Ultimate Guide to the Best Sleeping Bag 2019
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The right sleeping bag can make all the difference when looking for a restful night’s sleep, whether planning for an outdoor winter adventure or camping in the Australian summer. In this guide, we will take you through the key features and important considerations you need to keep in mind when buying the best sleeping bag to suit your needs. From the best lightweight cold weather sleeping bag to the best lightweight summer sleeping bag and many more.
- 1 Comparison chart for the best sleeping bag 2019
- 2 The Best Sleeping Bags of 2019
- 3 What is a sleeping bag?
- 4 Why do you need a good quality sleeping bag?
- 5 Detailed 2019 Sleeping Bag Reviews
- 5.1 MARMOT TRESTLES 15 COMPACT SLEEPING BAG REVIEW
- 5.2 ROMAN PALM LITE ULTRA COMPACT HOODED SLEEPING BAG REVIEW
- 5.3 EXPLORE PLANET EARTH COCOON MICRO ZERO SLEEPING BAG REVIEW
- 5.4 MARMOT TRESTLES 30 SLEEPING BAG REVIEW
- 5.5 VANGO NITESTAR ALPHA 300 QUAD SLEEPING BAG – EXCALIBUR REVIEW
- 5.6 ROMAN PALM PASSPORT -5° SLEEPING BAG REVIEW
- 5.7 SEA TO SUMMIT ASCENT 3 Aciii DOWN SLEEPING BAG REVIEW
- 5.8 SEA TO SUMMIT SPARK 1 SPI ULTRALIGHT DOWN SLEEPING BAG REVIEW
- 5.9 MARMOT SAWTOOTH -9C DOWN SLEEPING BAG REVIEW
- 5.10 SEA TO SUMMIT TREK 1 TKI DOWN SLEEPING BAG REVIEW
- 5.11 CARIBEE SAFARI DOUBLE SLEEPING BAG REVIEW
- 5.12 SEA TO SUMMIT BASECAMP 2 BCII SYNTHETIC SLEEPING BAG REVIEW
- 5.13 DARCHE COLD MOUNTAIN 1400 CANVAS SLEEPING BAG – JUMBO
- 5.14 KLYMIT KSB 20 DOWN SLEEPING BAG
- 5.15 SIERRA DESIGNS NITRO 800 ULTRALIGHT SLEEPING BAG REVIEW
- 6 What to look for when buying a Sleeping Bag
- 7 Season Ratings
- 8 Temperature Ratings
- 9 Insulation Types
- 10 Popular Bag Shapes
- 11 Bag Length
- 12 Other Key Features
- 13 Different types of Sleeping Bags
- 14 How to Roll a Sleeping Bag
- 15 Final thoughts on the Best Sleeping Bag 2019
Comparison chart for the best sleeping bag 2019
Finding the best sleeping bag to suit your needs can be difficult. Whether your looking for the best lightweight sleeping bag for hiking Australia, or cold weather sleeping bag, there is a sleeping bag to suit all outdoor situations.
To help you choose, we’ve listed the best sleeping bags of 2019 available for easy comparison along with the main features they provide. To sort the table, click the column heading.
|Sleeping Bag||Image||Features||Rating (/5)||Item Price|
|Marmot Trestles 15-9c Compact women’s||Women’s Specific Fit|
3D Hood Construction
Full Length Zipper
|Roman Palm Lite Ultra Compact Hooded||Ultra Light|
Insufil Thermo inner
Fits in Palm of hand
|Explore Planet Earth Cocoon Micro Zero |
|Marmot Trestles 30 Sleeping Bag||100% Polyester|
|Vango Nitestar Alpha 300 Quad Sleeping Bag|
|Small internal pocket|
100% polyester 190T
|Roman Palm Passport -5° Sleeping Bag|
Weight – 1.6kg
|Sea To Summit Ascent 3 Aciii Down Sleeping Bag|
|DUCK Down filling|
Dual cord adjustment
|Sea to Summit Spark Ultralight Down Sleeping Bag||ULTRA-DRY Down|
|Marmot Sawtooth -9c Down Sleeping Bag||EN TESTED|
Comfort : -3.3C
Lower Limit: -9.8C
|Sea to Summit Trek 1 TKI Down Sleeping Bag||Internal hood drawcord|
Side block baffle
Separate foot zip
|Caribee Safari Double Sleeping Bag||Internal security pocket|
Two person size
|30D DWR Nylon shell|
and 20D Nylon lining
|Darche Cold Mountain 1400 Canvas Sleeping Bag||300gsm dual layer|
|Klymit KSB 20 Down Sleeping Bag||White Duck Down|
|Sierra Designs Nitro 800 Fill Dridown Ultralight||Draft-dodger collar|
Anti-snag zipper tracks
PFC-Free Fill DriDown
The Best Sleeping Bags of 2019
Here’s a reference list – see all sleeping bag reviews below!
- Marmot Trestles 15-9c Compact women’s
- Roman Palm Lite Ultra Compact Hooded
- Explore Planet Earth Cocoon Micro Zero
- Marmot Trestles 30 Sleeping Bag
- Vango Nitestar Alpha 300 Quad Sleeping Bag
- Roman Palm Passport -5° Sleeping Bag
- Sea To Summit Ascent 3 Aciii Down Sleeping Bag
- Sea to Summit Spark Ultralight Down Sleeping Bag
- Marmot Sawtooth -9c Down Sleeping Bag
- Sea to Summit Trek 1 TKI Down Sleeping Bag
- Caribee Safari Double Sleeping Bag
- Sea to Summit Basecamp 2 BCII Sleeping Bag
- Darche Cold Mountain 1400 Canvas Sleeping Bag
- Klymit KSB 20 Down Sleeping Bag
- Sierra Designs Nitro 800 Fill Dridown Ultralight
What is a sleeping bag?
For starters, a sleeping bag is essentially a lightweight insulated quilt that often has a zipper or other means of closing and which functions as a portable bedding in situations such as hiking, camping, climbing, and hill walking. The primary purpose of best ultralight sleeping bag is to provide thermal insulation and warmth through its synthetic insulation.
The best sleeping bags typically have water-repellent or water-resistant covers that protect against moisture penetration, light precipitation, and wind chill to some extent, but you might need a tent for additional protection against the elements. The best budget ultralight sleeping bag is also usually cushioned, but you might also need a camp cot or a sleeping pad in addition to this cushioning. The bottom section may also be moderately water repellent.
Sleeping bags come in a wide range of models and designs for different uses. Lightly insulated sleeping bags are designed for use during summer camping while the heavily insulated models are suitable for cold weather use. As you would expect, the heavily insulated, lightweight top quality sleeping bags are more expensive compared to the lightly insulated models.
Why do you need a good quality sleeping bag?
At the end of an action-packed day outdoors, there is nothing more comforting than crawling into a high quality, well-cushioned sleeping bag for a well-deserved sleep. Proper sleeping is probably the next most important aspect after shelter. Inadequate sleep can affect you physically and mentally and dampen the fun from your adventure.
The last thing you want is planning your adventure, putting energy into parking, drive hundreds of kilometres only to end each camping day tired and grumpy. You need a good quality sleeping bag that will absorb all the bumps, bruises, dents and pricks that nature will throw your way during your daytime adventure. The perfect lightweight sleeping bag needs to be resilient, and capable of being stuffed and re-stuffed repeatedly without compromising its physical integrity, especially for the down models.
The best quality sleeping bag will also be able to protect you against the chill, wind, moisture and light precipitation at the end of your adventurous day. If you’re right about the quality, chances are it will be considerably durable and will serve you for many years before you think about replacing it.
The best quality sleeping bags designed for serious campers and hikers also tend to be tough but lightweight. After all, the idea of carrying a sleeping bag is to help you save on space and cut down the weight of your camping or travelling equipment. Most high-quality sleeping bags can easily fit in the bottom compartment of a standard hiking backpack.
Detailed 2019 Sleeping Bag Reviews
The benefits and importance of a sleeping bag are indisputable, and when embarking on a trip, it’s one of the most important decisions you will have to make. Good quality sleeping bags are crucial for safety, comfort, and warmth, and will help your body perform better while in the outdoors.
Today, we will be looking at a range of top sleeping bags based on quality, portability, warmth factor, durability, size, price and many other factors we talk about in our guide on how to choose the best sleeping bags. So whatever weather condition you’re headed to, you can be sure to find the best all round sleeping bag that will fit within your budget.
The Marmot Trestles 15 is a women-specific sleeping bag that comes with heavy synthetic material. It’s designed to accommodate and fit a woman’s body in order to provide extra insulation and warmth in the feet and hood areas. The wave construction with overlapping shingles of insulation has a combined effect of preventing cold spots. In addition, a blend of polyester and hollow fibers provide warmth, loft, and compressibility
This bag comes with some very resourceful features to sustain your stay in cold, wet weather while mountaineering, backpacking or river rafting. The new women’s model has an improved fabric in addition to updated style lines to maximise comfort. The bag is designed for 3-season backpacking, it’s relatively lightweight and packs excellent, and like most synthetic sleeping bags, it will continue to provide insulation even when wet. With an EN (European Norm) comfort rating of -9º C, you can expect worry-free 3-season adventures into the mountains.
The 3D hood features drawcords which allow you to cinch the hood and have it envelop your head for extra warmth. Additionally, there is an insulated draft collar that prevents heat from escaping. Most users appreciate the 2-way, dual side zippers on this bag as they allow them to easily get in and out of it. You also get a stash pocket for keeping your nighttime essentials.
The Marmot Trestles 15 might not be the most lightweight synthetic sleeping bag on the market, but it perfectly makes it up in warmth, comfort, compactness, and versatility and is one of the best sleeping bags for women.
Roman palm lite ultra-compact hooded sleeping bag is touted as one of the smallest and lightest sleeping bags in its class. It’s so compact it can literally fit in your palm when packed down. It comes with lab-tested accurate temperature ratings, which means you know exactly what to expect when buying it. But you might be wondering, is a sleeping bag this light and small inefficient in the wilderness?
Well, don’t let the compact size fool you, the Palm Lite Ultra Compact comes with a Thermaspace lining which is breathable, lightweight but extremely efficient at reflecting body heat back inside, preventing heat loss. It has sufficient lining to insulate you while keeping you comfy at the same time, thanks to the premium Insufil Thermo inner fill.
Like all the Roman sleeping bags, this one too comes with tough SBS zippers with the anti-snag systems and conveniently placed small pockets for your phone, iPod or MP3.
Features and Specs in Summary
Weight –700 grams
Size – (180+30) x 70cm x 55
Fill –Thermo Insufil 50g/m2 x 2
Shell – Nylon Diamond ripstop 280T
Lining – Silktex 75D/210T micro-weave pongee
Styling – Tapered rectangular
Compact and lightweight
Outer lining –Soft-touch nylon
The Explore Planet Earth brand was established in 2004, and with over 14 years of experience in the travel and adventure industry, you can trust they understand the trade inside out. The company specialises in making products for camping, travelling, commuting and pretty much anything that will facilitate your outdoor adventure.
The micro zero sleeping bag was designed for outdoor adventures in cold conditions. The compressibility and lightness allow you to take it on an adventure to any part of the world. The bag features a Maxotherm filling which ensures that you stay protected from harsh elements and remain warm at all times. The Silverthorn lining is a clever addition that reflects back your body heat ensuring that you don’t lose any heat.
The mummy design featuring tapered feet and the hood area further works hard to keep your heat in. Weighing only 1.2kgs, it can be effortlessly tacked in the bottom compartment of your backpack and you will still have plenty of room for other items. The Polyester exterior lining also means that it can still insulate you even when wet. And the 210cm x 75cm x 55cm can accommodate any average adult without losing comfort and functionality.
Marmot is no new name in the camping and outdoor space. The company manufactures a range of innovative outdoor products including backpacks, tents, clothing, and of course, sleeping bags. Considering they have been in the industry since 1974, you can tell they will add a wealth of experience and innovation into your outdoor adventures.
Marmot Trestles 30 Sleeping Bag is an all-purpose bag designed with both casual weekend hikers and wilderness warriors in mind. You will mostly appreciate the warmth provided by the Marmot’s SpiraFil LT synthetic high loft insulation. The 3D hood and wave construction adds to both your comfort and warmth on those cold nights out there. Here is a quick look at the main features;
Features and Specs in Summary
Main materials –70D 100% Polyester 2.2 oz/yd
Insulation –SpiraFil LT for Maximum warmth and durability
Lining: 70D 100% Polyester 2.2 oz/yd
3D Footbox increases the insulation and comfort
Full Length Locking YKK Two Way Zipper
Wave Construction for Maximum Loft and Warmth,
3D Hood Construction
If you had a chance to go through our Vango tent reviews, you probably already know that Vango is a big name when it comes to adventure and outdoor products. If you need a little more wiggle room or you’re of a heavier built, you will appreciate the extra leg room and additional width provided by the Vango Nitestar Alpha 300 Quad Sleeping Bag – Excalibur.
The bag features Off-set double layer construction which eliminates cold spots that typically occur along the stitch lines. While it provides some wiggle room, the Nitestar Alpha 300 still manages to compress into a small, lightweight pack for those looking for something compact to carry along.
Features and Specs in Summary
Fill Type – Insulite Alpha
Ext Chest Width –80cm
Max User Height –190cm
Design style – Square
Off-set double layer construction
100% polyester 190T – comfy, snug and breathable
Shell – Diamond embossed Polair polyester
Small internal pocket
Zip guard with anti-catch piping
If you love what the Palm Lite Ultra Compact bag has to offer but would rather have something puffier, then the Roman Palm Passport -5° Sleeping Bag might be your best pick. The Passport -5° is an equally small, lightweight and compact bag for hikers and backpackers who mind their grams. It comes with LH and RH zips that allow you to join another bag to form a double sleeping bag.
While it’s a relatively small and lightweight model, the Palm Passport -5° still offers sufficient comfort and insulation –like the Palm Lite Ultra Compact bag we reviewed earlier, this one also features breathable and lightweight Thermaspace lining that reflects your body heat back to prevent heat loss. For the comfort, lightweight, compactness and excellent insulation, you can be sure of your value for money once you get your hands in this.
Features and Specs in Summary
Weight – 1.6kg
Size –210 x 75cm
Fill –Thermo Insufil 180g/m2
Shell – Nylon Diamond Ripstop 280T
Lining – Silktex 75D/210T micro-weave pongee
Zippers – (2)Nylon full-length Auto Lock
Design Styling – Tapered rectangular
Tapered bottom – for more warmth at feet
Search online for “Top 5 camping tents/sleeping bags/backpacks …. etc.” and you will not miss an item or two from the Sea To Summit brand. The Ascent 3 Aciii is a versatile, comfortable, warm, and lightweight sleeping bag that will literally stick with you from the sea to the summit, with no compromise in performance. This model offers a little more wiggle room than the traditional mummy bag while still being efficient in insulation.
The top third of the bag features a half zip on the right side that offers additional ventilation and little more freedom for your arms. If you need a little more warmth, simply close all the zips and lock them in place. The 3D hood and panelled footbox are welcome enhancements for those extra-cold nights. If you’ve ever used any Sea To Summit outdoor product, you probably already know that they don’t cut corners when it comes to Quality, comfort, convenience, and performance.
Features and Specs in Summary
Weight –1325 g
Recommended user height –up to 183 cm
Shell –100% Nylon
Lining – 100% Nylon
Primary Filling Material –DUCK Down
Design style – Tapered rectangular shape
Free-Flow half right side for movement freedom and ventilation
Generously sized hood
Dual cord adjustment for maximum warmth retention
This is probably the smallest, lightest, high-performance sleeping bag in its category. The Sea to Summit Spark 1 weighs just about 350g and literally packs down to a tiny package that fits in a side pocket of a standard backpack. The sleeping bag is specifically designed for campers and climbers who are desperate to cut down on both weight and volume. And the best thing is that it does so without compromising on warmth and comfort.
If you’re wondering what makes this bag so lightweight yet so effective, here is why. It uses a 15D lining and micro-weight 10D shell, super quality, moisture-repelling 850+ loft down and a ⅓ length YKK zipper. The zipper, shell, and lining combined weigh less than the internal insulation. The lining and shell feel delicate and soft, but not brittle, so you don’t have to worry about anything breaking under normal use.
The Summit Spark 1 cold weather sleeping bag delivers unexpected performance to offer you the necessary warmth and comfort throughout the night. Due to low volume and weight, you could also use it as a liner bag to boost the warmth of your main, larger sleeping bag in frigid winter temperatures.
The Marmot Sawtooth is a remarkable 15 degree down sleeping bag. While it might not be as light as the Summit Spark 1, this bag is quite comfortable with some really smart features. The water-resistant down is appealing too, you can be guaranteed of defence against humid climates and dripping tents
The Marmot Sawtooth 9C Down sleeping bag comes with a hood that fits quite well and remains comfortable when cinched. It also has an effective, large, and soft draft collar that helps keep the cold out and the heat in. The internal foot warmer pockets will also keep your feet warmer while allowing them to move freely. The overall design is also anatomically correct, meaning it won’t be too restrictive to even the most restless sleepers.
The down in this sleeping bag is treated using the Marmot Down Defender, which is pretty much an insurance policy to ensure that the down lasts longer. The treatment offers an additional moisture resistant level and prevents your down from clumping and losing its loftiness when exposed to moisture.
Other impressive features include Down-filled Collar, ‘Feely’ Draw Cords, Heat Bump Draft Tube, Ground-Level Side Seams, Locking Zippers, Stash Pocket, Two Hang Loops, Zipper Guards, Two Way Zipper Sliders and the Face Muff. With all these smart features working together to keep you warm and comfortable, you cannot possibly go wrong with the Marmot Sawtooth sleeping bag.
Sea to Summit seeks to redefine the industry standards of the down sleeping bags by offering quality and fill with their internationally tested down. The TREK 1 incorporates premium 650 loft down and 2D PermaShell fabric to offer exceptional warmth and comfort in a rather classic fashion. The 3D side wall also means that the down will loft to the very last inch of the edge of the bag.
The Sea to Summit Trek 1 comes with a spacious, easily accessible security pocket located on the inside; ideal for securing passports and other valuables. Most users prefer the Trek 1 for adventure travel, globe-trotting and backpacking. The semi-rectangular design is a perfect compromise between the spacious rectangular design and the snug and warm mummy design. Its full-length zipper allows you to open this bag out into a full duvet that you can use in warm weather and indoors.
Other clever features include differential cut shell, 60/40 fill ratio, laundry bag, mesh storage cell, side block baffle and cushioned internal drawcords for the hood. So if you can’t handle the snug and restrictive nature of the mummy sleeping bag designs, then this might just be your best option.
For those of you who love to cuddle side by side during outdoor adventures, the Caribee Safari double sleeping bag is designed for you. It’s a high-quality wide sleeping bag that can comfortably accommodate two people. The new model comes with 0-degree temperature rating, draft tubes to minimise heat loss, zippered entry and exit on both sides, an oversized carry-bag and a comfortable cotton top.
The bag measures 210 cm by 170cm and features anti-snag Dual zippers for quick egress and ingress and square stitching design that hold the synthetic fill from moving to provide uniform coverage of the fill. The inside is filled with what they call Tech-Loft insulation fiber to keep you and your camping partner warm.
The nylon shell makes this bag suitable for use in humid conditions, and given that it comes with synthetic filling, you don’t have worry about it holding on to moisture. The internal lining is designed using comfort cotton coupled with a draft tube for maximum comfort and insulation. You also get internal security pockets for stashing your valuables. So if you’re headed out camping as a couple, this sleeping bag will still provide the family like feeling even in the outback.
If you’re into Sea to Summit sleeping bags but didn’t quite like the restrictive designs of our previous two recommendations, then this model might just be your best bet, and here is why. The Sea to Summit Basecamp 2 sleeping bag is designed with comfort in mind. It has a contoured rectangular design, or what some would call pod design, which comfortably accommodates users who like to curl up or stretch out full length while asleep. It’s also a perfect choice for a restless sleeper who often turns and tosses throughout the night.
The Basecamp is also designed to work with Sea to Summit’s Aeros Pillows and Air Sprung Cell hiking mats to create a comprehensive and ultra–comfort sleep system. This particular model promises to stick with you whichever way the weather turns. If it gets too cold, simply zip yourself in and pull tight the internal drawcord. If the weather turns steamy, then you can unzip it a little or vent the feet to keep yourself cool and comfortable.
But you’re not just buying a sleeping bag, this bag can be easily transformed into a svelte summer quilt. Overall, this sleeping bag is pretty lightweight and after carrying it around for a while, you will even forget you had it.
Like the Sea to Summit Basecamp model above, the Darche cold mountain sleeping bag is designed for users who prefer extra room and a little more comfort. The jumbo size is designed with an adventurer, tourer, fisherman, campers and all-around outdoor tent enthusiast in mind.
This particular model comes with a Dual Zip system, suitable for entry and exit from either side. It also allows two bags to be mated into one supersized bag. The toe end features a zip that you can unzip for extra coolness and ventilation on warmer nights.
The Cold Mountain jumbo features a versatile modular construction that eliminates cold spots. The floating lower layer filling and top fixed layer filling ensures even insulation and distribution of warmth. With a cold comfort rating, baffle collar, internal pockets, compression bag and anti-snag zippers, this floating bag can cater for both beginners and the wildest and most adventurous outdoor fans alike. A top choice if you are looking for the best canvas sleeping bag.
The Klymit KSB 20 uses a 20 D nylon shell and 650 plus duck down that compresses pretty well. The bag also comes with an inside pocket that can secure your valuables, but it’s pretty small, maybe due to the overall “petite” design of the bag itself.
The stretch baffle system is one of the best selling features of this bag. It features horizontal sections that are sewn together using elastic threads to make the bag “Ultra stretchy”. The oversized foot box adds comfort and allows you to stretch your tired muscles while inside the sleeping. The bag might look restrictive as you would expect with any mummy design, however, its stretchy nature makes it unexpectedly roomy, and comfortable. The breathable shell fabric also helps the bag dry faster in the event of any condensation.
The lofty, light and warm Klymit KSB 20 down bag is designed for 3-season backpacking. It delivers remarkable warmth for its weight and can withstand considerable abuse for years thanks to its unparalleled durability. The over-stuffed box at the rear end, insulated mummy hood, flexible baffles, and draft collar all work together to reduce heat loss for additional thermal efficiency. Pair it with a decent sleeping pad and you have an excellent sleep system.
With a water-resistant treated down material, lightweight at 1.4 kilograms and classic snag mummy cut, the Nitro UL 800 sleeping bag is a great packable option for those cold-weather mountainous adventures.
The fibers and feathers of duck down that makes up the filling of this bag are renowned for their compressible properties and efficiency in heat retention while offering a soft and comfortable feel. The down filling in this bag utilises an innovative DriDown polymer application that ensures that it doesn’t easily absorb moisture or lose its insulation ability in humid conditions. The 15D nylon rip-stop shell additionally protects the interior of the bag from precipitation and moisture.
The bag’s mummy design also contributes to heat retention by eliminating dead spots while keeping the overall weight of the bag to the minimum There is also an ergonomic hood which also minimises heat loss while keeping your head comfortable and warm. If you’re looking for the top sleeping bags for backpacking, this classic mummy design is remarkably lightweight and yet affordable, the Sierra Designs Nitro 800 might just be your best choice.
What to look for when buying a Sleeping Bag
While backpacking, one of the most important items to consider is the sleeping bag. When choosing the bag, most people look for is comfort and resilience. So, what qualities do you look for in the best sleeping bag? Australia has a diverse climate, from the rugged outback with scorching heat to snow capped mountains. Here are some of the most important things to look for when choosing the best sleeping bags for backpacking.
Sleeping bag season ratings are meant to make it easier for you to choose the best bag for the season. The main ratings hear are summer, three-Season, and winter.
Summer: Summer sleeping bags, as you would expect, are suitable for temperatures starting from 30ºC and higher and make a great choice for camping in regional Queensland. They are usually lightweight because they require less insulation and can easily fit into a tiny packing space. Sleeping bags with good quality zippers often have full-length zippers that allow you to open them up completely for ventilation when the night gets steamy. Most of them are quite simple since you will most likely not need things like the draft collar or the hood.
Three-Season: Three-Season rated sleeping bags are best suited for temperatures starting from 20ºC and above. They are ideal for Autumn and Spring trips, as well as summer when camping in the high cold mountains. Most three-season bags come with additional features to help you combat colder temperatures. So you will find things like cinch-able hoods, zipper draft tubes, and draft collars.
Winter: The cold weather sleeping bags are heavily insulated, puffy looking bags that can shield you against the cold and moisture in temperatures from around 20ºC and below. They also have all the features of the three-season bags including zipper draft tubes, cinch-able hoods, and draft collars, in addition to heavier insulation. Winter bags tend to be quite bulky (because of the insulation), and so you might want to invest in a good compression sack.
Sleeping bags come with temperature ratings, which is an indication of the minimum temperature that a particular bag is designed to handle. These ratings should, however, be taken with a pinch of salt, because there is currently no universal, standardised method for determining ratings. This means the claims about how much warmth the bag can handle are not always up to standard, but in most cases, they are realistic.
There is, however, one standardised rating knows as the EN 13537 that has been widely adopted in Europe and is now being accepted and adopted in Australia, U.S., and other areas as well. The rating system uses the following ratings;
Upper limit: Denotes the highest temperature at which a standard/average man can have a comfortable sleep without excessive sweating.
Comfort: Denotes the lowest temperature at which a standard/average woman can have a comfortable sleep without excessive sweating.
Lower limit: Denotes the lowest temperature at which a standard/average man can have a comfortable sleep without excessive sweating.
Since there is no universal rating system yet, the best you can do is to use these ratings as a starting point, then let your instinct guide you towards what you feel suits you.
This is one of the tough little decisions you will have to make too. But luckily, you only have two main options to choose from; down and synthetic. Here is a quick look at each of the two.
Down: Down insulation is the most efficient and lightest you can get in the market. It’s also very compressible (which saves you some packing space) and retains its loftiness and puffiness, and hence its insulation power for longer compared to synthetics. Down bags are generally more costly compared to synthetics, but this price will depend on the fill-power. Fill-power here refers to a way of rating down quality and it ranges from 600 to 900. All you need to understand here is that the warmest down is the loftiest, so the higher the rating the warmer your sleeping bag will be.
Synthetic: Synthetic sleeping bags come in many different designs and are generally less expensive compared to down. Synthetics are generally non-allergenic and can insulate even when wet, which makes them the best choice when camping in damp climates. If you’re on budget or simply going out for casual adventurers, the synthetics might be ideal for you. Just keep in mind that they offer a little less warmth and might be a bit bulkier when compressed. But still, you can get good quality synthetic bags that are more compressible and feel soft.
Down/Synthetic Combination: Newer sleeping bag models now combine synthetic and down fill. This hybrid design offers the benefits of both materials and eliminates some of the downsides. You will find some hybrid designs blending the two materials throughout the bag, and in other cases, the lofty down material may be on top and the durable synthetic on the bottom.
Popular Bag Shapes
Sleeping bags come in different shapes and cuts, each crafted to appeal to different types of adventurers. Here are some of the most common shapes and designs.
Mummy: Mummy sleeping bags have a tapered cut through the feet and legs, giving it maximum thermal efficiency. The primary job of any sleeping bag is to contain the heat your body generates and the smaller the interior space, the more efficient the bag is. Although most mummy bags have plenty of room through the torso and shoulders, broader campers and restless sleepers might want to choose an alternative cut. Generally, mummy bags are smaller and lightweight.
Rectangular: This design doesn’t have a taper through the legs, it’s rectangular in shape, and offers maximum room and comfort. The bags are however not very thermally efficient and are often used for indoor sleepovers and backyard camping, or during summer adventures. If you have two bags with compatible zippers, you can easily mate them to form a double size bed.
Semi-rectangular: Semi-rectangular sleeping bags are a compromise between the rectangular and the mummy shapes. They are ideal for campers who can’t handle the confinement of the mummy designs but need a little more warmth than what the rectangular bag can offer.
Length is also a very important aspect when choosing your bag. Bags come in different lengths, and you might find them labeled short or X-Long. The sizes will differ depending on the manufacturer and gender. To choose the correct sleeping bag size, review the bags specs and a check the listed height to see that it will fit you.
Other Key Features
Baffles: These are compartments in the bag that hold the filler material for even distribution.
Inner Linings: Polyester and fine nylon linings are the most common materials used to line most sleeping bags. Cotton flannel can also be used. But while cotton is breathable and lightweight, it traps moisture and is not the best option in moist, damp conditions.
Zipper: Two-way way zippers can be easily opened when you need ventilation, they can be either full length or just halfway. A zipper with a zip baffle can prevent heat loss and keep you a little warmer.
Hood: Some of the heat is lost through the head, so if you’re headed camping in the cold mountains, a shaped hood with a cord closure can help keep the heat in.
Draft Collar: A draft collar, which seats at the base of the hood, prevents the loose heat while keeping out the cold around shoulders and neck.
Different types of Sleeping Bags
As you already know by now, there are different types of sleeping bags all with different unique added advantages that make them suitable for certain occasions. Here are the most common types you will get on the market.
The double-wide bags, also known as couple sleep bags, are most preferred by couples because they offer home-like sleep even when out in the wilderness. They are specifically designed for two people and some include an extra cushioning around the shoulder and head area to act as a pillow. Some double bags can unzip to form two separate individual bags.
Bag designed for women
Women’s bodies have different physiological features compared to men, so manufacturers have designed sleeping bags specifically for women. Women’s bags tend to be warmer than men’s, and are shaped to comfortably accommodate a woman’s frame. Typical women’s bags are wide at the hips and narrow the shoulders, and should be lighter and less bulky.
Body-shaped sleeping bags
This might look a little wired at first as it resembles a space suit. But once you try it on, you might not want to get out of it. Body-shaped models often have legs and arms; you can easily slip in it and walk around or sit by the fireplace. It provides maximum comfort and mobility, and wraps around your body to keep you warm.
Pod-shaped sleeping bags
This type of sleeping bags provide enough room for unrestricted body movement. They are also very comfortable as they enable you to curl up in your favourite position or turn. They might look like mummy bags, but they aren’t as fitting, snug and restrictive. You can move and wriggle about. They are however not as warm as the mummy bag.
Kids sleeping bags
Sleeping bags for kids are often lightweight, compact and easy to pack. Most of them also have built-in sleeves at the bottom to hold the sleeping pad in place. Comfort is important to your kid, so see if you can get a design with pockets that allow you to add a pillow in it. Additionally, be sure to check that the size is not too small and restrictive or too wide and bulky.
How to Roll a Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Bags when properly packed take up very little space. For anyone unfamiliar with exactly how to roll a sleeping bag so it fits back in it’s carry bag this video has tips on the correct procedure to ensure it fits.
Final thoughts on the Best Sleeping Bag 2019
That’s pretty much all you need to know when buying sleeping bags. When you head out to buy the best sleeping bag, first determine whom you’re buying for, the conditions under which it will be used, season, materials, shape and designs and personal preferences.
Weigh all the pros and cons of each design before you make your final decision. Remember, the best sleeping bag can serve you for years if you choose the right one and maintain it appropriately.
As promised, in our sleeping bag recommendations we’ve tried to include different sleeping bags with varying designs, materials, colours, sizes and price range. We even managed to sneak in the double size sleeping bag for those who would like to experience the outdoors as a couple. Most sleeping bags range from $50 to $500 depending on the features, brand, and quality.
If you like any of the sleeping bags listed here, feel free to click through, learn more about it. Whether your taking that trip in your own backyard or heading out backing through the mountains in Thailand you’re sure to find the right sleeping bag to suit your travel style.
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