5 Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags8 min read

By Ben Griffin

Hiker Extraordinaire

As many of you backpackers know, a good price doesn’t mean bad quality.

In fact, one of the best meals I ever ate cost only $11USD in Peru – the quality was excellent and the price a serious bargain.

Time Magazine even wrote a story in 2012 explaining how research shows that price and quality are not directly correlated.

In today’s world of hiking gear, the same principle applies.

Sure you can find very expensive gear — most of which has excellent quality — but you can also find awesome deals on gear that is still top of the line.

As anyone who has spent a night outside knows, a sleeping bag is one of your key pieces of gear.

In this review, I’m going to help you connect the dots, showing you my favorite value sleeping bags I’ve put together a list of ten – but if you have a suggestion, be sure to let me know at ben@hikersonrun.com

Quick Comparison Top Backpacking Sleeping Bags

Sleeping Bag Temperature Rating Best Feature My Grade
Marmot Trestles Sleeping Bag 30 Degree Total package - comfortable, warm, durable, and portable A
Teton Sports Celsius XXL 18 Degree Very Comfortable A-
Suisse Sport Alpine 5 Degree Great in Cold Weather B+
Hooded Tactical by Northstar 30 Degree Most Spacious B+
Slumberjack Latitue 40 40 Degree Lightest (2.15 lbs oz) B

^^Below, you’ll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Why Are Backpacking Sleeping Bags Important?

Sleeping bags protect you from cold weather, insects and water, keeping you dry, cozy and warm all the while.

Take a second to imagine going on an overnight hike without a sleeping bag.

No exactly appealing…I know.

Having a good quality sleeping bag is really a no-brainer (safety is one of Maslow’s first needs), so the question is how to find one that is comfortable, durable, and that doesn’t break the bank.

Below, I review some awesome sleeping bags that check all those boxes, along with some other info that will help you choose wisely.

How To Choose The Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags

Finding the right sleeping bag is really about purpose.

You have to think about how you will be using the sleeping bag — cold temperature or warm? Soft ground or hard? And the questions go on.

In this section, I’m going to breakdown some of the key considerations when thinking about what bag to pick.

Temperature

One of the first features to look for in the sleeping bag is the temperature rating.

In general, think about where you will be using this sleeping bag most? Will it be as a blanket in a hostel — or on the arctic tundra? Obviously, those situations require different sleeping bags.

👍 Ben’s Rule of Thumb Too hot is almost always better than too cold, so always plan for colder than expected temps.

Insulation Types

There are two major types of insulation: down insulation and synthetic insulation.

Down insulation bags are durable, lightweight, and compact.

They have excellent heat retention as well.

However, they typically a cost most and require special cleaning.

Synthetic insulation’s biggest plus is price and how easy they are to clean.

There are some newer fabric technologies that I’ve heard of that are supposedly better than down, but I haven’t personally used one.

👍Ben’s Rule of ThumbIf you don’t mind the extra cost & maintenance, down is a better choice.

Weight

As you know, on long hikes every ounce counts.

If you already have a heavy pack, saving a little on weight can go a long way toward making your hike less of a burden.

👍Ben’s Rule of ThumbA little weight goes a long way toward sapping your energy, so be mindful of the distance you will cover on you average hike.

Versatility

Many bags have a lot of range when it comes to the climate they can be used in.

The two factors to consider are material and temperature rating.

👍 Ben’s Rule of Thumb If you are looking for something casual, choose a bag with high durability and a moderate temperature rating.

Comfort

Comfort is another key aspect to look for in a sleeping bag.

Especially for the casual hiker/camper this is a must.

Most big retailers have excellent return policies, so try it out and keep the bag you like best.

👍 Ben’s Rule of Thumb Test the bag out at home before taking it out into the wild.

Size

Most sleeping bag have different sizes to accommodate different heights.

This is very simple but easy to overlook when you are checking out, so keep your eyes open.

Other Accessories

After researching this article I really was shocked to see all the variations in sleeping bag technology that exist.

It’s safe to say that most of what you can imagine — and somethings not normal hiker would imagine — have been added to sleeping bags.

I personally use the Marmot Trestles Sleeping bag, which is #1 on my list.

It has a mummy hood, which I’ve found keeps me a bit warmer on colder nights.

Beyond that, all I can say is you will have to test to see what you like.

Which Sleeping Bag Should you Buy?

Sleeping Bag Temperature Rating Best Feature My Grade
Marmot Trestles Sleeping Bag 30 Degree Total package - comfortable, warm, durable, and portable A
Teton Sports Celsius XXL 18 Degree Very Comfortable A-
Suisse Sport Alpine 5 Degree Great in Cold Weather B+
Hooded Tactical by Northstar 30 Degree Most Spacious B+
Slumberjack Latitue 40 40 Degree Lightest (2.15 lbs oz) B

Here are my top five picks with detailed explanations below ↓

1. Marmot Trestles 30 Synthetic Sleeping Bag

The Marmot Trestles 30 is durable, lightweight, and warm, making it my top pick for value sleeping bags.

Pro List 👍

– Keeps you warm in both wet & dry conditions

– Spacious construction but not drafty

– Compresses in traveling sack

Con List 👎

– One of the heavier bags on the list at 3 pounds and 2.08 ounces

See This Sleeping Bag on Amazon


2. Teton Sports Celsius XXL

Best for…

Comfort Mummy Hood Soft Interior

The Teton Sports Celsius XXL has a soft interior, making it a great choice for a casual hiker who wants to be comfortable.

Pro List 👍

– Adjustable mummy hood for warmth

– Interior storage

– Compression straps

Con List 👎

-Heaviest on the list at 7lbs 8 ounces

– Does not totally unzip into a blanket

– Not great for colder weather

See the Teton Sports Celsius XXL on Amazon


3. Suisse Sport Alpine Adult Mummy Double Layer

Non-draft, warm construction make the Suisse Sport Alpine perfect for cold weather camping.

Pro List

– Double interior to maximize warmth
– Compression sack for portability
– Machine washable so easy to maintain

Con List

– At about 5lbs, this is the heaviest bag on the list
– This bag could get hot during the summer, so best for winter, fall, and spring hikes

See This Sleeping Bag on Amazon


4. Northstar Tactical Operations Sleeping Bag

The best features of this bag are its portability, sleeping comfort, and durability.

Pro List 👍

– Spacious Design
– Double layered hood for warmth
– Twoway zipper

Con List 👎

– Not recommended for cold hikes
– Tapered design makes some feel like their feet are trapped

See This Bag on Amazon


5. Slumberjack Latitude 20 Degree Synthetic Sleeping Bag

The Slumberjack Latitude’s best features are its soft interior, durability, and lightweight construction.

Pro List 👍

– Bag insulation is suitable for most weather conditions, including damp and cool conditions.

– Very smooth, comfortable interior

– Lightweight construction

Con List 👎

– This bag has been mentioned as drafty by a number of reviewers, but I personally have never experienced that.

See the Slumberjack Latitude 20 Degree Synthetic Sleeping Bag on Amazon

Wrapping Up

Your sleeping bag is a big part of how successful your hike is.

I know being on a budget makes it feel like cutting corners makes sense, but in today’s world there are so many great pieces of equipment out there — sleeping gear and otherwise — that you would be crazy to hike without a high quality sleeping bag.

Anyhow, if you have any suggestions that I missed, please email me or if you have experience with any of the bags mentioned above, I’m ben@hikersonrun.com

Til next time!

Sleeping Bag Resources

Here are some resources about sleeping bags

Need a sleeping bag for your dog?

A sleeping bag that never gets a jammed zipper — because it doesn’t have one!

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