If you like hiking, rock climbing, or just traveling and camping out, then sleeping bags come in very handy. Sleeping bags are ready-made beds and easy to set up. You will just lay it and you are ready to use it. But note that not all sleeping bags are equal. You have to take in some considerations before selecting the best sleeping bags for your next camping trip.
3 Sleeping Bag Shapes
These bags basically come in 3 shapes, but why should you care? You just want something warm and comfortable to sleep in, right?
Maybe weight is also an issue, but the shape of the sleeping bag? Yes, the sleeping bag shape is important too. Besides the material used, the shape or design of the bag is important in determining how warm it is, how heavy it is, and perhaps how comfortable it is!
#1 – Mummy Shaped
Mummy sleeping bags are narrower in the foot-end than in the head-end. They sort of resembling the way a mummy is wrapped up if you’ve ever seen one.
The tighter fit of these bags means that there will be less air inside the sleeping bag and less surface area between the warm interior and the cold exterior surrounding your body. The simple effect of this is that the mummy sleeping bags are warmer. Or rather, they have better insulation and don’t give away as much of your nice body heat to the cold weather.
This type of bag is lightweight and easy to carry since the design uses slightly less material to wrap around you than a barrel sleeping bag does. For these reasons, the mummy sleeping bags are generally ideal for lightweight backpacking, hiking, and trekking.
#2 – Barrel Shaped
Now on to the barrel-shaped sleeping bags. With all the amazing qualities of the mummy bag, why would you want to consider a barrel or rectangular shaped sleeping bag?
Many people feel too crammed up in the tight fit of a mummy bag. Claustrophobic. If you are the type who likes to wiggle the feet and toss and turn in sleep, the barrel sleeping bag will give you more freedom of movement during your sleep.
In case you are camping out in the open in cold weather, there is also the advantage of being able to stuff some of your equipment and gear into the sleeping bag with you. Definitely socks. And gloves.
Many hikers even like to keep their shoes or boots warm for the morning, by sleeping with them in the bag! The roomier barrel-shaped bags allow you to do this. Make sure to keep your boots in a plastic bag so they don’t make your bag dirty. You can even use the little stuff sack that usually comes with the bag.
#3 – Rectangular Shaped
The rectangular sleeping bag is less warm designs. Most of these sleeping bags have a large opening. It’s nice for allowing you – and your hands – to move in and out of the bag as much as you want. But at the same time, it also makes some of the body heat to escape.
In summer, that might not be a big problem though. This type of sleeping bag also tends to be some of the cheapest sleeping bags out there. A bit bulkier as well. But for a lot of casual use, rectangular sleeping bags are the ‘best choice’. After all, maybe you don’t need a high-altitude mountaineering bag for your weekend summer camp at the local lake.
Best Sleeping bags for camping: How to choose the perfect one?
Since sleeping bags come in plenty of shapes and sizes, and some were made for lower temperatures and retain heat better than others it is very important to know which ones are the best sleeping bags for you. Selecting the right sleeping bag for your camping trip will prevent many aggravations.
Here are some considerations you need to remember when you choose a sleeping bag:
#1 – Quality
Sleeping bag temperatures depend on the sort of insulating pads they are made with. The quality bag you are looking for could just depend on the padding. They work irrespective of the outside weather conditions. Foam core pads are warmer than air core pads.
Closed-cell foam pads add more warmth and great for mountain campers. You can also choose from more insulated air mattress sleeping bags that are blown up, or those Thermosets style pads, also blown up but mouth-delivered only.
#2 – Shape and size
A lot of people are claustrophobic and mummy sleeping bags are not advised. Best to go for semi-rectangular in my opinion. A tight mummy sleeping bag is also much stricter with size, and you must fit in perfectly with the hood closed for comfort. If you are too big, make sure to try a rectangular or semi-rectangular bag. As long as you are fit for comfort.
#3 – Weight & Portability
Your bags must not be greater than 3 lbs for carrying. Neither must it be big according to your carrying capacity (Except if you are going winter camping with expected bigger winter sleeping bags). There are many compression sacks for bulky bags but keep in mind that this may damage the bag’s filling in the long run and affect its insulation. The most compressible bags are down bags.
#4 – Climate
You have first asked yourself how cold or how hot the weather will be in the time you will be using the sleeping bags. This is very important as it will determine how comfortable you are going to be in your bags. Is your sleeping bag good enough to keep you warm in cold conditions? Consider getting sleeping bags that will work in the coldest conditions you expect to encounter.
5 Best sleeping bags on the market
If you are looking for a sleeping bag for your next outdoor adventure, here is a list of 5 best sleeping bags on the market to choose from:
#1 – Sierra Designs Zissou 20 Degree Down
As the 20-degree part of this sleeping bag’s name suggests, the Sierra Designs Zissou 20 Degree Down Sleeping Bag is ready to keep you warm on some cold nights. Its 650-fill insulation uses the company’s proprietary DriDown, which the brand identifies as regular down. Treated with a molecular level polymer to make a hydrophobic finish on every individual down plume, allowing it to stay dry much longer, loft better, and dry quickly than untreated down, keeping you warm in any weather conditions.
And so too is the classic mummy shape of this sleeping bag, that you can zip up where only your face is exposed.
But what about camping in warmer conditions? This clever sleeping bag has you covered there too. The bag is a perfect choice for a summer camp for two major reasons:
- First, it has a zipper on either side, so you can fold down the top half of this bag almost to your waist, exposing plenty of your body and allowing heat to escape.
- Second, the bottom of the bag features a self-sealing vent flap. When not intentionally engaged, this sleeping bag remains insulated at the feet. But you can also simply slip your feet out through the vent for much-needed cooling and air circulation.
While a bit pricey and slightly bulkier than some of my favorite sleeping bags for hikes or mountaineering, given this bag’s versatility and it’s my overall favorite.
- Best Use: Backpacking
- Weight: 2 lbs. 7.8 oz.
- Shell: 20-denier ripstop polyester
- Temperature rating: 15 degrees (F)
- Shape: Mummy
#2 – Mountain Hardwear Lamina Z Bonfire
I have spent a lot of time tucked into this sleeping bag, and the first time I crawled inside one, I was simply testing it out on the hardwood floor of my living room. What struck me at once was how comfy I felt even on the wooden floor.
This sleeping bag is so thick and padded that you can almost skip the sleeping pad and still be comfortable on different surfaces.
The “Thermal Q” filling retains its insulating properties even if it gets damp. In fact, you will usually need to allow some cool air to bring the interior temperature down to a comfortable level. This warmth does come with its drawbacks, of course. This sleeping bag weighs more than 5 lbs and, even after your good efforts at compression, it will still occupy a bit more pack space than a basketball.
The weight and size of this bag almost make it unsuitable for use during rock climbing expeditions or on long treks unless you will genuinely be facing temperatures well below freezing.
- Best Use: Backpacking
- Weight: Long Left Zip (5 lbs. 7 oz) / Regular (5 lbs. 1 oz)
- Shell: Ripstop nylon
- Temperature Rating: -30 degrees (F)
- Shape: Mummy
#3 – Coleman North Rim Extreme Weather
For a change, let’s start with a few of the negative points because they will actually make the highlights of this sleeping bag stand out even more.
The Coleman North Rim Extreme Weather sleeping bag is pretty heavy, at over 4 lbs, and it doesn’t compress that well. Even packed down tight, it takes up a lot of space in the backpack, and that’s even though it probably won’t be suitable for a male much taller than 6’2″.
Beyond that, this is a superlative sleeping bag. It has a threatening ripstop polyester exterior and a soft, comfortable interior lining that just so happens to also be made of polyester. Thanks to the fact that the fill is also made polyester, you can machine-wash this bag without it losing its insulation quality.
The North Rim Extreme sleeping bag keeps you warm even at temperatures well below the cold point. It’s rated as a 0-to-10-degree Fahrenheit bag, and details like a full-length draft tube placed behind the zipper and a drawstring hood help keep the heat inside the bag where you need it.
- Best use: Backpacking
- Weight: 4 lbs. 6 oz.
- Shell: Polyester ripstop cover and polyester lining
- Temperature rating: 0° F to 10° F
#4 – Teton Sports Fahrenheit
There is nothing little about the Teton Sports Fahrenheit bag, save for its rather modest price tag. This bag weighs in at more than 6 lbs, and it measures 90” long by 39” wide when unfurled.
Packed “tight,” you’ll still have a challenge ahead of you to get it into a mid-sized hiking pack if you also intended to bring a change of clothes, but that’s not the point. This is a bag you bring when car camping or RVing, or that you set up in the backyard, or on the basement floor when your kids want to play at camping. It’s also a great choice for an unexpected guest who’s doing a bit of couch surfing.
The interior of the Teton Sports Fahrenheit is made from 100% cotton flannel fabric. It’s soft to the touch and helps keep you warm and comfortable even as the mercury drops outside. The exterior of this bag is made from a tough taffeta shell that cuts wind chill and is moderately waterproof. The bag is rated to keep you warm even down to minus 25° Fahrenheit, with a curved hood design and drawstring closure helping seal in the warmth and keep the cold out.
- Best use: Backpacking
- Weight: 5.5-10.5 lbs
- Shell: Cotton
- Temperature rating: -10/15/+35 degrees Fahrenheit
#5 – Sleepingo Queen Size XL 2-Person Sleeping Bag
The Sleepingo XL 2-Person sleeping bag measures 87 inches long and 59 inches wide, so it is more than large enough to accommodate two full-sized adults. In fact, a standard queen-sized bed measures just 80” in length by 60” wide, so this bag provides even more real estate, as it were. It’s impressively very lightweight, at just around 3 lbs, but it’s also only rated for temperatures down to the 32° freezing point.
You’ll be warm enough in climates a little colder than that provided you and your sleeping partner don’t mind snuggling close. Also just don’t use it naked and that will help you a lot.
The Sleepingo double sleeping bag has a water-resistant outer shell and an interior made of 210-thread count fabric that is as comfortable as high-quality bed sheets. This is a clever choice, then, for the couple who likes to go camping somewhere but doesn’t exactly want to feel like they’re roughing it.
The included pillows lined by the same smooth fabric help there too. In a pinch (or in the event of a sudden lover’s quarrel) this one large bag can be zipped apart into two halves which can then be zipped closed to form two separate bags.
- Best use: Backpacking
- Weight: 3 lbs
- Shell: Tetron and Cotton
- Temperature rating: -30 F
Best sleeping bags 2020: Choose by category and brand
If you are looking for more, below are other best sleeping bags listed by category and brand:
Sleeping bags for kids
- Coleman Plum Fun 45 Youth Sleeping Bag.
- Wenzel Moose Boys’ 40-Degree Sleeping Bag.
- Teton Sports Celsius Junior Kids’ Sleeping Bag.
- Wenzel Summer Camp Sleeping Bag.
- Wenzel Backyard Girls’ 30-Degree Sleeping Bag.
- Coleman Kids’ 50 Sleeping Bag.
Double sleeping bags
- 5 Best Double Sleeping Bags.
- Best Value: ALPS Mountaineering Twin Peak.
- Best All-around Pick: The North Face Dolomite One Duo.
- Best for Backpacking: Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed Duo.
- Best for Cold Weather: TETON Sports Mammoth.
- Most Comfortable: Big Agnes Dream Island 15
Best sleeping bags for backpacking
- Nemo Disco 15
- Feathered Friends Egret UL 20° & Swallow UL 20°
- REI Co-op Magma 15 & 30
- REI Joule 21 & Igneo 17
- Marmot Trestles Elite Eco 20
- Katabatic Flex Quilt 22°
- Western Mountaineering Alpinlite 20°
- REI Co-Op Magma Trail Quilt 30°
- Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt 10°
- Kelty Cosmic Down 20°
Lightweight sleeping bag
- Rab Mythic Ultra 180
- Thermarest Hyperion 32 UL Down
- Decathlon Forclaz Trek 900
- Sea to Summit Spark SpI
- Mountain Hardwear Lamina 30F/-1C Reg
- Mountain Equipment Helium 250 Down
- Nordisk Oscar +10 Degrees Sleeping Bag
Cheap sleeping bags
- REDCAMP Cotton Flannel
- Oaskys 3-Season
- Teton Sports Celsius XXL
- Teton Sports Mammoth Queen
- Coleman Palmetto Cool Weather
- Coleman North Rim Extreme
Walmart sleeping bags: Bestsellers
- Ozark Trail 35F with Soft Liner Camping Sleeping Bag for Adults
- Coleman 0 F Mummy Sleeping Bag
- Wakeman Outdoor Spirit Lake 25 Degree Sleeping Bag
- Ozark Trail 40F Deluxe XL Cool Weather Sleeping Bag
Nemo sleeping bags
- Sonic™ Down Sleeping Bag ($479.95 – $619.95)
- Riff™ Men’s Down Sleeping Bag ($349.95 – $419.95)
- Disco™ Men’s Down Sleeping Bag ($259.95 – $319.95)
- Riff™ Women’s Down Sleeping Bag ($349.95 – $419.95)
- Canon™ -40º Down Sleeping Bag ($999.95)
Coleman sleeping bags
- All-Weather Multi-Layer Sleeping Bag
- Adjustable Comfort Adult Sleeping Bag
- Autumn Glen™ 30°F Sleeping Bag, Navy
- Big Basin™ 15 Big & Tall Sleeping Bag
Best camping sleeping pad
- Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite
- NEMO Tensor Insulated
- Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite
- Exped SynMat HL
- Sea to Summit UltraLight Insulated
When you go on a camping trip how well you sleep will be very dependent on a sleeping bag. If you have the wrong type of sleeping bag for the situation your sleep can be miserable. That can ruin the whole trip.