The Best Sleeping Bags for Any and All Adventures

Couple in sleeping bags


When camping outdoors, many factors determine how well you will sleep. While your trip planning, your surrounding environment, and, of course, the people you're with can play crucial roles, perhaps no piece of gear better dictates your evening than your sleeping bag. An effective and appropriate sleeping bag is imperative for a good night's sleep, and even more broadly, plays an important role in making sure you aren't up all night tossing, turning, and violating camping etiquette. The best sleeping bag will prove effective in any number of circumstances and environments.

Yet, with so many different weights, warmth levels, types of fabric, and temperature ratings, choosing the right sleeping bag for you is a difficult task. As you consider which sleeping bag to purchase, a good first step is to ask yourself which types of adventures and in what types of settings you typically camp. Are you a backpacker looking for a durable yet lightweight, compressible bag? Are you new to camping and just want to test out an affordable yet reliable bag? Is it likely that your sleeping bag will get wet on your adventure and are you wondering which bags can withstand moist environments?

The ACTIVE Reviews Team has sorted these options to help you get started choosing the best sleeping bag for you based on your specific needs.

Why Trust Us?

ACTIVE.com's editorial team relies on the knowledge and experience of fitness and wellness experts including competitive athletes, coaches, physical therapists, nutritionists, and certified trainers. This helps us ensure the products we feature are of the highest standard. Collectively, the team has spent countless hours researching equipment, gear, and recovery tools in order to create the most accurate, authentic content for our readers. Customer satisfaction is also a key part of our review process, which is why we only feature products that are highly rated.

The Best Sleeping Bags - Our Top Picks

By clicking on the product links in this article, we may receive a commission fee at no cost to you, the reader. Read the full affiliate disclosure here.

What to Look for in a Sleeping Bag


Warmth

The warmth of your sleeping bag will be determined by several factors, but none more so than how well your bag fits you. Typically, the snugger the bag is to your body, the warmer you will be; however, if your bag is too tight, it may lack circulation and breathability as the stuffed insulation compresses. With many types of bag shapes and sizes, choosing the right fit is essential to regulating body heat outdoors.

Fabric

Most sleeping bags are made out of two components: the liner and the insulation. Waterproof liners will retain heat and stay dry but are less breathable. Non-waterproof liners are more breathable and the insulation is more likely to dry. Insulation is normally either synthetic or down-filled. Down will offer more warmth and is usually very light and compactable, but comes at a higher cost and isn't always sourced ethically. Synthetic materials are more likely to dry, but may not preserve as much heat as down.

Weight

The heavier your bag, the tougher it will be to carry it across long distances, which is why backpackers normally prefer a lighter, compressible sleeping bag. Heavier bags can be equally if not more effective when it comes to keeping you warm but may be difficult to take into the backcountry so are more appropriate for stationary camping. It's important to choose a bag that will keep you warm and safe, but one which is also within an appropriate weight range for your desired activity.

Temperature Rating

A sleeping bag's temperature rating indicates the lowest temperature at which a sleeper will still feel warm, so a sleeping bag rated 20F can keep you warm down to 20 degrees F. If the bag has a low-temperature rating, this means the bag can withstand cold temperatures. For example, people interested in winter camping would most likely want to purchase a bag with a temperature rating close to or below zero. Typically, the lower the temperature rating, the more expensive your bag will be.

Best Overall Sleeping Bag - Marmot Ultra Elite 20F Synthetic Sleeping Bag

Marmot Ultra Elite 20 F Synthetic Sleeping Bag

SPECS

  • Material: 20 denier nylon ripstop
  • Insulation: ElixR Micro insulation (a synthetic with down-like qualities)
  • Zipper placement: Left zipper
  • Bag length: Regular, 80"; long, 86"
  • Temperature Rating: 20F

Check Price

An effective all-around sleeping bag and once named the Outside Magazine sleeping bag of the year, the Marmot Ultra Elite 20F Synthetic Sleeping Bag has an intuitive blend of synthetic fibers, giving the bag a combination of down-like warmth and moisture resistance. This sleeping bag comes with a snug, chord-adjustable hood, as well as a wrap-around anatomically shaped footbox which increases insulation in your feet. It was also designed with an abrasive-resistant shell to ensure durability.

This Marmot sleeping bag is an ideal piece of gear for casual backpackers, long-term adventurers, and car-campers alike since it only weighs about 2 pounds and is compact due to its "mummy" shape. Lastly, the bag's several innovative features reflect its functionality. Campers can store temperature-sensitive belongings alongside them as they sleep with internal stash pockets, zipper guards mitigate any potential fabric tugging when opening or closing the bag, and the bag's two-way zipper allows the camper to open up vents should the bag become too hot. This Marmot bag tops our list as the overall best sleeping bag due to its versatility for all types of campers and its reasonable price.

What We Like

  • ElixR microfiber resists wet environments
  • Light and compactable
  • Anatomically shaped footbox warms lower extremities
  • Insulated draft tube beside zipper ensures total insulation

What We Don't Like

  • The 20F Temperature Rating may be generous
  • Compression sack does not have the same abrasive-proof shell as the bag

BUY: Marmot Ultra Elite 20F Synthetic Sleeping Bag

Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag - Sea to Summit Spark Sleeping Bag 28F Down

Sea to Summit Spark Sleeping Bag 28 F Down

SPECS

  • Material: 10 denier nylon (face fabric); 7 denier nylon (lining)
  • Insulation: RDS 850+ Loft Premium Goose Ultra-Dry Down
  • Zipper placement: Left zipper
  • Bag Length: Regular, 6'; Long, 6'4"
  • Temperature rating: 28F

Check Price

Light, compressible, and warm, this Sea to Summit Spark bag is on the wish list of many backpackers. Designed with weather-treated goose down, this high-performing bag can be taken on long expeditions without the doomsday hypothetical of, "What if my bag gets wet?" Attaining both warmth and moisture resistance is a special combination for any sleeping bag.

If you're looking to get into backpacking and want to pack as light as possible—or if you want to allow more weight for other backpacking essentials—then this is the bag for you. However, if you're looking for a more loosely fitting bag (and thus, not as compact), or a bag with more intuitive features, then this bag likely isn't the fit for you. With a focus primarily on weight and compressibility, this Sea to Summit bag is all about reducing the load on your back.

What We Like

  • Incredibly light; just over 1 lb.
  • Easily stowable on backpacking trips
  • Weather-treated down is more water resistant than traditional down
  • Crisscrossed down pockets to prevent clumping or shifting

What We Don't Like

  • Fragile, so be careful of your bag's zipper snagging and of puncturing its shell
  • Great minimalist bag, but is quite narrow

BUY: Sea to Summit Spark Sleeping Bag 28F Down

Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag - Western Mountaineering MegaLite Sleeping Bag 30F Down

Western Mountaineering MegaLite Sleeping Bag 30 F Down

SPECS

  • Material: ExtremeLite
  • Insulation: 850+ fill down
  • Zipper placement: Left zipper for 5' 6" bag; left or right placement for 6' 6" bag
  • Bag length: 5' 6" regular; 6' 6" long
  • Temperature rating: 30F

Check Price

The Western Mountaineering MegaLite sleeping bag is an effective option for those wanting a sleeping bag with more comfort than traditionally narrow ultralight sleeping bags. Available in multiple lengths and designed with substantial width for your shoulders, hips, and feet, sleepers can move around in their bag without feeling cramped. Weighing just around 1.5 pounds, this Western Mountaineering bag has the same light feel as other ultralight backing bags and has proven durable and water resistant due to its high-tech nylon outer shell.

The bag has a 30F temperature rating and many reviewers have noted that this bag can easily withstand these temperatures. This is because much of the bag's down is 900+ fill, even though the specifications classify it as 850+. In addition, because of the bag's wiggle room and its continuous baffle system which prevents the down from clumping, most sleepers can be guaranteed a good night's sleep.

This bag is a great option for campers seeking a light, 2-3 season bag, but cold winters are not this bag's strong suit. Due to the water-resistant nylon shell and some of the ExtremeLite material, this bag is not as breathable from the inside out and might become damp on the inside. Lastly, as this is a down-filled bag, moisture would be difficult to dry, especially in the winter.

What We Like

  • More shoulder, hip, and foot width than traditional ultralight backpacking bags
  • Warm and light 850+ goose down kept in place with a continuous baffle system
  • Water-resistant shell

What We Don't Like

  • The inside lacks breathability
  • Expensive

BUY: Western Mountaineering MegaLite Sleeping Bag 30F Down

Best Double Sleeping Bag - The North Face Eco Trail Bed Double Sleeping Bag 20F Synthetic

Trail Bed Double Sleeping Bag 20 F Synthetic

SPECS

  • Material: 50 denier recycled ripstop polyester, 50 denier polyester taffeta, recycled brushed polyester fleece
  • Insulation: Recycled polyester (synthetic fill)
  • Zipper placement: Either
  • Max user height: Regular, 72"; Long, 78"
  • Bag length: Regular, 72"; Long, 78"
  • Temperature rating: 20F

Check Price

An ideal family sleeping bag for car camping or overland camping, The North Face Eco Trail Bed Double Sleeping Bag can comfortably fit up to two people (or one person plus an outdoor-adventuring furry pal). Dubbed as an ethical choice sleeping bag, the insulation and all other shell materials are made of recycled polyester. Furthermore, with a 20F rating, warmth is not a worry, especially as the bag is roomy enough for moving around or for wearing extra layers.

It should be reiterated that this bag is best for car camping or overland camping, and it's not recommended this bag be taken on any overnight backcountry hiking excursions. Weighing 7.5-8 pounds, this bag is not to be carried lightly nor packed efficiently. Nevertheless, convenient features such as a flannel fiber near sleepers' heads and an anatomically designed footbox make for a wonderfully comfortable night for co-sleepers. Reviewers recommend this as an ideal bag for two.

What We Like

  • Made from recycled polyester for an ethical choice
  • Can choose which side the zipper is on
  • Inside pockets, a cinch for the hood, and gentle flannel fiber near your face
  • Modest price

What We Don't Like

  • Heavy and not very compressible

BUY: The North Face Eco Trail Bed Double Sleeping Bag 20F Synthetic

Best Budget Sleeping Bag - Stoic Groundwork 20F Synthetic Sleeping Bag

Stoic Groundwork 20 F Synthetic Sleeping Bag

SPECS

  • Material: 20 denier mini-ripstop nylon (face fabric) with DWR finish, 20 denier plain weave nylon (lining)
  • Insulation: Thermolite synthetic
  • Zipper placement: Left
  • Bag length: 6'
  • Temperature rating: 20F

Check Price

The Stoic Groundwork 20F Synthetic Sleeping Bag is a phenomenal budget sleeping bag that is priced well under $100 at most retailers. Especially for individuals wanting to dabble in backcountry hiking and camping, this is a great place to start. Weighing just over 3 pounds and insulated with somewhat water-resistant synthetic materials, this effective sleeping bag will be warm enough for most three-season activities and can be stowed away with ease as you trek.

As a budget sleeping bag, this won't be the most comfortable piece of gear on the market and it won't be as durable as more expensive options. Nevertheless, the benefits of this bag outweigh its drawbacks. All things considered, this is a great bag for someone new to backpacking, and considering its technical specifications and performance measures, it is well worth its price.

What We Like

  • Affordable price
  • Synthetic material is reliable
  • Weighing just over 3 lbs., this is a relatively light bag for its cost
  • Has features like draft tubes and a hook-and-loop stash pocket

What We Don't Like

  • Lacks in durability
  • Reviewers say the zipper tends to snag
  • With a 40" circumference in the foot compartment, there isn't much wiggle room
  • Doesn't pack down as well for a bag of its weight class

BUY: Stoic Groundwork 20F Synthetic Sleeping Bag

Best Winter Sleeping Bag - Therm-a-Rest Polar Ranger -20F Down Sleeping Bag

Therm-a-Rest Polar Ranger -20 F Down Sleeping Bag

SPECS

  • Material: 20 denier polyester ripstop (face fabric) DWR, ThermaCapture 20 denier polyester taffeta (lining)
  • Insulation: 800-fill goose Nikwax Hydrophobic down
  • Zipper placement: Center
  • Bag length: Regular, 80"; long, 85"
  • Temperature rating: -20F

Check Price

Designed by Therm-a-rest in tandem with famous polar explorer Eric Larsen, this Polar Ranger -20F sleeping bag is an effective bag for campers looking to venture into colder environments. Especially lightweight for its heavy-duty class, this 3.5-pound and the easily compressible bag can perform well in both backpacking and overland car-camping settings. Stuffed with Nikiwax Hydrophobic Down, this bag successfully remains dry even in the wettest and coldest of environments. Ecologically, this bag receives praise, as all waterfowl in the down supply chain have been treated humanely; similarly, the shell and liner are made from 100-percent recycled fabrics.

The intuitive snorkel hood filled with synthetic fabric helps prevent frost formation, and side vents near either armpit allow campers to regulate their temperature or use their arms while still in the sleeping bag. Also included is a foot warmer pocket with extra baffled down.

What We Like

  • Incredibly light winter bag
  • Includes side vents, a foot-warming pocket, and an innovative snorkel hood
  • The Nikiwax Hydrophobic Down absorbs 90% less water and dries faster than any untreated down

What We Don't Like

  • Unless you plan on camping in extremely cold temperatures, it might not be worth the money

BUY: Therm-a-Rest Polar Ranger -20F Down Sleeping Bag

Best Water Resistant Sleeping Bag - Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 30 F Sleeping Bag

Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 30 F Sleeping Bag

SPECS

  • Material: 30 denier plain weave nylon
  • Insulation: 650-fill-power fluorine-free down (80% down/20% feather)
  • Zipper placement: Left
  • Bag length: Regular, 72"; long, 78"
  • Temperature rating: 30F

Check Price

The Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 30F Sleeping Bag is a great investment for anyone who wants to buy a new, down-filled sleeping bag with proven performance. Overall, this is an effective bag with much to like, especially its durable shell treated with water repelling technology. Furthermore, with 650-fill down, this bag is light and compact and able to be stashed away easily.

This sleeping bag also has some important features that many high-end bags typically have. These include an anatomically designed footbox to allow wiggle room and warmth for your feet and toes, a down-filled face gasket that shields you from cold drafts at night, and an internal pocket for your phone, car keys, or any other small valuables you want close by.

What We Like

  • Glow in the dark zipper
  • Water repellent lining
  • Anatomical foot box allows for foot movement
  • Very light and compressible

What We Don't Like

  • "Mummy" sleeping bag fit may not leave much wiggle room around the hips
  • 650 FP down, which has less loft and insulation than many other bags of comparable cost and class

BUY: Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 30 F Sleeping Bag

Best Insulated Sleeping Bag - Kelty Cosmic 20 Sleeping Bag 20F Down

Kelty Cosmic 20 Sleeping Bag 20 F Down

SPECS

  • Material: 20 denier nylon
  • Insulation: 550-fill down
  • Zipper placement: Right
  • Bag Length: Short, 65" ; regular, 72" ; long, 78"
  • Temperature rating: 20F

Check Price

The Kelty Cosmic 20 Sleeping Bag is best known for being an affordable yet high-performing insulated sleeping bag. This bag's claim to fame is the unique design of its down pockets, which assume a trapezoid-like shape to maximize the baffling of the down and ensure consistent insulative properties. With a 20F rating, yet priced under $200, this bag is well worth the money, especially for campers who are looking for a colder-weather bag. Although it's not considered a four-season bag, this sleeping bag should keep you warm in many environments.

The fabric is treated to repel water and maintains a smooth texture, making it easy to stow away in the included stuff sack. Lastly, this bag comes with many important features, such as its comfortable foot-box, an internal pocket, and anti-snag, dual sliding zippers. Reliable, durable, and well-insulated, the Kelty Cosmic 20 Sleeping Bag prioritizes the comfort and thermal regulation of its sleepers.

What We Like

  • Down filling is staggered in trapezoid pockets to increase baffling
  • Water repellant and soft lining
  • Spacious, anatomically-designed footbox

What We Don't Like

  • Mummy shape sometimes results in limited movement
  • A bit bulky for the temperature rating and size

BUY: Kelty Cosmic 20 Sleeping Bag 20F Down

Best High-End Sleeping Bag - Mountain Hardwear Phantom GORE-TEX -40F Down Sleeping Bag

Mountain Hardwear Phanton GORE-TEX -40 F Down Sleeping Bag

SPECS

  • Material: 20 denier nylon taffeta
  • Insulation: 850-fill goose down
  • Zipper placement: Left
  • Bag length: Regular, 89"; Long, 95"
  • Temperature rating: -40F

Check Price

If you're planning any expeditions to some of our planet's coldest and most brutal environments, then this Mountain Hardwear Phantom Gore-Tex bag should surely be on your "to buy" list. Filled with 850-fill down and lined with water-resistant and fully windproof Gore-Tex material, this bag ensures warmth and safety. The Gore-Tex liner is breathable, thus preventing the bag from becoming too damp on the inside. Other high-end features include the down-filled collar which prevents heat from escaping near the face cinch, plush zipper tubes, and intuitive stitching which protects the baffles from any abrasion or ripping.

Designed with exceptional materials, this bag can accompany you to our world's mightiest mountains. Even its weight—under 5 pounds—and its compressibility, are impressive.

What We Like

  • Gore-Tex lining is fully windproof and prevents external moisture from entering
  • Breathable
  • At 4 lbs. 10 oz., incredibly light considering its temperature rating
  • Down-filled draft collar maintains heat
  • Mummy-shape has extra width to allow layering in the coldest of conditions

What We Don't Like

  • Feet may still feel cold
  • No straps to secure the sleeping bag to pad

BUY: Mountain Hardwear Phantom GORE-TEX -40 Sleeping Bag

FAQs About Sleeping Bags


How do I choose a sleeping bag?

As a starting point, the best way to choose a sleeping bag is to ask yourself these two questions:

  1. In what environments and in what temperatures do I plan on camping?
  2. How often do I want to camp?

Based on your answers to these questions, you should be able to narrow your field. If you plan to camp in environments that drop below 32 degrees F, getting a bag with a lower temperature rating than 32F is very important. If you plan for long-term camping trips, buying a bag that can easily dry is also very important. Lastly, if you plan to camp frequently, it's in your best interest to invest in a durable sleeping bag with proven performance and high-quality materials for its lining and insulation.

What is the best type of sleeping bag for camping? /h3>

This depends on what type of camping you will be doing. If you're headed off on some ice camping, you'd be better off choosing a bag with a negative temperature rating. If you are a casual camper, buying a high-performing budget bag makes sense, whereas if you are interested in backpacking trips, then getting one that's lightweight might be your priority.

How much does a good sleeping bag cost?

Sleeping bag costs can be wide-ranging. On this list, the most expensive bag was nearly $1,000, but the least expensive bag was only $60. The number of features usually goes up with the price, but a budget bag can certainly be considered a good sleeping bag considering its temperature rating, comfort, and features.

How long are sleeping bags good for?

Like most equipment, how well you treat your sleeping bag will indicate its lifespan. First of all, it's imperative to treat your sleeping bag with care while camping. Be sure to not aggressively pull your zipper, even if it has an anti-snag feature; stow your bag away with grace; and keep your bag out of damp environments as much as possible, even if it has a water-resistant shell.

The way you treat your bag when not camping is equally, if not more, important. Especially if insulated with down, you must store your bag in a cool, dry place and allow the bag to breathe by removing it from its stuff sack. Sleeping bags can last years, even decades. If you're using your bag regularly for extended periods of time, however, it may only last a few years. But if you only camp a few times a year, a good bag can last much of your life.

Discuss This Article