Whether you’ve been walking for hours, fishing by a lake or climbing a mountain, you deserve a good night’s sleep at the end of the day. In fact, getting a good rest can make the difference between the trip of a lifetime and that trip you half enjoyed but didn’t really have the energy for. You don’t want to be waking up too cold (or too hot) in the night, rolling on to the cold ground every few hours or finding out that you have soggy feet in the morning.
You’ve probably tried to pack as light as possible too to save your back and shoulders. Well, the sleeping bag you use shouldn’t compromise your packing, it should be as light as possible.
And there are a bunch of extra features that help ultralight sleeping bags to give you a solid night’s sleep. Here’s a selection of the best ultralight sleeping bags, a few things to remember when purchasing one, and our absolute favorite ultralight bags.
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Best Of The Best
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The Klymit KSB 20°F mummy sleeping bag is an excellent option if you want something that will keep you warm on those colder nights but won’t weigh you down during the day. It’s 650 white duck down fill power is serious stuff – you’ll be nice and toasty even at 20°F! On top of that you also get a draft collar to keep in that precious warm air and a hood to keep your head warm, yet it weighs in at just 2.75 lbs. This is a great warth to weight ratio.
So, if things get a little too cosy in there, the ¾ zip has zippers at both ends for ventilation, but there’s a guard running the whole length of it so you won’t lose any heat unless you want to. It’s also an extremely comfortable sleeping bag, thanks to its down padding and soft nylon inner lining.
As well as this, its spacious foot box means you can relax your ankles after a hard day of hiking, and the expanded chest area and general flexibility of the bag mean you’ll have room to manoeuvre yourself into your favourite position – you’ll even have space to slip on an extra layer at night, although you probably won’t need it. This bag is durable too and features anti-rip nylon as well as a durable water repellent outer layer.
Handy extra features include length locks, so the backpacking sleeping bag can be adjusted to suit smaller folk, and a stash pocket in the draft collar so you can keep your essentials close at hand. Not only does it come with a stuff sack that compresses a bag, but also a regular sack so you don’t have to compress the bag at all times – something that helps your bag stay nicer for longer. It might not be a super cheap option, but you get a lot of high-end features without the biggest of price tags. It also comes with a warranty for that extra peace of mind over your investment. One drawback is that this bag compresses to 13″ x 8.5″, which is a little larger than some of the other models out there.
At the high-end of the ultralight sleeping bag spectrum, we have the Therm-a-Rest Questar 20-Degree Lightweight Down Mummy Sleeping Bag. You certainly won’t be shivering at night thanks to the 650 fill power, insulated hood with an elastic drawstring and draft collar. And if that wasn’t enough, careful design work means that the ThermaCapture seams stop heat generated by the body from escaping so instead it can reach zoned areas at the top of the bag that capture hot air as it rises.
This is one toasty bag. One thing we particularly like about this bag is its loop feature. It has series of loops sewn on to the back of the bag that attaches to your sleeping pad via the straps provided, and you won’t lose the straps either as they have their own storage compartment on the front of the bag. No more rolling on to the cold floor in the middle of the night thank you very much! The down in this bag isn’t just super comfy and warm, it’s Nikwax-treated hydrophobic goose down.
This treatment means less water absorption and faster drying times and this, combined with the durable water repellent polyester lining, makes this bag the perfect companion for potentially soggy adventures. It also comes with a stuff sack for compactness and a larger storage bag. The polyester lining is rip-resistant too, and a tape lining inside the zip stops it from catching in the zipper itself, and the sleeping bag comes with a limited lifetime warranty in case you do experience any troubles. One thing to bear in mind is that the sizes are a little on the conservative side, so if you’re around 6’ tall you might want to opt for the long length rather than regular.
Full of unusual perks, the iGeek Sleeping Bag is one of our favorite lightweight options out there. One of the things that make this bag unique is that it manages to retain its super light weight of 1.92 lbs despite its extra-large size – it’s so big that you could squeeze two people in there. It can be compressed to a height of just 7.6″and popped into its carry bag, making it super handy.
It’s also incredibly versatile. If you have two you can join them together to make a double – perfect for those couples weekends away – or it can be unfolded and used as a blanket thanks to the zip running the whole length of the bag, but watch out as the zipper sometimes catches on the lining.
Not only is this bag comfy but you can pop it in the washing machine after a trip, so you don’t have to deal with a stinky bag. A key thing to bear in mind is that this bag doesn’t have a down fill and it’s missing some of the features that make other bags warm, therefore it shouldn’t be used in temperatures below 15°C/59℉. But if you want a large lightweight option for warmer camping trips, then the iGeek sleeping bag is a great find.
The DriDown Backcountry Bed by Sierra Designs is one of the comfiest bags we’ve found. Unlike the other mummy bags we’ve mentioned, this one is lacking in velcro, straps, and zippers. To enter, simply slip inside the opening and, depending on the temperature, slot in the comforter to seal the gap and keep you warm or leave it out if you’d like a bit of air.
The lack of external attachments means this backpacking sleeping bag is super squishy and can be molded to your body shape to make sure you get a good night’s rest. Its DriDown padding not only adds to the comfort but is also hydrophobic, keeping it dry for that bit longer and helping it to dry out in no time. It is lacking slightly in down on the underside of the bag, but with space to slot in a sleeping pad this shouldn’t be a problem (just make sure your pad fits before you head out on any adventures).
Despite all its padding, it still compresses to just 7.5″ x 15″ and is very lightweight for the comfort rating.
The Western Mountaineering HighLite sleeping bag is our lightest featured bag, weighing in at an astonishing 1 lb. Don’t let the light weight fool you though – this bag is seriously warm. Not only does it have 850+ goose down fill power but it also has baffled vertical seams for heat retention.
The zip extends halfway down the side of the backpacking sleeping bag, and you can choose whether you’d like it on the left or right-hand side. This bag is also available in a range of sizes – 5’6″, 6,0″ and 6’6″ – so you be sure to find the right fit for you. It’s fairly expensive, but you won’t have to buy a replacement soon thanks to the unlimited warranty, and this bag is definitely the way to go if you want warmth without weight.
Introducing one of our lightest and most affordable options… the Vango Ultralite Pro 100 Sleeping Bag. Despite its low price tag, this ultralight sleeping bag comes with all the essentials. Cleverly crafted with multiple layers, a free-floating layer of insulation adds an extra layer of warmth while the 4T synthetic insulation fibers trap warm air through their channel-like structure.
An aluminized layer returns your body heat to you while you sleep, and elastic on the inner layer mold the bag to your shape to stop any cold pockets from forming. A full-length zip means entering the bag is super simple, and the zipper is guarded so you won’t rip the inner lining. It compresses nicely into its stuff sack and has a handy inner pocket too. It’s also water-resistant and you can adjust the tightness of the hood for maximum comfort.
The main drawback is the lack of down filling that makes it inappropriate for cold camping, but if you’re planning on some warmer trips and want high-end features for a low-end price, then this is the one for you.
Hyke & Byke really knew what they were doing when they designed the Shavano 32 Degree C Ultralight sleeping bag. In fact, they’re so confident in their product they’ve backed it with a lifetime warranty. And with rip-resistant nylon lining, a snag-free drawstring and anti-rip zippers, it’s easy to see why.
Packed with hydrophobic duck down, this ultralight sleeping bag will keep you warm, snug and dry and, on top of that, this is one of the lightest down-filled bags out there. The compression sacks themselves are also water-repellent, and the bag can be packed down to a humble 22 cm by 16 cm bundle. It has a bunch of extra perks too, such as a large foot box for comfort and baffles for extra warmth. Overall, this is the warmest, lightest bag you’ll find at this price.
But what if you aren’t heading out on a sub-zero mission? And what if you’ll only use your ultralight sleeping bag once or twice a year? Well, you don’t have to break the bank and go for a high-end down-filled option. Why not try something simple like the WINNER OUTFITTERS mummy sleeping bag instead? Its polyester lining is nice and soft on the skin and you can stretch out your toes after a trek thanks to the foot box at the bottom.
The hollow fiber fill will keep you surprisingly warm for a synthetic fill. Also, the hood and chest can be tightened using snag-free drawstrings and it has a draft collar and zipper draft tubes to keep that extra bit of heat in. You might even end up overheating in this bag, but not to worry – you can unzip one of the high-quality SBS zippers at the bottom for extra ventilation. You can even pop it in the washing machine when you’re done, although we’d recommend only using a cool, gentle wash – this really is camping made easy.
The polyester coating is rip- and water-resistant and the bag comes with a compression sack so you can take it on all your adventures, and we like that it comes with a sack for storage too. Overall, this is a great bag for the price, but it isn’t the hardiest option available so it’s suited to more casual use.
Insulation, shape, weight, price, extra features… there are a lot of factors to consider when purchasing an ultralight sleeping bag. Below, we’ve delved into these elements a little deeper below to make deciding that bit easier… don’t worry, you’ve got this in the bag.
How much warmth you want will depend on where you’ll be using your bag and at what time of year. Down insulation is warmer than synthetic insulation and can be compressed more to make for smaller bundles. It is often treated with durable water repellent, which makes it water-resistant (but not completely waterproof), but if it does get wet it’ll take a while to dry. Synthetic insulation dries way faster and is generally much cheaper, but it won’t compress as well or provide as much warmth. You can usually put them in the washing machine too, which means you don’t have to waste time cleaning your bag after each trip. Overall, if you’ll be sleeping in very cold climates, you’ll probably want to go for a down-filled bag, although synthetic options can be pretty toasty too with extra features helping to hold in the heat.
In terms of shape, the main decision is whether you’d like to go for a rectangular bag or a mummy bag. Rectangular bags are more common at the lower end of the price spectrum and are the kind you probably used as a child. They leave a lot of wiggle room and some of them can be opened entirely so they can double up as a quilt too. Mummy bags have more of a snug fit and encase your body and head, leaving just your face exposed. This makes them generally much warmer, but they don’t have as much space if you tend to fidget in your sleep.
One of our favorite extra features has to be pad sleeves and straps. They’re located on the underside of the bag and attach it to your pad, so you don’t end up rolling on to the bare floor in the night. Another great feature is a draft collar, which is an insulating tube just under the hood of a bag that stops and cold air getting in through the opening. Similarly, draft tubes stop cool air entering via the zipper and cinchable hoods keep you that bit warmer too. Some models are choosing to avoid zippers altogether, which avoids snagging issues and can help to shed some extra weight.
So you’ve seen the kind of bags that are out there and you know what to look for when you’re shopping around, but which ones are our favorites?
If you’re looking for quality but you don’t want to break the bank, then we’d recommend going for the Vango UltraLite as our top budget pick. Weighing in at less than 2 lbs and with a stuff sack included, you won’t mind carrying this with you on your travels. With water resistance and guarded zippers, this bag should last you a while too. Other extra features include a stash pocket, adjustable hood and full-length zipper for extra ventilation. It may not be suitable for serious cold-weather camping, and if that’s your thing you’ll probably need to spend a little more anyway, but it’s a fantastic option for warm-weather trips.
Our top allrounder is the Hyke & Byke Shavano 0 Degree C Ultralight Down Mummy Sleeping Bag, and it’s easy to see why. It’s super durable thanks to its anti-snag and anti-rip features as well as hydrophobic down, and you get a lifetime warranty too. With all three sizes weighing around 2 lbs and a sleeping bag temperature rating of 0°C, you’re going to be hard pushed to find anything this light and this warm and at this price.
And finally, our creme de la creme of ultralight sleeping bags is the Western Mountaineering HighLite sleeping bag. We just can’t believe something with a fill power of 850+ can weigh only 1 lb. We love that you can choose your size and zipper orientation too. It is a little on the pricey side, but you get a lifetime warranty so you won’t need to buy another bag any time soon. Overall, what more can you want than something super lightweight and super warm for those weekend walking trips?