Sleep Soundly Under the Stars: Essential Camping Sleeping Bags

Woman hiker having a rest at night camping beside campfire in the mountains under incredible beautiful starry sky and Milky way. Girl sitting inside illuminated tent and sleeping bag. Astrophotography

Key Points

  • Invest in a high-quality sleeping bag to keep you warm when camping.

  • There are many sleeping bag brands offering quality products.

  • Consider your budget before shopping for a sleeping bag.

Who doesn't love snuggling in a sleeping bag after a long day camping? The sleeping bag is a fundamental piece of camping gear, so investing in a good one is worth the extra money.

Imagine camping on a chilly night without a well-insulated sleeping bag. Brrr!

Avoid such frigid situations by getting a high-quality sleeping bag. They must be well-insulated, comfortable, an appropriate size, waterproof, and durable.

If one of these backpacking essentials checks all these boxes, then ding, ding, ding! You've got yourself a winner.

Not sure where to start? How about here?

The North Face Cat's Meow Sleeping Bag

The Cat's Meow Sleeping Bag from North Face is a reliable choice for campers seeking a lightweight sleeping bag. This model weighs 10 oz. and is highly compressible.

Take it on any camping trip — car camping, backpacking, or tenting. The Cat's Meow can handle it all, primarily due to being a thermal insulation sleeping bag.

Its Heatseeker Guide insulation dries quickly even when the sleeping bag gets soaked.

Prices vary from $160 to $300. Its benefits include a lightweight, 20-degree temperature limit, comfy interior, and tough outer fabric. If hiking to the campsite is part of your outing, this bag is the "cat's meow" of backpacking essentials.

There are a few drawbacks. It's bulky when stuffed, so strap it to your backpack instead of putting it inside. It's not a perfect outdoor sleeping bag, but it is popular with many.

The North Face Cat's Meow Sleeping Bag Photo source:

Kelty Cosmic 20 Sleeping Bag

For those on a tight budget, the Kelty Cosmic 20 Sleeping Bag is a down, three-season sleeping bag worth considering.

It costs $165 — a killer price for a down sleeping bag. It doesn't break the glass ceiling in any way, but it does offer decent warmth and enough comfort to keep you snoozing through the night.

If packability and cheapness are your two priorities, this is your sleeping bag.

On the "down" side, it's not the greatest down sleeping bag ever produced. The 550-fill power down doesn't have the loft of most down sleeping bags, so it lacks the fluffiness expected from those products.

At 2.8 lbs., the Cosmic 20 is a bit on the heavy side of the sleeping bag spectrum. While that doesn't sound like much, it feels much heavier when you're dragging it home on day four of your two-day camping trip.

It's reasonably warm. It's cheap. It's easy to pack. If that's what you want, then look no further.

Kelty Cosmic 20 Sleeping Bag Photo source:

Nemo Disco 15 Sleeping Bag

The Nemo Disco 15 Sleeping Bag isn't cheap at roughly $320. For a mummy-styled, three-season sleeping bag, it's darn good.

It's heavy and quite bulky, but the comfort and spaciousness are supreme. The Nemo is rated for 15-degree weather, so you're set for almost anything this side of the next Ice Age. If it's too cold for this bag, it's too cold to be camping.

An issue with most mummy sleeping bags is how they restrict side sleepers. That's not a problem with a Disco 15. It's like a portable queen-sized bed.

The extra cushion from the material comes at a cost. A Disco 15 takes up more room and is not a lightweight sleeping bag. Storage area is always sparse in them thar hills, so if you're already packing a lot, consider a different sleeping option.

High-quality down and guaranteed warmth make this a sleeping bag for many seasons. If you have the money, Nemo has your bag.

Nemo Disco 15 Sleeping Bag Photo source:

Big Agnes Lost Dog 15 Sleeping Bag

The Big Agnes Lost Dog 15 Sleeping Bag is a thermal insulation sleeping bag for temperatures down to zero degrees Fahrenheit. That's almost 18 degrees for most of the planet using Celsius.

They're synthetic sleeping bags. The fitted jacket-style hood, no-draft collar, wedge, and zipper baffles let you control whether to sleep with some ventilation or on lockdown so you stew in your body heat all night.

It is a perfect sleeping bag for almost any temperature or terrain.

This synthetic sleeping bag doesn't pack down small — no surprise there. Such warmth comes at a cost, and that cost is portability.

The Lost Dog 15 is a top-notch camping gear investment for outdoor enthusiasts. Its plush polyester lining provides a luxurious feel, while the water-resistant material ensures you stay dry in wet conditions.

The durable synthetic material gives you optimal warmth and comfort, making it an excellent choice for colder climates.

For $230, it's a reliable, long-lasting outdoor sleeping bag to keep you cozy on your camping adventures.

Big Agnes Lost Dog 15 Sleeping Bag Photo source:

Therm-a-Rest Questar 20 Sleeping Bag

The Therm-a-Rest Questar 20 Sleeping Bag is a three-season sleeping bag that keeps you warm through the coldest nights of summer, spring, and fall. It contains 650-fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down, a water-resistant material that absorbs 90 percent less water and dries three times faster than similar materials.

It has what Therm-a-Rest calls an "Additional Room for Multiple Positions" fit. Not everyone sleeps on their back. If you sleep on your side or stomach, you'll still be comfortable and warm.

It's able to hold humans of all shapes and sizes. Tall individuals are cozy but not confined in a Questar 20 Sleeping Bag.

The cost of this quality sleeping bag is $400.

Therm-a-Rest Questar 20 Sleeping Bag Photo source:

Marmot Trestles Elite Eco 20 Sleeping Bag

Marmot Trestles Elite Eco 20 Sleeping Bag is ideal for wet or warm climates. It's synthetic and comfortable but not appropriate for chilly winter nights. This bag is ideal for car camping.

It's not easy being green, but if that's your goal, this is your sleeping bag. It is 96 percent recycled material, so you sleep soundly while doing your part to protect the environment.

The bulkiness and weight of the bag are a setback. It's not the most practical option for a long outdoor camping expedition.

The Elite Eco 20 is ideal for those wanting an eco-friendly and cost-effective option. Priced at a budget-friendly $180, this sleeping bag's use of recycled materials doesn't harm the environment.

Marmot Trestles Elite Eco 20 Sleeping Bag Photo source:

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700 Sleeping Bag

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700 Sleeping Bag is a rarity among mummy-styled, thermal-insulation sleeping bags because it has zero zippers. The bag's interior is like a bed comforter, immensely soft and warm enough for most weather.

It has a closure flap instead of zippers. The flap is like an adult version of a bib. Instead of protecting you from spilled pea soup, it protects you from the icy tendrils of winter.

What's impressive about this sleeping bag is its spaciousness. You might expect the warmth to come at the cost of room inside the sleeping bag, but you never feel constricted. It's easy to move around and stretch your legs.

Too much of a good thing might be bad for you. There's no ventilation for your lower body, so your legs might sweat up a storm. That's not a serious issue in the winter, but you might end up simmering in your own sweat on toasty summer nights.

It's comfortable, warm, and spacious — but bulky.

This isn't a sleeping bag that packs down to a quarter of its size. Even with a good compression bag, it takes up more space than other sleeping bags.

Despite this trade-off, the extra ounces and inches of weight and size are worth a reasonable $200.

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700 Sleeping Bag Photo source:

Snoozing Under the Stars

Young adult writer Yvonne Prinz says, "Camping is not a date; it’s an endurance test. If you can survive camping with someone, you should marry them on the way home."

Camping is one of the best litmus tests for a relationship. You need to know your partner handles the trials and tribulations of the rough-and-tumble camping life. How they respond in these scenarios says a lot about their character.

In the same vein, if a sleeping bag keeps you warm during the chilliest, rainiest, and windiest of nights, then keep that sleeping bag for life. It doesn't matter what sleeping bag brand it is; if it keeps you warm and cozy, it's a winner.

Check out MyOutdoorGear for my tips, tricks, and insights to help you master the great outdoors and all its beauty. There's a load of information on all sorts of subjects, from fixing a popped bike tire to making an outdoor space feel like home.

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