Best Lightweight Sleeping Bag of 2020 | Expert Advice
If you quickly want to find out which is the best lightweight sleeping bag, I’d recommend the Hyke & Byke Down Sleeping Bag.
It won’t take long to get sick of a heavy and bulky sleeping bag, but you don’t want to compromise on warmth either.
So, how do you choose?
We have put together some good buying advice for the best lightweight sleeping bags. We have jotted down sleeping bag care tips and also have a list of some of the best lightweight options.
Our Top 5 Lightweight Sleeping Bags of 2020
Things to look for in an lightweight sleeping bag
Weight of the bag is particularly important when you are backpacking. Down bags are lighter and keep you warmer, as compared to Synthetics.
Ultralight sleeping bags are generally around $500, and the cheap ultralight ones are not made of good quality fabrics and insulation.
So, focus not only on the weight but the weight-to-warmth ratio of the bag. Bags that are less than 3lbs are ideal for backpacking.
Sleeping bags keep you warm by trapping the heat your body generates within its area.
Mummy bags keep you more warm as compared to quilts. If you feel suffocated in a mummy bag, go for quilts with a little lower temperature rating.
When it comes to choosing between synthetic materials & down insulation, the latter gives an excellent weight to warmth ratio.
Mummy bags are best suited for 3 seasons. As the name suggests, they enclose you tightly like a mummy and are narrow at the feet & broader at the shoulders.
Most of them come with hoods that fully cover your head.
They are heavier as compared to quilts, but are warmer because of less area. After you get in, there isn’t much space for anything else, so the heat gets trapped better keeping you cozy & warm.
Mummy bags can feel constrictive at times and might not be the best choice for claustrophobic or bigger people with broad shoulders.
Quits overcome the constricting space design in mummy style bags. They are lighter and trap heat lesser because of the large area of the bag. In such cases, you might need additional insulations like a sleeping pad or liner to increase the warmth.
They don’t come with hoods and zippers which is a relief for many. Quilts can perform versatile, some of them can be turned into a blanket while some others come with enclosed footboxes. They allow for generous sleeping styles.
Quilts or Mummy bags is a personal choice.
Sleeping bags come with two types of insulation materials – either Down or Synthetic.
Down Sleeping Bags
The weight-to-warmth ratio that the down insulation provides is unmatchable. Down bags come with a down fill power which determines the quality of the bag.
What’s down fill power?
In simpler terms, it translates to the loft quality or the fluffiness of the down. Bags with a higher down fill power, are lightweight and are more warm.
Since you are looking for lightweight sleeping bags, down bags should be your primo choice.
Synthetic Sleeping Bags
Synthetic sleeping bags are made of polyester fibers. They are heavier, and you’ll need to compromise on the weight if you are looking at a sleeping bag for cold weathers.
The weight of the bag also affects the compressibility. They are usually preferred for car camping, and not for backpacking.
If you are tight on budget, and not concerned about the weight, synthetics bags can be the best option for you.
Warm when wet
No sleeping bag is comfortable or “warm” when wet because the waterproofing of any sleeping bag is debatable. They come with an Durable Water Repellent coating that makes them a little water-resistant, and not entirely waterproof.
That being said, Synthetic bags have an advantage of retaining heat a little better than Down insulated sleeping bags, when wet. They also dry faster.
But if you are a big fan of down bags, a recent evolution in technology is the hydrophobic down bag. It absorbs moisture 70% less than untreated down, and also dries faster.
European Norm (EN) is to standardize the temperature ratings of sleeping bags. It keeps ratings consistent across the industry, but not all companies use EN ratings.
The EN Rating specifies 4 limits according to gender, but the most common one is the EN Lower Limit. It’s defined as the temperature at which a standard male can sleep for eight hours in a curled position without waking.
Fancy terms to standardize temperatures, but how do they translate to us?
What does a sleeping bag with a lower limit of 20F mean?
In simple terms, it means that it keeps you alive till 20F, and not that you’d be warm at 20F. So, there’s no exact science of choosing a temperature rating.
How to choose a temperature rating
The rule of the thumb here is to choose a sleeping bag that’s warmer than you want it to be at the campsite.
Increasing the temperature rating
While it’s true that choosing the temperature rating isn’t always accurate, always know that you can increase the warmth of the sleeping bag by using a sleeping pad, jackets and liners, etc.
If you know you’d be in for a cold night, carry one of them to increase the warmth.
While it’s wise to go with bags with EN ratings, cheap bags may advertise temperature ratings lesser than what they actually withstand. So it’s crucial to invest in a good quality sleeping bag.
Am I compromising on anything by going lightweight?
Going lightweight is best to cut pack weight, particularly if you are backpacking. But it’s worth noticing that you might be compromising on warmth or safety or comfort.
Ultralight bags are made of high quality materials that are delicate and are come in the high-end ranges of sleeping bags. Though the weight is less, delicate materials are not as safe and you also end up paying more.
Lightweight sleeping bags are a good mid range options with a perfect balance of weight, warmth, safety and price.
Prerequisites/precautions for using an lightweight sleeping bag
Air out the bag
Make sure to air out the bag on a daily basis while you are at the camp. It keeps it dry, and the loft retains its fluffiness. Keep in mind that heavy exposure to the sun may spoil the bag. Mild sunlights work best.
Use a sleeping bag liner
Washing a cotton or silk liner as opposed to the sleeping bag is not only much easier, it also retains the quality of the bag for a long time.
Just use a light liner inside the sleeping bag, it ensures your bag doesn’t get dirty.
It is very common to get annoyed with a sleeping bag because the zipper snapped. While not all of the bags ( sometimes, even good quality ones ) come with heavy duty zippers, it just takes a little extra care while using it to prevent damage.
Sleeping bags shouldn’t be taken close to campfires, unless at a safe distance. It can damage the material of the sleeping bag. Also, if you have kids playing around, jumping on the sleeping bags, it can cause the loft to shift and get distributed unevenly. That’s not a very pleasant experience when you sleep.
Store when dry
Sleeping bags should be stuffed only after they are dried out in the sun. That makes the moisture collected on the sleeping bags to evaporate, and not cause bad odors when you take it out for the next use.
Top 5 Lightweight sleeping bags
- Best price for 800 down fill
- Exceptional weight-to-warmth ratio
- Silky smooth material that feels great against your skin
- Best for backpacking
- Comes in bright colors
- Made of high quality baffle & filling
- Comes with a DWR coating for water protection
- Narrow & feels a little stuffed at times
- Slight odor detected by some that wears away with time
- Crampy near the legs
A budget ultralight sleeping bag with the best warmth-to-weight ratio you can get.
- Feels soft & comfortable against the skin
- Has an incredible loft
- Weighs only 3.45 pounds
- Has a hydrophobic down fill for water resistance
- Keeps you warm down to 20F
- Super warmth-to-weight ratio
- Comes with the hood
- Small packed size
- Comes in bright colors
- Constricting shoulder space for bigger people
A solid sleeping bag, an allrounder. Weighing the pros and cons, it provides the best warmth-to-weight ratio at this price range.
- Comes with diverse range of options – differentiated by length and width.
- Evenly spread down insulation ensures comfort
- Optimized insulation system with a down fill power of 650
- Comes with a mesh storage sack and nylon stuff sack
- A bright colored product that’s visually appealing
- Good packed size
- Needs a sleeping pad to pad up the bottom
A light, warm, roomy bag that works best with a sleeping pad.
- Spacious enough to move around and toss & turn ( in contrary to typical mummy bags )
- Breathable, warm and comfortable
- Has flaps on the bag that doesn’t let cold air come in
- Second lightest bag in our review – weighs only 2.3 lbs
- Has a hood for the pillow
- No way to remove the flaps in warm weather
- Zippers on only one side
A warm and cozy sleeping bag with a spacious room. Bes
- Cost effective option
- Feels comfortable & soft
- Excellent weight-to-warmth ratio
- Has a zippered opening near the footbox for warmer weathers
- Good compression size
- Keeps you warm from 30F to upper twenties
- Not for winter weathers
- Doesn’t pack small
The perfect blend of warmth & compressibility in the under $100 range.
If you need a versatile and feature-packed sleeping bag in the lightweight section, the Hyke & Byke Sleeping Bag for Backpacking is our top pick.
It has an excellent weight-to-warmth ratio, coming with a 850 down fill power that’s hard to find, in the price range it comes in. Another feature that makes it our top ick is the quality of the sleeping bag material. It feels very soft against your skin providing you with comfort and coziness.
As usual, if you have any questions feel free to drop by a comment.