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How We Tested Backpacking Sleeping Bag for Women

By Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor
Tuesday June 7, 2022
sleeping bag womens - testing sleeping bags is hard work!
Testing sleeping bags is hard work!
Credit: Ian McEleney

Over eight backpacking seasons, we have spent countless nights sleeping on the ground outside. We took these bags backpacking in the mountains and deserts, and on many nights of car camping. We tested the limits of these bags' warmth, spending cold nights in the alpine where temperatures went below freezing, out in snow and thunderstorms, and spent some very warm nights at low elevations and climbing destinations.


Spending many nights at high elevation in the mountains, early spring through late fall, we were able to test each sleeping bag's warmth. We evaluated each bag's fill materials for quality and amount as well as the fit and features like baffles and shape to determine the warmest of the bunch.

sleeping bag womens - this bag was almost too warm for us on summer nights in the alpine!
This bag was almost too warm for us on summer nights in the alpine!
Credit: Jessica Haist


We weighed all the bags - which one was the lightest? Which was the heaviest? Which had the best warmth to weight ratio that made it worth it to carry around with us?

sleeping bag womens - the sea to summit flame is a lightweight choice for long backpacking...
The Sea to Summit Flame is a lightweight choice for long backpacking trips.
Credit: Jessica Haist


Which bag was the softest, cushiest cloud we could sleep in, and which had the roughest materials? Were they too big, too small or just right?

sleeping bag womens - the nemo forte is comfortable for lounging around in.
The Nemo Forte is comfortable for lounging around in.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Packed Size

What bag had the most compressible materials? Did they come with a compression sack to squeeze them down to the smallest possible package? Size does matter in this metric.

sleeping bag womens - packed size is important. models that came with compression sacks...
Packed size is important. Models that came with compression sacks pack down smaller than if packed in a normal stuff sack.
Credit: Jessica Haist


Some features just added weight but weren't that useful. Others were essential to the bag's functionality. We used them all and evaluated their worthiness.

sleeping bag womens - the lamina has a large and fluffy hood with a huge draft collar to...
The Lamina has a large and fluffy hood with a huge draft collar to keep cold air out.
Credit: Ian McEleney

We stuffed, compressed, packed up, and carried all of these bags for several outdoor adventures and then zipped, unzipped, toggled, and of course, slept in these bags to test them to the fullest.

sleeping bag womens - our men's and women's sleeping bag testers out in the field with...
Our Men's and Women's sleeping bag testers out in the field with their products.
Credit: Ian McEleney

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