Welcome fellow travelers.
You want the best sleeping bags for camping and we want to help. Let’s start by giving a little insight into sleeping bags. Here are some key features you won’t know (we didn’t) about sleeping bags and which we feel are essential for making the right buying choice.
Every sleeping bag consists of baffles (are you baffled?) which are the pockets that hold the filling. Their function is to keep the filling spread evenly. Inner linings are well…the part that will be in contact with your body they can be nylon or polyester (commonly), flannel or cotton (lightweight but can get damp) good for cooler climates.
Outer fabric has to be hard wearing and so many bags are made of nylon-ripstop. You’ll also find that these sleepers can have zips on the left or right (the choice is yours), but what we think is really important is the zip baffle.
Some other cool design elements to look out for are hoods (you head is like a MAJOR conductor of heat so if you can wrap it up you conserve body heat), draft collar (keeps cold out around your neck n shoulders), inner pockets (for valuables etc.), and the stuff sack (a draw-string storage bag).
Ok folks, with the basics behind us lets venture into some of these awesome sleeping bags for camping that you should buy.
This navy (yellow lined) beauty is a 600-fill DownTek water-repellent and resistant capsule. You are not going to feel any air movement (awesome) because of the barriers constructed into the collar and zipper. The baffles are versatile in size and stretchy so you can be ultra-comfy (we like).
They’ve put loops on the outside so you can easily hang this baby up somewhere to dry (or just to show off). The makers say that Big Agnes is designed and we quote, to feel like home.
The idea here is you can wrap her around your shoulders just like your fav blanky at home.
Simply fabulous we think! Some additional features (it’s quite a list so be sure to check out the product description)include bidirectional zippers / a hood that allows you to move your head even when zipped / a pillow barn, for your camp pillow and so much more.
This baby will warm the cockles of your heart for years to come.
The Western Mountaineering Ultralite Mummy Sleeping Bag is for three seasons (mid-summer / late spring/start of fall).
Let’s cut to the chase this bag is for our smaller adventurers who are looking for an easy fold that takes minimal space (and weight).
This is not for our larger clientele or for those who sleep in down jackets.
Despite its lightweight, smaller person design, this sleeping bag is an all-rounder made in the U.S.A. using ethically harvested down practices.
It’s easy to use the bag with superior utilitarian qualities that you can use with ease in mid to high elevations.
Given the enormous long term value in durability and function, we feel is well worth it a good value for money.
Additional features include: A full length #5 YKK zipper; full down collar; 5 inch spacing with continuous baffles (see intro for definition); 59″/38″ (6’0″), 60″/38″ (6’6″) Shoulder/Foot Girth; 5″ Loft, 20 F, 16 oz. Down Fill and really light 1 lb. 15 oz. Total Weight
We are stoked about this guy. For price, durability and comfort the Klymit KSB 20 is a winner for sure. The folk at Klymit are consummate innovators and they’ve created a one-of-a-kind bag.
Using duck down in nylon lined, damp resistant 20-degree cocoon, the Klymit KSB 20 will shelter you for many years to come.
Some formidable features include the stretch baffles that move when you do (think snug fit all night long), a half-moon foot box that doesn’t clamp down on the feet, expanded chest pockets for storing your valuables. And (as if that’s not enough) a thermally stable shoulder wrap.
It’s not the lightest of bags like the Western Mountaineering Ultralite Mummy Sleeping Bag above, but its an amazing price.
It packs easily into a 13 x 8.5 inch bag which is ideal for most outdoor adventures. Some other specs you might want to know include: 1. A 650 fill down; 80/20 duck down; 2. Weighs only 2.75 lbs and 3. Has a temperature rating of 20 degrees Fahrenheit, -7 degrees Celsius.
Talk about quality folks! And as to be expected it comes at a price, but well worth it. The Marmot Plasma 30 Degree Down Sleeping Bag sports a unique and gorgeous inner slate green lining that will turn heads anywhere.
The specifications are impressive with an EN tested rating, two way zipper and (never before seen) heat bump draft tube. What that is, is a full length draft protected zipper which amounts to no chilly air movement in or out.
The makers speak of a flow gate system and this is really impressive. This system is a unique design in which the 875+ power goose down is held in vertical baffles that encapsulate your body’s center area and what this does is shuttle the heat outwards to your arms and legs.
There is just too much awesomeness in this bag to go into now, so be sure to check it out on the product page. It comes with a certified (EN) staggering 30 F / -1 C temperature rating. We think this bag is a must for the hardcore mountaineer.
We couldn’t help smiling when we read this sleeping bag name. HOTBED says it all and at a price, we all can afford. These guys use a patented construction formula that is next to none. In a nutshell, the baffle construction amounts to zero cold spots.
We thought that the inclusion of a carry bag that doubles as a pillow put this bag (innovatively speaking) in a class of its own.
Also, (and this is so cool) for those creative types who like to push the envelope these bags have full length #5 double slider zippers which allow you to zip more than one bag together!
Like all our reviews the designers of Mountain Hardwear Hotbed Flame 20 have their own take on heat stabilization technology.
These guys talk about Thermal TQM insulation for superior warmth and comfort. A face gasket is their version of the hood and is excellent at keeping out the drafts. You might also like (we certainly did) that the hood and chest closures can be adjusted with one hand. Sweet!
The Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed 600-Fill 3 Season Sleeping Bag is a space age ultra-cool sleeping pod. Its classed as a sleeping bag (if you Google it) but we like to tell you that the experience is more like climbing into some luxurious bed.
We are going to be totally honest here when we say, hands down, this has to be the most innovative and ahead of its time bag on our list. It is simply marvelous. Believe it or not, Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed 600-Fill 3 Season Sleeping Bag has no zippers.
Yup you read correctly this baby is zipper FREE! And we can assure you, it’s one of the most user friendly bags on our list.
So how does it work? Well if you watch their nifty informational video, you’ll discover that the back of this sleeping bag for camping is where the magic happens. There’s what the designers call a pad (looks a bit like an inflatable pool lilo) which forms the base on which you lie.
The rest of the sleeping shall we say bed, comprises two components:
1. The hook which forms the outer capsule.
2. A space age comforter or blanket that is sewn in.
This bag is versatile in that the comforter can be included (cold nights) or excluded (warm nights) depending on the ambient temperature. We love this innovative design and contemporary colors (piquant green and Boysenberry Pink) and believe at its reasonable pricing, the owner will not be disappointed. If the clever design and durable infrastructure is for you then we recommend you buy this bag.
The Slumberjack Country Squire captures the quality and timelessness of quintessential colonial Africa of the mid to late 19th century.
Sporting a fabulous poly-canvas shell, buffalo plaid flannel liner and heavy duty zippers these classics can be zipped together (similar to Mountain Hardwear Hotbed Flame 20).
The affordable pricing is perfectly pitched for a timeless sleeping bag such as the Slumberjack Country Squire 20.
Definitely not for trekking to Katmandu but please don’t hesitate if you are thinking of bedding down in an African wilderness (or similar) for a week or more. This is comfort in every sense of the word.
Almost there folks. Coming in at number 8 is the luxury MontBell U.L. Spiral Hugger #1 Sleeping Bag.
This sleeping bag comes with a lifetime manufacturers guarantee and we included it here because it has such a clever design.
Much like the (Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed 600-Fill 3 Season Sleeping Bag), it has its own mattress.
Think about it no lugging the large oversized foam rubber around. It has a ballistic (awesome name right?) AirlightTM nylon capsule with impressive 800-fill padding. This tangerine colored masterpiece has a mummy shape and air tight shoulder collar.
The maximum user height is 5ft. 10in (187 cm) and given that you don’t need a mattress the higher price tag is warranted.
If you have the money, and you hate clutter then this pod of superlative comfort and snazzy design is for you.
So you know by now the mummy design specification has very little to do with maternal inclinations but rather defines a style common to most sleeping bags.
Well, with the Nemo Salsa 30 (although wed argue the difference is negligible) a design distinction called SPOON makes its appearance.
What the designers have done and perhaps the other brands are kicking themselves for a huge oversight, is to increase the girth of their capsule at the knees.
Yup, the Nemo Salsa 30 has the usual wider shoulder region and a section midway that expands ever so slightly to accommodate the knees (think lying on your side knees bent).
It’s clever and we give them 5 stars for having the courage to state the obvious. I.e. During sleep knees bend. For fairly affordable pricing, you get a sleeping spoon shaped bag with 30D Nylon Micro Taffeta (Shell), stretch stitching, FlowGates, all with high quality fabrics.
Buyers Guide for Purchasing the Perfect Sleeping Bags for Camping
To make things easier for our readers we’ve divided this mini-guide into what we believe to be the five key buying parameters to understand before spending your hard earned cash on sleeping bags for camping:
How warm (or cool) will it keep me?
Whats this comfort level they keep talking about?
Sticking with temperature ratings (it really is that important), here’s some info about what is known as the comfort rating of a particular sleeping bag. This phrase refers to the temperature you experience inside when completely covered and zipped closed. Using the sleeping bag in a climate that is lower than what is specified simply means you are going to get cold. Do not take this light hypothermia is life threatening.
How extreme can I take my sleeping bag before it fails on me?
Every good quality sleeping bag for camping should have an extreme temperature rating. All this means is (and pay close attention) the temperature shown the lowest that particular bag can go before your body starts to ice over. And here we’re talking about the ugly effects of frostbite.
What is this deal with natural and synthetic fabrics?
It’s really quite simple. Either your sleeping bag is stuffed with artificial fibers or the manufacturers have harvested (hopefully ethically) the fine fluff (aka down) under feathers from ducks and geese.
The fibers are very common because they are cheaper and very resilient under wet conditions. Down on the other hand is pricey (for obvious reasons) but saves you in weight and gains in heat stabilization (are real win-win). We say if you have the money invest in down!
What are your shape, size and weight options?
You can probably remember your first sleeping bag. That ridiculously thin piece of cloth you spent shivering under most summer camps away.
Well that sleeping bag shape and design are still around. It has a rectangular, envelope design and a single zip that runs the full length of the perimeter.
More contemporary designs (as listed above) include the ever popular mummy shape (like a cobras head) and the not-so-common spoon (see Nemo Salsa 30).
As a final thought here, we want to remind you that the square shaped bags are perfect for caravanning and longer stays outdoor. They are roomier but not something you want to lug around backpacking.
What do the manufacturers mean by a “Fill” when talking about down?
They are talking about how many cubic inches one ounce of down will displace (push away). SO for example one ounce of a 600-fill down will fill about 2.5 gallons and one ounce of an 800-fill will fill about 3.5 gallons. You want to look for higher ratings because this means the down is finer and denser which means less weight and better insulation.
I’ve just got back from a trip. Are there special care instructions for my sleeping bag?
Good question and yes there are. We suggest you unzip the bag and air it out for at least two days. If the sun is out (no wind) spread out the sleeping bag on your patio or even driveway. Hanging it up on the washing line is also a good way to expose it completely. The sunlight and fresh air will rejuvenate your sleeping bag.
What to do if my kid has an accident in their sleeping bag?
We suggest you use a mattress protector of some kind and insert this into a child size sleeping bag. The adult size sleeping bags for camping might not fit commercial washing machines. Also we recommend that you never wash your sleeping bag in your home machine. It’s a good idea to air dry your bag after washing it commercially before placing it back into the bag.
If you are looking for a lightweight easily stored sleeping bag then we suggest the Western Mountaineering Ultralite Mummy Sleeping Bag. If style and all round comfort is your thing then Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed 600-Fill 3 Season Sleeping Bag and Slumberjack Country Squire 20 are great choices.
Wishing you a wonderful and snug adventure in the great outdoors!
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