Any backpacking adventure would not be complete without a sleeping bag. Even when temperatures dip well below freezing at night, you can stay cozy and warm with the right sleeping bag.
But what is a good backpacking sleeping bag?
Our two favorite summer backpacking sleeping bags are the Feathered Friends Hummingbird UL 30 and the Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 32.
Make sure you choose a backpacking model that fits both your backpacking style and the trail conditions you’ll be facing. Getting the right sleeping bag for YOUR camping needs is the most important thing.
Our quick introduction to all things sleeping-related in the great outdoors is here to help you find the best sleeping bag for backpacking.
In the following sections, we’ll discuss some of the most important factors you should consider when choosing backpacking sleeping bags.
Important Features of a Good Sleeping Bag for Backpacking
Every backpacking adventure requires a sleeping bag, but finding the right one can be difficult. Due to the fact that every manufacturer designs models according to the needs of different types of backpackers, there is no such thing as the ideal sleeping bag.
It’s better to focus on finding a sleeping bag that meets most, if not all, of your needs rather than trying to find the world’s best sleeping bag.
When shopping for a sleeping bag, you should look for the following things:
Sleeping bags are rated according to their temperature to help you determine how warm they really are. You should generally choose a sleeping bag that’s at least 15oF warmer than the coldest temperatures you’ll experience.
Furthermore, everyone experiences cold differently, so use these temperature ratings as guidelines, not as gospel. Sleeping bags with warmer insulation are recommended if you get cold at night.
Sleeping bags come in a variety of widths and lengths because humans come in all shapes and sizes. Be sure to check the model’s length and width before purchasing, as each company uses slightly different measurements.
Even if you’re wearing several layers, you should get a sleeping bag that’s a little wider and longer than you need to move around comfortably at night.
Weight & Packed Size
Whether you’re backpacking or camping, the weight and packed size of your gear are very important.
Sleeping bags filled with high-quality down insulation tend to be lighter and more packable than those filled with synthetic insulation.
You have to decide whether you want to prioritize weight savings or cost savings when looking for ultra-light down bags.
Besides brand, sleeping bag shape, and additional features, there are plenty of other factors to consider when shopping for a sleeping bag. We’ve listed three factors above that we believe are the most important.
Our Two Favorite Sleeping Bags For Backpacking
The best sleeping bag on the market won’t work for everyone, as we’ve already mentioned. The Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 32 and Feathered Friends Hummingbird UL 30 are two of our favorite tried and true sleeping bags.
Summertime camping calls for these two bags, both of which are relatively expensive. For backcountry travel, they’re packed down to an impressively small size and made from high-quality down insulation.
If you’re looking for something more affordable, consider the Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 30.
What is a Good Weight for a Backpacking Sleeping Bag?
In general, backpacking sleeping bags weigh between two and three pounds. These summer sleeping bags offer a good balance between durability, affordability, insulation, and packability without sacrificing too much of any of those qualities.
It is important to note, however, that quality winter sleeping bags generally weigh between 3 and 6 pounds.
However, if you want your pack weight to be kept as low as possible, you should consider an ultralight sleeping bag.
There are not many big name brands that offer summer sleeping bags under about 2 pounds, which would be considered very lightweight.
A model that weighs less than one pound is almost always made by ultralight brands, but if you’re willing to pay more, you can find them. Currently, the Zpacks 30f classic sleeping bag is priced at $389 and weighs just 12.2 ounces.
The weight of your summer sleeping bag should be about 3 to 5 pounds if budget-friendliness is a priority. Sleeping bags with synthetic insulation are generally less expensive, but heavier and bulkier than those with down insulation.
It depends a lot on your camping style and budget what you consider a “good weight” for a backpacker sleeping bag.
Getting a model that works for your preferred type of adventuring is the most important thing here, as there are no right or wrong answers.
Is a 30 Degree Sleeping Bag Warm Enough?
Summer and shoulder-season adventures can be covered by a sleeping bag that’s 30 degrees. There is a lot to consider in terms of where you’re going camping and the conditions you’re going to encounter.
If we were expecting overnight lows below 45oF, we wouldn’t use a 30oF sleeping bag. We will be warm enough to sleep well while camping with this 15oF buffer, but this will depend on our own tolerance to the cold.
When the overnight low temperatures are forecast to drop below 50°F, you might not want to use a 30°F bag if you sleep very cold at night.
People who sleep very warm may be able to use a 30oF bag when it’s 35oF outside (though this isn’t very common or recommended).
Final Thoughts on Sleeping Bags for Backpacking
When backpacking, your choice of sleeping bag depends on many factors, including your budget, camping style, and cold tolerance.
In your search for a sleeping bag, take into account factors such as the sleeping bag’s temperature rating, weight, packed size, and unpacked size.
By doing so, you will be able to get a sleeping bag that will fit your unique backpacking needs, whether it is warm, light, comfortable, or affordable.