Buyers Guide: How To Choose A Sleeping Bag
A good sleeping bag is a foundational piece of gear for the outdoor enthusiast. Consider where and when you want to use your bag. Are you planning a summer outing at low elevation or a winter getaway in the mountains?
Not every bag will cover the gamut of conditions you will encounter in the outdoors but most can cover a broad spectrum. A cold weather bag will work in the summer but nasty, stuffy, sweaty nights will ensue. Just as with any piece of gear, choose the right tool for the job.
We utilize five factors to consider when purchasing a sleeping bag: warmth, packed size and weight, materials, extra features, and value. No one bag can excel in all categories without costing you a fortune. Our goal is to direct you toward the perfect sleeping bag for your needs and your budget.
Keep in mind that brands often offer multiple sizes in one bag. There will be short, regular, long, left zip, right zip, or a womens version. Dead air space in a bag creates more air to warm up, creating a colder bag or at least one that requires more heating time. In some situations, extra space is beneficial.
For example, in cold environments, it is nice to have a few extra inches in the bottom of the bag to stash clothes to keep warm or a water bottle filled with hot water. Deciding what side you want the zipper on can come down to handedness, connecting to a partners bag, or preferring a certain side to sleep on.
Best Bikepacking Sleeping Bag
When you start talking about the absolute lightest sleeping bag available, things aren’t always that clear. Companies start to qualify that it’s the lightest compared to this or that, based on temperature ratings or bag size. All that said, the Sea to Summit Spark Ultralight sleeping bag might be the lightest sleeping bag at the 40F rating, or it might not, but it’s certainly very close. If you think you’d rather give up a little weight in the quest for comfort, Sea To Summit does offer a range of heavier, warmer bags in the same series which are still ultralight in comparison to the competition.
Getting out in nature is one of the things that makes bikepacking what it is. With that in mind, it’s great to think about all the ways our sport impacts the natural world. The materials used to build sleeping bags aren’t exempt from that and REI makes it easy to be conscientious. The down used is RDS certified “to ensure that down and feathers come from animals that have not been subjected to any unnecessary harm.” Then the entire construction is Bluesign certified “to keep chemicals of concern out of the process.”
The bag itself features a Pertex water-resistant shell with 850-fill-power goose down insulation. It’s not too narrow at the bottom so there is a decent amount of leg wriggling space and the close-cut hood and yoke around the shoulders should stop any drafts from getting in.
The Best Sleeping Bags For Motorcyclists
Along with tents, sleeping bags have got to be one of the most important items to enable you to get a good nights sleep. It doesnt matter where you are, after a long days riding youll certainly going to want to be getting a solid amount of shut eye. Even more so if youve been on some tough tracks.
But what sleeping bag should you go for? The market is vast with many different options at various different price points and that can make for some confusing shopping. To understand what you need to be looking for in a sleeping bag, be sure to check out our buying guide by .
Just remember, youll be carrying it with you on the bike so you dont want anything too bulky and heavy. But dont let that be a prerequisite to get something that wont keep you warm. Having a sleeping bag that is warm enough is of the upmost importance, otherwise you may end up in big trouble.
With that in mind here is our pick of the eight best sleeping bags on the market for motorcyclists. We have a selection of both down and synthetic bags that range from £60 to £330 so there really is something for everyone.
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Also Great For Backpacking: Feathered Friends Swallow Yf 30 Sleeping Bag
Mummy-style sleeping bags havent changed much in the past few years, so its 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.
Feathered Friends bags are almost 1.5 times the price of the other down bags we considered. At first we were turned off by this high pricebut if youre planning to do a lot of camping for many years, we believe the expense may be worth it for a sleeping bag that should last a lifetime. We liked several of the companys three-season bags, but wed recommend the unisex 30-degree Swallow YF as a good bag for serious backpackers looking for a high-quality, lightweight sleeping bag. Male-identifying testers especially loved this bag, as did campers of all genders who tended to sleep hot and had broader shoulders.
The Schoeller NanoSphere 20 nylon shell was among the most durable and waterproof fabrics we saw on a bag. Since we tested these bags, the company has changed the fabric it uses for this bags shell to a nylon Pertex Quantum that is, they say, still more waterproof. Well be testing the bags soon to make sure they perform as well as they did before.
Best Sleeping Bag For Bikepacking
For ultralight bike touring, the three key components of your bikepacking sleep system are the most critical to get right. Get these three nailed and youll wake up in the morning refreshed and ready for another awesome day of cycling. Get them wrong? Well, youll toss and turn all night, probably get wet and cold, and definitely not be in the mood for a day in the saddle.
Today were going to look at the first of these the best bikepacking sleeping bags for cycle touring.
As with all decisions about bike touring gear, theres a sliding scale from budget sleeping bags up to ultra-compact sleeping bags which are lightweight on the bike if not necessarily on the wallet. Ive included a variety of options here to suit a range of sleeping conditions and prices. Ive also added a rundown of the important criteria to consider when choosing your bag.
My recommended sleeping bags for bikepacking are:
Bikepacking Sleeping Bag Recommendations:
How to choose a sleeping bag
Types of sleeping bagsThe many sleeping bags can be divided up into three broad categories: Summer , 3-season, or Winter. At the Summer end of the scale you will find bags that are only suitable for warmer temperatures. On the flip side though, these bags tend to pack up smaller, be lighter to carry and cost less to buy. So if you plan to do your bikepacking during the warmer months only, particularly if youre the type to always get too warm at night, then these can be a great option.
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What Type Of Sleeping Bag Is Best
The decision primarily is a question of insulation types. Two categories prevail: synthetic and down. Synthetic bags, like the NEMO Forte, are bulkier and overall heavier when compared to a down-filled bag at the same temperature rating. They also tend to be less expensive and stay warm when wet .
Down-filled bags, like the Western Mountaineering Alpinlite, tend to cost more and be more delicate to abrasion and tearing as feathers can leak out, diminishing insulation. The advantage of down-filled bags is they pack extremely small and can provide more warmth with less material and therefore, less weight.
Choosing A Sleeping Bag By Temperature Rating
Select a sleeping bag with a lower temperature rating than the lowest nighttime temperature you expect on a trip. On warmer nights, you can always unzip it to cool off a bit. Note that even though down bags are considered warmer in general -many factors go into bag warmth, so the temperature rating is your best indicator of warmth.
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Quechua 0 Light Hiking Sleeping Bag 5999
The Quechua 0º Light Hiking Sleeping Bag has a price that will appeal to everyone and, again, Ive found it for much cheaper on the net. Dont let that cheap price tag influence your perception of the overall quality of this product though, for such a small amount of money youre getting one hell of a great bag here.
While not exactly the smallest in pack size or the lightest in weight the 0º Light Hiking Sleeping Bag just about fits into the bottom of our Touratech 38 litre Zega Pro panniers and with a better compression sack youll be able to get it smaller. When unpacked and laying down in all its glory its pleasant to see that theres plenty of room inside even for guys on the larger side of life.
The bag uses an unbranded synthetic fill to keep you warm and, as the name might suggest, itll allow you to comfortably sleep in temperatures around the 0C mark. A 3/4 length two-way zip allows for ventilation if you start to overheat, theres a sufficiently sized baffle over the zip to prevent cold spots and the bag can be cinched in where its needed to prevent cold drafts entering.
For such a low price you cant go wrong with this bag, so if youre in the market for one and youre looking for a bargain: this is it.
Rating: 8/10 Best budget buy
Shavano 32 Degree F Ultralight Down Price
Hyke & Bykes business model revolves around keeping operating costs low for premium quality products at the best price. The business is running completely cloud-based with minimal overheads such as servers, commercial property, extra equipment, and hardware. Other brands charge $220 or more for similar down sleeping bags while Hyke & Byke charges half the price.
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Sleeping Bag Temperature Ratings
The single most important decision youll make when choosing a sleeping bag is the temperature rating. Simply put, few things are worse than a long, sleepless night shivering inside your tent, and we always believe that its best to err on the side of caution when choosing your bag. Below we break down what you need to know about temperature ratings, including the EN/ISO standard, non-standardized models from cottage brands, and how to choose the right rating.
The EN/ISO Rating System ExplainedInstead of depending on the manufacturer and their marketing whims for a temperature rating, the sleeping bag industry has attempted to standardize the system with the help of the EN and, more recently, the ISO . This criterion lays out guidelines for how to test the warmth of a bag and enables consumers to make accurate comparisons between products. Both standards give us four numbersupper limit, comfort, lower limit, and extreme. The middle two ratings have the most significance for the majority of backpackers:
Comfort Rating: The temperature at which an average woman can sleep comfortably. Generally, women sleep colder than men, hence the importance of the comfort rating.
Lower Limit: The temperature at which an average man can sleep for eight hours without waking. We rarely sleep for eight hours without waking on a backpacking trip, but you get the idea.
Hammock Gear Burrow Econ 20
Weight:Fill:REASONS TO BUY
For some ultralight backpackers, shelling out some extra cash in exchange for weight savings can be worth it. The Econ line from Hammock Gear, however, proves that you don’t need to break the bank for a quality lightweight quilt. We tested the Econ Burrow 20, and we were surprised at how well it performed despite having a price that was less than half the cost of some of the premium models. It’s got as many features as some of the more expensive options and isn’t that much heavier.
We tested the Econ Burrow in the backcountries of Zion and Joshua Tree National Parks, and it kept us warm on nights near freezing with the added benefit of packing down surprisingly well, too. It isn’t the lightest or the warmest option out there, but the price is unbeatable for a quilt as functional as this one. The size, temperature, fill, and footbox style can all be customized as well, which will affect the price, but it should stay under the cost of nearly every other competitive option. For bargain shoppers, this is your bag.
Weight:Fill:REASONS TO BUY
The folks over at Sea to Summit made this tiny package possible by stripping nearly everything off this hooded mummy bag. There’s no draft collar or tube, only a half zipper. The baffles are also sewn through the shell fabric, which harms thermal efficiency. It’s not the warmest bag, but it is warmer than at least two of the quilts we tested. For seriously light summer missions, it’s one cool piece of gear.
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Critical Sleeping Bag Considerations
CHOOSING A TEMPERATURE RATING– Choosing the right temperature rating isnt an exact science. Many factors contribute to warmth, like sleeping pad insulation, clothing, hydration, nutrition, and altitude. For this list, we chose bags with temperature ratings that we felt would be a good fit for most 3-season trips. Most of the bags on this list will keep the average user comfortable when temperatures dip to freezing, or a few degrees below. If you know youre a hot or cold sleeper, youll want to adjust your choice accordingly.
TEMPERATURE RATING–European Norm and ISO are standardized temperature rating systems that keep ratings consistent across the industry. The number listed with most sleeping bags is the EN Lower Limit which is usually 10-15 degrees lower than the EN Comfort Rating. We find that the EN Comfort Rating gives a much more realistic idea of how a bag will perform. If no comfort rating is listed, we usually estimate an extra 10-15° to the lower limit for sleeping bags and 20-25° for quilts.
STAYING WARM– Sleeping bags dont create warmth, your body creates warmth. Your sleeping bag keeps you warm by trapping body heat in an enclosed space. Sleeping bags with more insulation trap heat better, so theyre warmer. Sleeping bags with lots of interior space are less efficient because they create a larger area for your body to warm up.
The featherlight Zpacks Classic is a versatile quilt/sleeping bag hybrid
The North Face Dolomite One Duo
Most Versatile Double Sleeping Bag
The North Face Dolomite One Duo sleeping bag has an interchangeable 3-layered temperature system, making it the most versatile double sleeping bag option. The lowest temperature rating youll get with the 3-layer setup is 15°F, but if thats too warm ditch one of the layers and make it 30°F bag, or if youre stargazing in the summertime opt for the single 50°F layer.
Each layer is lined with soft material for comfort and features a watch pocket for quick go-to items. This 3-in-1 is the ultimate double sleeping bag for car camping that would be suitable for all your 3-season adventures.
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Upgrade Pick: Montbell Down Hugger 650 #1
The Montbell Down Hugger is the most versatile sleeping bag we tested. Its suitable for beginner backpackers and seasoned campers alike, due to its sturdy construction, comfortable bedding, and lifetime warranty. Although the Down Hugger is billed as a unisex bag, we think its best for all people who sleep warm.
Most sleeping bags tend to stretch in one direction , but the diagonal baffling on the bag allows movement in two directionsvertically and horizontally.
Personally, said Kit, I tend to feel constricted in mummy bags that are too tight, but the Montbell seemed to move with me no matter how much I spread out at night. This unique design also eliminated gaps between his body and the bag, a feature that minimizes drafty dead spaces and ought to make the bag comfortable for a broader range of body shapes. Its this versatility that makes the Montbell our upgrade pick. Unlike other mummy bags, this adaptive stretch is included in the footbox, which is flexible between your feet rather than wrapped around them like traditional muffler-shaped footboxes.
Along with a draft tube running the length of the bags zipper, the Montbell has a draft collar thats meant to lock in heat. Some experts warned us against Velcro on sleeping bags, saying it could snag on the nylon shell, but the Velcro closure on the Montbell appears to be very gentle. The Montbell is EN limit rated to 11 °F.
F Classic Sleeping Bag
A true classic!
Our award-winning Classic Sleeping Bag strikes the perfect balance of warmth and weight. Featuring a 3/4th length zipper on the bottom, the Classic Sleeping Bag combines the best aspects of a down quilt and a down sleeping bag, all at an unbeatable weight!
Includes a Free Zpacks Roll Top Dry Bag for Storage! A $30 value!
Could be the best rain jacket on the market. Keeps you dry from the rain outside and dry on the inside as it is very breathable.
When the skies are overcast and the rain is pouring down, our ultralight Vertice Rain Jacket offers superior protection and breathability. Our Vertice material is optimized to be lightweight without compromising on durability, and it is among the lightest possible choices for waterproof hyper-breathable rain gear.
Be sure to check out the rest of our Vertice Rain Gear.
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