With so many sleeping bags to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? Obviously the answer depends on several factors, such as your height, the type of adventure you intend to take, and the anticipated conditions. To help you along in the process of choosing the perfect sleeping bag, Campmor, has come up with a list that we feel represents the best of the best. Let us know what you think, and don’t hesitate to add any insightful comments.
Winter Sleeping Bag
Though designed for colder temperatures, the Marmot Plasma has all the features everyone looks for in a sleeping bag – light weight, small pack size, and of course superior warmth. With 900 fill goose down insulation, the highest fill power available, and Marmot’s trademark DWR (Durable Water Repellency), the company has designed the ultimate winter bag.
Three-Season Sleeping Bag
Versatility defines three-season sleeping bags, and the one best suited to lead this category is the Trestles 15°F by Marmot. Spacious in the shoulder box for those who don’t want to feel too snug, and plenty of length to work with, the synthetic-filled Trestles will definitely not disappoint.
Ultra-Light Sleeping Bag
If you’re striving for a lightweight backpacking experience, then the Mountain Hardwear Ultra-Lamina sleeping bag must be on any hiker’s list. Rated at 32°F, the Ultra-Lamina is reliable in wet and humid conditions, durable, and packs down really small, saving critical space in your
Double Sleeping Bag
The ideal bag for those mid-summer nights high up in the mountains is the Callisto by Kelty. Rectangular shaped and offered in a 15°F and 35°F rating, the Callisto is plenty big, soft and cozy for snuggling. It can also be fully unzipped on both sides for use as a blanket, when the temperatures are relatively warm.
Children’s Sleeping Bag
When selecting a sleeping bag for your kids, the biggest concern, of course, is size, so you can avoid having to make multiple purchases as they grow. Well, Slumberjack has come up with the perfect solution for your little adventurer; the Go-N-Grow for both girls and boys. Rated at 30°F, it’s perfect for late spring and summer. Simply unzip the bottom and the bag extends, adding several more inches in length to accommodate growth.
Down-Insulated Sleeping Bag
The sleeping bag with the best warmth-to-weight ratio on the market is undoubtedly the Marmot Lithium. Best suited for mountaineers and backpackers that expect temperatures in the teens and below, the Lithium is insulated with the highest quality down; 900 fill power. Nearly defying physics, the Lithium’s feather-like weight and infinitesimally small pack size, make it hard to believe such a bag exists. But once you’re in it, you are bound to be a believer. The down is so resilient that it will quickly rebound to form, if stuffed for too long.
Synthetic-Insulated Sleeping Bag
Even after more than 20 years on the market, the best synthetic-insulated sleeping bag, still on the market, is The North Face’s staple bag, the Cat’s Meow. It’s probably the one synthetic that comes closest to down, in terms of weight and compression, especially in the three-season category. The Cat’s Meow was, at one time, the most popular bag on the Appalachian Trail. More than price-competitive compared to goose-down, this bag is a must for those who want a quality bag at a great price – and who doesn’t?
Women’s Sleeping Bags
Why does a sleeping bag need to be gender specific? The simple answer is that bags designed for women tend to be shorter in length and a bit wider in the hip area. Women’s bags often feature additional insulation in the hip and foot box area, than comparable unisex bags. If you’re heading to the Rockies or Sierra Nevada Mountains in the spring, summer or fall, then one must consider the 15°F-rated Angel Fire by Marmot. Featuring a high warmth-to-weight ratio, the Angel Fire will certainly keep you warm with its five-baffle hood, and draft collar and tube. Also, two-way zipper sliders let air circulate in case of overheating.
Summer Sleeping Bag
Any bag rated at 40°F and above is considered well suited for summer use, but no bag will perform like The North Face Aleutian. Synthetic-filled with The North Face’s own Heatseeker™ insulation, the Aleutian will easily take you from late spring right into the heart of summer, and will be a campground favorite.
Best sleeping bag under $150
While it is not always advisable to cut corners when purchasing gear, sometimes there are exceptions to the rule. The Pinole by Mountain Hardwear is one such exception. It is all-around a great synthetic-insulated bag rated at 20°F, and will reliably perform and keep you warm on any of your three-season adventures. This is a deal that cannot be easily overlooked.
Please note that most of the bags listed above are offered in both regular and long sizes. Most regular length bags fit anyone six feet tall and under. Please make sure to check the specifications tab on the website. Also, some of the bags, like the Trestles, are offered in a women’s version, as well. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call the knowledgeable staff at Campmor. Happy Camping!