If you have been camping, you know it pays to pack lightly. Packing lightweight gear for your camping trip will ensure that you maximize storage space while minimizing the physical stress of carrying your items. An ultralight sleeping bag is not only a space saver, but it provides protection against the elements all year round.
When purchasing an ultralight sleeping bag, it is important to consider material, insulation, temperature regulation and design. If you are looking for a durable, ultralight sleeping bag with custom thermal technology and maximum comfort, the Big Agnes Torchlight Ultralite Sleeping Bag is the top choice.
Modern sleeping bags use materials also found in comforters and winter jackets. Gore-Tex is a popular choice for its breathability as well as resistance to water and wind; also used are nylon for water resistance and down for insulation. In some cases, manufacturers add hydrophobic polymers to the down for enhanced fire safety and to make the product more weather-resistant. If you’re allergic to bird feathers, you’ll want to find a sleeping bag that uses a down alternative or other hypoallergenic materials.
Some cotton options will be lightweight, but for the most part, polyester and nylon are best for water-resistant, lightweight and durable sleeping bags.
The classic, zipper-front sleeping bag is good for providing ultralight protection on camping trips, while the “mummy” style, which hugs the body and locks in heat, is more protective and the choice of serious camping enthusiasts.
When choosing a design, also consider where you will be sleeping, what the weather will be like and what kind of sleeper you are. If you prefer to have room in your sleeping bag to turn over or stretch, choose a classic front-zipper bag.
Some sleeping bags have multiple liners to keep users warmer when needed, while others use one layer of insulation. Some are designed to keep users comfortable in temperatures as low as zero degrees Fahrenheit, while others provide only enough insulation for casual, short-term use. The majority of midrange ultralight sleeping bags keep users comfortable in temperatures from 20-60 degrees. An ideal sleeping bag will be lightweight enough for effortless transport, but durable enough to provide lasting warmth.
The best ultralight sleeping bags will come with their own carrying bag and take up a minimal amount of space when packed for travel. When camping, consider bringing multiple liners depending on the season.
Some campers bring blankets to stuff into their sleeping bags during colder nights, but the right sleeping bag and liner will provide enough coverage and insulation from chillier climates. Test your sleeping bag out before you go camping to see if you will need a liner.
For more information, take a look at the full sleeping bag buying guide from BestReviews.
You can find less durable ultralight sleeping bags from $20-$70, while those in the $75-$150 range will be made of comfortable, waterproof fabric and feature a lightweight, packable design. Ultralight sleeping bags from $200-$500 will include all of the best features and fabric.
A. Contact organizations that aid the homeless and ask if they are in need of used camping gear. Many thrift stores will accept used sleeping bags and camping gear in good condition.
A. You should clean your sleeping bag every morning after it is slept in. When cleaning your sleeping bag, use soap and water and air it out to prevent bacterial growth.
Big Agnes Torchlight UL Sleeping Bag: 20F Down
What you need to know: This sleeping bag features two expandable panels to increase sleep space up to 10 inches.
What you’ll love: The 3-D anti-snag draft tube prevents heat loss along the zipper, and the internal mesh stash pocket keeps your phone or other items warm and secure. The jacket-style hood opening contours to the shape of the face for a comfortable fit. This sleeping bag is waterproof.
What you should consider: This sleeping bag only comes in two sizes and one color. It is on the expensive side.
Where to buy: Amazon
Kelty Mistral Sleeping Bag: 40F Down
What you need to know: This mummy-style sleeping bag retains heat while being lightweight and durable. It comes with a stuff sack for storage.
What you’ll love: This sleeping bag features an offset quilt construction to prevent cold spots and uses CloudLoft insulation to lock in heat. The zipper is anti-snag, and the bag comes in two lengths: regular and long (for sleepers as tall as 6-foot-6).
What you should consider: Some users have tested this bag out in 40-degree weather and say that it is not warm enough at that temperature.
Where to buy: Amazon, Backcountry
Therm-a-Rest Hyperion Sleeping Bag: 20F Down
What you need to know: This sleeping bag weighs only 20 ounces, which allows it to be packed in extremely small spaces.
What you’ll love: Its shape and longer zipper provide a comfortable fit, while connectors integrate the bag with a mattress for added comfort. The hydrophobic down helps the sleeping bag to dry quickly to minimize cold spots.
What you should consider: This sleeping bag is too narrow for people who like to sleep on their side.
Where to buy: Amazon
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Logan DeLoye writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.