Are you tired of lugging around a huge sleeping bag that's big enough for someone twice your size and looking for a women's specific model? After researching the market, we tested the 13 most promising options to find out which ones were the best. We used them over several years and in a variety of locales, from beach campouts to alpine backpacking trips. Then we rated them on some essential features, like their warmth and packed size, and if they really had women's specific features or were merely a slightly smaller (and pink!) version of the men's options. Keep reading below to see which ones were our favorites, and we have some great recommendations for overall performance, those on a budget, or for those who like to sleep on their sides or stomachs and can never seem to get a good night's rest in a sleeping bag.
Best Sleeping Bags for Women
Analysis and Award Winners
Since we know you're getting your gear ready for some summer camping and hiking trips, we've updated our review to make sure it's ready for you too! Our Top Pick for Comfort, the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed, has received some updates, which we detail below. We added in a few new models as well and found some great options for those who like to sleep on their sides or want to spend less than $100 on their sleeping bags.
Best Overall Women's Sleeping Bag
Rab Neutrino 400 - Women's
Usually, we're not happy with the "shrink it and pink it" design ethos that tends to permeate women's specific models in the outdoor industry, but Rab nailed it with the Neutrino 400. Weighing in at only 28 ounces, it is 7 ounces lighter than its closest competitor, the REI Joule 21. Rab made this one slightly narrower and around 6 inches shorter than the men's version but kept the same amount of down fill, keeping us toasty warm even when the temps dipped below freezing. It also has the smallest packed size and comes with a useful stuff sack, making this the best option for multi-day backcountry trips. The Neutrino has a comfy hood system and a small interior stash pocket for all your little gadgets. Its 800-fill power down is ethically harvested and has a Nikwax treatment, which helps it retain its loft longer in damp conditions.
While this is the highest quality bag with the best warmth-to-weight ratio that we tested, its comfort rating is only 27F. If you need something for consistently colder temps for early or late season trips, check out the REI Joule 21 or the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed. While we thought it was comfortable for a mummy bag, it is still a slim design, so if that is too constricting for you, check out the Nemo Rave 15. Otherwise, the Rab Neutrino 400 is tough to beat for its weight and packed size.
Read review: Rab Neutrino 400 - Women's
Top Pick for Ultimate Comfort
Sierra Designs Cloud 800 - Women's
After a long day in the hills, what's better than a Backcountry Bed? A Cloud of course. Sierra Designs outdid themselves with their new Cloud 800. It surpasses the Backcountry Bed, our previous Top Pick for Comfort, and weighs 11.6 ounces less. It also compresses much more readily, packing down even smaller than its stuff sack requires. And all of this is just the silver lining. The Cloud's real bragging right is its supreme comfort. The lack of zippers ensures that you only encounter fluffy down wrapped in smooth ripstop. You can leave the integrated comforter open on warm nights and stick your feet out of the self-sealing foot vent. When it cools off, you can just wrap the warmth back up and tuck in your feet back in. The freedom of movement and choice of sleeping positions makes you forget the term "bag" altogether.
While warm, the Cloud isn't our first choice for below freezing temps. Particularly because the integrated quilt can untuck if you are a restless sleeper or don't take the time to properly origami it into place. The integrated pad sleeve can also reduce warmth. While in use, it stretches the back to the full width of the pad, moving all that cozy down away from your body. We opt out and use it like a traditional sleeping bag. If you follow suit, it's hard to have a bad night's sleep when you're wrapped up in this Cloud.
Read review: Sierra Designs Cloud 800 - Women's
Top Pick for Side Sleepers
NEMO Rave 15
Side sleepers everywhere rejoice! If you're not comfortable in a mummy style bag, the NEMO Rave 15 may have what it takes to help you snooze the night away, earning those optimal ZZZZZZs. Far from a traditional "mummy" bag, the Rave has a "spoon" shape (it billows out in the middle) to give you room to bring one knee up when sleeping on your side or stomach. Depending on how you sleep, this could be the most comfortable thing you've ever tried. It also kept us warm on cold nights, and we liked the extra features.
The Rave is heavy (3 lbs) and doesn't pack down too compactly, particularly in the included stuff-sack, though we did get it smaller with an aftermarket compression sack. While it was a warm bag, Nemo's comfort rating of 15F (not EN certified) seems a little generous. There's a lot of fill in this bag (18 oz), but the amount of dead air space due to the roomy design makes it less efficient and harder to stay warm on really cold nights. We take comfort ratings as only a guideline anyways and estimate that this one is more in line with the 20F-rated bags in this review. While the Nemo Rave 15 is expensive, if you usually don't sleep well in the backcountry it may be worth every extra penny.
Read review: NEMO Rave 15
Best Bang for the Buck
Kelty Cosmic Down 20 - Women's
The Kelty Cosmic Down is half the price of some of the other models in this review but still performs well and rightly deserves our Best Buy award. Kelty saves you some money by only using 600-fill power down, but they use a lot of it (27 ounces), so we stayed warm in this model even down to the lower 30's. The outer shell is thicker than most and should last a long time, while the inner liner is soft and cozy. The cut was not too restrictive either so that we could wear some layers in it, and it still fit our slightly taller than average female testers.
The lower fill-power down, thicker shell, and the use of some synthetic insulation around the head all combine to make this a heavier, less compressible option. If you're on a mission to cut as much weight from your kit as possible, the Cosmic Down doesn't quite fit the bill. However, if you can't even get out on the trail because you don't have a ton of money to spend on your gear, then this is the best option in our estimation. You might have to carry an extra pound, but at least you'll be out there!
Read review: Kelty Cosmic Down - Women's
Best Buy on a Tight Budget
Slumberjack Boundary 20 - Women's
We had to give a little nod to the Slumberjack Boundary 20 and its $60 list price. Though it wasn't a high scorer in our review, the price tag is hard to beat. If you're looking for something for summer car camping, an extra bivy for houseguests, or don't want to wreck your fancy lightweight bag when heading to a festival or beach campout, it might be worth having the Boundary around.
Don't let the name fool you. It certainly did not feel like a 20F bag to us; we'd estimate a 40F comfort rating at the most. The outer shell material is a little rough and not that comfortable, and it's hard for a synthetic bag to match the "sleeping on clouds" comfort that a high fill-power down bag provides. But, did we mention the price? The Slumberjack Boundary 20 is more than adequate for any summer adventure, and the "barrier to entry" is quite small with this one.
Read review: Slumberjack Boundary 20 - Women's
Analysis and Test Results
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 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 themselves; for most women, that will most likely mean choosing a women's specific bag. Shorter guys, if you can get over sleeping in a feminine colored bag like fuschia or purple, a women's specific bag may be a good option for you too!
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. Women's bags are smaller and have less volume, so they end up having more fill per square inch. For more about the differences and benefits of a women's bag, check out our Buying Advice Article: How to Choose a Women's Sleeping Bag.
These women-specific 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 sleepover caliber bags, and great all-around bags for beginner backpackers. We rated each model on its warmth, weight, packed size, features, and versatility, with a significant focus on warmth, weight, and the women-specific features, because those details are what differentiate these bags from unisex bags. Below we'll go through each testing metric and highlight which products stood out and why, and we'll also discuss the value of the different options, so you can get a sense of what to look for when purchasing on a budget.
The prices of the women's specific models that we tested ranged from $60 to almost $400! Why such a big disparity, and is there a huge difference between them that warrants such a price gap? When it comes to sleeping bags, many of them use various types of down fill. The wholesale price of down varies with the "power" or loft, so a higher-loft down, say 800-fill, will cost the manufacturer more than the same amount of 600-fill, which gets passed on to you. Higher-loft down bags are warmer for their weight, more compressible, and typically end up scoring higher in our testing metrics. Hence our Editors' Choice award winner, the Rab Neutrino 400, which uses 800-fill power down and has a $385 price tag. The Sierra Designs Cloud 800 is a little more reasonable at $300.
If you're looking for a good value bag that still performs well but doesn't cost quite as much as the Neutrino, you'll have to sacrifice a little on the fill-power and compressibility, and might end up with a product that is slightly heavier. We have a chart below that can help you find a good value option. We've graphed the overall scores from our tests according to each model's price. The products that are the furthest to the right (higher score) but towards the bottom (lower price) are where you want to look. In this case, you'll find the Kelty Cosmic Down, our Best Buy winner, which scored well overall and costs only $160. It has 600-fill power down and weighs more than a pound over the Neutrino, but still kept us warm and comfortable.
Many of the bags in this review, except the Slumberjack Boundary, Big Agnes Roxy Ann, and the NEMO Rave 15 have been EN tested for their warmth rating. The EN rating is a good rule of thumb for deciding which bag you should use for a particular season. For example, you wouldn't use a 32˚F bag when you are winter camping in Alaska, but these guidelines aren't extremely accurate. 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. If you are looking for a bag to take winter camping on high altitude expeditions, check out our Best Winter Down Bag Review for more information. These bags are all unisex, but many of the manufacturers make a women's version or smaller sizes.
Things to consider when evaluating the warmth of a bag are the loft and fit, along with where the insulation is located. Down bags with a higher fill power like the Rab Neutrino 400 and Sierra Designs Cloud 800, which use 800 fill goose down, are on the warm side, and the REI Joule 21 and Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed are close behind with 700 fill. This higher fill power requires less total down to create the same warmth that results in a loftier and lighter weight bag. Keep in mind that both the Sierra Designs Cloud 800 and Backcountry Bed have integrated comforters that can untuck in the night, reducing warmth.
A proper fit is essential when shopping for a bag. If your bag is too large, it can be drafty, which equals dead air space that your body will need to work to warm up. The NEMO Rave is also very roomy and has a unique "spoon" shape to accommodate side sleepers, and therefore has a lot of dead space to heat up. The Kelty Cosmic Down and the Marmot Angel Fire bags fit just right, with enough wiggle room to wear a few extra layers when it gets below freezing, but no spare room for cold air. The fit is indeed one of the most compelling arguments we can make to purchase a women's specific bag. We like the Cat's Meow's cozy baffles that stop air from getting in along the zipper and around the neck. The bags that included draft collars like the Neutrino and the Angel Fire had a little extra element of warmth. These draft collars blocked the cold drafts from entering and retained our body heat inside the sleeping bags.
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 models, and often they put it into the foot box for ladies' icicle feet. The Rab Neutrino 400 - Women's and the REI Joule 21 both have more insulation than their unisex counterparts. The Marmot Trestles 15 - Women's and The North Face Cat's Meow both have extra insulation in the hood and foot box areas specifically. We think the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed is one of the warmest models in this review.As the EN rating system gains popularity and becomes the industry standard, we've noticed a trend in manufacturers naming their bags deceivingly with numbers that don't reflect what the EN tests indicate. For instance, the Kelty Cosmic Down 20 is EN rated to 25 degrees and the Marmot Trestles 15 is EN rated to 16.7F. While this is a small deception, it is something to be aware of while shopping for your new bag.
When planning your backpacking kit, one thing to consider is choosing a sleeping pad that will add warmth, especially if your bag does not have insulation on the back. The higher the "R-Value," the more the pad will insulate you from the ground. Check out our Best Sleeping Pad for Women Review for more information on how to choose the right one. We love our Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite - Women's and the super warm Therm-a-rest ProLite Plus - Women's pads.
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 Cosmic Down. Having a lighter weight shell material will 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 want that extra stash pocket.
The Rab Neutrino and Sierra Designs Cloud 800 is by far the lightest bag in this review, at 27.4 and 28 oz respectively. This 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. If this sounds like something you're after, the Marmot Trestles 15 - Women's, with its synthetic fill and two zippers for easy opening, is an exceptional choice. Do note that this is one of the heaviest bags we reviewed. Another way to lighten your load is to find yourself a lightweight compression sack as most of the included stuff sacks are heavy and bulky, although the Neutrino's is excellent.
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 design more comfortable. Through many nights evaluating bags, we have found that comfort is a direct correlation between shape and size. The more comfortable contenders are often, the roomier ones — which means they're not necessarily as warm since they leave room for extra cold air.
The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed and Cloud 800 have a genuinely innovative bed-style design and is the most comfortable models we tested. It feels like you're sleeping in a bed with a comforter, although it still has the mummy shape around the legs which still feels restrictive. They both also sport an innovative foot vent that you can slide your feet through, without letting in cold air. The Marmot 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 with ease; it also has a similar quilt effect, much like the Sierra Designs options.
The latest trend we've seen is to ditch the mummy style altogether to accommodate a more comfortable sleep. NEMO has created a line of "Spoon" shaped sleeping bags that allow you to bend your knees or sleep on your side without moving the bag with you. The Big Agnes Roxy Ann 15 has added room for sleepers by making the bag a rounded rectangular shape in which the sleeper can move around, bend their legs, and sleep on their sides. We think this isn't the best move for a backpacking bag, as the enlarged shapes add weight and reduces warmth because there is more space inside the bag for the sleeper to heat up. But, if you are too claustrophobic to sleep in a standard mummy bag, this could be a solution for you.
The REI Joule 21 is one of the warmest bags we tested, along with the Backcountry Bed. It has adequate room for our shoulders, and the new model, released in 2017, has adjusted the leg room space to provide this same comfort for your lower half. The bag is also light and warm, two other very important features.
Shell and liner materials are also an essential factor for comfort. We prefer the soft, silky material of the NEMO Rave and the Rab Neutrino next to our skin, while the Slumberjack Boundary and the Marmot Trestles has the roughest and unappealing material. This year, Kelty has updated the Cosmic Down's shell and liner materials, so they are softer and more comfortable against the skin.
When it comes to your sleeping bag, size does matter. If you are 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. The Sierra Designs Cloud is a close second. The synthetic Marmot Trestles and the Mountain Hardwear Laminina Z Flame have the largest. All of the products in this review come with some stuff sack, but most are not all compression sacks except for the Cat's Meow, the Laminina and the Trestles.
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 Stuff Sacks article to find one that works with your bag.
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. The Cloud 800 is a close second.
We also like bags with two different types of drawcords 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 Rave has a pillow sleeve that you can stuff your extra clothing in to create a simple pillow. We think this is a clever idea but seems a little unnecessary since we usually have a plethora of stuff sacks at our disposal (when camping) to repurpose as a pillow. In the case that you lack additional materials, this pillow pocket will have your back. We think that the Marmot Trestles' 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 imperative that you store your bag fully lofted, not compressed, to maintain its integrity over time.
Every down bag in this review now comes with some type of hydrophobic down, so it seems that manufacturers are on a level playing field in this department. Each company has a proprietary hydrophobic down; Mountain Hardwear has Q Shield, Rab uses Nikwax, Sierra Designs, DriDown, and so on.
The effectiveness of hydrophobic down is a difficult thing to test, and people online have done everything from getting in the shower to jumping into frozen lakes to try and test the effectiveness of a manufacturer's treated down. Things are looking good online as to the actual performance of this treated down, but skepticism still exists as to how beneficial the treatment is. One consideration is that this coating can add around an ounce to your bag, along with the potentially harmful chemicals that may be off-gassing on you when you sleep.
A trend we've noticed for 2017 is overly burly zippers and extreme measures taken for zippers not to get caught on the bags' material. We appreciate it when a zipper doesn't get stuck every time we want to get in and out of our bag, but some of the measures companies have taken seem like overkill. The Angel Fire's "zipper garage" is enormous and probably weighs an ounce itself, but we will say that it never catches on anything. We think the Kelty Cosmic Down has found a decent balance of lining the zipper with materials that won't catch as easily but did not overdo it. We think that having a lightweight bag is more important than these added measures to make sure the zipper doesn't catch the material and we entreat the manufacturers to keep that in mind. We'd rather be a little more careful unzipping!
Lastly, a subtle but nice feature is a bag that has a lighter colored liner material. It's nice to have a material that contrasts the items (instead of camouflaging) that have been lost in the depths of your bag, such as that rogue sock. The Rab Neutrino has a great, light-colored material that also doesn't show too much dirt. The Laminia Z Flame has a bright yellow liner material that we thought was too light and showed dirt and stains very easily. We also like the Cat's Meow's light blue liner color.
A Note on Versatility
Versatility in itself is not a rating metric, but more a holistic approach to evaluating these bags; it's also an excellent way to assess if you're getting a good bang for your buck. All of the bags in this test are made for summer use and are women's specific; this, in and of itself, limits how versatile these models can be. We evaluated these bags for versatility based on how many different situations they are suited for and their warmth to see if we could use them during more than one season. The more massive synthetic bags like the Trestles and Boundary are better choices for car camping and are less versatile.
The Neutrino 400 and the Joule 21 are the warmest bags in this review, and when paired with a high R-Value sleeping pad, could be stretched to 3-season use, therefore making them some of the most versatile. The Cat's Meow is one of 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 hydrophobically treated down — this makes the down insulation more resilient in damp conditions. Some of the bags have very cheap or different diameter zippers and cannot mate with another bag, another important consideration to keep in mind.
The Sierra Designs Women's Backcountry Bed and Cloud 800 are very versatile. Their unique quilt design allows you to moderate your temperature easily and enables you to sleep in any position, from side to stomach. However, neither bag has a zipper and so they can't be mated with another sleeping bag.
We hope we have been able to help you determine what kind of a sleeping bag you're in the market for and aspire to assist you in narrowing down your search for the best. We know these decisions can be tough! If you're still unsure about which bag you might want to purchase, read the Buying Advice article.
Still not sure? Take a look at our buying advice article for more info.