What Is the Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag? Top 5 Revealed
A sleeping bag is one of the most important items that you need to bring on a camping trip.
If you are planning a backpacking trip, and plan on camping out along the way, it’s important to find a backpacking sleeping bag that will keep you warm without adding extra weight to your pack.
In our guide, we reveal our top choice for the best backpacking sleeping bag, as well as some of our other top choices, so that you can find the best sleeping bag for your camping needs.
Marmot Phase 20 F Degree Down Sleeping Bag
ALPS Mountaineering Crescent Lake Zero Degree Sleeping Bag
The North Face Cat's Meow Sleeping Bag
Kelty Cosmic 40 Sleeping Bag
Big Agnes Buffalo Park 40 Sleeping Bag
How We Choose Our Ratings
Selecting the best backpacking sleeping bag can be challenging, especially since you can’t give every sleeping bag on the market an overnight test run.
It can also be difficult to know how well a sleeping bag will fit in your pack, or how heavy it will feel until you’re well into your hike.
While choosing a sleeping bag often comes down to personal preferences, such as comfort, we do our best to provide you with a variety of top-rated sleeping bags that are best-suited for backpacking excursions.
We take the time to do extensive research to ensure that we only include the best backpacking sleeping bags in our review.
We use a five-star rating system to rate each sleeping bag; our top choice is always five stars, which means it exceeds our expectations.
Even if the other choices in our review don’t receive a five-star rating, we only include sleeping bags that we would feel confident using on a backpacking trip.
To ensure that we are reviewing the best options, we read dozens of online customer reviews and testimonials, and we carefully consider the pros and cons of each sleeping bag before we add it to our list.
Top 5 Backpacking Sleeping Bag Options
Now that we’ve explained how we choose our ratings, it’s time to take a closer look at our top picks for backpacking sleeping bags, starting with our pick for the best sleeping bag for backpacking.
If you’re not a fan our number one choice, we’re confident that you will find at least one another sleeping bag on our list that will keep warm and comfortable on your next backpacking trip.
Marmot Backpacking Sleeping Bag
Marmot is a leading brand in outdoor clothing and gear, and while they are often considered to be a more expensive brand, they offer high-quality gear. Their Phase 20 sleeping bag is ideal for backpacking trips because it is lightweight, compact, and warm.
The mummy-style sleeping bag is filled with goose down to provide comfort and warmth, and the fill also has Down Defender to keep moisture away. The outer shell is made of Pertex ripstop nylon.
The bag has a multi-baffle hood to reduce heat loss, and the anatomical footbox is designed to increase insulation while leaving enough room for your feet.
The Marmot bag has an internal stash pocket and is available in either a left or right side, two-way and full-length zipper. The Phase 20 bag is available in two sizes: regular and long.
The long bag fits up to 78 inches and the regular up to 72 inches. The stuff sack is 7.5 x 16 inches, and the weight of each size bag is 1 pound and 11.2 oz (long) and 1 pound and 7.3 oz (regular).
The Phase 20 bag is tested for the lowest temperature of 18.5 degrees, and the most comfortable temperature is 29.5 degrees F.
Many users say that the backpack is true to its description regarding warmth, comfort, and lightweight design, which is ideal for backpacking.
The most common complaints are regarding the zipper as being too small and snags easily, even though it’s designed to be snag-free.
The cost of the sleeping bag is also a disadvantage for many backpackers who might be looking for a more budget-friendly sleeping bag.
If you are new to backpack camping, this may not be the best bag for you, especially if you aren’t interested in making a significant investment in a sleeping bag.
ALPS Mountaineering Backpacking Sleeping Bag
- Made With Tech Loft+ Insulation For Maximum Comfort
- Two Layer Construction Provides Increased Warmth And Durability
- Insulated Chest and Zipper Baffle
This mummy-style sleeping bag has similar features of the Marmot bag, but it’s a better option for someone who might be looking for a budget-friendly sleeping bag for backpacking. The sleeping bag is designed to sleep comfortably in zero degree weather.
TechLoft micro synthetic fibers fill the sleeping bag, the shell is made of ripstop nylon, and the lining is polyester. The ALPS sleeping bag has dual right and left zippers for comfort and convenience, and the length of the bag fits up to 72 inches.
The weight of this sleeping bag is 4 pounds and 13 oz. with a stuff sack that measures 10.5 x 21 inches.
While this sleeping back is heavier than other sleeping bags designed for backpacking, it does have a colder temperature rating than others, so you may need to weigh your options.
This bag may be an ideal choice if you have a larger pack to carry or if you don’t need to carry other bulky or heavy equipment (such as a tent).
Most owners of this bag love the price, and the majority think that it’s comfortable and warm. A few downsides to consider is the weight of the bag, and some users think that it’s not as warm as it should be (a few reviewers remedied the issue by wearing more layers).
The North Face Cat's Meow Backpacking Sleeping Bag
- Women-specific mummy bag designed for temps down to 20 degrees
- Internal handwarmer pockets
- Optimized fill for a smaller packed size
Like Marmot and other popular brands, North Face sells a variety of styles of sleeping bags, but the Cat’s Meow is one of our favorites for backpacking.
The Cat’s Meow is available in two sizes: long and regular, and it has a left side zipper. The bag has a synthetic fiber fill with a ripstop nylon shell, which makes this mummy-style back comfortable and warm enough to use during 20 degree (F) weather.
Other measurements of this sleeping bag include 78 inches in length for the long bag and 72 inches for the regular length. The long bag weighs 2 pounds and 7 oz. and the regular weights 2 pounds and 4 oz. The stuff sack is 9 x 16 inches.
Most users think that this bag is true to the heat rating. Others comment on the bag being lightweight, the compact size, comfort, and affordability.
Kelty Cosmic 40 Backpacking Sleeping Bag
- 600 Fill-Power DriDown and durable water repellent treatment are PFC-free
- 20-Denier Nylon Taffeta shell is soft yet durable
- 50-Denier Polyester Taffeta lining feels like satin sheets on your skin
This Kelty Cosmic sleeping bag is an ideal option for backpackers who are looking for a warmer weather sleeping bag. The Cosmic Dri-Down filled bag is tested and designed for use in 40 degree (F) weather.
The mummy-style polyester sleeping bag is available in long and regular sizes (78 or 72 inches), and weighs between 1 pound and 12 oz. to 1 pound and 14 oz., depending on the size.
The bag has a right-side zipper and you can adjust the drawstring cords for comfort and warmth. The stuff sack bag is 7 x 12 inches.
Most users like that the Cosmic bag is lightweight and easy to carry on a hike, but some have mixed reviews on the warmth of the sleeping bag.
Many users stayed warm and comfortable while using the sleeping bag and feel that it’s true to its temperature ratings, but some suggest using a liner if you plan to use the bag in cooler temperatures.
Big Agnes Backpacking Sleeping Bag
The Big Agnes Buffalo Park sleeping bag has an extra-wide design to accommodate a sleeping pad if you need one. The sleeping bag has a cotton and polyester lining with a nylon shell and Thermolite polyester fill.
The design has similar features to a mummy-style bag, but it is roomier and wider, which means it’s only best-suited in 40 degree plus (F) weather.
The sleeping bag has a dual-zipper design and is a semi-rectangular shape. The Big Agnes Buffalo Parks fits is 78 inches in length, weighs 2 pounds and 15 oz. and the stuff sack is 8 x 17.5 inches.
Many reviewers of the Big Agnes Buffalo Park sleeping bag initially chose it due to its roomier design than other mummy-style sleeping bags.
Most say that the sleeping bag warmth is true to the test ratings and the extra room in the bag makes it easy to add more layers.
While this bag is slightly heavier than other backpacking sleeping bags, most didn’t complain about the extra weight while backpacking.
A Note on Temperature Ratings
Since every backpacker has different needs when it comes to warm while camping, it was important that we were able to offer a variety of options with various temperature ratings.
It’s also important to remember that even if a sleeping bag is rated for 20-degree weather, there’s no guarantee that you will be warm enough.
Everyone’s body reacts differently to temperatures, and some people sleep “warmer” than others.
With any sleeping bag you use, you will need to dress accordingly and may even want to consider sleeping bag liners or extra gear that won’t take up too much space in your pack.
Keep in mind that a 20-degree sleeping bag will likely keep you warm down to 20 degrees (F) it may not provide enough warmth for anything colder.
All of the sleeping bags that we reviewed use European Norm, or EN, ratings. The temperature is a standardized system used across the industry to help keep ratings consistent, but always double check the ratings before you buy a sleeping bag.
Other Factors to Consider
Aside from the temperature rating and the cost, you should choose a sleeping bag that fits well, especially when backpacking. Not only will a sleeping bag that fits well will keep you warmer when camping, but it will take up less space when you’re carrying your gear.
Depending on where you hike and camp, you will need to determine which type of filling and material is best for your sleeping bag. Many people prefer down fill over synthetic fill, but both are beneficial (depending on what you’re looking for).
Many sleeping bags have materials which are intended to make them more water-resistant, but it’s best to avoid moisture whenever possible as it can make you more susceptible to feeling cold.
Whether you purchase a sleeping bag online or at a store, always make sure you understand the return policy and see if you can still return your sleeping bag after you’ve used it on a camping trip.
Buyer’s Guide for Backpacking Sleeping Bag
As you’re shopping around for backpacking sleeping bags, you’ll probably notice that the price varies greatly. While you may find a sleeping bag for well under $50, it’s important to keep in mind that they may not be tested for colder temperatures.
Most high-quality sleeping bags specifically designed for backpacking are priced $100 and $500. You may be able to find high-priced sleeping bags that have a deep discount.
Some of the best times to buy camping gear, like sleeping bags, on sale is after the camping season and even during the winter months like January.
Before you purchase a sleeping bag that’s on sale, make sure that there’s a return policy available in case the sleeping bag is not for the right fit for you.
Featured Image via Pixabay