The Best Women's Sleeping Bag Review

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We tested these women's bags in the backcountry on many different trips to find the warmest, most comfortable, and lightest bags for backpacking. Here the Big Agnes Roxy Ann is laying out in the sun to dry after a dewy night. This bag's dry down held up well.
Credit: Jessica Haist
What is the best sleeping bag for female adventurers? We tested ten of the most popular women's bags on the market to answer that question. All models we evaluated are summer weight mummy style bags meant to keep you warm in a variety of situations from sleeping on the beach to backpacking in the high alpine. We tested these bags over several summers on backpacking trips of different lengths and focus. We compared them on how they perform in terms of weight, warmth, comfort, packed size, features, and versatility to determine which is the best to keep you warm and cozy on any type of trip.

For more information on how to choose the best women's specific bag, have a look at our Buying Advice article. If you are looking for a wider variety of options for specific activities, check out our unisex Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Review and Best Camping Bag Review. To complement your sleeping bag, make sure and look through our Women's Sleeping Pad Review and the Women's Backpack Review.

Read the full review below >

Review by: ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab

Top Ranked Sleeping Bags - Women's

Displaying 1 - 5 of 10 << Previous | View All | Next >>
Our Ranking #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Product Name
Rab Neutrino 400 - Women's
Rab Neutrino 400 - Women's
Read the Review
REI Joule
REI Joule
Read the Review
Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 800 - Women's
Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 800 - Women's
Read the Review
The North Face Cat's Meow 20 - Women's
The North Face Cat's Meow 20 - Women's
Read the Review
Big Agnes Roxy Ann 15
Big Agnes Roxy Ann 15
Read the Review
Editors' Awards  Editors' Choice Award    Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award   
Street Price $375
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$319
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Varies $403 - $540
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Varies $189 - $206
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Varies $216 - $280
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User Rating Be the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate it
Pros Lightweight, packs small, warm, comfortable, ethically harvested, high fill power down, hydrophobic downLightweight, high quality materials, warmComfortable, versatile, good for stomach sleepersWarm, inexpensive, durableComfortable, good features
Cons Expensive, awkward drawcordsUncomfortable fit, neck baffle ineffectiveCons: Heavy for a down bag, bulky, expensiveBulky, heavy, tiny stow pocketHeavy, bulky, not warm enough for 15F
Best Uses Backpacking, mountaineeringBackpacking and car campingBackpacking, campingCar camping, short backpacks, big wall climbingShort backpacking trips, camping
Date Reviewed Aug 04, 2015Aug 04, 2015Aug 04, 2015Aug 04, 2015Aug 04, 2015
Weighted Scores Rab Neutrino 400 - Women's REI Joule Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 800 - Women's The North Face Cat's Meow 20 - Women's Big Agnes Roxy Ann 15
Warmth - 30%
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Weight - 20%
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Comfort - 10%
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Packed Size - 15%
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Features - 15%
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Versatility - 10%
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Product Specs Rab Neutrino 400 - Women's REI Joule Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 800 - Women's The North Face Cat's Meow 20 - Women's Big Agnes Roxy Ann 15
EN Comfort Rating 27F/-3C 22F/-6C 25F/-4C 34F/1C (Not EN Rated) 15F (not EN Rated)
Women's Specific Features More insulation per square inch, womens specific cut cut to match a woman's shape, and provide extra insulation for enhanced warmth 4oz more down than men's Womens shape, extra insulation in hood and foot box, hand warmer pocket 1oz more down fill
Total Weight (oz) 28 32.6 41.4 39 (Size Regular) 46.7
Total Weight (lb.) 1lb 12oz 2lbs 0.6 oz 2lb 9.4 oz 2lbs 7oz 2lb 14.7oz
Fill type Hydrophobic Goose Down Duck Down Hydrophobic Duck Down Synthetic - Climasheild prism continuous filament Down Tek
Fill Power 800 700 800 N/A 650
Fill Weight (oz) 14.1oz 18.1oz 24oz 25oz 17oz
Material Pertex® Quantum Polyester mini ripstop 30D Polyester Ripstop Firestormâ˘; taffeta Ripstop nylon
Neck Baffle Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Pocket Yes - inside Yes - outside No Yes - inside Yes - outside
Sleeping Pad Sleeve no no yes no yes
Zipper Length 62" 62" No Zipper 59" 69"
Shoulder Girth (inches) 60 58 58 56 63
Hip Girth (inches) 55 58 58 60 63.5
Foot Girth (inches) 36 34 40 40 50

  • Review Photos
  • Editors' Choice Winners

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review



Why Choose a Women's Specific Bag?


It may seem obvious, but physiologically women are not the same as men. So when it comes to choosing something as important as a sleeping bag that will help you stay warm and get rested for a big day in the mountains, these differences should be taken seriously. Everyone wants to find the most suitable product for them, and for most women that will most likely mean choosing a women's specific bag.

It turns out that a women's specific bag really can be more bang for your buck. Almost all of the bags we tested in this review have at least the same amount of insulation, if not more, than the corresponding men's models, but the volume of the bags are smaller, so they have more fill per square inch. Typical women's specific bags are made to fit a woman who is about 5'6", while a men's regular is made to fit a 6 foot to 6'2" man. Women are shaped differently than men, so manufacturers also cut their bags differently for women's models. We have discovered that although manufacturers make the hip girths slightly larger (an average of 2 inches wider), the shoulder girths are much smaller (an average of 2-6 inches less), creating smaller volume bags all around. This results in bags that fit females better, have more insulation, and will ultimately keep its occupant warmer and more comfortable.

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We tested these women's bags in the backcountry on many different trips to find the warmest, most comfortable, and lightest bags for backpacking. Here the Big Agnes Roxy Ann is laying out in the sun to dry after a dewy night. This bag's dry down held up well.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Unfortunately, possibly because of the extra insulation, the women's bags we tested are not any lighter than the men's versions. In fact, most of the bags are exactly the same weight as corresponding men's bags. Even our Editors' Choice winner, the women's Rab Neutrino 400, is only 0.2 oz lighter than the men's. So, unfortunately, weight savings is not a benefit of getting a women's bag like it is with women's sleeping pads.

Research has shown that women typically sleep colder than men, meaning we need smaller and warmer bags. Check out our Buying Advice Article for more details on how women's sleeping needs are different from men's. Many manufacturers have taken these differences into consideration when creating their women's specific bags, but some have not. There is an unfortunate phenomenon we call "shrink it and pink it" that happens with some women's gear, which is when the manufacturer has not put any real thought into how to make a product work better for a woman. So who has really done their research and created a great women's bag and who has not? Read on to find out!

Selecting the Right Bag For You


There are hundreds, if not thousands, of bags on the market, and all are made for different purposes and sold at different price points. OutdoorGearLab has tested almost a hundred of these bags for different activities over several years. The bags in this review are women's specific, typically mummy style, and predominantly for backpacking and/or car camping. If you're not sure this is what you are looking for, start by reading this very detailed buying advice article.

Some things to consider while checking out the bags we tested are:

Activity


Are you going to be carrying this bag on your back for many days in a row, or will you be throwing it in your boat or car? The weight of your bag is an important factor when choosing a backpacking sleeping bag, but not so much for activities where you're not carrying it.

Insulation Type


Down or Synthetic? The age old question. Down insulation is typically lighter, more durable, and more compressible, but will lose its loft, and therefore a significant amount of its warmth, when it gets wet. Synthetic insulation tries to solve the problem of wet down, and maintains its loft when wet. It is typically heavier, less durable, and bulkier than down insulation, but usually significantly less expensive. Hydrophobic down has been treated with a waterproofing treatment that tries to create the perfect solution to all insulation's problems. Each manufacturer has its own proprietary version of hydrophobic down treatment. The insulation is still down, so it is light and compressible, but supposedly it is more resilient to moisture and helps the down maintain its loft longer. The verdict is still out on this technology, but more and more companies are using it in their products.

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The North Face Cat's Meow (left) and the Rab Neutrino nestled in for a night in a "Weather port". A synthetic bag like the Cat's Meow is a good option for someone (like our tester's sister) who is allergic to down.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Sleeping Systems


Some manufacturers are moving towards bags with no insulation on the back-side of bags and sleeves for sleeping pads to slot in. The thought behind this is that when a sleeping bag is laid on, the loft of the insulation is being compressed and is therefore ineffective. By removing the insulation along the backside, the weight is reduced, and you are meant to be insulated from the ground by your sleeping pad. Big Agnes and Sierra Designs both have products like this in this review.

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The Sierra Designs Women's Backcountry Bed 800 (left) has more room for your arms to move around whereas the Kelty Ignite is a more traditional mummy shape. Like unisex bags, Women's bags come in many styles and configurations.
Credit: Carolyn Blessing

Criteria for Evaluation


These bags were tested over multiple summers and were dragged, stuffed, zipped, unzipped, and slept in on all kinds of adventures, from climbing Mount Whitney and backpacking in the High Sierra to car camping and desert rock climbing. We discovered some new lightweight technology for backpacking, some good car camping and sleep-over caliber bags, and great all-around bags for beginner backpackers. We rated each bag on its warmth, weight, packed size, features, and versatility, with a major focus on warmth, weight, and the women's specific features because those details are what differentiates these bags from unisex bags.

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From left to right: Boundary, Celesta, Ignite, Roxy Ann, Backcountry Bed.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Warmth


Many of the bags in this review except the Slumberjack Boundary, Big Agnes Roxy Ann and the NEMO Celesta 25 have been EN tested for their warmth rating, which is a good rule of thumb for deciding in what season to use the bag – you wouldn't use a 32˚F bag when you are winter camping in Alaska, for instance – but generally these guidelines are not worth much when comparing 32˚F bags amongst themselves. So whether or not the bag was EN rated was not a huge factor in determining its actual warmth in our test. Instead, we compared these bags side-by-side in similar conditions to determine what we thought were the warmest of these summer weight bags.

Things to consider when evaluating the warmth of a bag are the loft and fit, along with where the insulation is located. We found down bags with a higher fill power like the Rab Neutrino 400, which uses 800 fill goose down, to be the warmest. Fit is also important because if your bag is too large for you, it can be drafty, and there is more dead air that your body will need to work to warm up. We found that the Marmot Trestles feels very large and has a lot of extra space, and consequently it is one of the least warm bags in the review. The Nemo Celesta and the Roxy Ann are also both very roomy, and therefore have a lot of dead space to heat up. The North Face Cat's Meow 20 - Women's bag fit just right, with enough wiggle room to wear a few extra layers when it gets below freezing, but no extra room for cold air. We also like the Cat's Meow's cozy baffles that stop air from getting in along the zipper and around the neck.

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We tested the Roxy Ann 15 in some extreme weather conditions and pushed it to its maximum comfort level in the cold and were a bit disappointed in how it performed.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Many manufacturers are being more strategic about where they are placing their insulation – especially for women's specific bags. As women are known to sleep colder, manufacturers are putting extra insulation into their women's bags, and often they put it into the foot box for ladies' icicle feet. The Rab Neutrino 400 - Women's and the REI Joule both have more insulation than their unisex counterparts. The Marmot Trestles 30 - Women's and Cat's Meow both have extra insulation in the hood and foot box areas specifically. We think the Joule is overall the warmest model in this review.

Weight


As we've already noted, women are typically smaller than men. Women also have on average 50% less brute strength and 30% less lung capacity than men, so all advantages are welcome when it comes to reducing pack weight on a long overnight trek. Why would we want a heavy, bulky bag to haul around? No backpacker wants to add extra weight to her pack; we all want to have a bag that will have the greatest weight-to-warmth ratio. The weight of a bag is a sum of its fill, shell materials, and features. Synthetic insulation is typically heavier, as is down insulation with a lower fill power, like the 600 fill duck down found in the Kelty Ignite. Having a lighter weight shell material will obviously lighten up your bag – but these light materials are often much less durable than a heavier shell material. We have discovered that bags with sleeping pad sleeves, like the Roxy Ann, tend to be heavier, even without insulation on the back because this material is usually heavier in general. The more features your bag has, such as zippers and pockets, the heavier your bag will be - so you need to decide if you really want that extra stash pocket.

The Rab Neutrino is by far the lightest bag in this review, at 28 oz, which is a result of its high down fill power (800), its lightweight shell material, and simple list of features. If you're not planning on carrying your bag around much (except in your car) consider getting something that is heavier, less expensive, and has a few more comfort features, like the Marmot Trestles 30 - Women's with its synthetic fill and two zippers for easy opening, or the NEMO Celesta 25 with its unique spoon shape and extra features.

If you are looking for a particularly lightweight bag, check out the options we have reviewed in our Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag Review.

Comfort


When you're working hard during the day you want to sleep well at night. The most important factors affecting comfort in these bags are the size, shape, and shell materials. We've noticed that more recently manufacturers have been going to great lengths to figure out how to make the traditional mummy bag more comfortable. Through many nights evaluating bags, we have found that comfort is a direct correlation with the shape and size of the bag. The more comfortable bags are usually the more roomy ones – which means they're not necessarily as warm since they leave room for extra cold air. The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 800 - Women's has a truly innovative bed-style design, and is the most comfortable bag we tested. The Trestles is quite comfortable, with lots of room to move around in the bag and two zippers that allow for your arms to come out of the bag easily. Both the Celesta and the Big Agnes Roxy Ann 15 have added room for sleepers to move around, bend their legs, and sleep on their sides. The Joule is the warmest bag we tested, and has adequate room for our shoulders, but it is tight around the legs, which causes some discomfort. You need to decide what's more important: having a comfortable bag that is not necessarily the warmest, or having a warm bag that may feel a little more restrictive.

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The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed is so comfortable we didn't want to get out of it in the mornings when backpacking.
Credit: Jen Reynolds

Shell and liner materials are also an important factor for comfort. We prefer the soft, silky material of the Big Agnes Roxy Ann and the Rab Neutrino next to our skin, while the Slumberjack Boundary has the most rough and unappealing material.

Packed Size


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The Women's sleeping bags in their included stuff sacks. From left to right: Celesta, Boundary, Roxy Ann, Ignite and Backcountry Bed 800.
Credit: Jessica Haist

When it comes to your bag, size does matter. If you will be carrying your bag on your back for multiple days, you want it to become as small as possible so your pack can remain as small as possible too. Down fill is much more compressible than synthetic insulation, and thus the down-filled Rab Neutrino has the smallest packed size while the synthetic NEMO Celesta has the largest. All of the products in this review come with some type of stuff sack, but they are not all compression sacks. When you get a new bag, consider purchasing a separate stuff sack that is waterproof and can compress your bag to the smallest size possible. Check out our Best Sleeping Bag Stuff Sacks article to find one that works with your bag.

Another packing strategy is packing your sleeping bag in your pack without a stuff sack, instead stuffing it into your bag around other items that are less compressible. This way the bag fills all the empty spaces created and becomes the "mortar" to all the "brick" items in your bag.

Features


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The Big Agnes Roxy Ann has a lot of great features including its small stash pocket.
Credit: Jessica Haist

In this category, we evaluated shell material, zippers, pockets, baffles, drawstrings, sleeping pad sleeves, and any other added features these bags may have. We also noted what features were necessary and useful in comparison to features that were unnecessary and made the bags heavier and more cumbersome. We like the Neutrino 400's streamlined features because they are all designed with weight savings in mind. Its soft lightweight fabric, small stow pocket, and high quality 800 fill down with no other bells and whistles makes this our favorite simple-featured bag. We also like bags with two different types of draw cords for the baffles around the chin and forehead, like on the Slumberjack Boundary 20 - Women's and Cat's Meow. This makes it possible to differentiate between them in the dark, and make adjustments accordingly. The Celesta has a pillow sleeve that you can stuff your extra clothing in to create a simple pillow, and we think this is a clever idea. We think that the Marmot Trestles's extra zipper and large stow pocket are unnecessary and make the bag heavier, as does the Roxy Ann's large, bulky sleeping pad sleeve.

We like it when the bags come with both large storage bags and compression sacks. It is very important to store your bag fully lofted, not compressed, to maintain its integrity over time.

Versatility


All of the sleeping bags in this test are made for summer use and are women's specific. This, in and of itself, limits how versatile these sleeping bags can be. We evaluated these bags for versatility based on their warmth (to see if they could be used over more than one season) and how many different situations they could be used in. The heavier synthetic bags like the Trestles and Boundary are better choices for car camping and are less versatile. The Neutrino 400 and the Joule are the warmest bags in this review, and when paired with a high R-Value sleeping pad (read The Best Sleeping Pad for Women Review) could be stretched to 3-season use, therefore making them some of the the most versatile. The Cat's Meow is the lightest of the synthetic bags, and is a decent choice to bring on a backpacking trip if there is the possibility of extended wet conditions. Other things to consider for versatility are if the bag has hydrophobic treated down – this makes the down insulation more resilient in damp conditions; and if the bag can be mated with another bag for sleeping with a partner. Some of the bags have very cheap or different diameter zippers and can not be mated with another bag. We think the Sierra Designs Women's Backcountry Bed 800 is very versatile because of its unique quilt design that allows you to moderate your temperature easily and enables you to sleep in any position, from side to stomach, easily.

Editors' Choice Award: Rab Neutrino 400


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Waking up in the Utah desert after another long night of testing. The Rab Neutrino kept our testers warm on chilly desert nights. We like the soft liner, shell materials, and high quality down.
Credit: Ian McEleney
We found the Rab Neutrino 400 - Women's to be the highest quality bag with the greatest warmth-to-weight ratio in this review. We stayed warm and comfortable in this bag, plus it weighs in at only 28 oz and packs to the smallest size, making this the bag we would choose to carry around the backcountry for multi-day trips. The Neutrino has a very streamlined design to keep it light, but also comes with a comfy hood system and small interior stash pocket. The newly redesigned version of this bag is hand filled with ethically harvested 800 fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down, which allows the bag to retain its loft longer in damp conditions. Pair this bag with a high R-value sleeping pad and you have a versatile bag that can be used on cool spring and fall trips.

Top Pick Award for Comfort: Sierra Designs Women's Backcountry Bed 800


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The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed wins our top pick award for comfort because of its unique, versatile quilt design.
Credit: Jessica Haist
Sierra Designs has broken the traditional mummy bag mold with its innovative Backcountry Bed design. We tested the Women's 800 version and were pleasantly surprised with it after getting over our initial skepticism. The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 800 - Women's has an integrated half quilt built into this zipper-less bag that easily tucks into the opening for added warmth. You can also pull the quilt entirely out for easy venting and stomach sleeping. We think that this quilt design makes this bag versatile and cozy. It is the closest thing to sleeping in a bed with a comforter that you can get in a mummy style sleeping bag. The quilt has built in hand/arm pockets that you can tuck your hands into if sleeping with them outside of the bag, or you can use them to pull the corners into the opening for a close warm fit. We think that sleeping in the Backcountry Bed is slightly womb-like as you are wrapped up in its cradling embrace. The 800 version is on the expensive side, but a good investment if you feel claustrophobic in a traditional mummy bag and are looking for something you can sleep on your stomach in.

Best Buy Award: The North Face Women's Cat's Meow


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The North Face Women's Cat's Meow bag has extra insulation in the foot box and hood to keep ladies' icicle feet toasty and prevent heat from escaping the head.
Credit: Ian McEleney
The North Face has been making this tried and true workhorse of a synthetic bag for a long time, and it just keeps coming back as a favorite. $189 is a great value for the The North Face Cat's Meow 20 - Women's, a warm and cozy sleeping bag. We think that the fit of this bag is just right, and has great features, such as a decently light weight and smallish packed sized. It has all that you will need for a car camping or short backpacking adventure. Although it is not the least expensive bag in the review, we think it is the best quality for the money, and is a great starter bag for someone who wants to get outdoors on any type of adventure. This bag is versatile enough for you to start using in late spring and go until early fall, when paired with a good sleeping pad.

Click here to see a list of all of our favorite camping gear: Dream Camping Gear List.

Jessica Haist
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