Which lightweight sleeping bag is best?
Sleeping bag design and construction have improved enormously over recent years, with modern options being warmer, more comfortable and lighter than ever before. They are ideal for everything from an impromptu guest staying the night to keeping you warm and dry in the great outdoors.
There are several things to consider when choosing a lightweight sleeping bag. In addition to the overall weight, its size, material and warmth are also key factors. The Teton Sports Ultralight Mummy Sleeping bag weighs just 2.6 pounds and has a temperature rating of -15 degrees. It is made from durable ripstop nylon with a brushed micro-polyester inner for comfort.
What to know before you buy a lightweight sleeping bag
Designs and uses
There are several different types of sleeping bags, each designed for different purposes. The most common is the classic rectangular sleeping bag. These generally have plenty of room but are not known for being lightweight or particularly warm and are more suited to indoor use.
Barrel and mummy-shaped sleeping bags are tapered from the hips to the feet, making them much warmer and lighter; however, they can feel somewhat restrictive. Two-person sleeping bags are also available and a great option if traveling with your partner.
The amount and type of insulation is of vital importance. It affects the overall weight of the sleeping bag and the conditions in which it can be used. There are two main types of insulation, down and synthetic.
Down filling is made from duck and goose feathers and is warmer, lighter and more compressible than synthetic filling. On the other hand, synthetic filling, which is made from hollow fiber polyester, is cheaper and doesn’t retain moisture, meaning it is better at keeping its insulating properties in damp conditions.
What to look for in a quality lightweight sleeping bag
A lightweight sleeping bag should weigh no more than three pounds. Therefore, it is vital to think about your needs in terms of warmth versus weight. A summer sleeping bag needs less insulation, which keeps the weight down. A three or four-season sleeping bag is rated for temperatures of zero degrees or lower and needs much more insulation. A sleeping bag that is both warm and lightweight will usually be down-filled and thus more expensive.
Depending on how you intend to use your sleeping bag, its size when packed away may be important. For backpacking and hiking trips, it should be as compact as possible. Many sleeping bags come with a compression sack to squeeze out the air and protect it during transit and storage. Generally, the more insulation a sleeping bag has, the larger it is when stowed.
Some sleeping bags have additional features, which may be beneficial but do affect the overall weight. A built-in hood covers your head and cinches around the neck to retain warmth. Alternatively, a draft collar provides insulation around the neck and face. Another useful addition is pad loops or sleeves, which allow the sleeping bag to be attached to your ground mat and prevent slipping or rolling off during the night.
How much you can expect to spend on a lightweight sleeping bag
Prices of lightweight sleeping bags vary significantly depending on their warmth rating and type of filling. A one or two-season sleeping bag with a synthetic filling can be found for less than $50, whereas a four-season, down-filled sleeping bag may cost in excess of $200.
Lightweight sleeping bag FAQ
How do you select the correct temperature rating for a sleeping bag?
A. Sleeping bags usually have a maximum and minimum temperature range. It is recommended to select a bag that is rated 20 degrees lower than the expected ambient night-time temperature.
What is a sleeping bag liner?
A. A sleeping bag liner is made from thin material such as silk or cotton and is inserted into the sleeping bag before use. It can help increase warmth and insulation while keeping the inside of the bag clean. It also provides versatility, as it can be removed in warmer climates.
What’s the best lightweight sleeping bag to buy?
Top lightweight sleeping bag
What you need to know: Weighing just 2.6 pounds, this four-season sleeping bag is ideal for camping and backpacking.
What you’ll love: It is rated for extreme temperatures of -15 degrees Fahrenheit. It has a built-in hood and is made from waterproof, ripstop nylon.
What you should consider: Even when stuffed into the included compression sack, this sleeping bag is quite bulky when packed.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top lightweight sleeping bag for the money
What you need to know: This budget-friendly sleeping bag is designed for summer use and weighs a mere 1.7 pounds.
What you’ll love: It is available in five colors and packs down to just 11 inches. It has a durable nylon outer shell with a soft cotton interior.
What you should consider: The included compression sack is of low quality.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This two- to three-season sleeping bag is designed for two people yet only weighs 3 pounds.
What you’ll love: It has a built-in hood with independent pull cords and zippers on each side. It comes with a compression sack and a carrying bag and packs down to a similar size as a single sleeping bag.
What you should consider: This sleeping bag is not the best choice for very tall people.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Chris Gillespie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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