Mention an ultralight sleeping bag, and most people think about backpackers, hyper-conscious about the weight they carry. But they aren’t the only ones who should consider an ultralight sleeping bag for their camping gear.
Today’s ultralight sleeping bags are designed for an array of outdoor experiences, from car camping to glamping. Read on for our recommendations on the top five ultralight sleeping bags for various camping preferences.
Our Top Picks
Naturehike Ultralight Sleeping Bag
Best Premium Option
Sea to Summit Spark Ultralight 5F Sleeping Bag
Best for Backpacking
Hyke & Byke Eolus
Weighing only 1.26 pounds (1.74 pounds for extra-large), the Naturehike Ultralight sleeping bag is the definition of ultralight. But that’s not the only reason this sleeping bag has our recommendation as the best overall choice for an ultralight sleeping bag.
Despite their low weight, both the regular and extra-large Naturehike Ultralight offer plenty of room for most campers. The regular size is nearly 6 feet, 3 inches long, and more than 28 inches wide. The extra-large size is more than 6.5 feet long and nearly 32 inches wide.
The Naturehike bag is filled with goose down rated at 800-fill power, a very high down insulation measure. The Naturehike sleeping bag can be unzipped for use as a quilt, or two bags can be zipped together to accommodate two campers.
- Can be used as a sleeping bag or blanket
- Great price for its temperature rating
- Two can be zipped together for larger users
- May not be sufficiently breathable in warm weather
- Temperature rating may be somewhat inaccurate
- Down fill may not be as substantial as some users expect
Best Premium Option
If you need a top-quality ultralight sleeping bag for use in all but the coldest temperatures, you need the Sea to Summit Spark sleeping bag. In fact, it’s our recommendation as the best premium option among ultralight bags.
Priced at around $600 — the regular-size bag is less, the large-size bag slightly more — the Spark bag features ultralight down encased in nylon. The regular bag weighs slightly less than 2 pounds; the large bag weighs just a few ounces more.
The regular Spark bag is 6 feet long, while the large bag measures 6.5 feet. The regular bag measures 61 inches at the shoulder; the large bag is three inches wider. At the hip, the regular bag is 53 inches, the large bag measures 56 inches.
The Spark bag’s temperature rating extends to 5 degrees, with the occupant wearing a layer of long underwear and socks. The rating is also based on the occupant sleeping on a pad with a minimum insulation R-value of 5.38.
For general circumstances, the Spark is recommended as a three-season sleeping bag. It can give many occupants a good night’s sleep well into the winter months. The down is rated at 850-fill, a very high rating for heat retention. Also, the bag’s baffle-style construction keeps the down in place.
- Mummy fit isn’t constricting or uncomfortable
- Fluffs out well for comfortable use
- Works well in damp conditions
- Stuff sack is too small to hold bag
- Zipper is too small and snags
- Some users may feel cramped inside bag
Best for Backpacking
The Hyke & Byke Eolus ultralight sleeping bag, a down-filled bag weighing slightly over 3 pounds, is a great choice for backpacking. It’s true that it’s not the lightest bag on the market, but it’s exceedingly compressible, which is ideal for backpacking.
Plus, the Hyke & Byke Eolus is ruggedly constructed, another reason it has our recommendation as the best ultralight sleeping bag for backpacking. The goose-down fill of the Eolus is contained within a series of vertical baffles. That means the down won’t migrate from one part of the bag to another, so its warmth will be felt across your entire body.
The Hyke & Byke Eolus comes in three sizes. The short-size bag is recommended for people up to 5 feet, 6 inches tall. The regular bag is designed for people from 5 feet, 7 inches to 6 feet, 1 inch tall. The long bag can accommodate users from 6 feet, 2 inches to 6 feet, 6 inches tall.
- Excellent wicking prevents sweat build-up inside bag
- Great for cold-weather sleeping
- Stuff sack includes carrying handles
- Down fill doesn’t stay evenly distributed inside bag
- Lining seems to be somewhat thin
- Down may smell unpleasant to some users
Best Budget Option
Oaksys Camping Sleeping Bag
If you and your family are only occasional campers, you may not want to spend lots of money on a high-end ultralight sleeping bag. That’s why the Oaksys Camping Sleeping Bag is a great choice for you.
The Oaksys bag is our recommendation for the best budget option for ultralight sleeping bags. For less than the cost of a tank of gas, you can get a bag that weighs just 3 pounds. Plus, its polyester fill, encased in the waterproof outer fabric, means you can be comfortable camping in all seasons but winter.
Rated to be used in weather down to 50 degrees, the Oaksys bag features a half-circle drawstring hood. The hood keeps your head warm, helping to keep heat from escaping from your body.
The Oaksys bag can simply be wiped clean when you’re finished with your camping trip. Or, if needed, hand-washed with detergent in warm water.
- Very soft and comfortable for sleeping
- Easily packs back into included stuff sack
- Great option for young campers
- Zipper can be difficult to operate
- Polyester fill may get bunched up
- Stitching could be better quality
Best for Glamping
Featherstone Moondance Quilt/Mummy Sleeping Bag
When you opt for a glamping adventure in the great outdoors, you want comfort. That’s precisely why our recommendation for the best ultralight sleeping bag for glamping is the Featherstone Moondance Quilt/Mummy Sleeping Bag.
Filled with duck down, the Featherstone Moondance is rated for comfortable sleeping down to 26 degrees. The duck down is covered with silky nylon, ensuring breathability and preventing any clammy feelings during the night. Plus, the bag weighs in at less than 2 pounds.
And if your glamping accommodations don’t require you to use a sleeping bag, you can use the Featherstone as a quilt atop your bedding for added comfort.
If you do use your Featherstone as a sleeping bag during your glamping trip, you can control its temperature with a cinchable area at the foot of the bag. Simply close the foot of the bag if you’re cold. If you get hot, just open it up to boost airflow.
At the top of the Featherstone bag, the temperature can be regulated with a snap closure that keeps warmth in and cold out.
- Great way to upgrade any camping sleep system
- Excellent choice as a quilt-style sleeping bag
- Variety of possible configurations is a plus
- May not feel thick enough for some users
- Down may not be adequately distributed throughout bag
- May not be adequate for more traditional camping trips
Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag Buyer’s Guide
You’ll need to make a few decisions when buying an ultralight sleeping bag. Among those decisions are the type of insulation you want and whether a mummy or quilt-style bag will work best for you. Read on for some guidance in those areas.
Down Insulation vs Synthetic Insulation
A down-insulated ultralight sleeping bag is more expensive than a synthetic-filled one. But the down bag will last longer, which could, in the long run, make it the more economical choice. A down-filled bag also will have a better ratio of warmth to weight than a synthetic bag.
On the other hand, a down-filled bag will lose its insulating power once it gets wet. That makes it a poor choice if you do your camping in the open or under a tarp rather than inside a tent. If that describes you, be sure the down in any bag you consider is treated with a water-resistant coating.
With synthetic bags, their lower price point and ability to insulate when wet are counterbalanced with disadvantages compared to down-filled bags. For example, synthetic-filled bags are heavier than down bags, a particular disadvantage for backpacking.
However, synthetic-filled bags are a great choice for people just getting interested in camping. They aren’t as significant an investment as a down bag, particularly if it turns out they are used infrequently.
Mummy Sleeping Bags
Whether you’re considering a down-filled or synthetic sleeping bag, one option you’ll have is a mummy-style bag. Because it’s shaped close to the body, less space has to be warmed by body heat, a plus on cold nights.
Be honest about your sleeping style if you’re considering a mummy-style bag. A mummy bag will be too constricting if you move around a lot.
Quilt Sleeping Bags
Based on the premise that insulation on the underside of a sleeping bag is too compressed to do much good, quilt-style sleeping bags are another option. If you opt for a quilt-style bag, invest in a sleeping pad to separate you from the ground.
Be sure to consider quilt-style bags that allow you to close the bag around your feet or your head for extra insulation.
Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you’ve been introduced to ultralight sleeping bags, including our recommendations, you’d probably like some more information. Read on for answers to questions you may have as you decide on an ultralight sleeping bag.
Is it possible to accurately compare temperature ratings among different ultralight sleeping bags?
Ultralight sleeping bag manufacturers provide temperature information based on EN/ISO (European Standards/International Organization for Standardization) standards. The three ratings, which can be used to compare bags directly, are based on measurements of how quickly heat is lost through a bag.
Ratings include a comfort temperature, the lowest temperature at which someone lying comfortably is not feeling cold. Next is the limit temperature, the lowest temperature at which someone lying curled up, actively trying to stay warm, is not feeling cold.
You’ll also find an EN/ISO rating for a bag’s extreme temperature limit or its survival rating. The survival rating may be good information, but never buy an ultralight sleeping bag intending to use it regularly at its survival rating temperature.
What steps are needed to clean down ultralight and synthetic ultralight sleeping bags?
Both down-filled and synthetic-filled ultralight sleeping bags can be cleaned to provide years of outdoor enjoyment. Read on to learn how to clean your ultralight sleeping bag.
Cleaning a down bag
The manufacturer of your down-filled bag should have included washing instructions with it. If not, general guidelines for machine-washing down-filled bags call for using warm water on a gentle cycle.
But don’t try washing your down-filled bag at home. Instead, take it to a laundromat and load it into a large front-loading washer. Unzip the bag completely to prevent zippers from snagging and possibly tearing the bag.
Also, don’t use regular detergent. Instead, use a specialty detergent like Gear Aid Revivex. Once the bag is washed, rinse it at least twice. When removing the bag from the washer, grab and support large sections to avoid stressing and ripping it.
For best results in drying a down bag, use a commercial-size dryer at the laundromat, and be prepared to run multiple cycles at a low-heat setting. Put a couple of tennis balls in the dryer to keep the down lofted for full drying.
After machine-drying, hang up your bag or lay it out flat overnight to ensure it’s completely dry.
Cleaning and drying a synthetic bag
A synthetic sleeping bag can be cleaned and dried in the same way as a down-filled bag. There is one exception, however: Use a specialty detergent formulated for synthetic-filled bags like Nikwax Tech Wash.
When should down ultralight and synthetic ultralight sleeping bags be replaced?
Particularly if you’re an avid camper, one issue you’ll face is deciding when to replace your ultralight sleeping bag. Here’s some help with that question.
Down bag replacement
With proper care, down-filled ultralight sleeping bags can last for 10 years or likely even longer. If you’re particularly attached to your bag, you can even have it refilled with down.
Synthetic bag replacement
The fibers in synthetic sleeping bags break down much faster than down. In general, plan on replacing a synthetic-filled ultralight sleeping bag every five to seven years.
Wrapping up the Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag: Our Top 5 Picks
Ultralight sleeping bags are ready to fill a range of camping needs. As a reminder, our recommendation for the best overall ultralight sleeping bag is the Naturehike Ultralight Sleeping Bag.
- About the Author
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Jim Thompson grew up tent camping with his family, and was introduced to backpacking with the Boy Scouts. He attended a military college, where he was introduced to rappelling, an outdoor activity which he has not pursued.
Jim holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Georgia, and spent 35 years as a newspaper writer and editor before become a writer for Apple Pie Media.
Jim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org