There are a lot of sleeping bags on the market. There are sleeping bags for just about every outdoor condition from freezing temperatures to warmer climates. We’ve prepared this guide so that you can have plenty of options when it comes time to purchase one. We’ll also look at some factors you should consider before you hit that buy button.
Sometimes called 4-Season sleepings bags, these bags are applicable in all weather types and conditions. You’ll want to invest in a 3-season sleeping bag if your travel plan includes areas with diverse weather patterns both hot and cold. Some of these bags have larger interiors to allow for more breathability. Generally, 3-season bags come in the most diverse ranges of shapes, materials, and sizes.
As you are shopping for a good three season sleeping bag, you will notice that there are a lot of brands and models out there. And the prices for this type is usually higher than your standard single season bag. But, do know that you can normally expect one of these 3-season sleeping bags to last you at least 20 years, so it is a great value in the long run.
Kelty Tuck ThermaPro
While the ThermaPro is sometimes marketed as a zero-degree sleeping bag. Its wide surface area and draft tube make it perfect for all seasons. When the temperature is warm, the larger than average surface area make the interior cooler and more tolerable.
The ThermaPro is technically classified as an oversized sleeping bag, but you won’t be losing any heat as it zips up to the hood nice and snug. The hood is also a bit oversized to allow your head some freedom.
Certami’s 3-season bag as a noticeably different design than most sleeping bags. The zipper size can be extended all the way down to the corner, allowing the top flap to extend outward like an envelope. This allows the bag to double in size to be used as a mat or general laying area. The Certami bag is remarkably cheap for the quality of material and size. While not exactly form fitting, it does allow for more freedom of movement compared to dedicated zero-degree bags, which are mummy-shaped.
The outer layer is constructed of Polyester Pongee, while the insulating layer is Polyester Fibre. It doesn’t have the best insulating layers that zero-degree bags do, but it will keep you comfortable and warm around freezing temperature at 32 degrees.
Teton Sports Tracker
The Teton Sports Tracker takes a traditional mummy shape but is not actually a zero degree bag. It has a traditional draft tube for insulation and heat retention, which is sure to come in handy in colder temperatures. When in warmer climates, simply unzip to allow the bag a cooler draft.
The liner isn’t as thick as the type in zero-degree bags, but the Tracker is still rated comfortably at +20F. A few degrees can mean all the difference between comfort and discomfort, so the Tracker ensures you’ll sleep tight in temperatures below freezing. This bag is also one of the lightest on our list at just under 3lbs. If you plan on taking a lot of supplies on your next backpacking trip, you’ll really want to invest in the Tracker.
Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed
The Backcountry features DriDown technology, which gives you that perfect temperature sweet spot between the down sleeping bags and the synthetic ones. It stays dry longer than those and when it does get wet, it dries faster than the others.
What is really great about this one is that you don’t have to deal with velcro or zippers. Instead, it is designed so that you can tuck and untuck as needed, which keeps you surprisingly warm in the cold weather and cool in the hot weather.
The weight is around 3 pounds, which is about average for a good three-season bag. And when you roll it up to stuff it in your pack, it gets down to a size of 8.5″ x 16″. Note that it comes with a free stuff sack, which saves you a little money. You can buy it in a regular size or a long size length, which is great for tall guys.
The Rhumba isn’t your typical mummy or envelope sleeping bag. Instead, it’s what’s called a “spoon” shape which allows you more room to manuever at the knees and elbows. The hood is also slightly oversized to allow for more head movement. If the temperature drops, there are drawstrings to tighten its frame. A specialized footbox around the feet is waterproof and designed to keep your feet extra toasty.
This sleeping bag makes use of Nikwax Hydrophobic Down, a very light insulating material that brings its overall weight to just over a pound, making it the absolute lightest sleeping bag on our list. While not rated for zero-degree temperatures, it definitely has its perks as a multi-season bag that it will keep you comfortable at freezing temperature.
Zero-Degree sleeping bags (also called Mummy bags), are shaped like cocoons and designed to entrap your entire body within the bag. This way, you retain all of your body heat and what little that escapes should be reflected by the pad underneath you.
These sleeping bags are designed to keep you warm in the most frigid of temperatures, even when it drops below freezing.
Outdoor Vitals Summit
The Outdoor Vitals Summit is our choice for the best zero-degree bag on the market for a couple of reasons. It takes a classic mummy and ribbed design to offer maximum heat retention through high quality down. While other sleeping bags remain pretty large even when fully rolled up, the Summit packs down to a very small form using four corner straps.
With an 800+ rating of fill power, it’s certainly the fluffiest and most comfortable zero-degree bag on our list. It even beats it out most 3-season bags as well. It’s a little pricey for its premium materials, but in temperatures that constantly approach zero, you’ll be thankful for the Summit’s insulation.
Western Mountaineering Versalite
When you consider the Versalite, you can choose to have the zipper either on the right side or the left side. This one is probably the best three-season sleeping bag for tall people, since you can get it in a 6’0″ length or a 6’6″ length option.
With this, you stay warm in the cold as it features 20 oz. of high lofting 850+ goose down for 6″ of loft and a temperature rating of 10 degrees. And as you can see, it features the mummy-style design with a full collar that really seals the warmth in if you’re all zipped up at night.
Shoulder girth for the smaller model is 62-inches, which is great for guys with a husky build. The real shining feature here is the weight at just over 2 lbs.
Hyke & Byke Snowmass
Hyke & Byke’s Snowmass bag comes in a couple of different sizes and colors. Despite the size difference between the short and long version, the weight difference is less than half a pound. It won’t make much a difference in your backpack if you’re planning a long trip. The zero-degree bag has 550 fill power and 1200g of down fill, about the average for bags of this size, weight, and quality.
For insulation, the Snowmass is equipped with lightweight duck down filling. This gives you some of the best heat retention capabilities among zero-degree sleeping bags. This particular sleeping bag is popular not just because of the heat retention, but you also get the compression sack so you can place the bag at the bottom of a hiking backpack with your purchase.
Coleman North Rim
The Coleman North Rim is a classic mummy bag that is 100% polyester. It’s 32″x 82″ size makes it one of Coleman’s longest sleeping bags as well, which is sure to be popular with the taller crowd. What’s interesting (and attention-grabbing) about the North Rim is the presence of Thermolock draft tube. Similar to draft tubes of other bags, the North Rim’s draft tube is built into the interior of the bag, but also covers more of your body. By covering much of your body, the North Rim maximizes overall heat retention.
For zero-degree bags, the North Rim is one of the cheapest on the market, which is another factor in its popularity.
For a regular sized sleeping bag, the Klymit KSB features 650 fill-power, which is above average in our opinion. The bag takes a classic mummy shape and has an overstuffed foot box for extra warmth at zero degrees. You’ll notice that the bottom have of the bag is ribbed. This design is also called flex baffles and allows the user a bit more room to manuever. For those of us that roll around a lot or like to stretch our limbs while sleeping, the KSB is going to be the best overall sleeping bag.
It weighs it at just under 4 lbs, making it a hefty but entirely comfortable bag. There is also an oversized version of the KSB that comes with an even larger upper body area but it is still rated the same as the regular size.
What to Consider
These are the best options out there that I have found, but if you are not a fan of any of them then I suggest that you keep shopping. A good place to start is the list of Amazon’s sleeping bags, where you can read reviews from other campers to determine which one will best meet your needs.
You should seriously consider the weight of your sleeping back if you’re planning to carry it in a backpack or attach it somehow. Since a sleeping bag is going to be the largest thing you put in your backpack, it shouldn’t take up too much weight on your back.
3-season and zero-degree bags range anywhere from 2-5lbs. Anything more than 5lbs you should be wary of taking unless you consider yourself really fit. In the end, it really depends on what you want to include in your backpack.
Fill Power is defined as the rating of the “fluff” in the sleeping bag. The higher rating the better, but 500 is usually the average. Higher ratings are generally seen in zero-degree sleeping bags, where the higher quality materials are needed to keep the user comfortable.
As you’ve read through our guide, you’ve no doubt noticed the various shapes associated with outdoor sleeping bags. Mummy bags are more commonly seen with zero-degree sleeping bags because of the heat retention. Envelope bags are more rectangular shaped and offer more overall room. Spoon shapes combine aspects of both-providing slightly more room than mummy bags but better heat retention abilities than envelope bags as temperatures go below freezing.