The Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Review

Click to enlarge
Front to back: Valandre Bloody Mary, Feathered Friends Hummingbird, Katabatic Gear Sawatch, Sierra Designs Vapor 15, Feathered Friends Hummingbird, Marmot Plasma 15, and Sierra Designs Cloud 15. Note the different cuts and hood designs.
Credit: Max Neale
We recently updated our Backpacking Sleeping Bag Review, re-testing previous award winners and comparing new models in this extensive review. Our testing has taken place over several years and in various environments across the globe. The review has amassed almost 30 different sleeping bags and provides a detailed comparison between the different models.

New bags were tested by outdoorsy friends, local mountain guides, and National Park Service scientists on extended trips in summer conditions in the backpacking paradise of California's Sierra Nevada mountains. Warm nights at middle elevations, uncommon amounts of monsoonal moisture, and cold nights above twelve-thousand feet put the bags to the test on quick mountaineering jaunts and on extended backpacking trips throughout the High Sierra.

Our review includes budget friendly down sleeping bags, lightweight down sleeping bags, and reliable synthetic sleeping bags. Please refer to our buying advice article to help you decide what is important for you to consider before purchasing a new bag.

Check out our Camping Sleeping Bag Review, Ultralight Sleeping Bag Review and Women's Sleeping Bag Review for other sleeping bag options on the market.

Read the full review below >

Review by: and Max Neale

Top Ranked Backpacking Sleeping Bags Displaying 1 - 5 of 27 << Previous | View All | Next >>
Our Ranking #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Product Name
Western Mountaineering Alpinlite
Western Mountaineering Alpinlite
Read the Review
Feathered Friends Penguin 20
Feathered Friends Penguin 20
Read the Review
Feathered Friends Hummingbird 20
Feathered Friends Hummingbird 20
Read the Review
Western Mountaineering Versalite 10
Western Mountaineering Versalite 10
Read the Review
Marmot Plasma 15
Marmot Plasma 15
Read the Review
Editors' Awards  Editors' Choice Award         
Street Price Varies $446 - $555
Compare at 4 sellers
$439$449Varies $545 - $575
Compare at 3 sellers
Varies $431 - $559
Compare at 5 sellers
Overall Score 
100
0
73
100
0
69
100
0
68
100
0
67
100
0
67
Editors' Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating Be the first to rate it
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
100% recommend it (3/3)
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
100% recommend it (3/3)
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
100% recommend it (6/6)
Be the first to rate it
Pros Excellent loft, No catch zipper, Warm, Comfortable, LightweightTop quality down and fabrics, exceptionally versatile design, 4 temperature options, full-length zipper vents feet, sleeps 2 people with optional Groundsheet.Best lightweight hooded bag tested, Several size options allow for best fit + comfort, 900-fill down, top-tier fabric, secure snap hood closure.Very warm for its weight, highest quality down and materials, continuous horizontal baffles increase versatility.900-fill down, ultralight shell material, comfortable hood and foot box, lightweight.
Cons Expensive, Warm for mid-summer use, Weak velcro closure at draft collarOn the heavy side.Some other hoods can be more comfortable.Nearly a winter bag= heavy and possibly too warm for summer backpacking, relatively uncomfortable hood closure, weak neck baffle velcro can come undone easily, top quality fabric only on top.Cut wide in upper body = comfy but less thermally efficient, only two sizes, expensive for its weight/warmth.
Best Uses Shoulder season backpacking and mountaineering, Summer use at mid and high elevations, For people who sleep in a sleeping bag more than their bed (ie: guides and outdoor educators)Camping, backpacking, snuggling with your honey.3-season backpacking and camping.3+ season useLuxuriously comfortable 3-season backpacking and camping.
Date Reviewed Sep 01, 2014May 28, 2013Nov 17, 2012Nov 10, 2012Nov 17, 2012
Weighted Scores Western Mountaineering Alpinlite Feathered Friends Penguin 20 Feathered Friends Hummingbird 20 Western Mountaineering Versalite 10 Marmot Plasma 15
Warmth - 23%
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
8
Weight - 22%
10
0
6
10
0
2
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
6
Comfort - 25%
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
8
Packed Size - 5%
10
0
6
10
0
4
10
0
6
10
0
4
10
0
6
Features - 10%
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
6
Versatility - 15%
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
5
10
0
5
10
0
4
Product Specs Western Mountaineering Alpinlite Feathered Friends Penguin 20 Feathered Friends Hummingbird 20 Western Mountaineering Versalite 10 Marmot Plasma 15
Style Mummy Semi-rectangular Mummy Mummy Mummy
Total Weight (oz) 32 43 25.5 31.9 30
Total Weight (lb.) 2 3.16 1.59 1.99 1.88
Fill Weight (oz) 19 24 13.4 20 17.6
Material Weight (oz) 13 20 12.1 11.9 12.4
Fill Power 850 850 900 900 900
EN Comfort Rating NA NA NA NA 29
Neck Baffle Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Pocket No No No No No
Zipper Length Full Full Full Full Full
Shoulder Girth 64 64 58 62 60
Hip Girth unknown 61 52 53 58
Foot Girth 39 48 38 39 38

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review


  • Review Photos
  • Editors' Choice Winners
  • All Reviewed Products
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Kelty Cosmic Down 20
$160
100
0
45
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Sea to Summit Spark Sp II
$359
100
0
60
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Western Mountaineering Ultralite 20
$400
100
0
63
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Western Mountaineering Versalite 10
$480
100
0
67
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Feathered Friends Penguin 20
$439
100
0
69
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
OMM Mountain Raid 40
$241
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Western Mountaineering Summerlite
$315
100
0
56
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Feathered Friends Hummingbird 20
$449
100
0
68
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15
$400
100
0
65
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Marmot Plasma 15
$470
100
0
67
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Western Mountaineering Highlite
$270
100
0
48
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Moutain Hardwear Phantom 32
$290
100
0
57
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Marmot Plasma 30
$440
100
0
63
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Feathered Friends Merlin
$314
100
0
56
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Valandre Bloody Mary
$489
100
0
57
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Sierra Designs Cloud 15
$500
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Big Agnes Bellyache Mountain SL 17
$299
100
0
53
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Mountain Hardwear MTN Speed 32
$400
100
0
55
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Marmot Helium
$439.00
100
0
57
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
North Face Cat's Meow 20
$160
100
0
38
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Sierra Designs Zissou 15
$280
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Marmot Pinnacle
$349.00
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Kelty Light Year XP
$150
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
REI Halo 25
$250
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Nemo Nocturne 15
$400
100
0
55
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
REI Igneo
$330
100
0
49
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Valandre Mirage 20
$440
100
0
52
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Therm-a-Rest Antares
$349
100
0
40
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Marmot Sawtooth
$239
100
0
51
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Rab Neutrino 200
$250
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

The Sleeping Bag: The Most Important Insulating Layer

Your sleeping bag is the most important insulating layer that is carried on any wilderness excursion. Sleeping bags provide a better warmth-to-weight ratio than anything else in your pack. Investing in a quality sleeping bag that is suited to your needs will help you get a more comfortable night's sleep, save weight and space in your pack, and keep you warm when the temperatures start to drop. Sleeping bags are also the bed of choice for car campers, travelers, and couch surfers. This review focuses primarily on sleeping bags intended for backpacking.

We updated our existing Backpacking Sleeping Bag review to include new models and styles, compared them to previous award winners, and we extensively review over 30 bags. Below we describe our product selection and criteria for evaluation, and also identify the best performing bags across this broad category. See the image below to compare the different types of three-season bags.

Click to enlarge
Types of 3-season sleeping bags, left to right: traditional (hood + zipper), hood-less, zipper-less, quilt style, hooded wearable, and wearable quilt. This review primarily compares traditional bags. Other types are found in the Ultralight Bag Review.
Credit: OutdoorGearLab


Choosing the Right Bag

One of the first questions to consider is what type of bag will best fit your needs. We've provided a summary of the major types of bags and their advantages/disadvantages below. For more complete background information about the different options, refer to our buying advice article.

Traditional Style Sleeping Bag
Click to enlarge
This review primarily compares traditional style bags with zippers and hoods. These bags prioritize comfort and versatility. After testing nearly 70 models of all types of bags throughout this and other ongoing reviews, we've found that traditional style bags, like those tested here, are a good choice for people that want one bag for all types of outdoor activities. Bags compared here were chosen to be good candidates for season use; here defined as being ideal in mid-summer, cool mountain environments and capable of stretching the season from spring into fall. We tested traditional models from 15 different manufacturers that weigh between and pounds.

Ultralight Sleeping Bags
Click to enlarge
The average bag in our Ultralight Sleeping Bag Review, which compares hoodless options, weighs only 19 ounces. Models in the ultralight review provide the greatest amount of warmth for the lowest weight. If you're looking for a lightweight bag that will primarily be used for overnight trips where weight is a concern, we encourage you to consider one of the models found in the Ultralight Bag Review. These are more specialized products, and none of these models are currently sold at outdoor stores like REI.

Camping Sleeping Bags
Click to enlarge
A third type is the large and luxurious rectangular style. These bags are too heavy and far too bulky to carry backpacking. These offer much more comfort than any model tested here, and cost as little as forty dollars!! We compare these general-purpose bags in the Camping Sleeping Bag Review. This is the most budget-friendly style of sleeping bag and is preferable if you never go backpacking.

Women's Specific Sleeping Bags
Click to enlarge
Many manufacturers offer sleeping bags which are specifically designed for females. Often these bags will be smaller and shaped differently to more closely match a woman's frame. They also redistribute insulation to different areas, as women are known to sleep colder than men. If you are a woman and are looking for a new sleeping bag, check out the Women's Sleeping Bag Review to learn more about the merits of buying a women's specific bag.

Carefully consider the most common application of your sleeping bag. Some bags we consider to be very versatile in where and when you use them. Others are best suited for very specific conditions and trip objectives. If on a budget, don't skimp on quality, look for a bag that balances warmth, weight, and versatility. If possible, consider a lower priced sleeping bag for car camping/campground camping and a lightweight bag for backpacking/mountaineering.

Insulation Options
An important factor to consider when purchasing a sleeping bag is what type of insulation material it uses to keep you warm. Backpacking sleeping bags are available with down or synthetic insulation. The chosen application of the sleeping bag, the environment and season in which you are travelling, your budget, and your experience level will help to determine which insulation material is best for your new sleeping bag.

Down sleeping bags have a higher warmth-to-weight ratio, are more compressible, and last longer than their synthetic counterparts. For these reasons they are generally a better choice for backpacking. A majority of the sleeping bags tested for this review use down insulation.

There are only synthetic insulation sleeping bags in this review, the Mountain Hardwear UltraLamina 15 and the North Face Cat's Meow 20 - Men's. Synthetic bags retain their insulating properties even when wet. They tend to be heavier and bulkier than their down counterparts, and can be difficult to compare to down bags for that reason. However, they stand out in wet conditions, and if you are in a situation where you need one, you will be happy to have the heavier, bulkier synthetic bag. Synthetic bags are suggested for use in very wet environments and for novices who may not have developed the skills or tricks to keep their gear dry.

Care of The Sleeping Bag
Proper care is essential for prolonging the life of your sleeping bag and maintaining its loft and warmth. Keeping down bags dry is imperative for them to function as an insulating layer at all. See our Best Sleeping Bag Stuff Sack article for suggestions on in-the-field storage options. Storing your sleeping bag at home in a large, breathable storage bag where the down is not fully compressed will maintain loft in the long run. Washing down bags with a very mild soap designed for washing down garments and sleeping bags is important. Western Mountaineering gives good advice here about general care of your down sleeping bag and garments.

Synthetic sleeping bags take less maintenance in the short term. They can get wet and continue to insulate (though warm is a relative term), and are generally less fragile than their lightweight down counterparts. However, the nature of synthetic insulation fibers leads them to deteriorate more quickly than down. It is imperative to compress these bags as little as possible over time. The more the fibers get squeezed and then allowed to expand, the faster they lose their insulative qualities. For this reason, a high quality down sleeping bag is a better investment in the long run. Down bags can be compressed over and over and with a few minutes to stretch, the down will return to its lofty self for years to come. Synthetic bags are less stressful to wash as the insulation tends not to clump when wet, and can be dried easily.

Criteria For Evaluation
We rated each bag on its warmth, weight, packed size, features, and versatility. Our criteria for evaluation is the same for ultralight bags so that you can compare performance across reviews.

Warmth
The amount of loft, measured as the thickness of the insulation between you and the external environment, has the greatest influence on warmth. Fit is the next most important factor in determining warmth. Bags that are too tight or too short won't allow the insulation to loft properly. Similarly, a bag that's too large will have drafty dead air spaces that make the bag thermally inefficient even though it may have enough loft for the conditions. The crux in selecting a fixed girth model is choosing one that best fits your body and the clothing you plan to wear. Some bags tested here, such as the Mountain Hardwear Speed 32 and the Sea to Summit Spark Sp II have slim cuts that can't accommodate lots of clothing or people with broad shoulders. Some bags designed for alpine climbing and mountaineering, such as the Valandre Mirage and Bloody Mary are trim in the lower body and spacious in the upper body to accommodate large down parkas. Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering bags are available in multiple lengths and widths, which is a huge advantage because you can get a bag that fits your body well. Look at the foot, hip, and shoulder circumference to compare dimensions for unisex bags. We've included these measurements in the specification tables found in each review.

Warmth is also heavily influenced by conductive heat loss to the ground. Choosing an appropriate sleeping pad is important, especially in colder conditions or when sleeping on snow. Choosing the right backpacking tent or ultralight shelter for your trip will influence the perceived warmth of a sleeping bag also.

See the buying advice article on how standardized testing has helped (or hurt!) companies decide what temperature rating to give a sleeping bag.

Click to enlarge
Mike gets cozy in the Kelty Cosmic Down sleeping bag and the comfortably roomy REI Half Dome 2 Plus tent.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Weight
Weight is a function of fill material and amount, shell material, and features. In general, heavier bags use either synthetic insulation or low fill-power down (500-700). Many of the highest performance bags tested here use the best possible down (850-900 fill-power) and very lightweight, expensive fabrics. Another important factor that makes one bag lighter than another is its cut, as described above, and its features, or lack thereof.

The 43-ounce Marmot Sawtooth is the heaviest down bag tested here. This is comparable in weight to both of the synthetic sleeping bags tested, the Mountain Hardwear UltraLamina 15 and the North Face Cat's Meow 20 - Men's. Note that we capped the bags in this category at three pounds. Heavier bags which are more comfortable but not suitable for backpacking are found in the Camping Sleeping Bag Review.

At a touch over 16 ounces, the Western Mountaineering Highlite and the Mountain Hardwear Mountain Speed 32 are the lightest down bags we tested. The Sea to Summit Spark Sp II weighs 18 ounces in a size Long and scored better overall than both of those bags. Although a one pound bag is impressive to look at and a pleasure to carry, we've found that adding several more ounces of down greatly increases warmth, which in turn, increases versatility. For lightweight summer backpacking use, where bags around one pound are primarily used, some of our testers prefer a lightweight hoodless bag, like those found in the ultralight sleeping bag review. However, if you prefer a traditional style (zipper, hood etc.) and want to save weight, these bags are excellent for light and fast trips into the mountains where weight and space matter.

Comfort
Comfort inside of a bag is highly subjective and primarily depends on fit. Increasing the size of the bag provides more space to sprawl about and move within a bag. The Feathered Friends Penguin is the most comfortable bag tested because its semi-rectangular shape gives you more space to move about. The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 800 addresses a long term comfort concern for stomach sleepers looking for a three-season sleeping bag by combining attributes of a traditional style mummy bag with the freedom of movement of a quilt, like those found in the Ultralight Sleeping Bag Review.

In addition to space for sprawling and thrashing, our ratings here focus on a bag's features that contribute to or detract from comfort. In this regard we've found that the hood and neck baffle design are most important. Traditional style bags with warm hoods and cushy neck baffles can be the most comfortable, though they tend to be a little heavier.

Insulation type also influences comfort; sleeping in a down bag is like floating on a superlight cloud while zipping into a synthetic bag is less heavenly.

We also thought it was important to consider total comfort throughout the course of a trip, not just when you're inside your sleeping bag at night. A bag that's slightly more comfortable to sleep in may be heavier and bulkier, and therefore less comfortable to carry. If you spend more time carrying the bag than you do inside of it we suggest prioritizing weight and bulk (comfort while in your pack) over comfort while sleeping.

Features
Here we assessed the quality of each bag's features and attempted to quantify how well they contribute to the overall performance of the bag. This variable encompasses shell fabric, zippers, draft tubes, neck baffles, and stash pockets. Traditional bags with snag-free zippers, easy-to-use hood adjustments, and hoods that don't come undone at night scored higher in this category.

In most cases, more features or more complicated features reduce performance. They add weight, complexity, cost, and might fail faster. The potential benefit a given feature has on warmth, comfort, or convenience is rarely offset by its drawbacks. For example, stash pockets on sleeping bags. It can be helpful to keep your watch with an alarm in the pocket, but it can be hard to hear the alarm through the down and if you roll in your sleep, waking up on your watch isn't exactly comfortable. In general, when it comes to features, less is more.

Click to enlarge
The Marmot Plasma 15's luxurious interior. Note the full down collar and the overfilled pillow! These features make the bag slightly more comfortable and add weight. Hoodless bags solve the draft collar problem by cinching at the neck.
Credit: Max Neale

Versatility
Three-season models are meant to be used in a wide range of conditions. They must function on warm summer nights at middle elevations as well as when the temperatures drop below freezing near treeline in the fall. Versatility across environments, elevations, and seasons is an important consideration when assessing a bag's performance and value. Some of the bags tested here, such as the Feathered Friends Hummingbird and Western Mountaineering Alpinlite have continuous horizontal baffles that allow you to shift down from the top to the bottom of the bag, which increases comfort in warm conditions and warmth in cold conditions. The Feathered Friends Rock Wren is a hooded, wearable bag with zippered openings for your arms and feet. Wearable bags eliminate the need to bring a jacket for use around camp- just put the bag on when you start to get cold. The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 800 has no zipper to roll onto and incorporates a quilt that enables you to sleep more like you would with a comforter at home. The quilt is tucked into the bag when temperatures are near the bag's comfort limit, and is left outside the bag for warm nights and sleeping on your stomach.

Click to enlarge
The "quilt" on the Backcountry Bed is sewn at the base of the opening. Here shown out with hand pockets visible on quilt.
Credit: Mike Phillips


Packed Size
Packed size is a function of down fill power, fabrics, and features. Higher quality down, lightweight fabrics, and simple features create the most compressible bags. Of the models compared here, we found the North Face Cat's Meow 20 - Men's to be least compressible and the Sea to Summit Spark to be the most compressible and to fit inside a pack most easily.

Click to enlarge
Sleeping bag size comparison, from left to right: Slumberjack County Squire 20, Wenzel Conquest 30, Kelty Cosmic Down 20, REI Travel Sack 55, and Katabatic Gear Palisade 30.
Credit: Outdoor Gear Lab

Important Accessories
A waterproof stuff sack is critical for keeping your bag dry. Unfortunately, very few bags come with decent quality stuff sacks and many bags come with downright terrible stuff sacks. Thus, we highly recommend purchasing one separately. See our Best Sleeping Bag Stuff Sack article for our recommendations for specific applications.

The right soap is important for the care of down sleeping bags. We recommend ReviveX Down Cleaner to safely clean and restore the loft.

Click to enlarge
A selection of low quality free stuff sacks and very high quality optional stuff sacks. Investing in a good stuff sack can keep a sleeping bag drier, help it last longer, and reduce weight.
Credit: Max Neale

Editors' Choice Winner: Western Mountaineering Alpinlite
Click to enlarge
The Alpinlite (red) and Ultralite (blue) in a side by side comparison.
Credit: Mike Phillips

Western Mountaineering is a small, California-based company that manufactures high quality down sleeping bags and garments. The pound Western Mountaineering Alpinlite is a slightly wider version of the popular Western Mountaineering Ultralite. Where the slim cut Ultralite lacks in comfort and versatility, the Alpinlite takes over. The more spacious Alpinlite is better suited for restless sleepers, for broader shoulders and for those who want a little more luxurious comfort. The wider cut can also accommodate more upper-body clothing layers for if you plan use this bag in colder conditions later into the fall. As with all Western Mountaineering sleeping bags, you can choose from a few different lengths.


Top Pick for Comfort and Stomach Sleepers: Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 800
Click to enlarge
The Backcountry Bed all tucked in for cool night time temperatures.
Credit: Mike Phillips

The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 800 is an innovative take on a traditional three-season backpacking sleeping bag. Think of it as a hybrid of a traditional mummy style sleeping bag, an ultra-light quilt-style bag, and the comforter on your bed at home. It features a "Bed-Style" quilt instead of a zipper, which allows the sleeper to shift, squirm, and roll their way into the perfect night's sleep. While not necessarily suited for more extreme environments, the Backcountry Bed is a good fit for individuals who prioritize comfort over super low weight and versatility. The Backcountry Bed is available in two and three season options, and space conscious backpackers can choose between the 600 fill and 800 fill down versions.


Top Pick for Synthetic Insulation: Mountain Hardwear UltraLamina 15
Click to enlarge
Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 15
Credit: Max Neale

Extended trips in wet climates, big wall climbers, and NOLS and Outward Bound students can't beat the warm-when-wet performance of the Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 15. This bag was updated for 2013, and now weighs 41.7 ounces, and is available in 45, 15, and 0 degree models. It keeps its loft even when you or the bag is soaking wet, and offers several features that set it apart from the synthetic competition: a small hood opening and full neck baffle to seal in warm air. Unique laminated construction saves weight and increases warmth and weather resistance. Our testers have spent months inside the UltraLamina in Patagonia. There's no other bag we'd rather have when everything else is wet and miserable.


Top Pick for Light and Fast Backpacking and Mountaineering: Sea to Summit Spark Sp II
Click to enlarge
The Spark SpII in the lightweight Black Diamond Betalight shelter on a trans-Sierra backpacking tent.
Credit: Mike Phillips

If you're on a trip where weight and space are your number one priority, a one pound sleeping bag slips easily into the corner of your pack and won't remind you its there until you crawl in for a well-deserved, good night's sleep. The Sea to Summit Spark Sp II is a high quality, super-lightweight, traditional mummy-style sleeping bag. It is smartly styled with lightweight fabrics, 850+ Ultra Dry Down, and minimal extra features to keep the weight low. Our testers used this bag mid-summer, on week-long backpacking trips and quick climbing jaunts in the High Sierra at elevations up to 12,000' and were satisfied every time.


Best Buy Award: Kelty Cosmic Down 20
Click to enlarge
The Cosmic Down 20 layed out for a warm summer night's sleep under the stars beneath Mt. Whitney.
Credit: Mike Phillips

The affordable, yet reasonably lightweight and compressible Kelty Cosmic Down 20 takes our Best Buy Award. Cold sleepers and backpackers who frequently extend their three-season trips into lower temperatures will want something warmer, but everyone else on a budget should pick up the Cosmic Down 20 and pocket the several hundred dollar savings. This bag is far more durable and compressible than its similarly priced synthetic insulated counterparts. It offers beginning or budget conscious backpackers an exceptional value. If you are backpacking in warm summer conditions and want to shave a few more ounces, check out the Kelty Cosmic Down 40.

Mike Phillips and Max Neale
Buying Advice
How we Test
Helpful Buying Tips
How to Choose the Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag - Click for details
 How to Choose the Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag

by Chris McNamara and Max Neale
Get More OutdoorGearLab
Follow us on Twitter, be a fan on Facebook!
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Recent Editor's Award Winners