The 5 Best Sleeping Bags for Backpacking in 2021
Find the Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag for your needs can be a real challenge because, with so many options on the market, you’re simply spoiled for choice. This is where our team at Outdoor Command can help you save time, money, and effort when buying a backpacking sleeping bag. We’ve scoured the web for the top-rated, best-value, lightweight designs, bundling them in this comprehensive ‘Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag’ overview.
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
And here’s an overview of the best backpacking sleeping bags on the market today:
We’ve ensured there is a match for every type of backpacker, and budget. For example, some of you may only go camping in the summertime, meaning a 3-season sleeping bag is already insulated enough. However, others may want a bag with year-round comfort, for which a 4-season sleeping bag is essential. We also wanted to include options at every price-point. So, whether you’re able to spend a lot, or a little, there’s a sleeping bag to keep you comfy at night!
Though these sleeping bags vary in size, shape, and material, there are 2 important buying factors they all have in common: lightweight, and compact packing dimensions. When you’re a backpacker, finding a sleeping bag that takes up minimum space and weight in your pack is key to your comfort. That is exactly why we only included bags that can be compressed to moderate dimensions, and that have an excellent weight-ratio.
These are our Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags:
- Therm-a-Rest Oberon Mummy Sleeping Bag
- TETON Sports Lightweight LEEF Mummy Sleeping Bag
- Kelty Cosmic DriDown Sleeping Bag
- Sierra Designs Cloud DriDown Sleeping Bag
- The North Face Dolomite Sleeping Bag
Explore our in-depth overview of these lightweight backpacking sleeping bags below, and upgrade your outdoor gear with this must-have essential!
Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag – Overview
Therm-a-Rest Oberon 0°F Mummy Sleeping Bag
The Therm-a-Rest Oberon Mummy Sleeping Bag has a temperature rating of 0°F/ -18°C: more than sufficient for most cold weather camping. The secret to how this bag can be so insulating, yet so lightweight at the same time, is the material used: 800-fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down insulation. The down-fill is ultralight and been treated with a special water-resistant coating to make the bag more waterproof. This Hydrophobic Down insulation coating reduces water absorption, whilst allowing the down to maintain its insulation properties. The result: you’re kept comfy, warm, and dry – even on the coldest and wettest nights. Another perk: the waterfowl down-fill used in this sleeping bag is responsibly-sourced and comes with Responsible Down Standard Certification.
Zoned Insulation and ThermaCapture Lining
The Oberon Sleeping Bag by Therm-a-Rest features a mummy-shaped silhouette with special zoned insulation. This means that the down-fill in the bag is more abundant in certain areas/zones where your body is more prone to catching a chill. The design also comes with a down-fill foot box, which helps prevent cold feet and gives your toes some extra wiggle room. To add further protection on cold nights, the Therm-a-Rest Oberon comes with a ThermaCapture Lining, which traps body heat and helps retain warmth – without feeling bulky.
That’s not all, the Therm-a-Rest Oberon 0°F Mummy Sleeping Bag also comes with a cinched (drawstring hood), draft collars, and draft tubes along with the full-length snag-free zippers. These features help keep the heat in and prevent cold spots and cold air from entering, making it truly one of the warmest lightweight sleeping bags on the market.
- 0°F/ -18°C temperature rating
- Ultralight (2 lbs 4 oz)
- Special Zoned Insulation
- 800-fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down™
- Heat-trapping draft collar
- ThermaCapture Lining top-layer
- Cinched hood and draft tubes
- External zip pocket
- Stuff sack included
- Too heavy-duty/insulated for warm weather conditions
TETON Sports Lightweight LEEF Mummy Sleeping Bag
The extra-long sleeping bag is 87″ in length, which offers a bit of extra wiggle room – ideal for taller campers. This spacious sleeping bag comes packed with high-end perks, yet is still listed at an affordable price-point. The TETON Sports LEEF Lightweight Mummy Sleeping Bag is more than equipped to keep you warm in cold weather conditions. The design can be used in temperatures as low as 20° Fahrenheit and comes with special Body-Mapping Technology. What this means is that certain areas of the silhouette are more padded/insulation, providing extra protection where you need it most. (This construction technique is very similar to the previously listed Oberon Sleeping Bag by Therm-a-Rest).
Budget-friendly with high-end perks
Also, the TETON Sports LEEF Lightweight Mummy Sleeping Bag has a 3-piece hood, which ergonomically contours the head to eliminate cold spots. To prevent cold feet, the sleeping bag features a vaulted foot box with additional insulation. The design also comes with a full-length zipper draft tube along the length of the anti-snag zipper. The style also has two interior zippered pockets, perfect for keeping smaller personal belongings – such as your phone or torch – within reach.
The TETON Sports LEEF Lightweight Mummy Sleeping Bag is also highly-rated by other backpacking enthusiasts, who give it top marks on Amazon for its quality, comfort, spacious sleeping area, and handy compression sack inclusion. For year-round usage, and 4-season backpacking trips, this well-insulated, compressible sleeping bag is an excellent investment!
- 20°F / -7°C temperature rating
- Small packing dimensions
- Extra-long silhouette
- Body-Mapping Technology
- 3-Piece contoured hood
- Vaulted, insulated foot box
- Two interior zippered pockets
- Compression sack included
- Slightly heavier than other options on this list (4.1 lbs)
- Synthetic fill
- Not the most durable
- Not the most breathable
Kelty Cosmic 40 Degree DriDown Sleeping Bag
The Kelty Cosmic 40 Degree Sleeping Bag is a lightweight and versatile sleeping bag, ideal for three-season usage. The design is the most popular bag from Kelty’s line-up and combines premium materials with mid-budget pricing: making it simply a great deal. The ultralight Kelty Cosmic 40 Degree Sleeping Bag weighs just 1 lb 9.7 oz (regular-size), which is an outstanding weight-ratio that is ideal for backpacking adventures. It truly is one of the lightest mummy bags on the market. The stuffed size (stuff back included) of the sleeping bag is only 7″ x 12″, taking up minimum space in your pack.
Do note that we’ve listed the most recent, upgraded version (product number 35414819RR) of the Kelty Cosmic 40 Degree DriDown Sleeping Bag. The previous model of this bag is also available via Amazon but doesn’t come with some of the high-end perks of this newly released version. Why do we prefer this slightly more expensive new edition? Because Kelty has made some minor tweaks to the best-selling silhouette to make it even more appealing for backpackers. These include refinements such as the new soft-as-silk nylon taffeta fabric, more down-fill (600 versus 550), and a handy stash pocket for your personal belongings. Plus, the new Kelty Cosmic 35414819RR model is also lighter than its predecessor, which is a key buying factor for when you’re planning to carry it in a backpack!
Hydrophobic DriDown™ fill
The upgraded Kelty Cosmic 40 Degree Sleeping Bag has a comfort rating of 40°F/ 4°C, and a lower limit of 37°F / 3°C, this means the sleeping bag can be used in cold weather as low as 37°F but is mostly recommended for usage in temperatures of 40°F and higher.
This backpacking sleeping bag features Kelty’s special 600-fill power hydrophobic DriDown™ insulation. What does this entitle? Well, simply put, it means that the down used has been treated with polymers, creating water-repellent finish on each plume. Or, even simpler: waterproof DriDown™ can stay dry longer, loft better, and dry faster than untreated down, keeping you warm and dry in any environment.
The outer shell of this Kelty Cosmic model is a soft, butter-like, highly-durable 20D Nylon taffeta shell, whilst its 50D polyester taffeta liner has a satin-like, super comfy feel. Other high-end features of the Kelty Cosmic 40 Degree Sleeping Bag are a quilt-through construction for extra durability, a thermal-comfort hood that can be cinched to eliminate cold spots, and a ‘natural-fit’ foot box for extra wiggle room. The lightweight sleeping bag also features dual-slider, locking zipper with anti-snag design and a draft collar and draft tube to eliminate cold spots.
- Ultralight (1 lb 9.7 oz)
- Great value-for-money
- Excellent weight-ratio
- 600-fill power hydrophobic DriDown™
- Durable 20D Nylon taffeta shell
- Satin-like 50D polyester taffeta liner
- Quilt-through construction
- Thermal comfort cinched hood
- Natural-fit foot box
- Dual-sliding zipper with anti-snag design
- Draft collar & draft tube
- Stuff sack included
- Not suited for winter camping
- Not the most impressive temperature rating
Sierra Designs Cloud 20 Degree DriDown Sleeping Bag
The Sierra Designs Cloud 20 Degree DriDown Sleeping Bag is more than equipped for usage in cold weather conditions and offers 4-season functionality. The design has a temperature rating of 15°F / -9.4°C and a lower limit of 26°F / -3.3°C. Do note that this is only an indication, and each camper will experience cold differently based. That said, it is a good reference point to understand the insulation-properties of this high-end sleeping bag.
High-quality 800-fill DriDown insulation
The Sierra Designs Cloud 20 Degree DriDown Sleeping Bag features 800-fill DriDown insulation. The individual plumes in the down-fill have received a water-resistant coating, making them less prone to absorbing water. This helps keep your sleeping bag dry, even when faced with heavy-condensation of wet conditions. The outer shell of the mummy-shaped silhouette is made of 15-dernier ripstop nylon.
Other premium design-elements of the Sierra Designs Cloud 20 Degree DriDown Sleeping Bag include a self-sealing foot vent that enables ventilation (enabling better temperature regulation) and a cinch-hood. The sleeping bag also features a ‘draft dodger baffle’ construction. This is a type of stitching that prevents the down-fill from sinking to the bottom or gathering in one place. Ensuring optimal down-distribution in every corner of the silhouette.
Though similar in style to other cold-weather sleeping bags, there is one big noticeable difference in the Sierra Designs Cloud 20 Degree DriDown Sleeping Bag: the lack of zipper. The bag has been designed to offer ‘zipperless’ comfort. Another perk is that this style features an integrated comforter to resemble all the comforts of your bed at home. Additionally, the silhouette comes with a handy sleeping pad sleeve (sleeping pad not included). This sleeping pad sleeve keeps an optional sleeping pad firmly in place, preventing you from sliding off onto cold underground in the night.
The comfort, quality, and lightweight appeal of the Sierra Designs Cloud 20 Degree DriDown Sleeping Bag do not come cheap. But if you’re serious about backpacking, and you’re willing to spend big, it’s an excellent investment that should last you for many years…
- Ultralight (1lbs 13oz)
- 15°F / -9.4°C temperature rating
- 4-season usage
- Great for side sleepers
- Superior quality standard
- Outstanding durability
- 800-fill DriDown insulation
- Self-sealing foot vent for breathability
- Cinched hood
- Draft dodger baffle
- Zipperless, meaning no snags at all
- Sleeping pad sleeve
- Stuff sack included
- Can be too insulating in warm weather conditions
The North Face Dolomite 40F/4C Sleeping Bag
The North Face Dolomite Sleeping Bag is simple, yet very functional in design. The bag features full-length zippers on each side for easy access, which allows both right-handed as the left-handed opening. The zippers can also be fully unzipped to enable the sleeping bag to lay flat, for example, to be used as a picnic blanket.
Other high-end details of the Dolomite 40F/4C Sleeping Bag by The North Face include a wraparound foot box zipper so the bag can lie flat, and premium Heatseeker™ Eco synthetic insulation. The type of synthetic insulation is composed of 30% ‘post-consumer recycled material’, making it a more environmentally-friendly option to standard synthetic fill.
Both the outer shell and interior liner of the Dolomite Sleeping Bag are made of 50-dernier ciré polyester taffeta: soft to the touch, yet very tear-resistant. The spacious rectangular silhouette of the Dolomite also offers plenty of room to combine it with a separate sleeping bag liner if desired, allowing you to add softness or insulation when needed.
Another reason we rate Dolomite Sleeping Bag by The North Face as a top-choice for backpacking, and backcountry adventures, is the bag’s ‘Lifetime Warranty’. This lifetime-warranty by The North Face means that if you encounter any manufacturing defects in the bag, the brand will find a suitable solution – such as issuing a refund or replacement. This makes it a risk-free purchase and serves as a testimony of how confident the brand is in its product’s quality. Not every brand can offer this guarantee, so we consider it a big perk.
Simple, classic, spacious, yet also lightweight and portable: the Dolomite 40F/4C Sleeping Bag by The North Face proves that sometimes less can be more. It’s not the most heavy-duty or insulated bag, but for backpacking trips in milder conditions, it ticks all the boxes.
- Basic but functional
- High-quality construction
- Excellent value-for-money
- Great for mild weather conditions
- Classic, spacious rectangular shape
- Anti-snag zippers on both sides
- Can be fully unzipped into a blanket
- Heatseeker™ Eco insulation
- 50-dernier ciré polyester taffeta
- Lifetime warranty
- Not suited for cold weather conditions
- Can’t be cinched to prevent cold spots
- No fancy features or perks
All 5 products in this overview are worthy of your attention. Choosing a top pick to classify as the ‘Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag’ depends on a few important factors.
How much insulation?
Firstly, determine how warm/insulating you want the sleeping bag to be. If you want year-round functionality, or simply are a cold sleeper, consider a sleeping bag with down-fill. Not only does down-fill have natural insulation properties and great breathability, but its also ultralight and very compressible: saving on packing weight and space in your pack. That said, you may not require a very insulated sleeping bag if you only plan on backpacking in warmer climates and mild weather conditions. In this case, a simple yet comfortable option such as The North Face Dolomite 40F/4C Sleeping Bag could be your match. Though this bag lacks fancy features, it ticks all the most important boxes: quality, comfort, packability, and – most importantly – its very lightweight.
Budget-friendly vs High-end
Secondly, determine how much you’re willing to spend. Setting yourself a budget, and sticking to it, will instantly narrow down your search options.
Don’t worry: there’s a great-quality option at every price point, whether you want to spend a lot – or a little. Of course, you’ll have to make some concessions if you want premium insulation, for example, choosing a more affordable synthetic fill/ synthetic sleeping bag over a more expensive natural down-fill option. That said, for the price listed, each sleeping bag in this overview offers excellent value-for-money. The high-end options deliver superior durability, whilst the more budget-friendly options still meet a high-quality standard needed to keep you warm, cozy, dry, and comfortable during the night.
Finding a match
Determine the temperature rating you need, determine how much you’re willing to spend, and determine which bag style you like most: finding your best backpacking sleeping bag in this overview is that simple.
Selecting a winner from this Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Overview is an impossible task, as each product has its pros and cons. That said, I can share my top pick: the Kelty Cosmic 40 Degree DriDown Sleeping Bag. I’ve owned a previous model of the Kelty Cosmic for a few years, and the sleeping bag has never failed to keep my comfy and dry. Do note that I am not a cold-weather camper, and mostly go backpacking in spring/summertime, with low nightly temperatures of around 45°F-50°F – so I’ve never tested the bag to the limit. However, I can attest to its quality, comfort, and great packability.
This new model of the Kelty Cosmic 40 Degree DriDown Sleeping Bag is even lighter than its predecessor, weighing just an ultralight 1 lb 9.7 oz. Meaning you won’t even notice the difference when strapped to your backpack! The design also includes a stuff sack, which lets you pack it down to a neat 7″x 12″ bundle. Kelty has also upgraded the comfort of the Cosmic (which was already fantastic, to begin with), adding a silky taffeta lining for maximum smoothness. I don’t mind roughing it when backpacking, but if there’s a comfy alternative without adding bulk or weight to my gear: I’m all for it. Also, I prefer the 600-fill power waterproof DriDown™ to a synthetic fill, as I like the loftiness of natural down.
A highly-rated backpackers’ favorite
Don’t just take my word for it: the Kelty Cosmic 40 Degree DriDown Sleeping Bag is a firm favorite amongst many backpackers, as is confirmed by the bag’s many 5-star reviews. Plus, for an ultralight down-fill bag, the Kelty Cosmic 40 Degree DriDown Sleeping Bag is very reasonably priced. It’s not the most heavy-duty or high-end bag on the market, but when it comes to budget-friendly, 3-season sleeping bags, this is about as good as it gets!
Disclaimer: For this Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Overview, we only chose to include sleeping bags with full stock availability on Amazon at the time of writing. This selection criteria meant some products that we regard very highly, and get our expert seal of approval, were automatically excluded from the list. However, we do want to mention these sleeping bags, as they’re also worthy of your consideration. This concerns the Nemo Kyan Mummy Sleeping Bag, the Marmot Sawtooth 15F Degree Down Bag, The North Face Aleutian Sleeping Bag, the REI Co-Op Magma, the Big Agnes Sandhoffer 20 Lightweight Down Sleeping Bag, the Western Mountaineering MegaLite Sleeping Bag, the Western Mountaineering Summerlite Sleeping Bag, and the Mountain Hardwear Men’s Phantom Flame Down Sleeping Bag.