It is never a good feeling to wake up in the middle of the night shivering because your sleeping bag isn’t cut out for lower temperatures. It feels even worse when you’ve spent a lot of money for that sleeping bag. However, if you look around, you can find a good, reliable, warm sleeping bag that won’t break the bank.
An excellent, inexpensive 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 work well for hikers of all types.
Some of my other recommended sleeping bags include:
- Paria Thermodown 15
- Anyoo Mummy Ultralight
- Marmot Trestles 30
- Teton Sports Tracker 5
- Kelty Tuck 22F
- Slumberjack Latitude
|Hyke & Byke Quandry 15||Paria Thermodown 15||Anyoo Mummy Ultralight||Marmot Trestles 30||Teton Sports Tracker 5||Kelty Tuck 22F||Slumberjack Latitude|
|Weight (lbs)||2.7 lbs||2.9 lbs||2.9 lbs||3.1 lbs||4.1 lbs||3 lbs||4.2 lbs|
|Temp. Rating (F)||15 Degrees||15 Degrees||30 Degrees||30 Degrees||5 Degrees||22 Degrees||20 Degrees|
Hyke & Byke Quandry 15
Pros: Strong combination of temp rating, weight, and compressability. This mummy down bag will keep you warm on most nights, fit well in your bag, and not add much weight to your hiking load.
Cons: The zipper can get snagged on the bag easily. Because of the down insulation, there is some danger of losing feathers after use.
Summary: Although the Quandry 15 comes in just under $150 and is still the most expensive bag on our list, it still offers the best 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.
Bottom Line: This is our recommendation for a great backpacking sleeping bag under $150. You can purchase the Hyke & Byke Quandry 15 HERE.
Paria Thermodown 15
Pros: Very strong combination of temp rating and weight. Is a great bag for a variety of temperatures.
Cons: Zipper is stickly – snags on the bag easily so you need to be patient with it. May be a bit too narrow for larger hikers.
Summary: If you perhaps want to save a few bucks off the Hyke & Byke model, there’s nothing wrong with the Paria Thermodown 15. This is an extremely comfortable bag that fluffs up well, providing the insulation you need on cold nights. Besides its limited weight, the Paria Thermodown 15 also compresses down to a very small size – meaning less room in your pack.
Bottom Line: There really isn’t much difference between the Hyke & Byke and the Paria. This bag will give you about everything you need for a multi-day hike, regardless of the time of year and location. You can purchase the Paria Thermodown 15 HERE.
Anyoo Mummy Ultralight
Pros: This bag is definitely a lightweight, easy-to-pack sleeping bag that will not get in the way in your backpack. Offers a bit more width than regular mummy bags.
Cons: Temp rating limits its use in colder climates. Zipper is not of the highest quality.
Summary: This is a bag that will only keep you warm during 3 seasons, but does a very good job of that. The price of this bag, coming in just under $100, is quite affordable, and the durability of the bag makes it a good alternative for multi-day hiking trips. This is a bag that will comfortable fit larger hikers as well. Packs easily and is very lightweight.
Bottom Line: A strong choice for a 3-season sleeping bag that will provide compressability and light weight when packed. You can purchase the Anyoo Mummy Ultralight HERE.
Marmot Trestles 30
Pros: The stash pocket is very handy to keep valuables close to you at night. Comes with zippers on either side, providing better ventilation and temperature regulation. Very lightweight.
Cons: Only a 3-season bag, does lose some effectiveness in the winter. Runs smaller than other bags – larger individuals may feel constricted in the bag.
Summary: The Marmot Trestles 30 is a solid bag whose best feature is probably its weight. A good value at under $100, the Marmot Trestles keeps a hiker comfortable in 3 seasons, but may not be the right bag for larger individuals or those who need extra space when they sleep. Probably a better option for smaller hikers or women.
Bottom Line: Another solid option for a 3-season bag. Hiking or camping in the winter with this bag will require extra layers of clothing or a blanket. But a very good choice for the more casual hiker. You can purchase the Marmot Trestles 30 HERE.
Teton Sports Tracker 5
Pros: The warmest bag that we have reviewed. A true 4-season bag that will offer warmth and protection in all but the most extreme environments. An excellent bag for the money – this bag will keep you warm and compress well in your backpack.
Cons: 25 to 30% heavier than the other bags we have reviewed. Missing some features such as a second drawstring around the hood, and a more durable zipper.
Summary: The Teton Sports Tracker 5 offers the best temp rating of any bag we have reviewed. Given the price, the ratio of temp rating to overall weight is pretty good, meaning you won’t have to deal with the discomfort of added weight during the day in order to enjoy warm evenings. Comes with a compression sack that certainly helps with packing – this is a larger bag than most but still can take up a small amount of room in your pack if compressed correctly.
Bottom Line: A true budget bag for 4 seasons that does feels more expensive than it actually is. You can purchase the Teton Sports Tracker 5 HERE.
Kelty Tuck 22F
Pros: Kelty is an excellent brand that provides great value for the price. The Kelty 22 does a good job of accommodating larger hikers, providing extra room that other bags do not. Good value for the combination of temp rating, weight, and compressability.
Cons: Difficult to call this a true 4 season sleeping bag. Hikers can feel the cold even before hitting the temp rating of 22 degrees.
Summary: While the Kelty 22 may fall short of some our other reviewed bags when it comes to weight and temp rating, the value is still there. This is a synthetic mummy bag that comes with added features such as strong zipper configuration and hood design that provide a level of usability that most sleeping bags in this price range do not offer. Offers a soft, comfortable interior and allows room for moving around if you are a restless sleeper.
Bottom Line: Considering the brand, the Kelty 22 offers great value for under $100. Good quality, good usability, great value. You can purchase the Kelty 22 HERE.
Slumberjack Latitude 20
Pros: Offers great warmth for the money.
Cons: While still a good value, durability issues limit this bag’s overall quality. Not as good an option for compressability
Summary: While the Slumberjack Latitude 20 is not expensive, you do sacrifice quality and compressability – making this more of a bag for camping and short, 2-day hiking trips. However, this bag is well insulated and provides a strong level of comfort. This would be a strong bag for overnight hiking trips and relatively easy camping trips.
Bottom Line: Offers good warmth for the money. A decent starter bag. You can purchase the Slumberjack Latitude 20 HERE.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A Sleeping Bag
Besides cost, there are several factors to consider when choosing a sleeping bag. They include the temperature ratings, insulation type, weight and shape of the sleeping bag, and waterproofing.
A temperature rating indicates the minimum temperature at which the bag can keep an average sleeper warm. However, since there is no standard, universal method for determining temperature ratings, a published rating should be taken with a grain of salt.
In the absence of a standard rating system, each manufacturer can make it’s own claim as far as what it’s temperature rating sits at, and how warm the bag is. Until a universal temperature standard is adopted, your best bet is to use manufacturer’s temperature ratings as a starting point. Then you can test it yourself.
You should select a bag that has a rating lower than the temperatures you are anticipating sleeping in. You can always open the bag if you get too warm, but choosing a bag with a lower rating is always a good idea.
There are two types of insulation for sleeping bags – down and synthetic. Each has its advantages and disadvantages which you should consider when buying a sleeping bag.
Down is the lightest, most compressible insulation for sleeping bags. As such, down is very popular with backpackers. Down also lasts longer, as it retains its loft (and therefore insulating power) longer than synthetics. In fact, if you properly care for down sleeping bags, they can last for decades.
Because of these qualities, down is generally more expensive than synthetic, but it also depends on the fill-power, which is a rating for how well the down insulates and traps heat. Fill-power ratings range from about 600 to 900. The warmest down is the loftiest down and the best-insulating down. The higher the number the warmer you’re going to be.
Besides being more expensive than synthetic insulation, down also does not hold up as well to rain and moisture. The wetness affects the loft of the down, thereby limiting its insulating quality.
While synthetic sleeping bags may not offer the same level of warmth as down, one main benefit is the fact that synthetic materials will hold their heat better than down when wet and they dry faster than down bags. Although they are typically heavier than down and do not compress as well, they are much more affordable..
Sleeping Bag Weight
Sleeping bags with a higher fill-power, or more advanced synthetics, will deliver greater warmth for less weight because they are more efficient . If you compare bags of similar temperature ratings with their weights, you can get good idea of of which has the better insulation.
When you are hiking on the trail, a sleeping bag’s weight is a major consideration. You will have difficulty finding sleeping bags that offer great insulation and lower weight for an affordable price.
Another factor that impacts the weight of the sleeping bag is its shape. A sleek, snug bag should weigh less than a large, roomy bag. Of course, you might have to sacrifice some comfort, but if you are a relatively calm, quiet sleeper, this might not be an issue. Sleeping bags come in three basic shapes – mummy bags, a semirectangular shape, or rectangular.
The mummy bag‘s shape sacrifices room and comfort for less weight and more warmth. A tapered cut through the legs and feet give mummy bags maximum thermal efficiency. A bag’s primary job is to contain the heat your body generates and when interior space is smaller, the bag is more efficient. Mummy bags are the favorites for most hikers.
A semirectangular bag offers a compromise between roominess and warmth, and comes in a variety of shapes. a variety of shapes, all of which offer a compromise between warmth and roominess. If you want to cut back on weight, but need some room to roll around, these are the bags for you.
A rectangular bag offers the most room and comfort, but is usually the heaviest and the least warm. These bags are usually suited for simple camping trips where packing gear is not an issue.
You may be surprised to know that a waterproofing feature on a sleeping bag isn’t necessarily that important – there are other ways to protect your sleeping bags from wet weather.
A waterproof bag is shelled in waterproof/breathable fabric. This fabric does not breathe well, however, and you could find yourself sweating a lot in the middle of the night even if you are kept dry from outside elements. You may also need to tape or seal the seams of your sleeping bag, which is more cost and work to worry about.
As with other hiking gear, comfort is key when considering a sleeping bag. You’ll need to not only consider comfort as you sleep, but also comfort in the amount of weight you wish to carry. Finding a lightweight bag that keeps you warm is not an inexpensive proposition.
An alternative to sleeping bags are top quilts. These quilts are shaped similar to mummy sleeping bags, but do not close all the way to the top. Some have a closed toe box to keep your feet warm. But the main benefit of quilts is that they are lightweight and compress very well into your pack. And down top quilts do quite well keeping you warm.
Be sure to take some time when selecting a sleeping bag. It is an essential part of your gear, and while you should probably invest in a good bag for the long run, there are budget options that can help you better understand exactly the bag you’ll need.