9 Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags for Your Next Adventure

Woman relaxing and lie in a sleeping bag in the tent. Sunset camping in forest. Mountains landscape travel lifestyle camping. Summer travel outdoor adventure

Key Points

  • Sleeping bags are an essential tool for sleeping outdoors.

  • Backpacking requires a sleeping bag that is lightweight and reliable.

  • There is a list of quality sleeping bags that meet the necessary criteria.

When embarking on a backpacking adventure, a high-quality sleeping bag is one of the most essential gear items to consider. Paired with a camping bed, a reliable sleeping bag provides a cozy and restful night's sleep and ensures you stay warm and comfortable despite varying weather conditions.

Comedian Mitch Hedberg once said, "A sleeping bag is a tortilla for a human. A burrito is a sleeping bag for ground beef."

If that imagery doesn't sum up their purpose, nothing can.

This article reviews and recommends the top nine backpacking sleeping bags trusted by experienced adventurers. Whether you're planning a multi-day trek through rugged terrain or a serene camping trip under the stars, these sleeping bags keep you well-rested and ready for the next day's activities.

Keep in mind that if you're camping in extremely cold conditions or camping with kids, you might need to narrow your search to accommodate those situations better.

Carrying Your Bed on Your Back

A reliable sleeping bag that ensures protection and comfort for a good night of sleep is vital for an overnight outing. It's even more so when you're exposed to nature for an extended stay. A poor-quality sleeping bag is okay for a night or two, but if it's your bed away from home for several days or weeks, it must be good.

Beyond providing comfort and protection, a backpacking sleeping bag must offer convenience. No one carrying everything they need on their back wants to haul around a bulky, heavy sleeping bag. Lightweight equipment saves the energy you need for other activities on your trek.

Many backpackers choose alternative sleeping options to avoid carrying a sleeping bag, such as hammocks, air mattresses, and cots. The downside to using these alternatives for a long period is that they can cause muscle stiffness and soreness. They also require more effort to set up than a sleeping bag.

Sleeping bags are the most durable, comfortable, and convenient sleeping option. Sleeping bags are such a valuable asset to outdoor enthusiasts that recent reports predict the sleeping bag market hitting $2.58 billion by 2030. Just because the market's doing well doesn't mean there aren't quality sleeping bags for reasonable prices. Here are some of the best ones:

Lost Dog (FireLine Eco) Sleeping Bag

by Big Agnes 

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12/07/2023 12:20 pm GMT

Big Agnes Lost Dog 15°

The Lost Dog 15° is an affordable, reliable option suitable for any season or climate — especially for enduring the cold. It's available on several websites, including Amazon, and in-store at big-name sports and outdoor outlets.

The Big Agnes Lost Dog 15° sleeping bag provides optimal warmth and comfort in chilly conditions. Its durable nylon shell, synthetic insulation, soft polyester lining, and temperature rating of 15°F (-9°C) make it ideal for colder climates.

The sleeping bag features a roomy rectangular shape, allowing ample space to move around and find your preferred sleeping position. Its integrated pillow pocket offers additional support for your head, eliminating the need for a separate pillow. The bag has a draft tube and a well-insulated hood to retain warmth.

Weighing in at three lbs., the Big Agnes Lost Dog 15° is relatively lightweight and easy to carry during backpacking trips. It compresses down to a compact size, fitting snugly into any backpack. It includes a stuff sack and mesh storage bag for convenience.

Cosmic 20 Degree 550 Down Fill Sleeping Bag

by Kelty

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12/07/2023 12:22 pm GMT

Kelty Cosmic 20

The Cosmic Down 20 is a thoughtfully engineered bag with a shape and add-ons that make it versatile. It's truly a sleeping bag made with the all-around adventurer in mind. It's another affordable option available online and in-store.

The Kelty Cosmic 20 sleeping bag is a versatile option for various climates. Its temperature rating of 20°F (-6°C) provides ample warmth for most backpacking adventures. This mummy-shaped sleeping bag is made of durable ripstop nylon and filled with lightweight, high-loft synthetic insulation.

It features a form-fitting hood with a drawcord that allows you to adjust the fit and seal in warmth. Its draft collar and zipper baffle prevent cold air from seeping in during the night. The bag also has a full-length draft tube to minimize heat loss through the zipper.

With just under three lbs., the Kelty Cosmic 20 is lightweight enough to carry on backpacking trips without adding excess bulk to your pack. It comes with a compression stuff sack for easy storage and a small mesh storage bag to maintain the loft of the insulation when not in use.

Trestles Elite Eco 20° Sleeping Bag

by Marmot

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12/07/2023 06:04 am GMT

Marmot Trestles Elite Eco 20°

The Trestles Elite Eco 20° is perhaps the most affordable option and has been praised for its comfort and soft material. It can be purchased in-store or online.

The Marmot Trestles Elite Eco 20° is an eco-friendly sleeping bag that combines performance and sustainability. It features a recycled polyester shell and a mix of synthetic and natural insulation, ensuring comfort and minimal environmental impact. The temperature rating of 20°F (-6°C) makes it suitable for three-season backpacking.

This mummy-shaped sleeping bag has a contoured hood with easy-to-reach drawcords, allowing for adjustable warmth and snug fit. The two-way zipper enables easy ventilation. The fold-down secondary zipper maximizes airflow and regulates temperature during warmer nights.

Weighing approximately 3.6 lbs., the Marmot Trestles Elite Eco 20° balances insulation and packability. It includes a compression stuff sack for efficient storage and a hang loop for convenient drying and airing out.

Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0

The Phantom 0F/-18C is the most expensive because it has several features that make it a worthy product, especially for backpackers. It's available in-store or online.

The Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0 is a premium sleeping bag for extreme cold-weather conditions. With a temperature rating of 0°F (-18°C), it offers exceptional insulation and protection against freezing temperatures. The sleeping bag is made of lightweight but durable fabric and generously insulated with high-quality down.

This mummy-shaped sleeping bag features a snug-fitting, adjustable hood with a draft collar, providing excellent head and neck insulation. The half-length center zipper with an insulated draft tube enables easy entry and exit while minimizing heat loss.

The Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0 weighs around two lbs., making it impressively lightweight for its cold-weather capabilities. It condenses even smaller with its compression stuff sack, allowing for convenient packing and storage.

Disco Sleeping Bag

by NEMO 

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12/07/2023 12:34 pm GMT

NEMO Disco 15

The Disco is as fabulous a bag as the name suggests and can even be connected to other bags for more room. It's available online or in a store. The NEMO Disco 15 sleeping bag combines comfort and performance, making it an excellent choice for backpackers who prioritize a cozy and relaxing night's sleep. Its temperature rating of 15°F (-9°C) offers reliable warmth in colder climates.

The sleeping bag uses a blend of synthetic and down insulation to achieve a balance between insulation and compressibility. Designed with a unique spoon shape, the NEMO Disco 15 provides extra space around the elbows and knees for more natural movement during sleep. The bag also features a built-in pillow pocket to accommodate a camping pillow, enhancing overall comfort.

Weighing approximately three lbs., the NEMO Disco 15 strikes a good balance of weight and performance. It compresses neatly and has a compression stuff sack for easy storage and transportation.

REI Co-Op Magma 15

The Magma 15 bag is designed with accessibility in mind, making it quick and easy to use. It can be found in REI stores and on their website. The REI Co-op Magma 15 sleeping bag offers exceptional warmth and comfort for cold-weather adventures. With a temperature rating of 15°F (-9°C), it's optimally insulated. The sleeping bag has lightweight down insulation and a sturdy ripstop nylon shell.

This mummy-shaped sleeping bag features a contoured hood with an insulated draft collar, providing an excellent combination of warmth and a snug fit. The bag's full-length zipper baffle and draft tube minimize heat loss. It also has a footbox with extra insulation to keep your feet cozy.

Weighing approximately 2.5 lbs., the REI Co-op Magma 15 is impressively lightweight and easily packable. It comes with a compression stuff sack for efficient storage and a large mesh storage bag for maintaining the loft of the down insulation when not in use.

Backcountry Bed

by Sierra Designs 

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12/07/2023 12:38 pm GMT

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700

The Backcountry Bed 700 is described as luxurious for the quality of comfort that it offers users. It's available for purchase online. The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700 is a unique and innovative sleeping bag known for its comfort-oriented design. It features a spacious quilt-like top and an integrated comforter, offering a bed-like experience while maintaining excellent warmth and insulation.

With a temperature rating of 20°F (-7°C), it's suitable for various shoulder-season adventures. This sleeping bag's zipperless design eliminates the need for zippers and reduces weight. The integrated comforter tucks in during cooler nights or easily flips open for additional ventilation. The bag also includes an insulated draft collar to retain warmth.

With a weight of around 3.4 lbs., the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700 is relatively lightweight, considering its comfort-focused design. It packs down into a compression stuff sack and includes a mesh storage bag.

Questar 20F/-6C

by Therm-a-Rest 

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12/07/2023 12:41 pm GMT

Therm-a-Rest Questar 20

The Questar 20F/-6C is a field-proven bag that meets all your sleeping needs. Look for it online or in stores. The Therm-a-Rest Questar 20 sleeping bag offers warmth, performance, and versatility for three-season backpacking. With a temperature rating of 20°F (-7°C), it provides reliable insulation in various conditions.

The sleeping bag uses a combination of down and synthetic insulation to maintain a balance between warmth and moisture resistance. This mummy-shaped sleeping bag features a roomy footbox for added comfort and a draft collar to minimize heat loss from the neck area. It has a snag-free zipper with a full-length draft tube to keep out the cold air.

The bag can be compressed tightly using the included compression stuff sack for efficient packing. Weighing approximately two lbs., the Therm-a-Rest Questar 20 offers an impressive warmth-to-weight ratio, making it ideal for backpackers prioritizing lightweight gear without compromising insulation.

Ultralite Sleeping Bag

by Western Mountaineering 

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Western Mountaineering UltraLite

The UltraLite is exactly what it sounds like — a lightweight, quality bag for lugging around. Purchase it online. The Western Mountaineering UltraLite sleeping bag is renowned for its warmth and lightweight design, making it a favorite among avid backpackers. With a temperature rating of 20°F (-7°C), it's suitable for myriad outdoor scenarios.

The sleeping bag uses premium high-loft down insulation for maximum warmth. This mummy-shaped sleeping bag features a full-length draft tube, a down-filled collar, and an adjustable hood for outstanding heat retention. The bag's continuous baffle construction ensures the even distribution of insulation, preventing cold spots.

Weighing approximately 1.9 lbs., the Western Mountaineering UltraLite lets backpackers minimize their overall load and still enjoy excellent warmth and comfort. It compresses to a small size, fitting easily into a backpack compartment.

What's Right for You?

Choosing the right backpacking sleeping bag can make or break your outdoor adventures, so use this guide's information to find the best backpacking sleeping bag. Whether you need a bag for freezing weather or a versatile option for multi-season trips, these sleeping bags offer features and insulation types to suit your needs. Pair your sleeping bag with a camping cot, a camping pillow, or a hammock for a night of bliss.

When deciding, consider care requirements, temperature rating, weight, comfort, and packability. These sleeping bags have strengths and unique features, ensuring a warm and comfortable night's sleep during your backpacking escapes and escapades.

Make sure you find the right size, too. Camping and hiking expert Donny O'Neill says, "Your individual body height should determine the size of the bag you purchase. If you get one that’s too short, you won’t be able to fit, and if you get one that’s too long, you’ll lose body heat in your feet. If you plan on stowing gear you want to keep warm in your foot box, then you can opt for a longer bag."

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