Looking for the perfect bag that fits your female body and backcountry adventures? After sifting through 100s of bags on the market, we tested the best 15 women's sleeping bags to find the right one for you - our female reader! We've put years of research and testing into this review and used these bags in all different locations from desert campouts to backpacking in alpine environments. We've paid attention to the essential areas like their warmth, comfort, weight and how they stacked up with their women's specific features. We're excited that women are getting more and more lightweight, high-quality options to choose from and we've tested the best of the best to find what's right for you. Read on to see what we found and our recommendations for best overall, best on a budget, and other options to find your ideal model.
Best Sleeping Bags for Women
|Price||$459.00 at Feathered Friends||$300 List||$478.95 at Backcountry|
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|$290.07 at Backcountry|
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|$299.00 at REI|
|Pros||High-quality down, warm, lightweight||Comfortable, lightweight, excellent materials, not constricting||Warmth-to-weight ratio, packs down small||Lightweight, packs small, warm, comfortable, ethically harvested, high fill power down||Warm, high-quality materials, good price|
|Cons||Sizing not for everyone, fabric is a bit noisy||Comforter sometimes does not stay tucked in||Expensive, restrictive in the leg area||Expensive, awkward drawcords||Uncomfortable fit, zipper fabric bulky and uncomfortable|
|Bottom Line||This high-end bag will keep you warm and comfortable from Spring to Fall in all conditions.||A great, high-quality choice at a relatively low price for those looking for a lightweight bag that doesn't sacrifice comfort.||This model will keep you warm and cozy at night, but comes with a hefty price tag.||A top scorer in our fleet, this bag scores high across the board and has exactly what you want and need while backpacking.||The Joule is a great lightweight and quality choice for any backpacking adventures.|
|Rating Categories||Egret UL 20||Cloud 800||Phase 20||Neutrino 400||REI Co-op Joule 21|
|Packed Size (15%)|
|Specs||Egret UL 20||Cloud 800||Phase 20||Neutrino 400||REI Co-op Joule 21|
|EN Comfort Rating (F)||20 (Not EN Rated)||26||21.7||37||21|
|Total Weight (lb.)||1.72 lb||1.71 lb||1.75 lb||1.75 lb||2.19 lb|
|Women specific features||Extra fill in footbox and chest||More insulation per square inch than men's version||More insulation in key areas||More insulation per square inch, womens specific cut||Increased room at hips, decreased room at shoulders, extra insulation in heat loss areas|
We tested the new Cat's Meow and it now is our favorite synthetic bag (more details below). We also bought and reviewed the updated Marmot Angel Fire. This bag remains a solid value but fell short of winning any awards.
Best Overall Women's Sleeping Bag
Feathered Friends Egret UL 20 - Women's
We eagerly awaited the arrival of our Feathered Friends bag, and the Egret did not disappoint. This bag promptly and decisively knocked the former Editors' Choice winner off its pedestal and set a new standard for the best women's bag of the bunch. The Egret's 950+ down fill is the highest quality fill power of the bunch, creating superior warmth to weight ratio, a super fluffy, cozy bag and one that packs down small. It comes in three eye-pleasing colors and two different sizes.
The two sizes the Egret comes in are for someone who's 5'3" or under and 5'9" or under. Our 5'5" height tester was caught between the two sizes and found the 5'9" bag slightly too long and had to contend with some cold air at the bottom of the bag. Regardless, the Egret is without a doubt the highest quality and warmest bag in this review. It rings in at a hefty $470, but we think it is an excellent investment in your backpacking kit.
Read review: Feathered Friends Egret 20 UL - Women's
Best Bang for the Buck
Sierra Designs Cloud 800 - Women's
Sierra Designs has been pushing the limits of a conventional backpacking sleeping bag, leading to the creation of the Cloud 800. It blew us away with its lightweight, innovative design and its lightweight price tag. We were very surprised to discover this bag's low price tag of $300 and had to give it our Best Buy Award! The Cloud uses quality 800 fill power down and light shell materials, combined with its clever, zipperless design, to create the lightest bag in this review. It is also very comfortable, using a variation of Sierra Designs' built-in quilt design, the Cloud's quilt is attached on one side so you can easily wrap it around you and tuck it in for warmth.
We did notice that the quilt can become untucked somewhat easily, making it less warm than a conventional mummy style bag, and is a better choice for summer backpacking than colder spring and fall temperatures in the mountains, but great year round for lower elevation, warmer climates. If you don't need the extra warmth, this bag otherwise brings excellent performance to the table for a lower price than many other top performers.
Read review: Sierra Designs Cloud 800 - Women's
Best on a Tight Budget
Kelty Cosmic Down 20 - Women's
We realize that not all of us have deep enough pockets to drop $300-400 on one a high-end women's sleeping bag. This is what makes the Kelty Cosmic Down an awesome compromise to get you out there in the backcountry at an affordable price. The Cosmic Down wins our Best on a Tight Budget Award because it retails for basically half the price of our other Best Buy Award at $160. Kelty continues to improve this bag over the years, including upping the quality of the down to 600 fill power. We stayed warm in the Cosmic down to the lower 30's and saw other women out there on the John Muir Trail who were very happy with their purchase. It has a comfortable shape that's roomy enough to move around in, and the liner material is soft and cozy.
The Kelty Cosmic Down is a lower end bag and is just under three pounds in weight. It weighs 1.5 pounds more than the Cloud, but it's also half the price. If you're trying to go fast and light we'd recommend saving up for a higher end, lighter, and more expensive model. But if you're itching to get out there camping and backpacking and the Cosmic Down fits your budget - it's a great choice!
Read review: Kelty Cosmic Down - Women's
Top Pick for Comfort
Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700 - Women's
We've reinstated the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700's Top Pick status for its undeniable comfort performance, and we should never have wavered. After spending more nights in this bag camping and backpacking, we've realized how awesome this bag is at making us feel like we're sleeping in a bed. When weight isn't a factor (like car camping or short overnights), we reach for the Bed every time. Its versatile quilt allows for sleeping in many positions other than in "mummy" position. When it's warm, untuck the quilt and have it draped or fully off of you. When it's cold, tuck it into the bag's opening to feel cozy and cradled. All these things combined with the soft liner materials make this the most comfortable bag of the bunch.
The Backcountry Bed isn't the warmest bag overall and you need to be conscious of keeping the quilt tucked in on cold nights. It also has a lower quality 700 fill power down than some of the higher performing bags we tested, making it heavier and less compressible. However, if you feel claustrophobic in a traditional mummy bag and are ok with the extra ounces, the Backcountry Bed is a super comfortable choice!
Read review: Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700
Top Pick for Best Synthetic Bag
The North Face Cat's Meow - Women's
We are impressed with the new and improved women's Cat's Meow! The North Face has slimmed down this traditionally bulky synthetic bag to produce our favorite synthetic model we've tested. It weighs in at a svelte 2.5 pounds which is lighter than many of the more expensive down models. It is also surprisingly compressible. Its EN comfort rating is 22 degrees Fahrenheit and we think that is right on the money. The Cat's Meow has cleverly placed insulation, with most of it on top where it counts and only a little on the bottom. This gives the bag a very fluffy and warm feel.
We find the Cat's Meow a little on the tight-fitting side. Our 5'5 tester could barely fit in, so if you're taller than that you may want to consider sizing up to a 'long'.
Read review: The North Face Cat's Meow - 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 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.
After many months and seasons of testing, we compiled our assessments, crunched numbers, and wrote this review. Our lady testers' experiences with each of these bags on road trips, long-distance hikes, and summit attempts provided us with incredible insight on each bag's performance. All scores here are relative. Below we 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 $500! 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 Feathered Friends, which uses 950+ fill power down and has a hefty $470 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 Feathered Friends Egret, you'll have to sacrifice a little on the fill-power and compressibility. For example, the heavier, but inexpensive Kelty Cosmic Down, our Best Buy winner, costs only $160 and does well across the metrics. Its application is more limited in comparison to our Editor's Choice winner, but it will still fulfill your needs and save you a lot of cash.
Many of the bags in this review, except the Egret, Slumberjack Boundary, Big Agnes Roxy Ann, and the NEMO Rave 15 have been EN tested for their warmth rating. The EN rating is often used as a rule of thumb for deciding which bag you should use for a particular season and makes it easier to compare between the bags that have been EN tested. 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 bags. If you are looking for a bag to take winter camping on high altitude expeditions, check out our Winter Down Sleeping Bag Review for more information. Those 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 (uses 800-fill goose down), are on the warmer side, and the REI Joule 21 and Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed are close behind with 700-fill. The Egret outshone them all with its 950+ fill power. 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. Feathered Friends has a great page that explains fill power in greater detail.
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 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 most of our testers very well, 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. The Feathered Friends Egret has way more down fill than its counterpart unisex bag and it is the warmest bag we tested.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 less brute strength and 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. Of course, if you are looking for a car-camping bag, this metric shouldn't be a deciding factor for you. The weight of a bag is a sum of its fill type and power, 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. Bags with sleeping pad sleeves, like the Roxy Ann, tend to be heavier, even without insulation in the back of the bag because this material is usually heavier. The more features your bag has, such as double zippers and pockets, the heavier your bag will be - so you need to decide if you want that extra stash pocket or can go without.
The Egret and Sierra Designs Cloud 800 are by far the lightest bag in this review, at 27.5 oz and 27.4 oz respectively. This is a result of their high down fill power (950/800), lightweight shell materials, and a simple list of features. The Cloud doesn't even have a zipper, which also cuts weight. 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 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 the heaviest bag 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 has a genuinely innovative bed-style design and is the most comfortable model 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 will feel restrictive to some people. The Backcountry Bed and the Cloud 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 inside the bag and two zippers that allow for your arms to come out with ease; it also has a quilted 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 adds 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 packed size and reduce 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.
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. Kelty has updated the Cosmic Down's shell and liner materials, so they are softer and more comfortable against the skin than previous models.
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 for good balance and maneuverability in tricky terrain.
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 compression sacks except for the Cat's Meow, the Laminina and the Trestles - which are the ones that really need it.
Remember that compressing your down bag shortens its lifespan; this is why most manufacturers include a substantial cotton or mesh storage sack with your purchase. Unfortunately, Kelty does not provide one for the Cosmic Down and the one that comes with the Mountain Hardwear Heratio is on the small side, so the down is still being slightly compressed. Always store your bag uncompressed.
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 note what features are necessary and useful in comparison to features that are superfluous and make 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 and Egret are 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.
Almost 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. We asked Feathered Friends about why they don't treat their down and here's what they had to say:
A trend we've noticed recently is overly burly zippers and extreme measures taken for zippers not to get caught on the bags' shell 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.
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 for more than one season. The more massive synthetic bags like the Trestles and Boundary are better choices for car camping and are less versatile, however, their synthetic materials will hold up better in wet environments.
The Marmot Phase 20 and the Egret 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. 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 is 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.
— Jessica Haist