If you’ve ever tried spending the night in the wilderness during your backpacking or hiking adventure, you are surely fully aware of how vital a sleeping bag is, especially a lightweight one. For most people, having to sleep into a quality sleeping bag after a long hiking day is one of the greatest feelings during a trip.
And when it comes to hiking, choosing a lightweight sleeping bag will be very helpful. The thing about sleeping bags is that they significantly add up to your gear load, which is not convenient during a long hiking day. That’s why in this article, we will share with you our choice of the lightest sleeping bags you can acquire.
The sleeping bags in this post offer excellent warmth to weight ratio. Additionally, they are incorporated with outstanding technologies that will help them stay dry and perform in various weather or terrain conditions. So without further ado, let’s see more of what they have to offer.
This comparison table shall serve as a quick guide so you can easily absorb the in-depth review in the following sections.
|Material||Weight||Packed Dimensions||Temperature Rating||Fill||Fill Weight||Price Range|
|Western Mountaineering HighLite||ExtremeLite Shell Fabric||1 pound|
|850-fill down||8 oz.|
|Feathered Friends Tanager 20 CFL ||New Pertex® Quantum® 7dx5d fabric with DWR||1 lb. 5.3 oz.|
|14” x 6”||30°F|
|950-fill down||11.5 oz.|
|Kelty Cosmic 20||50D Polyester Taffeta Liner||2 lbs. 6.6 oz. (1094 grams)||8” x 14”||19°F|
|600-fill down||18.2 oz.|
|Marmot Trestles 15||30D 100% Recycled Polyester Ripstop||3 lbs. 6 oz. (1531 grams)||9.5” x 19”||27°F|
|Synthetic||30 oz. |
|Nemo Disco 15||40D Nylon Ripstop OSMO||2 lbs. 11 oz. (1219 grams)||18” x 9”||25°F|
|650-fill down||17 oz.|
|REI Co-op Magma 15||Pertex 15-denier ripstop nylon||1 lb. 12.2 oz. (799 grams)||7.5” x 15”||28°F|
|850-fill down||15.9 oz.|
|Patagonia 850 Down Sleeping Bag||15-denier Pertex Quantum||2 lbs. 0.2 oz.|
|7" x 15"||30°F|
|850-fill down||19.7 oz.|
|Marmot Sawtooth||100% Nylon DWR||2 lbs. 8 oz.|
|7.5” x 16”||27°F|
|650-fill down||20.8 oz.|
|Western Mountaineering UltraLite||12 denier nylon ripstop||1 lb. 13 oz.|
|7” x 13”||20°F|
|850-fill down||16 oz. |
|REI Co-op Igneo 25||20-denier ripstop nylon||1 lb. 10 oz.|
|7.5” x 15”||35°F |
|700-fill down||10 oz.|
|Big Agnes Anvil Horn 15||Polyester Ripstop w/ DWR||2 lbs. 5 oz.|
|8” x 17.5”||15°F|
|650-fill down||17 oz. |
This hooded, mummy sleeping bag packs down into a super small stuff sack, making it one of the best options for backpackers who need to minimize their load. It is rated to 35F and utilizes 8 ounces of 850 fill power down integrated into horizontal sewn-through baffles. It is best used during the summer season.
It is a trimmed-down ultralight sleeping bag for warmer conditions. The Western Mountaineering HighLite is a genuine sleeping mummy bag for alpine conditions that comes with 16 ounces of 850-fill down. It is a high-powered sleeping bag to keep users comfortable against cold conditions.
It only weighs 1 pound and 13 ounces and is incorporated with 12D ExteremeLite shell fabric for exceptional durability and coziness. Overall, rest assured that you’ll get a high-quality sleeping bag because Western Mountaineering crafts their sleeping bags with warmth, function, and fit in mind.
Feathered Friends is a brand prominent for top-notch down products, and the Tanager 20 CFL is one of their excellent sleeping bags. The “CFL” in it means “Crazy Freaking Light”, which is a pretty appropriate term since it only weighs 1 pound and 2.6 ounces.
This sleeping bag effectively bridges the gap between draftier ultralight quilts and more massive mummy bags by packing a significant amount of high-quality 950-fill down into its hoodless and lightweight design. Since it doesn’t come with any hood, you must pair it with a warm hat or a hooded down jacket if the nights would be really cold.
This sleeping bag stuffs down into a compact 14” x 6” package into its included stuff sack. Even though this is small, Tanager 20 CFL’s 950-fill-power goose down is so lofty that you can compress more if squeezed into a compression sack.
But be sure to take care if you decide to use a compression sack because cinching it down than necessary might damage the sleeping bag’s insulation over time. Just lightly compress it, and it’s better not to store it in the sack for long period of time.
The Tanager 20 CFL is very comfortable and warm to sleep on. It is because of its 12.6 ounces of premium 950-fill power down and a 20-degree temperature rating. It is perfect for chilly temperatures such as lower elevations during shoulder seasons or high mountains during summer.
Overall, at 1 pound 2.6 ounces, this sleeping bag is one of the lightest and warmest sleeping bags on the market in its price range. Not to mention that its roomy interior and supple lining fabric are very comfortable.
This one is a good option for those backpackers who don’t want to spend too much. It is one of the affordable down sleeping bags in the market today, not to mention that it is from a prominent manufacturer.
It has an EN Lower Limit rating of 19 degrees, which should keep you cozy and warm in most three-season conditions. Certainly, the 600-fill power down doesn’t offer similar packability or warmth like the other sleeping bags we feature in this article. However, we like how much value it provides.
Additionally, it offers a hydrophobic treatment for wet conditions. The Kelty Cosmic 20 utilizes a thinner 20-denier shell fabric, resulting in a considerable drop in weight. At less than 2.5 pounds, this sleeping bag is a favorite among hikers and backpackers who are on a budget.
The Marmot Trestles 15 is thick and heavy as it offers 35 ounces of insulation, which gives the right amount of protection to you. Also, it is the most featured synthetic mummy sleeping bag in this list. The manufacturer makes this sleeping bag inexpensive by utilizing a sewn-through single wave construction.
This particular design also makes manufacturing more efficient. In warmer conditions, this sleeping bag has excellent ventilation since it is incorporated with two zippers that make it more versatile. By simply opening both sides partway, users poke their hands out while keeping their core covered or sit up effortlessly.
Just like any other sleeping bags out there, this one is incorporated with a mateable primary zipper. This helps you to link two sleeping bags together to make a double wide compartment. Its extra quarter length zipper makes heated nights with your lover since both have their own zipper for ventilation. Lastly, its compression stuff sack, which is included in the sleeping bag is durable and robust.
The manufacturer of Disco 15 does things quite differently with their sleeping bags. But despite the different approaches, Nemo is very popular among side sleepers and comfort seekers. Compared to slender mummy sleeping bag designs, Nemo uses a spoon-shaped idea on the Disco 15 to improve comfort.
This sleeping bag is wider compared to a regular mummy bag, especially in the knees and elbows. It utilizes an integrated sleeve for a pillow, a waterproof panel around the toe box for extra protection, and 650-fill hydrophobic down. The Nemo Disco 15 also offers excellent ventilation as you’ll get two zippered gills running lengthwise at its top.
If you unzip them, it will make intentional cold spots to release hot air during warm weather. This feature is particularly useful during mild nights. At 2 pounds and 11 ounces for its standard size, this sleeping bag is far from being called ultralight. However, it is still an excellent option, mainly because of its comfortability and spaciousness.
Co-op Magma 15 is among REI’s strong lineup of quality backpacking gear at affordable price ranges. This sleeping bag is a warm and premium gear, packed with 15.9 ounces of 850-fill down. When it comes to specs, Magma 15 is just right in line with prominent sleeping bag brands except that it has a reasonable price. At the same time, it isn’t cheap by any means but instead offers substantial value for your hard-earned money.
Furthermore, it is well-designed for retaining heat. Its hood comes with two drawcords for a snug fit around the user’s head. It also comes with a draft collar around the user’s neck, which aids in keeping warm air trapped in it. The REI Co-op Magma 15 is also very light. It doesn’t have a myriad of fancy features. Additionally, it comes with a trim fit, which makes it lighter than most sleeping bags in their EN comfort rating range.
This sleeping bag packs down into a very small size to about 5 to 7 liters. We recommend using Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Sacks for better packing experience. Also, because these sacks are waterproof, and their shape works better compared to compression sacks. As for its zipper, it is butterfly-shaped and very wide. When you zip it, the fabric is directed away from the zipper’s teeth and doesn’t snag easily, which is an excellent trait.
The Patagonia 850 Down is a sleeping bag designed for the minimalist backpacker who usually makes trips in mild temperatures. It comes at only 24 ounces and compresses to the size of loaf bread. Similar to its other version, it comes with a front, over the top zipper.
However, this top zipper is only half-length. Despite its shorter zip length, the Patagonia 850 Down still comes with the same benefits of its other version since the zipper is two-way. This enables one to stay wholly zipped in but still can use their hands through an unzipped hole located at the chest part.
Overall, this sleeping bag is a top-notch, fully hooded mummy bag that is also very lightweight. It is also particularly warm and comes with an excellent set of functional and beneficial features. While it will undoubtedly make a good three-season sleeping bag for any backpacker out there, it will be particularly useful for summertime alpine trips.
When Marmot crafted this sleeping bag, they made it with a myriad of outstanding features to guarantee that it would perform excellently. The Marmot Sawtooth is crafted with baffles sewn throughout it to ensure that its insulation will be distributed evenly throughout to get rid of cold spots.
The material used to make has some stretch to it, thus when it’s being packed into a stuff sack, the material won’t get ripped. Additionally, it is also incorporated with a ground-level zipper along the side of the sleeping bag. This feature helps to minimize the loss of body heat through the zipper. The same zipper also moves two ways to enable venting if ever the warmth becomes slightly uncomfortable.
Meanwhile, its hood comes with a baffled tube around the edge, which is adjustable. The hood is also ergonomic as it comes with six baffled sections to guarantee optimal insulation. Marmot Sawtooth also features a down-filled collar tube that can be adjusted utilizing a drawstring to minimize the amount of cold that might enter the sleeping bag through its hood.
Another excellent design in this sleeping bag is a stash pocket inside it. This particular pocket is handy for storing small essential items such as phones and keys. Lastly, it also includes a stuff sack to store the sleeping bag for travel.
This sleeping bag is typically marketed for four-season use due to its toughness. It’s a very light sleeping bag that is perfect for cold nights during spring and fall. The Western Mountaineering UltraLite can be cool enough for summer and warm enough for winter because of its 17 ounces of premium 850+ FP down for colder conditions.
Aside from that, it comes with a continuous horizontal baffle design that allows you to move those features to the underside of your bag to vent extra heat during warmer nights. For many experienced backpackers out there, this bag will be handy throughout the year.
Even though the Western Mountaineering UltraLite didn’t receive a third-party EN temperature rating, it is still one of the warmest four-season sleeping bags. Its 17 ounces of more than 850 fill power down seem to supply more warmth than sleeping bags with 20 degrees Fahrenheit EN lower limit ratings. Its superior performance is primarily because of its substantial draft collar. Its collar was adequate and comfortable at sealing heat inside its main compartment when it is cinched closed.
Despite providing top-notch warmth, the Western Mountaineering Ultralite’s weight is at 1.86 pounds for a size long. During cold nights, we consider its extra ounces to be precious. Its warmth-to-weight ratio is also among the highest out there. It also sports cozy ExtremeLite fabric and cozy down. However, take note that its narrower dimensions don’t give the same roomy comfort.
When it comes to versatility, this sleeping bag has superior versatility to an effective draft collar, a full-length zipper, and its horizontal baffle construction. Its horizontal baffle construction implies that its down insulation is integrated into baffles or fabric tubes perpendicular to its length. The baffles are continuous and enables users to shift the insulation to the underside or top of the sleeping bag depending on conditions.
The REI Co-op Igneo 25 is a workhorse bag that amalgamates low weight and good insulation at a reasonable price. For just around half the price of a very premium sleeping bag, this sleeping bag gives similar comfort in a package that weighs only a few ounces more.
With such weight, the warmth provided is a little bit less compared to those pricier options. The REI Co-op Igneo 25 is filled with 10 ounces of 700-fill power, hydrophobic, duck down. This bag’s most impressive trait is its weight. But a more significant portion of this sleeping bag’s weight comprises shell materials instead of insulation. This is the reason why it doesn’t offer an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio.
When it comes to packed size, you can compact this sleeping bag down to a minimal volume with the help of an aftermarket compression sack. But you won’t be able to acquire the same results utilizing the feather-light stuff sack it comes with. That’s why, if you value the packed size deeply, you should be prepared to spend a little bit on a third-party compression sack.
This sleeping bag is a basic mummy-style sleeping bag. And one thing that we like about it is its anti-snag zipper. This zipper includes pulling tabs on both the outside and inside of the sleeping bag. This is to guarantee that getting in and out is a breeze. The REI Co-op Igneo 25 also comes with a draft collar to prevent heat from escaping from the hood. Overall, it’s a great sleeping bag because it offers good value at a reasonable price.
The Big Agnes Anvil Horn 15 is incorporated with DownTek insulation, which provides a spacious, rectangle-shaped sleeping space with a built-in Flex Pad Sleeve located on the bottom. Its Flex Pad Sleeve stretches to unite with your insulated sleeping pad. And while you change positions during sleep, it will keep you from rolling off your pad.
Meanwhile, its 650-fill-power DownTek water-repellent down stops water while keeping its insulating value. Its down has PFOA and PFOS-free water repellency, and it is bluesign certified. Moreover, its Insotect Flow construction and Streamlined silhouette improve thermal efficiency, which helps keep you warm from head to spacious footbox.
The Big Agnes Anvil Horn 15 is lightweight enough for backpacking but comfortable enough for the campground due to its myriad of comfort features, compressible insulation, and technical fabrics. Furthermore, its Free Range hood provides the user the freedom to lift their head easily because it contours to the user’s shape for a comfortable, snug fit.
Also, its Pillow Barn keeps your pillow tucked in tight all night. The Internal hood drawcord will provide you a tight, cozy fit when cinched. Its Free Range footbox offers wiggle room for your feet. Its anti-snag, locking zipper incorporated with the zipper garage provides a smooth, quick zip.
Buying Guide: Things to Consider
There are certain things to be aware of before making any sleeping bag purchase. Knowing these factors is important if you want to get the most suitable sleeping bags for your backpacking or hiking trips
One of the most crucial decisions you will make when picking a sleeping bag is the temperature rating. Rather than relying on the manufacturer and their marketing tactics for a temperature rating, the sleeping bag industry has standardized the rating system with EN and, more recently, the ISO.
ISO and EN (or European Norm) are standardized temperature rating systems that keep ratings consistent across the industry. In particular, sleeping bags usually indicate an EN rating in European Standard EN13537.
The EN13537 utilizes a thermal manikin test that generates four temperature results, namely: extreme, lower limit/transition, comfort, and upper limit. Among these four ratings, the “lower limit/transition” and “comfort” are the most useful. These two ratings are what most backpackers look for when choosing a sleeping bag.
Increasing Temperature Rating
One more thing to remember when picking a sleeping bag is that you’ll have the ability to always increase your warmth by putting extra layers. For instance, wearing a down jacket with a hood inside your sleeping bag will undoubtedly boost your warmth.
If it gets frigid, you can also sleep in your raincoat/pants, gloves, a warm hat, and wool base layers. You can also increase the temperature rating by finding natural insulators such as pine needles to put under your sleeping pad.
You can also try putting a hot water bottle inside your sleeping bag, staying well hydrated, or even eating a meal right before going to sleep.
Synthetic vs. Down
When it comes to choosing between synthetic or down, the most crucial factor to consider is the temperature rating. Generally, synthetic sleeping bags are versatile because they don’t lose all insulation when they get wet. That’s why these kinds of sleeping bags are perfect for taking on float trips or camping in wet climates.
On the other hand, if you consider compressibility and weight, then surely, down sleeping bags are the perfect choices.
However, you must keep in mind that no sleeping bag will be comfortable when wet. This is why we highly suggest packing your sleeping bag in a stuffing pod, a dry compression sack, or a dry sack to keep it from getting wet while backpacking.
Keeping You Warm
It’s not your body that creates warmth but the sleeping bag you’re in. The sleeping bag keeps you warm by simply trapping excess heat in an enclosed space. Typically, sleeping bags that have more insulation trap heat better, which makes them warmer. Meanwhile, sleeping bags with plenty of interior room are less efficient since they make a more substantial area for your body to heat up.
Where Is Down Made?
This material is the fluffy, small plumage found underneath the outer feather layer on waterfowl birds such as geese and ducks. These tiny filament fibers insulate birds and maintain their warm body temperature even in frigid weather. Additionally, most down is a byproduct of the meat industry, 70% of it is sourced from China.
Down Fill Power
This factor measures the quality of the down insulation in the bag. Higher fill power down sleeping bags generally compresses more and weigh less than lower fill power down sleeping bags.
But take note that the higher fill down is usually more expensive. Typically, 800 fill power and up is considered high-quality. And anything lower than this is more cost-effective but won’t be providing as good warmth-to-weight.
Down and Synthetic Fill Weight
This factor is the actual amount of insulation packed into a sleeping bag. If it is a close call between two sleeping bags with the same kinds of insulation, and one or both don’t come with ISO or EN ratings, you can compare their fill weight to have a better idea of which one will give you better warmth.
Typically, you must be aware that “cut” is essential because a sleeping bag with a slender cut may come with less insulation than a sleeping bag with a spacious cut despite giving more or similar warmth. This factor is a significant factor in having a good visual for how much more insulation is needed for a synthetic bag to rival with down.
Length and Width
Make sure to verify with the manufacturer to get the right length of the sleeping bag. Generally, longer sleeping bags are a better fit. With a quilt, we suggest increasing one size to pull it over your head during cold nights. On the flip side, mummy sleeping bags typically don’t come with width options; thus, you will probably have to pick a different unit if the cut is very slim.
Mummy sleeping bags usually come with varied zipper lengths. Full-length zippers are great since they will enable you to open the bag entirely for breathability. Certain sleeping bags can reduce weight by cutting down on zipper length. If you usually prefer to tuck in your feet, having a shorter zipper might not be an issue. However, most users like the flexibility of full-length zippers.
Durable Water Repellent
Durable Water Repellent or simply DWR is a treatment that makes water bead up on the outer shell of a sleeping bag instead of soaking in. But take note that this technology will wear off and must be reapplied gradually. Certainly, it won’t make a sleeping bag anywhere completely waterproof, but it will surely add some good amount of protection.
You must never store a sleeping bag compressed. Don’t forget to take the sleeping bag out of its stuff sack and store it in a cool, dry place. It is even better if you hang your sleeping bag up or store it in a large sack with space to spread out. Additionally, storing your sleeping bag while compressed might damage its insulation, and ultimately affect its ability to trap heat over time.
Down is a tough material. However, it tends to lose some of its effectiveness when it becomes dirty or oily over time. When washing, it’s better to use a special soap such as Nikwax Down Direct. Or you can also use a gentle non-detergent like Woolite to remove the sleeping bag in a front-loading washing machine or by hand.
After washing, take your time tumble-drying the sleeping bag on low heat in the dryer. Putting some dryer balls or clean tennis balls to the dryer can aid break up clips in the down and redistribute it uniformly. You can also resort to air drying by hanging it.
3-Season Bags (32°F to 20°F)
Most sleeping bags are three-seasons. A lot of backpackers love these types of sleeping bags due to their versatility. During summer, users can unzip and stay quite cool, but at the same time, they are also perfect for spring, fall, and alpine backpacking.
When it comes to 3-season sleeping bags, we like the REI Co-op Magma 15 because of its 28 degrees Fahrenheit ISO Comfort rating, not to mention that it comes at a reasonable price point.
Sadly, down feathers tend to lose their ability to insulate when they are damp. And on the flip side, synthetic insulation does a better job in this situation. Even though down has this significant disadvantage, it is still more prized than synthetic because the latter isn’t as warm, doesn’t pack down as small, and slightly heavier.
To minimize this weakness of down sleeping bags, manufacturers recently began treating down to make it more water-repellent. A polymer is incorporated into the down before filling the sleeping bag. The feathers will be better protected from the moisture and won’t easily clump up.
This implies that you won’t worry about brushes with moisture outside or inside your backpacking tent. Making down more water-resistant adds a little bit of weight to the material. But it doesn’t affect the overall value of the down.
Shell Denier and Durability
When it comes to sleeping bags, the durability is usually measured by the denier of the shell fabric, which has a unit of “D”. This measurement represents the thickness. The higher the number is, the thicker the thread. In terms of the ultralight end of the spectrum, a good example is the Feathered Friends Tanager, which utilizes a very thin 7D x 5D fabric.
Furthermore, most three-season sleeping bags fall in the 10D to 30D shell denier range. Some heavily-built synthetics such as the Marmot Trestles get as high as 70D. But keep in mind that sleeping bags are one kind of outdoor gear that we don’t need to worry about when it comes to this factor unless you bring your dog that might puncture the sleeping bag.
At this point, it’s obvious what’s the big difference between lightweight sleeping bags and normal ones. And it is the weight. The lightest sleeping bags will keep your load weight down, which is crucial on a multi-day hiking trip or if you are backpacking and must move quick and light. Even though light sleeping bags don’t offer that many fancy features, they are still beneficial to make your backpacking trips more enjoyable.
The sleeping bag industry is loaded with options. But in this review, we particularly singled out the lightest sleeping bags, especially because more backpackers realize that an adventure is more fun with less load. Very light sleeping bags are ideal for warmer temperatures. However, if you do the right planning, such sleeping bags can be very versatile.
With that said, here are our favorites sleeping bags: Western Mountaineering HighLite, Feathered Friends Tanager 20 CFL, Patagonia 850 Down Sleeping Bag.
Aside from its hooded, mummy design, what we like about the Western Mountaineering HighLite is its ability to be packed into a very small stuff sack. It is also worth mentioning that Western Mountaineering has an outstanding reputation when it comes to crafting sleeping bags. So rest assured that you’ll get a sleeping bag that is made with great fit, functionality, and warmth in mind.
As for the Tanager 20 CFL, it is made by Feathered Friends which is a very well-known manufacturer of sleeping bags. It is also highly-compressible because it is incorporated with a very lofty, 950-fill power goose down. Compared to Western Mountaineering HighLite, this one doesn’t come with a hood. But being hoodless doesn’t compromise its overall performance due to its New Pertex® Quantum® 7dx5d fabric with DWR and other outstanding materials. Lastly, the Feathered Friends Tanager 20 CFL offers a roomy interior and supple lining fabric which are very comfortable.
And finally, we have the Patagonia 850 Down. If you’re a b and like to make do trips in mild temperatures, then this sleeping bag is perfect for you. It is a fully hooded mummy sleeping bag that is also very lightweight. It offers an excellent set of functional and beneficial features. Aside from being an exceptional three-season sleeping bag, it is also very useful for summertime alpine trips. If you know Patagonia, surely you’ll immediately understand that this sleeping bag won’t disappoint you.
Go ahead and take your time picking the best sleeping bag that you’ll bring in your next adventure. Happy trip!