being tossed around on the rough ground. the Trekr also comes with its own stuff bag and they even sent us a pillow!

    Man, these guys know how to charm. All packed up the bag weighs 3.6 pounds which isn’t the lightest bag available but still light enough for backpacking.

    With the pillow, it’s 4.2 pounds.

    Read our full review of the Trekr Outdoor 32°F Lightweight Backpacking Sleeping Bag


  5. Snugpak Softie Elite 1 Sleeping Bag

  6. Editors Rating:
    (4.1 / 5)

    Weight 2.25 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 6" x 9" x 1"
    Assembled Dimensions 86"
    Insulation Material Synthetic
    Sack Included Yes
    Temperature Rating 36°
    Width Shoulders 25"
    Width (Lower) 31"
    Sleeping Bag Style Mummy Bag
    Current Price $99.35
    Pros Expander Panel System Zip Baffle for adjustable width and roomier inside, Temperature rated 45°F down to 36°F for cooler weather, Fits taller campers, ,
    Cons Zippers can be problematic, Materials can be cheaply made in China, Not as compressible as down, ,
    Our Take:

    The Snugpak Softie Elite 1 Sleeping bag is a great 3-pound sleeping bag that can accommodate 3 seasons.

    Its temperature rated from a comfort rating of 45°F down to the lower limit of 36°F and will get you through those colder late fall early winter nights while having the flexibility to still also be used in the warmer months.

    At about 3 pounds it stays light in your bag, while still accommodating those with bigger frames due to the flexible Expander Panel System Zip Baffle which is a double zipper system that can open up the bag for more width space.

    The Snugpak Elite 1 can fit most average to taller size campers up to around 6’2, even if you’re a bit on the heavier side.

    I loved the extra room in the feet as I can get a bit jittery in and claustrophobic in sleeping bags, I didn’t get that feeling in the Snugpak Softie Elite 1.

    The bag is filled with a synthetic polyester fill that keeps you warm but also keeps the weight of the bag at 2.25 pounds which makes it great for ultralight backpacking.

    It also comes with a compression sack that shrinks it down to 10″x5″ to stay light in your pack while taking up minimal space.

    Read our full review of the Snugpak Softie Elite 1 Sleeping Bag


    Weight 2.75 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 11" x 8" x 8"
    Assembled Dimensions 75"
    Insulation Material 800+ fill power down
    Sack Included Yes
    Temperature Rating
    Width (Lower) 31
    Sleeping Bag Style Mummy Bag
    Current Price from $224.97
    Pros Ultralight at just under 3 lbs for the heaviest bag, Compression sack included, 20D ripstop DWR coated nylon for outer shell durability, ,
    Cons The stitching and material quality can be problematic on some bags, Zipper integrity not the best, , ,
    Our Take:

    The Outdoor Vitals 0 Degree Down Sleeping Bag is perfect for the 4 season backpacker who is looking to stay warm in frigid conditions. It has a 0°F EN temperature rating thanks to the premium 800 fill power down!

    The outer shell is built from 20D ripstop fabric which makes it able to handle the demanding backcountry trial. Its also coated with VitalDry DWR coating to keep it very water resistant, however not waterproof, although there is aftermarket coating you can get to make it waterproof.

    The grid baffle design is a dream giving you the ability to adjust the positioning of the down.

    If you get cold feet, you can adjust the bag as needed.

    The Outdoor Vitals 0 degree bag comes in 3 different sizes including short (69 x 31 inches,

    Fits those with height of 5′ – 5’6″, Weighs:2 lb 11 oz + 4 oz for compression bag), Regular (75 x 31 inches,

    Fits those with height of 5’6″ – 6′, Weighs: 2 lb 12 oz + 4 oz for compression bag) and Long ( 81 x 35 inches,

    Fits those with height of 6′ – 6’6″ + Extra 2 inches of width, Weighs: 2 lb 15 oz + 4 oz for compression bag)

    There’s also an included compression sack which compresses the bag down to 11 x 8 x 8 inches.

    Very convenient for any ultralight, 4 season backpacker.

    Read our full review of the Outdoor Vitals – Down 0 Degree Down Sleeping Bag


  7. Kelty Cosmic 20 Degree Sleeping Bag

  8. Editors Rating:
    (3.8 / 5)

    Weight 2.8 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 8" x 14"
    Assembled Dimensions 72"
    Insulation Material 600 Fill power DriDown
    Sack Included Yes
    Temperature Rating 20°
    Width Shoulders 58"
    Width (Lower) 62"
    Sleeping Bag Style Mummy Bag
    Current Price from $116.95
    Pros Great moisture absorption thanks to the Dridown insulation keeps you drier and more comfortable inside, Lightweight at just under 3 pounds, , ,
    Cons Despite the rugged fill and inside, the outside seems to be a bit cheaper design, questionable zipper integrity, ,
    Our Take:

    The Kelty Cosmic 40 Degree Sleeping Bag is a nice bag for its price. It will keep you warm, but maybe not the best for those frigid trips as it technically is only a 3 season bag.

    The bag comes in two sizes, the larger size will fit someone up to 6’6″.

    There’s an included stuff sack, which won’t pack it down as much as a compression sack, however, the Kelty Cosmic bag does pack down fairly well to around 14″x8″ and stays lightweight at 2.85 pounds.

    The insulation fill is made from 600 Fill power DriDown which is a natural down insulation treated with a molecular level polymer which stays dry longer, lofts better, and dries faster than untreated down helping your bag to stay dry 10-times longer in the presence of natural body moisture, humidity, rain, and snow.

    However, we did experience some trouble with the zipper.

    Seems to be kind of a cheap design.

    Good bag for a backup or a last-minute replacement.

    Read our full review of the Kelty Cosmic 20 Degree Sleeping Bag


    Weight 3.4 lbs
    Packed Dimensions 8" x 14"
    Assembled Dimensions 84"
    Insulation Material Synthetic Continuous Filament Fiber Fill
    Sack Included Yes
    Temperature Rating 20°
    Width Shoulders 20"
    Width (Lower) 32"
    Sleeping Bag Style Mummy Bag
    Current Price from $49.72
    Pros You can fit average to taller campers, Good room in the shoulders and feet, Packs down to 3.5 pounds, Compression sack included, Lots of value for an inexpensive bag
    Cons Cheaper zipper construction, Although it says its rated at 20 degrees it's hard to stay warm below 30 degrees, , ,
    Our Take:

    The Ledge Sports FeatherLite +20 F is a nice bag for anyone looking for an inexpensive, dependable bag.

    It has good enough room for any campers up to around 6-6’2″ tall at the shoulders and the feet, especially for a mummy style bag.

    Anyone taller or on the heavier side may want to find a bigger bag.

    But the mummy style does keep the air circulation down to a minimum to help the insulation.

    There’s an included hood with a drawstring for extra warmth at the head.

    The 2-way zipper is great for those warmer nights and you want to let your feet hang out the bottom.

    The bag itself is around 7 feet long, but with the hood on it won’t fit many over 6 feet tall.

    There’s an included compression sack made from synthetics that will pack the Featherlite down to 15 inches X 8 inches, so about the size of a jug.

    Also once packed you’re looking at about 3.5 pounds, so a little on the heavier side for an ultralight backpacker, but light enough for anyone else not stressing about weight.

    For convenience you can also machine wash this bag with no problems, just be sure to let air dry.

    There are no doubt better bags on the market, but for under $70 this will keep you warm and comfy on most trips.

    Read our full review of the Ledge Sports FeatherLite +20 F Degree Ultra Light Design


ImageNameOur RatingTemp. RatingInsulationStyleLengthWidth (shoulders)Width (lower)PriceWhere to Buy
Hyke & Byke Quandary 15 Degree F 650 Fill Power Hydrophobic...Hyke & Byke Quandary 15 Degree Down Sleeping Bag (4.8 / 5)550 fill 90/10 downMummy Bag78"22"28"from $134.97Buy on Amazon
Hyke & Byke Eolus 15 & 30 Degree F 800 Fill Power...Hyke & Byke 800 Fill Power Goose Down Sleeping Bag (4.9 / 5)800 fill 90/10b downMummy Bag78"22°28°from $134.97Buy on Amazon
Outdoor Vitals Summit 0°F Premium Down Sleeping Bag,...Outdoor Vitals – Down 0 Degree Down Sleeping Bag (3.9 / 5)800+ fill power downMummy Bag75"31from $224.97Buy on Amazon
Snugpak Softie Elite 1 Sleeping Bag, OliveSnugpak Softie Elite 1 Sleeping Bag (4.1 / 5)36°SyntheticMummy Bag86"25"31"$99.35Buy on Amazon
Snugpak Softie Elite 3 Sleeping Bag, OliveSnugpak Softie Elite 3 Sleeping Bag (4.3 / 5)14°SyntheticMummy Bag86"25"31"from $119.99Buy on Amazon
Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed 800-Fill 3 Season...Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed 800-Fill 3 Season Sleeping Bag (4.8 / 5)20°800 Fill DownMummy Bag80"61"61"Price not availableBuy on Amazon
Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed 600-Fill Sleeping BagSierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed 600-Fill Sleeping Bag (5 / 5)27°600 Fill DownMummy Bag80"60"61"from $219.00Buy on Amazon
OuOutdoor Vitals Summit 20°-30°F Down Sleeping Bag, 800...Outdoor Vitals Summit 20°F Down Sleeping Bag (4.7 / 5)20°DownMummy Bag75"31"66"from $159.97Buy on Amazon
32°F Lightweight Down Sleeping Bag - Mummy Sleeping Bag,...Trekr Outdoor 32°F Lightweight Backpacking Sleeping Bag (4.2 / 5)32°400 Fill DownMummy Bag86"19"35"$50.63Buy on Amazon
Outdoor Vitals OV-Roost 40°F UnderQuilt/Sleeping Bag, Use...Outdoor Vitals OV-Roost 40°F UnderQuilt / Sleeping Bag (4.9 / 5)20°600 Fill power DriDownMummy Bag72"58"62"$69.98Buy on Amazon
Ledge Sports FeatherLite +20 F Degree Ultra Light Design,...Ledge Sports FeatherLite +20 F Degree Ultra Light Design (3.7 / 5)20°Synthetic Continuous Filament Fiber FillMummy Bag84"20"32"from $49.72Buy on Amazon

Best Quilts

Click Here To Reveal The Best Quilts Of 2019

As you start to plan your backpacking journey, it’s important to know that you can get a quality ultralight backpacking sleeping bag without having to sacrifice any other essential items.

Whether you’re going ultralight backpacking or more traditional tent camping, you’re going planning without most 21st century comforts.

But a quality night’s sleep doesn’t have to be one of them.

In fact, one of the luxuries of backpacking in the 21st century is the advancements in sleeping bag technology.

In 2018 there is a large selection of ultralight backpacking sleeping bags available.

These bags will not only keep you comfy and cozy at night but will also take up less space and less weight on your back.

Even though you’re roughing it through the outdoors, there’s no need to use the same crusty old sleeping bag you’ve been using since you were couch surfing after breaking up with your girlfriend.  (tear)

Why Is Bag Weight Important?

Your sleeping bag will be one of the heaviest items you lug around each day.

Modern ultralight backpacking sleeping bag fabric technology has become very advanced.

Outdoor Vitals Summit 0°F Premium Down Sleeping Bag,...
The Outdoor Vitals – Down 0 Degree Down Sleeping Bag has a 0°F EN temperature rating thanks to the premium 800 fill power down! .

Gone are the days where you have to carry your bag loaded with extra heavy blankets just to stay warm on a 40-degree night.

Many of the mummy and quilt bags on the market use down fabric and synthetic polyester to keep you warm enough alone.

On a cold night simply add a bivy cover, a bag liner along with whatever clothes you’re wearing

You’ll be surprised how warm you stay throughout the night.

Also, keep in mind that a lot of ultralight backpacking sleeping bags come with a lightweight stuff sack.

If yours doesn’t it’s not a bad idea to get one since most bags have the ability to compress down to the size of a large water jug.

As opposed to your crusty old wool blanket that needs to be folded up like a flag at a folding ceremony, most compressed sleeping bags fit easily into your pack.

There’s also the option of having the packed stuff sack hang off the back with barely any noticeable additional weight.

Don’t Compromise Price

Your ultralight sleeping bag is one of the most important items you’ll be carrying with you on your trip.

Suffice it to say there can be a noticeable difference between a $30 bag and a $300 bag.

That’s not to say you need to go out and drop the house on a top of the line ultralight backpacking sleeping bag.

But keep in mind that how comfortable you are when you try to sleep can be the difference between a good night’s rest and a restless, cold, miserable experience.

You need your rest on the trail and the last thing you want is to hike or climb or ride while groggy and tired.

Ledge Sports FeatherLite +20 F Degree Ultra Light Design,...
The Ledge Sports FeatherLite +20 F Degree Ultra Light Design has enough room for any campers up to around 6-6’2″ tall at the shoulders and the feet.

Factors in Choosing A Great Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Bag

Some factors you want to keep in mind when looking for your ideal sleeping bag include:

  • Weight
  • Temperature Rating
  • Insulation
  • Mummy or Quilt
  • Bag Dimensions
  • Storage
  • Ventilation
  • Pockets
  • Hood
  • Draft Collar

1. Weight

Most lightweight backpacking sleeping bags weigh between 2 and 4 pounds.

The weight will not directly correlate to warmth, and many lighter bags may end up actually being warmer.

2. Temperature Rating

Most bags on the market are tested for temperature by the EN 13537 standard temperature scale.

This tests each bag for different temperature standards like upper limit, comfort, lower limit, and extreme temperature.

Kelty Women's Cosmic 20 Degree Sleeping Bag, Dahlia/Grape...
The Kelty Cosmic 20 Degree Sleeping Bag comes in two sizes, the larger size will fit someone up to 6’6″..

Pick a bag where the EN rating is slightly lower than the temperature you plan to sleep.

If the temperature stays on the warmer end you can always adjust the sleeping bag to allow more cool air inside.

Most ultralight backpacking sleeping bags offer ratings between +15°F and +50°F.

3. Insulation: Down or Synthetic

There are 2 main types of sleeping bag insulation: Down and Synthetic.

Down:  Down insulation is the more lightweight and durable fabric between the 2.

Although it can be resistant to light water exposure it can be an absolute nightmare to dry when soaked.

The best part about down is its ability to trap heat and easy to compress.

Synthetic: Synthetic bags are typically made from polyester and can be great under wetter conditions.

They dry much faster than down and can even continue to insulate if they do get wet.

The biggest downside of a synthetic bags is the lack of heat insulation and inability to compress like a down bag.

Some synthetic bags may have a stiffer feel too.

Down fill power is the measurement of the down’s ability to trap heat.

It measures how much many cubic inches of space 1 ounce of down can full when allowed to reach its max loft.

These numbers typically range from 600-800.

The higher the fill power the higher the quality and also the lighter the weight.

Hyke & Byke Eolus 15 & 30 Degree F 800 Fill Power...
The Hyke & Byke 800 Fill Power Goose Down Sleeping Bag
includes ultralight premium quality goose down filling for extra insulation.

4. Style: Mummy Bags or Quilts

Mummy bags are typically the warmest and most packable choice and are more preferred by lightweight backpackers.

Quilts give more flexibility for comfort, can be lighter and less expensive than mummy bags.

However, they are not as reliable for trapping heat and have to be used with a sleeping pad.

They work great with hammocks.

Paria Outdoor Products Thermodown 15 Degree Down Sleeping...
The Paria Outdoor Products Thermodown 15 Degree Down Sleeping Quilt includes 22 oz. of high loft 700-fill power down.

5. Bag Width and Length

Knowing how you sleep will give you an idea of what dimensions you need in a sleeping bag.

Different bags will give you different dimensions in the shoulders and the feet.

The mummy bag will have more tapered feet.

This leaves less room to insulate with your body heat.

A bag with a rectangular cut will give your feet more room but might be a little tougher to stay warm in.

Snugpak Softie Elite 3 Sleeping Bag, Olive
The Snugpack Elite 3 is EN temperature rated 23°F to 14°F.

6. Storage

Some bags come with some sort of stuff sack.

If yours doesn’t consider adding either a compression or waterproof stuff sack to your cart

These will not only help protect your sleeping bag but pack it tighter so it occupies less space in your pack.

7. Zipper Length and Ventilation

Some bags use 1/2 length zippers while other bags use 3/4 length zippers.

Again it all really depends how you sleep.

For those who sleep on their backs, 1/2 zippers are fine.

But for those of you who side sleepers, a 3/4 zipper bag will accommodate better.

3/4 zippers are also great for cold sleepers and those who want to drape themselves in the warmth of the bag while sitting up to eat or drink a beer.

Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed 800-Fill 3 Season...
The Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed 800-Fill 3 Season Sleeping Bag includes has no zippers and works great for those of you who sleep on your side.

Full-length zippers give you the most options and can be easier to get into or out of.

They can also be mated with other bags if you need more space or want someone to snuggle up against.

8. Pockets

Many bags offer stash pockets where you can store your smaller items like phone, watch, GPS, knife, etc.

9. Hood

A nice feature on many new sleeping bags is the hood with the drawcord.

This helps to insulate the entire head with some breathing room for your mouth and face.

Some hoods offer a pillow pocket that you can fill with clothes or any other soft material to make a makeshift pillow.

10. Draft Collar

Can create a full wrap from your neck down keeping your entire body insulated.  Great for colder weather.

11. Sleeping Bag Liner For Extra Bag Protection

If you’re a serious backpacker and want to get the most usability out of your sleeping bag, then definitely look into adding a liner.

A sleeping bag liner is a thin, lightweight cloth sack that fits directly into the inside of your bag.

It’s basically the inner shell that protects the bag from YOU!

While the super thin silk and synthetic liners don’t provide much body heat insulation, they do prevent the inside of your bag from getting dirty and absorbing your body oils.

This helps keep your lightweight sleeping bag looking new and keeping it out of the wash which will extend the life expectancy of your bag.

There are also liners made from fleece and cotton which do actually keep you warmer but can add extra pounds in your pack.

Not ideal for the lightweight backpacker, unless you don’t mind the extra weight.

Cairn subscription Box

Is A Survival Subscription Box Worth It?

By Erik | February 15, 2019 | Comments Off on Is A Survival Subscription Box Worth It?

Why A Waterproof Bivy Sack Is More Than Just A Sleeping Bag Cover

By Erik | December 9, 2018 | Comments Off on Why A Waterproof Bivy Sack Is More Than Just A Sleeping Bag Cover

7 Reasons You’ll Love The Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy

By Nick P | December 9, 2018 | Comments Off on 7 Reasons You’ll Love The Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy

Erik

Erik grew up as a desert rat in Arizona. After exploring the backcountry of the west coast he came east for a job but still finds time to explore the beauty of the northeast.