There’s nothing quite so rough as being out camping with the wrong kind of sleeping bag.
One of the absolute worst nights of my life happened to me when I was out camping with my girlfriend in the middle of the Ocala National Forest.
It was Florida in the spring, so we thought we’d be OK with just two lightweight sleeping bags.
And that was alright – at the start of the night, that is.
But as the night wore on, the forest cooled off more and more, until we both woke up in the middle of the night absolutely freezing.
When then ended up getting some of the worst sleep either of us had ever experienced until sunrise.
Moral of the story: don’t be stupid like me!
There’s enough that can go wrong on camping trip – so at the very least, get the sleeping bags right.
Prepare for the Right Temperatures with a Sleeping Bag
The first thing to do before investing in any kind of sleeping is always the know the kind of temperatures you’re likely to be dealing with.
Where are you planning on doing most of your hiking – and during what time of year?
What’s the absolute coldest temperature you can expect to be dealing with?
Your answers to these questions should inform your entire buying process.
In general, colder weather sleeping bags are going to be a bit more expensive than those designed for warmer climates.
They’re also going to be bulkier and heavier than any of their fair weather counterparts.
However, you also want to keep in mind that it’s almost always easier to get cooler during the night than it is to get warmer.
You can always unzip a sleeping bag some or just do away with it entirely if it’s going to be too hot – but if it gets too cold during the night, a thin sleeping bag can make your life extremely unpleasant, and it might even get a little dangerous!
Bottom line, shop for something built for slightly colder temperatures than you’re likely to encounter – but keep things realistic or you might end up wasting both money and precious packing space!
Sleeping Bag Temperature Ratings
Thankfully, there shouldn’t be too much guesswork when it comes to deciding on how heavy a sleeping bag you need.
All modern sleeping bags come with standard ratings to tell you exactly what temperatures you’ll be able to deal with in them.
The one most often advertised in product descriptions is the survival rating – that is, the coldest possible temperature you can sleep at in a given sleeping bag and still survive.
Keep in mind, however, that survival and comfort are two very different things.
Because of this, some bags will come with an EN Standards Tag, which provides you with information about the kinds of temperatures you can expect to deal with in any given product.
Your sleeping bag’s comfort range, for instance, is the temperature at which a “standard woman” (that is, a woman aged 25, 1.6 meters tall and weighing 60kg) will be able to sleep comfortably in thermal underwear in a tent while using a sleeping pad.
The transition range, meanwhile, is the lower limit of possible sleep in your sleeping bag.
In this range, a “typical” man (aged 25, 1.73 meters tall and weighing 73 kg) will be able to sleep curled up in the same conditions as the woman in the comfort range.
He won’t be comfortable, but he also won’t be shivering.
Finally, in the extreme range, you get into the absolute lowest temperatures at which a person can sleep in this sleeping bag and still live.
Keep in mind that the numbers on these tags are really just averages, and a lot of factors can impact how comfortable sleep is.
Men, for instance, can typically withstand colder temperatures than women, all else being equal.
Additionally, if it’s damp or windy you’ll likely find yourself needing some slightly warmer sleeping conditions than normal – and of course, if you sleep in a hoodie or a couple more layers of clothing, you can push your sleeping bag past its normal temperature extremes.
The Top 5 Sleeping Bags
Alright, let’s get down to it – the absolute best sleeping bags your typical backpacker will need.
Here they are…
|Slumberjack||Hyke & Byke||Sleepingo||Honest Outfitters||Outdoor Vitals|
|Materials||Nylon with quilt construction and a flip-over hood||400T ripstop nylon, 210D PU-coated nylon||Polyester outer shell with tetron and cotton lining||210T polyester outside with polyester pongee lining||800+ premium down fill|
|Temperature Rating||20 degrees||15 degrees||32 degrees||Comfortable at 35 to 40 degrees||0 degrees|
|Weight||3lbs 7oz||2.89 to 3.24lbs||3lbs||3.2lbs||3lbs|
|Bulk||9.5″ x 18″||10″ x 7.5″||N/A||N/A||11″ x 8″|
|Notes||Comfy but bulky||Heavy-duty for serious hikers||Comes with complementary travel pillows||Lightweight and affordable||Built for extreme conditions|
The Slumberjack Boundary 20 Sleeping Bag
First up, we have the Slumberjack Boundary 20 Sleeping Bag.
This is a pretty high-quality bag at a fairly reasonable price.
It’s built with a layered, offset quilt construction that all but eliminates the possibility of cold spots.
It also comes with a quality flip-over hood that you can use either flat or contoured, and as a whole the product will keep you nice and comfy no matter where you’re trying to sleep.
It’s important to realize, however, this is a fairly bulky product and is not designed for any kind of backpacking.
It doesn’t compress properly for that – but it is pretty nice far any kind of car camping, especially around the fall and to some extent into the winter.
It’s roomy, well-padded, and all in all a highly functional product.
The Sleepingo Double Sleeping Bag
If you prefer hiking with a partner, meanwhile, and wouldn’t sharing a bag for the extra heat, you might want to consider the Sleepingo Double Sleeping Bag.
Built with a durable outer shell as well as an extremely soft, comfortable inner lining, this is ideal for any couple looking to brave the great outdoors.
It measures 87” by 59”, which should be plenty big enough to fit two people, and it also comes with two convenient, complementary travel pillows (so no more using bundled-up shirts for neck support!).
Another nice bonus to this product is that you can actually use it as two individual sleeping bags of you like – which, when you consider its price, makes this an exceptionally affordable purchase.
Keep in mind, however, that this is only rated for 32 degrees at the absolute lowest, so you’re probably not going to want to use this thing any later than the fall.
Overall, this is one swanky bag, ideal for hiking partners of all kinds.
Well worth the money for most of the year!
The Hyke & Byke Down Sleeping Bag
Next up, there’s the Hyke & Byke Down Sleeping Bag.
This is a slightly more heavy-duty item for a slightly more serious breed of campers.
Unlike the Slumberjack, this thing is really designed for backpacking.
Not only is it incredibly lightweight (short: 2.89lbs, regular: 3.06lbs, long 3.24lbs), but it’s also highly compressible into a 10” long by 7.5” in diameter cylinder.
It’s also hyper durable, with water repellent 400T 20D ripstop nylon fabric and sack top and bottom compression panels made of 210D PU-coated nylon.
This sleep ingbag is built with an extreme limit of 15 degrees Fahrenheit, with a lower male comfort limit of 30 degrees and a lower female comfort limit of 50 degrees.
The one downside, of course, is that it isn’t quite as bottom-dollar as some of the other products on this list.
However, keep in mind that you’ll be getting an extraordinary high-quality product when you buy this thing – and when you consider how much you’re getting, the price is actually pretty reasonable!
The Honest Outfitters Sleeping Bag
Another super affordable option is the Honest Outfitters Sleeping Bag.
This is a lot like the Sleepingo in terms of pricing and material – however, it’s only a single, so you probably don’t want to try cramming two people into this thing unless you’re ridiculously cold!
This is designed to be comfortable within a range as low as 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, with a mummy hood and drawstrings to keep your head as warm as possible.
It actually comes with two sacks to carry everything in – one for compression, and one for any other gear you might want to take along with you.
This thing is machine washable, with a shell of 210 T polyester and a polyester pongee lining.
It’s also about as lightweight as you could hope for – a mere 3.2 pounds – but it rolls out to a respectable 29.5” x 87”.
Not bad at all!
Outdoor Vitals Summit 0°F Premium Down Sleeping Bag
Finally, we finish up with a piece of true adventurer’s gear: the Outdoor Vitals Summit 0°F Premium Down Sleeping Bag.
This thing is made for serious hikers looking for a warm sleep even in the deep of winter.
It’s made with pure premium down insulation, with 800+ fill customer chosen to compress as small as possible while still providing you with the kind of heat you need.
This fill is built around a spacious grid baffle design that prevents it all from sliding around, ensuring your continued comfort no matter how long you use this thing!
It’s because of this elevated design quality that the Outdoor Vitals is able to offer a true lifetime limited warranty, guaranteeing this product’s continued function as long as you could possibly need it.
Conclusion About the Best Sleeping Bags on the Market
So there you have it – the absolute best sleeping bags out there today.
Armed with this information, you should be ready to go out there and make your buys with the confidence you need.
Happy shopping, y’all.