Here, two testers comfortably share a single bag that's been fully unzipped into a quilt. (A bag that pairs better with backpacking sleeping pads you already own is the Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed Duo, a hybrid sleeping bag/comforter design that’s surprisingly warm and versatile.). That's because these accessory zippers are tiny, ultralight, and used to operate the "gills" on the top of the bag that adjust the amount of insulation, adding a degree of control to the bag's warmth. Before you choose the best big and tall backpacking sleeping bag, do a thorough check based on the following factors. In addition to reading reviews, we spoke with experts and then evaluated each of the 200-plus bags on our initial list based on how they were reported to perform according to the following criteria: Warmth: Your body creates warmth, then your sleeping bag traps that warmth in an enclosed area. Even in the nicest of climates, storms and cold temperatures can roll in unexpectedly. That’s why we examined brands to come up with this list of the backpacking sleeping bag. It also won't take up much room in your pack because it comes with a great compression sack and packs down as small as the best down bags we've tried. The problem is exaggerated if you pitch your tent on anything but perfectly flat ground. Photo: Caleigh Waldman. The third trip brought her to woodsy Wheeler Gorge near Ojai, California, where she and her fellow testers experienced mild nighttime lows in the 50s. In our performance tests, it scored as high as many premium bags, but it retails for under $200. We consider it one of the best sleeping bag deals out there. Initially, we were taken aback when we compared similarly rated men’s and women’s bags and found that the women’s bags were more expensive than the men’s bags. Features like a neck baffle and an easy to adjust hood help keep warm air in and cold air out. Looking for a budget backpacking sleeping bag? As we mentioned above, the best way to stay warm is to avoid having body parts in constant contact with your sleeping bag. This is another fantastic sleeping bag from Teton company that is meant to make your outdoor activities worthwhile. Another feature we like is the zippered "gills" on the top of the bag that allow you to spread the insulation out on warmer nights. Draft tube: Most bags also feature a draft tube running the length of the bag’s zipper, which blocks air from slipping between the teeth of the zipper. Down feathers, regardless of whether they receive water-resistant chemical treatments or not, will clump if they get wet. Also, the light-blue fabric on the foot box on the bag we tested (it comes in three color combinations) showed dirt. It's also a viable strategy to save your money on a budget bag and use the extra cash to get a lighter tent or backpack, which might be a more effective way to reduce the total weight of your complete overnight kit. The pad, bought separately, replaces the synthetic polyester insulation on the bottom half of the bag, making the Big Agnes, which is rated to 15 °F, extra warm relative to its packed size. If you’re going to be investing in a high-quality double bag like this one, we recommend pairing it with a double pad that fits perfectly. The Dolomite is also noticeably less lofty than the other bags we tested. Fortunately, budget bags haven't gone to the same extremes to reduce weight, and there aren't any bags in this review that we believe are narrow enough to disturb the sleep of the average backpacker. The Teton has among the most generous hoods we tried, giving plenty of room to insert a pillow. This detail is kind of nice but requires additional weight (zippers are common culprits of adding weight) and results in lower overall versatility than the KSB's smarter design. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. First, we slept in the finalist sleeping bags. Their rectangular shape, loose fit, and usual lack of a head cover limit their overall ability to retain heat. Kit Dillon got into each of the men’s/unisex candidates over the course of several weekend camping trips in Big Bear and along the coast of Central California, napping, reading, and generally hunkering down for the afternoon and evening to see how comfortable each bag felt on the trail. Since there is no insulation on the bottom of the Dream Island, it really needs to be paired with the sleeping pad to work. Period. You might want this bag (regardless of your gender) if you get colder than most people at night. That’s when packability becomes important. The Marmot Trestles Elite Eco 20 deserves its spot amongst the best backpacking sleeping bags. All the bags we tested came with a sack for storing them in your backpack. To us, the bag’s 20 °F (non-EN) rating felt accurate: The bag stayed toasty warm when the thermometer dipped below 20 °F. One significant factor that influences sleeping bag versatility is the type of insulation. If you’re planning on hiking down the trail for more than a mile, or if you’re sleeping in colder weather, or if you want a bag designed for women, we have included some options for beginning and advanced backpackers. A bag heavier than 3 pounds starts to become a real chore after anything more than a short-to-moderate hike. Our main criticism we probably wouldn’t have had if we hadn’t slept in so many competitors: the slipperiness and constant swishing sound of a bag that’s polyester inside and out. It’s worth noting, however, that this is a much warmer bag than many of the others we tested; at times it was too warm. Material on GearLab is copyrighted. Go ahead and plan a big backcountry day. Read review: Kelty Cosmic 20 and Kelty Cosmic 20 - Women's. Price: Sleeping bags can cost anywhere from $50 to $1,000, but we think most people can get everything they need for car camping for $100, and for backpacking, between $150 and $400. We will also keep an eye out for this with the 2020 model.). Redcamp Cotton Flannel Sleeping Bag: Despite this bag’s nice length and similar price, its materials and construction felt cheap in comparison with our top pick. In the other direction, the "gills" on the Nemo Kyan and Nemo Forte allow you to reduce the amount of insulation to ensure you don't overheat on a warmer night. Cabela's Mountain Trapper 40 °F Sleeping Bag: This bag is similar to the Slumberjack Country Squire 20 in size and price, but we found the Country Squire 20’s inner liner to be a little more comfortable than the flannel of the Mountain Trapper. It is billed as a women’s bag, but we think the bag’s extra insulation makes it a good fit for anyone who sleeps cold. We aren't sure where this smell originated, but we are happy that this wasn't a problem with the other models. To evaluate it as objectively as possible, we first compared notes from relevant review sites for each bag, looking specifically for comments on comfort and warmth. It packs down into its stuff sack smaller than most synthetic bags, but don't expect it to disappear in your pack. Feathered Friends bags are almost 1.5 times the price of the other down bags we considered. The North Face Dolomite Double 20/-7: Simple yet functional, the Dolomite gets glowing reviews from users on the company’s site, REI’s site, and Backcountry. The Montbell is EN limit rated to 11 °F. It is EN rated to 15 °F—and after many cold nights of sleeping under the stars, our testers found that number to be accurate. Ultralight hikers who are counting each ounce in their pack might not consider bags with less than 850 fill power, but we think 600 to 700 fill power is good enough for most people. REI has some important tips and tricks aimed at keeping your bag in good form. The Down Hugger’s draw cords, which cinch the hood and draft collar tight, are not as elastic as the rest of the bag. The weight or packed size of your sleeping bag matters little if it's uncomfortable. All the bags we tested had one except for the center-zip designs of the Patagonia 850 Down. Big Agnes Hog Park 20: We were unimpressed by the brushed-cotton liner of this bag, which felt unpleasantly abrasive against our skin. REI partners with Rainy Pass Repair to offer a. Sew up any holes by hand. If the bag you're considering comes with a stuff sack, expect to spend an extra twenty bucks on an aftermarket compression sack if you want to pack it down to its minimum volume. A built-in sleeping-pad pocket eliminates the middle-of-the-night bunching and sliding we’ve experienced with other bags (the pad is sold separately). It's also available in a women's version that our female testers really like. Belly- and side-sleepers will especially enjoy the spaciousness of the rectangular design of our top pick, the REI Co-op Siesta 30. Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed Duo: We recommend this bag, and in the past when we had a larger guide dedicated to double bags, it was a runner-up pick. The Teton has a narrower foot box and shoulder girth than the unisex bags we tried; by eliminating drafty dead space, Marmot reduces the amount of air inside the bag that needs to be heated. Though a couple of our tested bags might take up a third of the space in a small trunk and weigh close to 12 pounds, the Dream Island packs down to a relatively compact 13 by 23 inches when in its stuff sack; it weighs 9 pounds 7 ounces. For example, the author stayed comfortably warm in the Big Agnes Husted at temperatures near its 19°F rating (EN lower limit) but shivered in temps 20°F above the Klymit KSB 35's similar 21F rating (EN lower limit). A longtime hiker and camper, she embraced the transition from backpacking to car camping—which included buying a double bag—after her first son was born. Photo: Caleigh Waldman. The performance differences between these less expensive materials aren't quite as stark or easy to generalize. Lying on top of the Teton feels like cuddling a body pillow. It’s insulated with 850 fill power down and has a 10D recycled shell and DWR finish. Premium bags, on average, weigh about a pound less and compress 3 liters smaller. The Dream Island uses 75 ounces of Thermolite brand synthetic insulation. It’s been set aside to make room for some recommendations that can get you out of the car and onto the trail, but if you are specifically looking for something to use in a cabin or on a cot, this rugged, heavy, bulky canvas bag is a great choice. A lifetime warranty covers manufacturer’s defects but not normal wear and tear. A sleeping bag is a cornerstone piece of gear in the modern overnight kit. (Most bags less than $150 don’t have down filling, and the synthetic filling they do have isn’t the kind of high-quality insulation you’d need on a longer backpacking trip. After months of stuffing, packing, and sleeping, we offer you a comprehensive and in-depth review that is chock-full of recommendations to keep your pack light and your wallet a little heavier. This bag was great for restless sleepers, as it allows you to stick your arms and legs out of the bag while you’re sleeping. After a poor night’s rest they declared the effort required to get the bag back in the way-too-tight sack “absolutely not worth it.”. Keep in mind, however, we use list price for this analysis. Best Extra-Roomy Backpacking Bag A no-snag strip along the zipper and ample draft tubes along the edge of this sleeping bag are thoughtful touches. As already mentioned, we're big fans of the extra-long zipper on the Klymit KSB 35 because it allows you to vent only your feet or to unzip the bag into a true quilt. However, the Teton uses waterproof down, so this is arguably less of an issue than with other bags. A women’s bag might be better for you than a unisex bag if you consider certain factors, such as your age, level of exhaustion, health conditions, medications, body height and mass, level of nourishment, state of hydration, the altitude of your campsite, and wind chill and humidity of the air around you. What we don’t: A little thin and crinkly. Top 10 Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Our Picks 2020. For any long-distance backpacking, we caution shoppers from purchasing the heaviest budget bags, like the Therm-a-Rest Saros or Marmot Trestles, because their additional weight will almost certainly lower your happiness. It’s a vertical baffled bag, but the draft tube was too skimpy. Top row: Marmot Trestles 30, The North Face Furnace 20, REI Trail Pod 30 (previously tested), Big Agnes Husted 20, Therm-a-Rest Saros. Buy now from Amazon. There’s no doubt: It takes a near-Herculean effort to wrestle this bag back into its carry bag. To share our hands-on knowledge with you, we've scored each bag's warmth relative to the others on a scale of one to ten. Other bags have clever designs that allow you to adjust the amount of insulation to extend the usable temperature range. If you already know you want to work a lot of backpacking into your camping habits, you’ll need a lighter, more stuffable bag than the REI Co-op Siesta 30, and we think the unisex Montbell Down Hugger is the best choice for people with broad shoulders and narrower hips who tend to get hot at night, as well as for people who move a lot in their sleep. We liked several of the company’s three-season bags, but we’d recommend the unisex 30-degree Swallow YF (formerly called the Osprey) as a good bag for serious backpackers looking for a high-quality, lightweight sleeping bag. Teton Sports’ Mammoth 0 °F: A truly enormous bag. Or because of a sleeping bag's central place in your overnight kit, is it better to spend more on the absolute best? Some sleeping bags, however, can also be shared between two people comfortably or continue to offer considerable warmth even if they get wet. We also look at how each carries, packs, and weighs when loaded up for long adventures. While it’s not completely waterproof, the shell’s DWR coating prevented the down insulation from soaking through, and the bag stayed fluffy and warm in humid and moist conditions. Learn more. The difference between a budget and a premium sleeping bag is similar to the difference between flying economy and flying first-class. Several of our female-identifying testers found it to be too tight, and most of our male-identifying testers couldn’t zip it across their chests. Kalee Thompson has evaluated gear for Wired, Popular Science, and National Geographic Adventure, where she was a senior editor. The bag’s 650-fill-power down accounts for nearly half of the bag’s total weight (2 pounds 10 ounces), and this shows. It's also essential to consider the temperatures in which you will use the bag. The Marmot Trestles 30 extends its upper-temperature range with an accessory zipper opposite the main one that lets you fold the top of the bag open. However, if you’re packing a small car with a weekend’s worth of stuff, you may be fighting for every inch you can manage. Best Ultralight Sleeping Pad for Backpacking 1. She once held the women’s unassisted speed record on the Appalachian Trail. The Dream Island is also unusually lofty and comfortable—more like sleeping with a big, soft quilt draped over you than bunking in a typical sleeping bag. Packability: A bag’s packed size and weight are less of a concern for a car camper than for a thru-hiker out on a monthlong excursion—and it might not be a concern at all for some car campers with larger vehicles. High-quality down, however, is extremely expensive, so budget bags usually resort to lower quality down or synthetic fibers for their insulation. It’s big enough to hold a phone, which is helpful because keeping lithium batteries warm (though not hot!) It's not uncommon to find some of these budget backpacking sleeping bags on sale. This gives you the range of optimal conditions the bag is best suited to handle. These European Norm (EN) ratings use a copper mannequin, rather than a human being, to scientifically measure warmth. The size of the sleeping bag is reasonable for an adult, while two kids can fit in. Cotopaxi Sueño: We liked many of the design features of this bag, including the mixed baffle direction and the pillow pocket, and that it opens up completely into a quilt. Though the bag is rated to 15 °F, it left Kalee slightly chilly on a February night in the high desert of Joshua Tree National Park (low: 36 °F). All the budget bags that we tried have roomy interior dimensions compared to the narrower cut of some ultralight premium bags. After the exertion of backpacking all day, however, our testers noticed almost no difference between budget and premium bags in terms of their sleep quality. (Women’s bags are sometimes available in 5-foot-9 lengths, too, which could be a smart option for people who don’t need a full 6-foot bag.). The lightweight Swallow YF 30 Sleeping Bag is a solid choice for people who bring a sleeping bag with them often while hiking or traveling. But the hood also cinched around the face better than the other bags we tried and kept all but our noses and mouths warm. The Teton also has thoughtful features, like a pocket within the bag to store electronics. Photo: Jeremy Pavia. Compressed, the Down Hugger measures 8.6 liters, and 7.5 by 14.8 inches. Open the gill zippers (right) to open gaps in the insulation to let heat escape. The North Face Dolomite 40/4: The fabric of this comparatively light sleeping bag created a strong static charge that we found distracting while sleeping. Thickness: 2.5 in. Though none of the bags are intended for winter use, Liz also camped out in Colorado in January, sleeping under the stars without a tent near a snow patch. During Liz’s 160-mile backpacking trip across San Diego County, the Egret 20 repelled water better than any other bag she tried. After logging thousands of miles testing the best travel accessories—and the worst—we’ve come up with our list of essentials. This bag is simple and unadorned yet filled with top-quality down. For 2020, we like the Anvil Horn 15 best: it’s roomy inside but still an efficient insulator, and competitively priced at $270. The Nemo Kyan's synthetic insulation is ideal if you're worried about rain getting your sleeping bag wet. Back in the lab, we weighed each bag on our scale, measured their packed size in a third-party compression sack, and slept in them under controlled conditions to determine their warmth. The REI Co-op Siesta 30 Sleeping Bag costs nearly twice as much as some of the cheapest car-camping bags we tested, but we think it’s worth the investment. Though the Dream Island’s outer shell is ripstop nylon, the bag’s inner lining is made of a soft cotton-polyester blend that feels like a good-quality bedsheet. Therm-a-Rest is synonymous with quality backpacking pads, and the NeoAir XLite is their leading lightweight model. But we didn’t like the feel of the fabric, and the insulation isn’t lofty (although it’s 800-fill-power down, it feels more like a synthetic bag). Pick the temperature rating that fits your needs, and we're confident you'll get a great backpacking sleeping bag at an even better price. A final feature that more sleeping bag makers are introducing in their newer models is a system for attaching the bag to a sleeping pad. To enjoy the cost savings, you need to be willing to accept a few compromises, most notably in terms of comfort and versatility. Additionally, the cinches on the Down Hugger’s hood have a tendency to crowd into your peripheral vision or to rub against your face as you’re trying to sleep. Without considerable experience, though, it can be hard to make an accurate prediction. Both accomplish the same purpose, but one is vastly more enjoyable. At the same time, try not to get too caught up on the weight of your sleeping bag. And though it’s billed as a women’s bag, the Marmot Women’s Teton is a good fit for any narrow-bodied person who gets cold at night. Kelty Discovery 30: For the price, we preferred the smaller compression and more comfortable design of the REI Siesta 30. Comfort: This is an unavoidably subjective criterion. Regardless of your gender, if you’re a person with narrower shoulders—like those of the stereotypical cyclist or endurance runner—you may find a women’s bag to be warmer and more comfortable for you. Additionally, the polyester exterior is water resistant, and REI’s return policy is generous. The zipper doesn't extend around the foot box, which makes it a little awkward to poke your foot out to cool yourself on a warm night. But according to REI’s explanation of the difference between men’s and women’s bags, women’s bags would need more insulation to achieve a given temperature rating (since women’s bags are comfort rated and men’s are limit rated). Overall, the Feathered Friends Egret UL 20° bag provides one of the best warmth to weight ratio on the market. On the other end of the spectrum, the Therm-a-Rest Saros and Big Agnes Husted 20 were more than double the volume and seem more suitable for car camping than true backpacking. The 600 fill power hydrophobic DriDown also won't dry out as fast as synthetic models (a drawback of all down insulation). It’s best for people with broad shoulders and narrower hips. Many companies make car-camping pads with these larger-than-average dimensions, and any of them will fit the Dream Island just fine. Any bags with similar characteristics that cost more than $200, we called a premium backpacking sleeping bag. The differences also extend to comfort and versatility. By generously insulating these key areas, a so-called women’s sleeping bag can make you feel a lot warmer without needing to have extra stuffing all across the bag. 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