Ready to head into the great outdoors? If you’re hiking in the wilderness, you may need the best sleeping bag for backpacking. Having the right sleeping bag can make or break your experience, so make sure you have a good one. In the market for a replacement, or are you completely new to backpacking? Check out the Hyke & Byke Sleeping Bag. It’s very lightweight and easy to clean and carry. And it’s able to withstand a wide range of temperatures.
If you want to look at other options, keep reading below to see other best picks in different categories.
The Hyke & Byke is one of the best sleeping bags you can buy if you are a backpacker. It’s great for warm and cold weather, so you don’t need to keep switching out your bags per the season. This bag is also relatively lightweight, which is a must when trekking through the woods.
Top 5 Backpacker’s Sleeping Bags
|Abco Tech||synthetic||3.3||Check Price|
|Hyke & Byke||down||2.89, 3.06, 3.24||Check Price|
|Ledge Sports||synthetic||3||Check Price|
|Teton Sports||synthetic||4.2||Check Price|
|Outdoorsman Lab||synthetic||3||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Backpacker’s Sleeping Bag
Hyke & Byke Down Sleeping Bag
Looking for the best overall sleeping bag for backpackers? The Hyke & Byke may be the answer. This down bag features ultra-durable water repellent 400T 20D ripstop nylon liner that ensures it will last for a long time.
It also has an anti-snag slider, and a large footbox for some extra leg room. Additionally, it comes in 3 sizes so you can pick out the length that works for you. Actual weight depends on the size, but the range is relatively light at 2.89 to 3.24 for the longest bag.
In addition, the comfort limit is at 50 degrees Fahrenheit, with a Lower limit of 30 degrees Fahrenheit. And if you get caught in extreme temps? The Extreme limit listed for this bag is 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
By far, the two best features about this bag is its small compression and cold weather use. As a backpacker, this sleeping bag has decent loft when unrolled but compresses small enough in your pack that you may have room for other things, too.
Also, you may be comfortably toasty up to the 20-degree Fahrenheit range, but any colder and you may need warm sleep clothes and liners. Keep in mind, though, that your own body temperatures may vary so you may want to bring along extra liners just in case.
Lastly, the handles of the compression sack that comes with the bag are not that durable. But that is easily replaceable and may not be a deal breaker for most people.
Pros and Cons
- Small compression
- Available in 3 sizes
- Useable in cold weather
- May not be usable in extreme cold
- Compression sack handles have poor construction
2. Best Lightweight Backpacker’s Sleeping Bag
Ledge Sports FeatherLite Sleeping Bag
If you need another option for a lightweight bag, look no further than the Ledge Sports FeatherLite sleeping bag. This mummy-style synthetic bag has a durable outer shell. With its Dobby Diamond 250T ripstop nylon shell, it may withstand even the most rugged of your adventures.
Additionally, the manufacturer suggests that the lowest temperature this bag can withstand is 20 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it is not EN tested so you may want to take it out for a test drive first before going on a long trek.
The dimensions may fit most people. However, anyone who has a wider girth or taller may want to look elsewhere if they are anything but a back sleeper. Because this is a mummy style bag, it’s already snug but the unrolled dimensions may make it too snug if you are a big person.
Lastly, this is a good starter bag for anyone just getting into backpacking without going on long trips or somewhere with extreme temperature. While the bag may be able to keep you from hypothermia at 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, it is not optimal as a cold weather bag.
Depending on your own individual body temps, you may need a liner or warm sleeping clothes when using this bag.
Pros and Cons
- Good for cold environments, but not extreme temps
- Available in different colors
- Snug fit for people who are tall, wide-girthed, or side sleepers
- No EN rating
3. Best Budget Backpacker’s Sleeping Bag
Outdoorsman Lab Sleeping Bag
Any backpackers looking for a budget option may want to look into the Outdoorsman Lab sleeping bag. It can be compressed to 15” by 6.5” minimum, and weighs in at only 3 lbs.
This sleeping bag was also tested under EN 13537 standards. The Comfort rating is 47 degrees Fahrenheit, with the lower limit at 38 degrees Fahrenheit. This is not an extreme temperature bag, but it is a good option for backpacking in milder weather.
The Outdoorsman Lab bag also has some great features like a separated bottom zipper. Why do you need that? Well, if you get too hot in the bag you can slip your feet out without unzipping the rest of the bag.
Also, it has anti-snag layers so you don’t have to fight with your zippers when you climb in and out of your bag. You also get an integrated pillowcase and a backside strap so you don’t slip off your pad.
The shell is also water-resistant, and the synthetic lining is quick drying for those times when your bedding accidentally gets wet.
Outdoorsman Lab backs their sleeping bags up with a lifetime warranty as well as a 90-day risk-free trial. So, you can buy this sleeping bag with confidence. Finally, you can buy this bag in one of two sizes. The regular size weighs only 2.9 lbs. and unpacks to 85 inches x 29.5 inches. The XL version is only slightly heavier at 3.2 lbs., and its unpacked size is 87 x 32.5 inches.
Pros and Cons
- 2 sizes available
- Unzips at bottom/feet
- Integrated pillowcase
- Sleeping pad straps
- Good customer service
- Only for relatively warm weather use
- Not the highest quality liner
4. Best 4-Season Backpacker’s Sleeping Bag
Teton Sports LEEF Sleeping Bag
Sometimes you just want a general sleeping bag for most of your backpacking needs. Teton Sports gives you a bag that can be used for 3 or 4 seasons while still remaining lightweight.
It’s super durable, too. The multiple layers of PolarLite microfiber insulation can keep you warm in most outdoor situations. And the body mapping design gives extra fill in different specialized areas to provide extra warmth and comfort.
The bag is also made from a sturdy ripstop nylon material that is water resistant and won’t tear, even if it’s punctured.
This is also a snug fitting sleeping bag. Like many mummy-style bags, this one may be too confining for anyone who is claustrophobic, or who is relatively tall or wide.
Pros and Cons
- 3 to 4-season sleeping bag
- Body mapping extra fill
- Two sizes: Scout and Adult
- Narrow, snug-fit
5. Best Synthetic Backpacker’s Sleeping Bag
Abco Tech Sleeping Bag
There are many synthetic bags on the market. But it may be difficult to sift through the many offerings. Abco Tech offers a great synthetic bag that is also budget-friendly.
First, this bag is a good option if you are looking for one that may work for all 4 seasons. The waterproof outer shell can keep the dampness at bay. And the weather-stripping on the zippers may also help keep moisture and cold from seeping into your bag.
Furthermore, this bag also features a double fill synthetic technology. This extra insulation may add extra protection for your body when you are snuggled in this bag.
It compresses relatively small, too, at only 9 x 16 inches. It is not the smallest compression bags you can buy, but the size is still relatively small to fit in many packs.
Has cleaning your bag always been a pain? This one is machine washable. So, you don’t need to struggle with handwashing or expensive dry cleaning. Simply throw it into your washing machine in between trips or before you store it.
Lastly, you also reap the benefits of owning a synthetic filled bag including hypoallergenic, quick-drying, and durable. It won’t last you as long as a down sleeping bag, but for a synthetic bag it will last a while. This bag is relatively small, though. So, if you are tall or plus-sized you may want to check out another option. Otherwise you may find this bag is too snug for your liking.
Pros and Cons
- 4-season use
- Double fill
- Machine washable
- Relatively small
- Not good for extreme temperature
What To Look For In Your New Backpacking Sleeping Bag
When you’re backpacking in the middle of nowhere, the only thing that stands between you and a restful night is a lousy sleeping bag. You need the right type of bag designed for backpackers in mind.
If you want to take a look at some sleeping bags for backpacking on your own, here are a few things that you should know before you buy one.
First, if you are new to roughing it in the great outdoors you may not know what a temperature rating is. It is a good idea to choose your sleeping bag based on its temperature rating for the type of environment you plan on sleeping in.
Temperature ratings are typically indicated in ranges. And picking the right one is integral to ensuring a warm night’s sleep when you’re out in the wilderness.
Take a look at these general ranges for sleeping bag temperature ratings expressed in Fahrenheit:
- Summer: +32 degrees and above
- 3-Season: +10 to 32 degrees
- Winter: starts at +10 degrees or lower
How are Sleeping Bags Rated?
Many manufacturers use an EN rating. EN stands for European Norm 13537 testing protocol. It’s not necessary for sleeping bags to undergo this testing, but it’s accepted internationally as reliable and objective with respect to the temperature ratings of a certain bag.
EN testing standards may assign two ratings: Comfort and Lower-Limit ranges. For testing purposes, EN’s Comfort range indicates a temperature range which allows you to sleep without needing more blankets. This is the optimal range, so you want to look for sleeping bags that have a Comfort range that coincides with the environment you plan on backpacking in.
Additionally, Lower-Limit range is the coldest temperatures that you may use a particular bag. You may need additional blankets or clothing, but still sleep reasonably comfortable in the Lower-Limit range.
Lastly, you may see a couple of other ratings on sleeping bags, too. Upper ranges indicate ranges where you would find the bag too hot to sleep in, while Extreme is a range where you would be very cold and close to hypothermia. Both ranges are for emergency purposes, and are generally discarded when considering the right sleeping bag to buy.
Another factor you may want to take into consideration is the insulation of your sleeping bag. Your bag’s insulation won’t necessarily keep you warm, but it helps to prevent excess loss of your body heat when you sleep.
There are generally two types of insulation: down and synthetic. The first type of insulation includes goose and duck down, and is usually water-resistant. Down insulation sleeping bags are preferred when backpacking because it is lightweight and highly-compressible.
They are great for cold and dry climates and last a long time. Yet, it’s also pricier than its synthetic counterpart so some budget-minded backpackers may opt to go with the other type instead.
Is all down created equal? No, not necessarily. If you are looking for the warmest down insulation, you want to get one that has the highest fill-power rating. This refers to a way of measuring down. It is the number of cubic inches that one ounce of down fills in a beaker.
You may see a fill-power range between 600 and 900. The higher the range, the warmer the down insulation will be.
Just like down insulation, synthetic also has its good and bad points. Along with being quick-drying, it is also hypoallergenic.
In addition, even when it’s wet, synthetic may still provide insulation. So, you don’t necessarily have to wait until your bag is fully dry to use it. This is good news for backpackers who are trekking through damp environments or experience sudden downpours.
Although synthetic bags are cheaper, they are also a bit bulkier and heavier than down insulation. They are an option for casual backpackers and people on a budget, but serious backpackers tend to gravitate towards down options instead.
You may also see hybrid bags that are a combination of synthetic and down. These blended types may offset the negative aspects of either insulation type. But they are not as widely available.
Most sleeping bags have a durable polyester or ripstop nylon shell, but their water resistance may vary between manufacturer and model types. This may be especially important to note if you plan on sleeping on damp ground or backpacking in variable temperatures.
You may notice that high-quality bags have shells, or partial shells, that are breathable and waterproof. Another type of water treatment is DWR, or durable water repellant. This type of shell runs water off on the surface of the fabric instead of letting it soak in.
Remember that not all manufacturers treat the seams. So be sure to put extra water repellant spray along the seams of your bag so that water doesn’t seep through.
Even if you don’t think you will be exposed to damp environments, you never know what you may encounter during a hike. A sudden rainstorm or an accidental trip into a river can ruin your night if your bag gets wet. So, try to find a sleeping bag in your budget that gives you the best waterproof performance.
Do you know what type of bag you need? Some bag shapes may work better for you than others. Your bag shape may depend on personal preference, season, and environment. Take a look at your options below:
If you need the warmest bag possible, the mummy shape may be a great option. These bags are tapered through the legs and give the bags maximum thermal efficiency. They are a snug fit though because the small interior space contains your body heat better.
Since they use up less materials and insulation, they are smaller to pack. And they weigh less too, making it a great choice for backpackers. But restless sleepers and big framed backpackers may want to look into an alternate style because this one may feel too constricted.
The rectangle sleeping bag is the quintessential one that you may have grown up with. Because of the extra material around the legs, they are not optimal at retaining heat. So they are best when used for sleepovers and casual campouts, but they are not a good choice for backpacking.
If you need a nice middle between the snug fit of the mummy style and the extra material of a rectangle shape, a semi-rectangle may be the way to go. They provide a little more room for restless sleepers, but they are equally heavier and bulkier, too. If you choose this one for backpacking, you can expect it to take up a large amount of room and weight in your pack.
Sleeping Bag Parts Vocabulary
Do you know the difference between a hood and a draft collar? If not, you can brush up right here. When shopping for a bag, it’s important to know which part of your new sleeping bag the manufacturer is referring to.
So brush up on your terminology by getting familiar with the words below:
- Shell – the exterior fabric that protects and contains insulation, repels moisture, blocks wind
- Hood – cinched with drawcord, prevents heat from escaping from head, good for cold temps
- Draft tube – runs along main zipper, keeps warmth trapped inside zipper coils
- Neck baffles – usually on cold weather bags, insulation around neck and head to trap heat inside bag and prevent cold air from getting in
- Foot box – flared or trapezoidal, provides extra space for water bottles or boot liners
You may also see additional features on some bags. These features are not standard and may vary between manufacturers. They are perks, but not necessary for backpacking so you can decide whether you need these added bells and whistles.
Stash pockets are simply pockets sewn into your bag. They are generally small and meant to stash your watch, phone, glasses, or other small items. The location for your stash pockets may vary by model and manufacturer.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell which cord you’re tugging on when it’s pitch black outside. Does the one in your hand loosen or tighten? Differentiated cords give you different cord types so that you can tell which one is your hands when you have limited vision.
As a backpacker, you may not travel with a sleeping pad. But if you do, these loops help you secure it to the sleeping bag. They are sewn-in, and you may also use them to store your bag by hanging the bag by these loops.
Your sleeping bag may come with its own sack to keep it compressed and dry. Some people like the sacks that their bags come with, but sack effectiveness may depend on the manufacturer.
You may also want to buy additional sacks, or dry bags to keep your sleeping bag or other gear dry.
One of the ways to increase the longevity of your sleeping bag is to keep it clean, especially when you store it between seasons. Here are a few care tips for your sleeping bag:
- Manufacturer’s guidelines – first and foremost, read the label. Always follow manufacturer’s guidelines first.
- Seal it up – before washing at home, close all fasteners and zippers first
- Use the right cleaning agent – especially if you have a down bag, make sure to do your research first before using any cleaning product.
- Wash it right – use a front loading machine or wash by hand, a top-loader may damage the bag
- Gentle cycle – when washing in a machine, use gentle cycle with cold water, run a couple of extra rinses to get the soap out
- Commercial dryer – if you have access to it, use a large commercial dryer on low heat, checking frequently to de-clump feathers
Storage – leave unstuffed for a few days to air, use cotton pillowcase or large sack so the sleeping bag can breathe in storage
Finding the best sleeping bag for backpacking depends on many different factors. You want one that is small and light, but you need to be comfy in it, too.
There are many different choices on the market, but the best sleeping bag for backpacking is the Hyke & Byke sleeping bag. This down bag is lightweight and compresses to a relatively small size to fit into your pack.
It’s rugged, roomy, and available in different sizes to ensure the perfect fit for you. However, it is a mummy-style bag so if you like a little more room when you sleep you may need to look at other options.
Lastly, everyone’s body temperature varies when sleeping and some insulation types may work better for you than others. So take the listed comfort ranges as suggestions only. The only way to know for sure is to test a bag out for yourself.