Anyone who hikes or backpacks any considerable distance knows that every ounce of weight matters. The more weight that you have to carry, the more energy you burn and the harder it is to get to your destination. Which is why so many hikers and backpackers pay close attention to everything they pack – from the snacks they choose to their sleeping bag, it all has to not only serve a purpose but also be light enough to carry. Fortunately, the ultralight sleeping bag is just waiting to make these people very happy. They contain the promise of a good night’s sleep in a size that’s easy and convenient to carry. All that’s left for them to decide on is which is the best ultralight sleeping bag available.
Best Ultralight Sleeping Bags – Reviews
10Outdoor Vitals OV-Light 35-Degree Backpacking Sleep Bag
Describing itself as one of the lightest 35-degree bags currently on the market, this bag does seem to have all of the features one would want in an easy-to-carry and lightweight sleep bag. It offers some of the highest weight to warmth ratios available in these types of bags and is very compressible so it can be compressed down to a size of 10 by 7-inches. And although it’s made to be light, it’s also made to be durable and is manufactured using 40D 300T rip-stop nylon. That makes it capable of supplying the hiker or backpacker with a good night of sleep, all while holding up well to normal wear-and-tear.
9Aegis Max Outdoor Goose Down Three-Season Bag
Engineered to help the hiker or camper endure temperatures as low as 35-degrees, this bag has several different features to keep the sleeper warm and dry. It all begins with a waterproof shell that’s made of 5500 20D nylon fabric paired with a comfortable silky lining that’s made from 5100 20D nylon. This bag is then insulated with 256-grams of goose down – a material that has a better thermal profile than either duck down or polyester fill. And it’s all in a bag that weighs approximately a little over 18-ounces. That’s light enough to be taken just about anywhere.
8Teton Sports Traker Ultralight Mummy Bag
This bag is not only ultralight but it’s also ultra-warm. It features a mummy-design that features an anti-snag zipper, a full-length draft tube, and a vaulted foot box that’s designed with extra insulation to keep the sleeper’s feet as warm as possible. This bag also features a three-piece hood that forms to the face to keep the whole head area warm. It’s 87-inches long and 34-inches wide, at its widest point, and is designed to help the sleeper survive temperatures as low as 5-degrees Fahrenheit. The outside of this bag is made of rip-stop nylon and the bag is insulated with Polar Lite insulation, a material which adds warmth but doesn’t add a whole lot of weight.
7Besteam Ultralight Camping Bag
Designed to be used in cooler weather and not cold weather, this bag has all of the features a camper needs for a good night’s sleep by the camp fire or for laying out underneath the summer stars. It’s rated to be used in temperatures between 59 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit and is manufactured with a durable waterproof nylon outer shell and a terry-cloth cotton inside liner that’s cool and comfortable against the sleeper’s skin. This camping bag is approximately 75-inches long and 30-inches wide. This is a bag that can be used in late spring, summer and early fall.
6Revel Camp Indoor & Outdoor Ultralight Bag
This bag only weighs approximately 2-pounds, which makes it a good choice for anyone looking to save a little bit of weight on their supply list. It can be used for both indoor and outdoor use and is rated to be used in temperatures 40-degrees Fahrenheit and warmer. This makes it an ideal bag for late spring, summer or early fall camping. It’s approximately 71-inches long and 30-inches wide and will easily fit children and adults up to the height of 6-feet. And it compresses down into a compact size that’s easy and convenient to carry on long hikes or while traveling.
5Teton Sports LEEF Ultralight Sleep Sack
Designed to be used in below freezing temperatures, this sleep sack has all of the features a camper needs to keep safe, comfortable and warm. It’s made from rip-stop nylon that’s tear and puncture resistant and is also waterproof. This bag is insulated with Polar Lite insulation and a three-piece hood that can be cinched around the sleeper’s head for additional warmth. Other features of this bag include built-out foot box, a durable full-length zipper with a draft tube and a soft inner liner that’s soft, comfortable and is very breathable. Just about everything a person would need for a comfortable and warm night’s sleep.
4Mountaintop 32-Degree Fahrenheit Down Bag With Compression Sack
This mummy-hooded bag has several features which make it a good bag for cold weather. It’s made with a rip-stop 380T nylon shell and ducks down fill used as insulation. This allows this bag to be waterproof, wind-resistant and to provide thermal protection against temperatures as cold as 32-degree Fahrenheit in dryer conditions, although its ideal range for the comfort of the sleep is between 40 and 50-degrees Fahrenheit. This bag is also 85-inches long and 33-inches at its widest point, so it will fit the height of just about anyone. It also compresses down to a compact size so it can be easily packed with other camping gear.
3Hyke & Byke Shavano 32-Degree Fahrenheit Backpacking Sleep Bag
Insulated with ducks down that creates a thermal layer to keep the sleeper warm during cold weather, this bag is designed for even the harshest weather conditions but is lightweight and easy to carry. It has a 400T 20D rip-stop nylon outer shell that’s waterproof and is equipped with two YKK zippers. This bag weighs under 3-pounds and has a large foot box, wide shoulder area, horizontal baffles and a Velcro closure. And since it can be easily compressed down and placed into the included compression bag, this bag is ready to deliver warmth and comfort anywhere the hiker or camper wants to take it.
2Hyke & Byke Goose Down Mummy Sack
Designed to be used in temperatures down to 15-degrees Fahrenheit, this bag will keep the sleeper warm and comfortable even on the coldest winter nights. It’s manufactured using a 400T 20D rip-stop nylon liner that’s water-repellent and comes with two YKK zippers, draft tube, and a soft fleece zipper guard. The real magic behind this bag’s incredible thermal ability, however, is the goose down which traps in the user’s body heat and holds onto it. This down allows this bag to keep the sleeper’s body warmer longer than conventional synthetic fills like polyester.
1Hyke & Byke Quandary 15-Degree Down Bag
Available in several different colors, including black, maroon or light blue, this bag is not only comfortable and warm but is also fashionable as well. It’s designed to keep the sleeper safe down to 15-degrees Fahrenheit or comfortable in the 30 to 50-degree Fahrenheit range. The outer shell of this bag is made with 400T 20 D rip-stop nylon and it is insulated with high-quality duck down. And although this bag can withstand frigid temperatures, it’s not as heavy or as bulky as other bags are. It’s the perfect companion for the winter traveler who wants to make sure they get the best night’s sleep possible even when the winter winds are howling.
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Finding the Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag
When it comes to ultralight sleeping sacks, there are a number of options to choose from. There are mummy-shaped bags, ones with closed foot boxes and ones with hoods and others without hoods. Some bags are insulated with synthetic fibers, some with duck down and still others with goose down. How is a camper supposed to choose from all of these different options? Well, the simple answer is by taking all of the features into consideration and weighing them against their particular needs. Below are some things to look for before purchasing an ultralight bag.
The Shape of the Bag
There are basically two different shapes to consider when it comes to ultralight sacks and these two shapes are mummy and quilt shaped bags. Most modern 3-season bags manufactured nowadays are mummy bags and there’s a good reason for that. That’s because the ones with hoods can be cinched around the head, particularly the face, and are usually warmer around the feet area. This leaves less air inside the bag to heat, which means that it heats faster thanks to the person’s body heat. It also makes them the warmest bags available. However, it also means that these bags are more constrictive and some people may have a problem with not having much room to move around in.
Quilt bags are not as constrictive as mummy bags. These bags save weight by not having an underside to sleep on. It doesn’t have this part of the bag because it’s believed that laying on top of the insulation limits its thermal properties, so why have an underside at all? However, this also means that they aren’t as warm as mummy bags and shouldn’t be used in extremely cold conditions. Another problem with these quilts is that the camper will usually have to carry a sleeping pad with their bag as well to keep the ground from acting like a heat-sink and sapping all of the heat out of the person. And the added weight of a pad completely negates not having a bottom portion of the bag.
Every bag comes with a rating that tells you the temperature range of the bag. This limit will tell you what temperature the bag will hold its thermal capacities and not necessarily the temperature that’s comfortable. Which is why the camper should choose a bag that’s warmer than what they think they’ll need. Some bags conforming to the EN 13537 standard show the consumer three different temperature ranges. One is the limit of the bag, one is the temperature at which the sleeper can sleep comfortably and one is the extreme limit, which is the maximum limit the bag will protect the sleeper.
While sleeping bags with synthetic fill might be fine for most camping trips, users who want an ultralight bag will want to choose one that’s made with bird down – either duck down or goose down. That’s because down insulates better than synthetic insulators and has a better thermal to weight ratio. Which makes it the choice in cold, dry environments. However, if the camper or hiker is going to travel in wetter conditions, then they probably aren’t going to want to go with down. That’s because it doesn’t dry quickly and loses its thermal properties when wet. Therefore, in those circumstances, it’s best to choose a synthetic insulator or a down that’s been treated with a DWR (durable water resistance) coating.
One of the features that increase the warmth of a bag without increasing its weight is zipper tubes. These tubes prevent warm air trapped in the bag from escaping through the zipper. Zipper tubes can really help keep the sleeper warm and it adds almost nothing to the overall total weight of the bag.
Another thing that needs to be considered when purchasing an ultralight bag is the compression sack. Most of the bags sold today have these sacks, but if a particular model doesn’t come with one, then the consumer should consider purchasing an after-market one. While compression sacks don’t decrease the weight of the bag, they do allow the bags to be stored in a way that’s convenient to handle.
Choosing an ultralight bag for sleeping doesn’t have to be difficult, as can be seen from the above article. If a little bit of thought is placed into the construction, shape, and insulation of the bag and that’s matched up against the sleeper’s needs, then it doesn’t have to be hard at all.