The 4 best ultralight sleeping bags
Whether you do a lot of backpacking or you simply like to keep things light for car camping or other adventures, ultralight sleeping bags are a great way to go. The best ultralight sleeping bags maximize warmth while minimizing size and bulk. Before you make a purchase, it's helpful to consider some key factors:
- Fill type: Ultralight sleeping bags can have either down or synthetic filling. Generally speaking, down is warmer and more lightweight, but it's also more expensive and water-absorbent (meaning you won't be glad to have it if you get caught in an unexpected downpour). In contrast, synthetic fills are cheaper and more moisture-resistant but also heavier and bulkier. Your choice will be a matter of budget and personal preference — just make sure that if you opt for real down, it's been treated with a water-repelling coating.
- Temperature rating: Most high-quality sleeping bags have a temperature rating that tells you the lowest temperature at which you'll be comfortable. Keep in mind, however, that the colder the rating, the heavier they typically are, so there's often a warmth-to-weight tradeoff. Most brands offer several versions for each model in a range of temperature ratings, so think about which one fits your needs best.
- Exterior material: Polyester ripstop or similar materials are usually preferable for the exterior because they'e extremely lightweight yet also durable enough to not snag easily. On top of that, they're soft and feel good against your skin.
- Shape and design: Larger people or folks who move around a lot will want the toebox area to have plenty of room so they don't feel too constricting. People who are especially prone to tossing and turning may even want to consider a zipperless sleeping bag, which fits more like a quilt.
With these considerations in mind, check out the best ultralight sleeping bags below.
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1. The tried-and-true one
Weight: 26 ounces
Temperature rating: 45 degrees Fahrenheit
Fill type: Down
Made with water-repellent down and covered with featherlight polyester ripstop, this is one of the best ultralight sleeping bags on the market by far. The 650 fill power DownTek insulation keeps the bag warm without adding too much extra weight, and the polyester taffeta lining on the interior makes it soft and comfortable. The clever design lets you attach it to your sleeping pad like a fitted bedsheet, providing an adjustable system that you can use with sleeping pads of varying widths.
This pick has plenty of wiggle room around the shoulders and toebox, and the hood cinches down like a puffy jacket. It's also equipped with zippered baffles and a no-draft collar, which allow you to adjust the amount of ventilation. Leave it loose on warmer evenings and tighten it around your body on colder nights. The material is designed to follow your body's contours to maximize the amount of heat it can trap to keep you warm. The high-quality sleeping bag is also available in 30-, 15-, and 0-degree temperature ratings.
2. The zipperless one
Weight: 25.7 ounces
Temperature rating: 35 degrees Fahrenheit
Fill type: Down
Whether you feel too constricted in regular sleeping bags or you get annoyed with how the zippers are always snagging, this lightweight sleeping bag for backpacking is just the ticket. It's made with a clever wrap-around closure system that forgoes zippers in favor of warm, cocoon-like design that allows you more room to move around. The insides are filled with ultra-cozy 800-Fill DriDown which, like some of the other sleeping bags, is coated in hydrophobic treatment to prevent it from getting wet and heavy. The exterior boasts 15-denier nylon ripstop that's durable and snag-proof while also being soft and silky.
The bottom features a self-sealing footvent and the baffling is sewn in rows to reduce bunching. "This is an awesome sleeping bag," wrote one fan. "Talk about light, I think the box it came in, weighed more [than] the bag. I am a big guy and normal mummy bags are too tight on me. With this bag, I can fall asleep on my side and just wrap the comforter part around me."
This pick is also available in a 20-degree version.
3. The best deal
Weight: 41 ounces
Temperature rating: Not specified
Fill type: Synthetic
If you're looking for something a bit less technical and a bit more wallet-friendly, this TETON Sports bag is one of the best budget sleeping bags out there. While heavier than the others on the list, it still manages to clock in at a respectable 41 ounces (or roughly 2.6 pounds). Although the temperature rating isn't specified, customers estimate it's between 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It's made with warm synthetic insulation that's constructed from lightweight microfiber down, and it packs down tightly.
The toebox is spacious and the zippered draft tube helps lock in heat so it won't feel drafty. The popular sleeping bag has more than 1,400 reviews on Amazon, many of which tout how comfortable and soft the liner is. "I was looking for something cheap for a 3 day/2 night backpacking trip," wrote one reviewer, "This would be my first time going backpacking/camping and didn't want to spend too much money. For the price, this sleeping bag is amazing."
This sleeping bag also comes in a smaller "scout" size for kids.
4. The splurge
Weight: 16 ounces
Temperature rating: 32 degrees Fahrenheit
Fill type: Down
If you're someone who does a lot of backpacking or you simply want to splurge on the best setup you can find, this ultralight down sleeping bag is as good as it gets. At 16 ounces (or exactly 1 pound), it's one of the lightest bags available, and it packs down ultra-tightly as well. Most striking is how much warmth is packed into such a small, lightweight design. The temperature is rated at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, making it better equipped for chilly nights than many other bags on the market that weigh twice as much.
The high-quality sleeping bag is made from 900-fill power Nikwax hydrophobic down that's treated to repel water and lock out moisture. That makes it capable of staying drier and fluffier. The box-style baffling keeps the feathers spread out evenly and also eliminates cold spots. It has sleek, ergonomic shape as well as connectors that allow you to attach it to your sleeping pad. It's available in a 20-degree temperate rating option, too.