The Best Women's Sleeping Bag Review

What is the best sleeping bag for female adventurers? We tested seven of the most popular women's sleeping bags on the market to answer that question. All of the bags we evaluated are summer weight "mummy" style sleeping bags meant to keep you warm in a variety of situations from sleeping on the beach to backpacking in the high alpine. We tested and compared these bags on how they perform in terms of weight, warmth, comfort, packed size, features, and versatility to determine what the best bag is to keep you warm and cozy on all types of adventures.

These bags were tested over the summer and were dragged, stuffed, slept in, zipped and unzipped on all kinds of adventures from climbing Mount Whitney and backpacking in the High Sierra to car camping and desert rock climbing. Check out our How We Test article for more about our testing process. We discovered some great new lightweight technology for backpacking, some good car camping and sleep-over caliber sleeping bags, and great all-around sleeping bags for beginner backpackers.

For more information on how to choose the best women's specific sleeping bag, have a look at our How to Choose a Women's Sleeping Bag article. If you are looking for a wider variety of unisex sleeping bags for specific activities check out our The Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag Review and The Best Camping Sleeping Bag Review. We also have a Women's Backpack Review

Read the full review below >

Review by: ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab

Top Ranked Sleeping Bags - Women's Displaying 1 - 5 of 7 << 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
Video video review
REI Joule
REI Joule
Read the Review
Mountain Hardwear Ultralaminina 32
Mountain Hardwear Ultralaminina 32
Read the Review
Video video review
The North Face Cat's Meow 20 - Women's
The North Face Cat's Meow 20 - Women's
Read the Review
Video video review
Kelty Cosmic Down 20 - Women's
Kelty Cosmic Down 20 - Women's
Read the Review
Editors' Awards  Editors' Choice Award    Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award   
Street Price $420$319
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$240
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Varies $169 - $188
Compare at 2 sellers
$170
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100% recommend it (2/2)
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1 rating
Pros Lightweight, packs small, warm, comfortable, ethically harvested, high fill power downLightweight, high quality materials, warmLightweight and compressible for a synthetic bag, comfortable, warmWarm, inexpensive, durableInexpensive for a down bag, 2 diameters of drawcords on chin and hood
Cons Expensive, awkward drawcordsUncomfortable fit, neck baffle ineffectiveLarger pack size, small zipper won’t mate with other bagsBulky, heavy, tiny stow pocketHeavy, less compressible and less warm than competitors
Best Uses Backpacking, mountaineeringBackpacking and car campingBackpacking, big wall climbing, extended wet weather tripsCar camping, short backpacks, big wall climbingCar Camping, backpacking, child’s sleepovers
Date Reviewed Nov 01, 2013Nov 01, 2013Nov 01, 2013Nov 01, 2013Nov 01, 2013
Weighted Scores Rab Neutrino 400 - Women's REI Joule Mountain Hardwear Ultralaminina 32 The North Face Cat's Meow 20 - Women's Kelty Cosmic Down 20 - Women's
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 Mountain Hardwear Ultralaminina 32 The North Face Cat's Meow 20 - Women's Kelty Cosmic Down 20 - Women's
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 Extra insulation for women's comfort rating, shorter length and smaller shoulder girth Womens shape, extra insulation in hood and foot box Smaller
Total Weight (oz) 28 32.6 38.6 39 39.7
Total Weight (lb.) 1lb 12oz 2lbs 0.6 oz 2lbs 6.6 oz 2lbs 7oz 2lbs 7.7 oz
Fill type 800 Fill Hydrophobic Goose Down 800 Fill Goose Down Thermal Q Climasheild prism continuous filament 550 Fill Duck Down
Fill Weight (oz) 14.1oz 18.1 30oz 25oz 21oz
Material type Pertex® Quantum Polyester mini ripstop 20D Nylon Taffeta Firestorm; taffeta 50D Polyester Taffeta
EN Comfort Rating 27F/-3C 22F/-6C 32F/0C 34F/1C 32F/0C
Neck Baffle Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Pocket Yes - inside Yes - outside no Yes - inside no
Zipper Length 62" 62" 50" 59" 54"
Shoulder Girth 60 58 56 56 62
Hip Girth 55 58 56 60 51
Foot Girth 36 34 36 40 38

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review


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Why Choose a Women's Specific Sleeping 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 us stay warm and get rested for a big day in the mountains - we should take these differences seriously. We want to find the most suitable product for us, which means most likely choosing a women's specific bag.

It turns out that a women's specific sleeping 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 their male counterparts, and 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 their 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 us warmer and more comfortable.

Unfortunately, possibly because of the extra insulation, the women's bags we tested are not any lighter. In fact, most of the bags are exactly the same weight as their male counterparts. Even our Editor's Choice, 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. 

Research has shown that women typically sleep "colder" than men, meaning we need smaller and warmer sleeping bags. Check out our How to Choose a Women's Sleeping Bag for more details on how our bodies are different from men. Many manufacturers in this review have taken these differences into consideration when creating their women's specific sleeping 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!

Choosing the Right Sleeping Bag for You
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The Kelty Cosmic Down is the least expensive down bag we tested, which makes it a good value for a budget conscious lady looking to purchase their first mummy style down bag for a short backpacking trip.
Credit: Ian McEleney
There are hundreds, if not thousands of sleeping 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 sleeping bags for different activities over several years. The sleeping bags in this review are women's specific, 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: How to Choose the Best Sleeping Bag.

Criteria for Evaluation
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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The Ultralaminina and the Cat's Meow cozying up in a Black Diamond Skylight tent.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Warmth
All the bags in this review except the Slumberjack Latitude have been EN tested for their warmth rating, which is a good rule of thumb for deciding in what season to use the sleeping 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. Instead, we compared these bags side by side in similar conditions to determine what we thought were the warmest of these summer weight bags.

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Watching the approaching storm in a Betamid from the comfort and warmth of the 800 fill down REI Joule.
Credit: Jessica Haist

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 REI Joule, 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 sleeping bags in the review. The North Face Cat's Meow 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.

Many manufacturers are being more strategic about where they are placing their insulation – especially for women's specific sleeping 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 Mountain Hardwear Ultralaminina and the REI Joule both have more insulation than their unisex counterparts. The Trestles and Cat's Meow both have extra insulation in the hood and foot box areas specifically.

Weight
As we've already noted, women are typically smaller than men. We also have on average 50% less brute strength and 30% less lung capacity than men, so we need all the advantages we can get when it comes to reducing pack weight on a long overnight trek. Why would we want a heavy, bulky sleeping bag to haul around? No backpacker wants to add extra weight to their pack; we all want to have a bag that will have the greatest weight-to-warmth ratio. The weight of a sleeping bag is a result of its fill, shell materials, and features. Synthetic insulation is typically heavier, as is down insulation with a lower down-fill power, like the 550 fill duck down found in the Kelty Cosmic Down. 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. 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 sleeping 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 sleeping bag around much (except in your car) consider getting something that is heavier, less expensive, and has a few more features, like the Marmot Trestles 30 - Women's with its synthetic fill and two zippers for easy opening or the Kelty Cosmic Down 20 - Women's.

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

Comfort
The most important factors affecting comfort in these bags are the size, shape, and shell materials. Through many nights evaluating sleeping bags, we have found that comfort has 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 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. 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.

Shell and liner materials are also an important factor for comfort. We prefer the soft, silky material of the Ultralaminina and the Neutrino next to our skin, while the Latitude has the most rough and unappealing material.

Packed Size
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The bags compressed in their included stuff sacks. From L to R: Rab Neutrino, MHW Ultralaminina, Marmot Trestles, Kelty Cosmic Down, REI Joule, TNF Cat's Meow, and Slumberjack Latitude.
Credit: Jessica Haist

When it comes to your sleeping 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 Slumberjack Latitude has the largest. All of the sleeping bags in this review come with some type of stuff sack, but they are not all compression sacks. When you get a new sleeping bag, consider purchasing a separate stuff sack that is waterproof and can compress your bag to the smallest size possible. Check our The Best Sleeping Bag Stuff Sacks article to find the one that works with your bag.

Features
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Jessica Haist in the Slumberjack Latitude testing its draw chord features, which are different for the hood and the neck.
Credit: Ian McEleney

In this category, we evaluated shell material, zippers, pockets, baffles, drawstrings, 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 Ultralaminina's features because they are all designed with weight savings in mind. Its soft, lightweight fabric and small-toothed zipper 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 Latitude 20 - Women's and Cat's Meow, this makes it possible to differentiate between them in the dark, and make adjustments accordingly. We think that the Marmot Trestles's extra zipper and large stow pocket are unnecessary and make the bag heavier.

Versatility
All of these sleeping bags are made for summer use and are women specific. This, in nad of itself, limits how versatile these sleeping bags can be. We evaluated these sleeping 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 Latitude 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 the most versatile. The Ultralaminina 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.

Editors Choice: Rab Neutrino 400
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The Rab Neutrino 400 was the highest quality bag with the greatest warmth to weight ratio we tested. Filed with 800 fill hydrophobic down, it kept us warm and comfortable on frosty mornings in Yosemite Valley.
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 sleeping bag that can be used on cool spring and fall trips.

Top Pick: Mountain Hardwear Ultralaminina 32
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The Mountain Hardwear Ultralaminina, the lightest synthetic sleeping bag we tested, out for a backpacking trip on the John Muir Trail.
Credit: Jessica Haist
The Mountain Hardwear Ultralaminina 32 is our favorite synthetic bag we tested. Mountain Hardwear paid attention to detail with this bag by doing everything they could to lighten it up and make it backpack ready. It is the lightest synthetic bag in this review, and was even lighter than Kelty's Cosmic Down sleeping bag. We found it very warm and comfortable – making it a great candidate for backpacking trips when there is extended wet weather in the forecast and you want to stay warm when there's the potential for getting wet. Its liner fabric is soft to the touch and the hood and chin draw chords are easy to use in the dark. For those big wall climbing ladies out there, this bag is a great choice.

Best Buy: 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 sleeping 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 warm and cozy sleeping bag. We think that the fit of this bag is just right, and it has all the features, such as a decently light weight and smallish packed sized, that we 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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