There are few things worse on a hiking trip than to wake up in the middle of the night freezing, because your sleeping bag isn’t cut out for lower temperatures. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a perfectly appropriate bag for your hiking trips. I’ve been able to find good, lightweight, and warm sleeping bags and quilts
My favorite sleeping bag for backpacking is the Hyke & Byke Quandry 15 Down Sleeping Bag with ClusterLoft Base. This bag offers warmth, light weight, and compressability that are a must for hikers. It weighs less than 3 pounds and has kept me comfortable on nights that reached the low 30s in temperature. I also appreciate that this bag does not take up much room in my backpack, as I am always looking for ways to lighten my load.
As with most items, this bag is not perfect. The zipper can get snagged on the bag easily. And because of the down insulation, there is some danger of losing feathers after use, and it will not insulate as well when wet.
The Quandry 15 comes in just under $150 but still offers great value for the money. The best sleeping bags are ones that you never have to worry about – either while carrying it in your bag, or when you go to sleep. The Quandry 15 certainly qualifies. Easy to pack, allows true warmth even in late fall and winter, and comfortable. You can purchase the Hyke & Byke Quandry 15 HERE (link to Amazon).
Best Sleeping Quilt
Sleeping quilts are now very popular with hikers and campers alike – and with good reason. Quilts can provide just as much warmth as a sleeping bag, they usually weigh less than a sleeping bag, and offer far more room for you to move around at night than a sleeping bag. One sleeping quilt that I recommend is the Paria Outdoor Products Thermodown Sleeping Quilt (link to Amazon).
The Paria Sleeping Quilt offers a great combination of temp rating and weight. It is temperature rated to 15 degrees, and weights only 2 pounds, 6 oz. As such this is a great bag for a variety of temperatures.
The main concerns I have with this quilt are twofold: First, it is a bit on the expensive side, coming in around $170. Second, it does not always produce great loft (or fluffiness from the down) that produces great warmth and insulation. I would definite recommend hanging this quilt between hikes, rather than stuffing in your bag in the garage.
Nonetheless, if you want to move away from a sleeping bag and see if a quilt works for you, I’d recommend the Paria Thermodown 15. This quilt will give you about everything you need for a multi-day hike, regardless of the time of year and location.
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to the Paria Thermodown, I would recommend the Eagles Nest Outfitters Spark TopQuilt.
If you sleep in a hammock when hiking or camping, an underquilt is almost a must. You need insulation underneath you in a hammock. For several years I slept on my sleeping pad in my hammock, and it did alright. But I would find that the “edges” of my body – like the outsides of my arms and legs that were not sitting on the hammock – still got cold and they pressed against the wall of the hammock.
This first time I used an underquilt, this all went away, and I was completely warm in every part of my body. I actually borrowed an underquilt then, but loved it so much that I got my own. I recommend the Outdoor Vitals Aerie Underquilt (link to Amazon). This quilt is made to sit underneath and around the hammock, providing an insulating layer that protects you from cold for 3 seasons, and even during winter if needed.
This underquilt is definitely a lightweight, easy-to-pack sleeping device that will not get in the way in your backpack. It weighs 2 pounds and compresses well. It is rated to 15 degrees, but when coupled with a sleeping bag or quilt inside the hammock, provides amazing warmth and comfort.
The OV Aires underquilt can wrap fully around the hammock and zip along the top, fully enclosing you in your hammock. I have done this in the fall, and not even needed a sleeping bag or quilt to keep me warm inside the hammock. You are just tucked away in your own, warm cocoon. It’s amazing!
The OV Aires is over $200, so if you are looking for a true budget option, I would consider the OneTigris Night Protector Hammock Underquilt, which costs less than $70.
Having a good night’s sleep is a vital part of any hiking trip. It helps you both physically and mentally recover from a long day of work, and prepare for the next day on the trail. The items I’ve recommended today are quite pricey, but I think you should be willing to invest in good sleeping gear if you want to making hiking a bigger part of your life. Really, being warm and comfortable at night after hiking for 15 to 20 miles is so, so important.
I hope you’ll enjoy these recommendations. Happy Trails!