August 7, 2020

The Best Ultralight/Lightweight Sleeping Bags For Long Distance Travel

August 7, 2020

The Best Ultralight/Lightweight Sleeping Bags For Long Distance Travel

The best ultralight sleeping bag is a must. An ultralight tent will be rendered useless without this particular equipment.

Of course, a tent is not enough to feel comfort and warmth during a backpacking trip. You need a lightweight but well-insulated sleeping bag that can make you feel cozy, regardless of the temperature. The units below are guaranteed to provide such heavenly bliss. 

Best Ultralight and Lightweight Sleeping Bag Reviews

1. Hyke & Byke Eolus Hydrophobic Sleeping Bag - Editor's Pick

The 2019 version of the Eolus Sleeping Bag surpassed the expectations of many backpackers. Compared to its predecessors, this one has better insulation, durability, and water-resistance. 

One of the notable features of this sleeping bag is the use of the ClusterLoft base. This one has better performance than regular down insulation, especially in the aspects of durability and compression. It also has an excellent defense against moisture build-up.

If you are sleeping inside this tent, you can experience the warmth that you need to survive the cold nights. The combination of the proprietary down insulation and DWR fabric ensure that heat will not escape from the sleeping bag.

Because it is lightweight, the Hyke & Byke Eolus Hydrophobic Sleeping Bag is an ideal choice for extensive expeditions. You can pack it compactly, too, for more streamlined adventures.

Pros:

  • Guaranteed long-lasting rigidity and insulation
  • Ultralight and compact construction
  • Can keep you warm in low temperatures
  • Features ripstop, water-resistant external shell
  • It is easy to get inside

Cons:

  • Limited space for large users

2. TETON Sports LEEF Lightweight Mummy Sleeping Bag - Runner-Up

So far, the TETON Sports LEEF Lightweight Mummy Sleeping Bag did not disappoint its users--including me. As a lightweight sleeping bag, the LEEF has all the features that can give you delight.

This bag comes with ergonomic insulation. For instance, the foot box has been filled with added insulation so that you will no longer have chilly feet. 

The LEEF sleeping bag features thermal enhancing construction to ensure warmth. Meanwhile, its double-layer stitch design prevents cold spots from taking place within. 

Keep in mind that the shell of this sleeping bag is durable; it is made from 40-denier, water-resistant ripstop fabric. It has been integrated with the proprietary PolarLite Micro Insulation that provides relentless warmth without being too heavy. Regardless of where you want to go, this sleeping bag can keep you comfortable and insulated!

Pros:

  • Features taped, anti-snag zippers for better accessibility and ventilation
  • Mummy-shape construction improves fit and insulation
  • Comes with an interior pocket for stashing small valuables
  • Lightweight insulation
  • Available in different sizes

Cons:

  • Not for extremely cold weather

3. ECOOPRO Warm Weather Sleeping Bag - Budget-Friendly Pick

Sale
ECOOPRO Warm Weather Sleeping Bag - Portable, Waterproof, Compact Lightweight, Comfort with Compression Sack - Great for Outdoor Camping, Backpacking & Hiking-83 L x 30" W Fits Adults (A-Dark Blue)
  • 【Ultra Comfort & Durable】Outer material: Nylon (Waterproof and Durable), Lining:100% Polyester (Breathable and skin-friendly), Premium Polyester keeps the temperature from 55 to 60℉ and provides...
  • 【Professional Design】The sleeping bag is waterproof and weatherproof. And the smooth zip closure makes it more convenient. Our sleeping bag measures 83"L x 30"W, the size fits for most people. It...
  • 【Compact & Lightweight Easy To Carry】Unlike down sleeping bags, Our envelope sleeping bag is easy to roll up into the carrying sack and it can be compressed down to just 11" in height and 1.7lbs...
  • 【MULTIPURPOSE VERSATILITY】You can use our warm weather sleeping bag without sleeping bag liner in multiple weather conditions. It's a perfect sleeping bag for Outdoor camping trips, Boy Scouts or...
  • 【Reliable Customer Service】If you have any quality problems, please send us an email and we will reply within 24 hours.

Affordable, but efficient. This description perfectly suits the ECOOPRO Warm Weather Sleeping Bag. It is a great unit that you can take on backpacking trips during summer and any fair conditions. 

Just don't pick this sleeping bag if you are going to high-altitude terrains and snowy destinations. It is suited for the warm weather alone, and that's quite understandable. 

The insulation of this sleeping bag is not on par with other sleeping bags. However, it does excel in providing ventilation and comfort for its sleepers. 

Specifically, this unit is tailored from durable and coated nylon. It has a polyester lining for enhanced breathability. Meanwhile, the use of TC cotton enables it to maintain the internal temperature of approximately 60 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Because it is not a down sleeping bag, the ECOOPRO can be easily packed and rolled in a stuff sack. You can even compress it without any problems!

Pros:

  • Extremely compact when compressed
  • Provides optimal defense against water and other elements
  • Rigid and durable construction
  • Oriented for breathability and ventilation
  • Interior space is comfortable

Cons:

  • Can get hot sometimes

4. REI Co-op Joule 30 Sleeping Bag - Premium Pick

REI Co-op Joule 30 Sleeping Bag - Women's
  • REI double-protection design combines a polymer-coated down fill with waterproof/breathable fabric at the hood, sides and footbox—areas likely to touch a damp tent wall
  • Designed to fit a woman's body, this bag offers increased room at hips, decreased room at shoulders and extra insulation in critical heat-loss areas
  • Water-repellent 700-fill-power duck down offers superior loft and warmth—and is certified to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) and bluesign® approved
  • Ripstop nylon shell also uses a durable water repellent (DWR) finish to further protect the down fill
  • Performance fit keeps weight low and thermal efficiency high

Arguably, one of the best lightweight sleeping bags in the market today is the Joule 30 by REI-Co-Op. It has a premium construction; it is tailored to withstand low-temperatures and wet conditions. 

This sleeping bag utilizes double-protection architecture. The latter is a combination of breathable fabric and polymer-coated down fill on its foot box, sides, and hood. This design protects the bag from getting wet without losing its breathability and insulation. 

Since it is designed for women, the Joule 30 has an extra room on its hips, while the space on the shoulders is decreased. It is also notable that areas where heat loss is common, have added insulation. 

The duck down fill of this waterproof sleeping bag is water-repellent. It provides superior warmth and loft for relentless comfort. 

Also, it features the rugged ripstop nylon as its shell material. It has been treated with a durable water repellent so that water and moisture cannot get to the down fill.

The specialized fit of the REI Co-op Joule 30 ensures that it has low weight and high thermal efficiency at the same time.

Pros:

  • Prevents water and moisture entry
  • Can maintain internal insulation efficiently
  • Works well in moderately cold conditions
  • Maximized used of high-quality down fills 
  • Tailored to fit various body sizes of women

Cons:

  • Breathability is slightly an issue, especially in fair conditions

5. NEMO Forte 20 Sleeping Bag 

NEMO Forte 20 Sleeping Bag - Men's
  • Featuring 80% postconsumer recycled content, PrimaLoft® RISE insulation delivers maximum warmth with less weight and water retention than conventional synthetic insulation
  • PrimaLoft RISE insulation increases heat retention and compressibility that matches or beats 650-fill-power down—ideal for 3-season camping
  • Unique Spoon™ shaped bags offer more room at the elbows and knees, allowing side sleepers to shift positions comfortably throughout the night
  • Thermo Gills™ extend the temperature range on milder nights: Unzip them and let heat out without letting cold drafts in
  • Blanket Fold™ external draft collar and a full-length draft tube provide tucked-in comfort and temperature regulation

The NEMO Forte 20 Sleeping Bag features the traditional mummy-shape design to maximize its insulation and weight management. It is a great 3-season sleeping bag that ensures full breathability and convenience. 

The comfort that this unit provides is astonishing. The interior fabric is made from the 20-denier nylon taffeta and 30-denier polymer to create the ultimate plush quality.

Meanwhile, both the shell and lining of this sleeping bag has been coated with durable weather repellent. It has sufficient weatherproofing that you can rely on. 

Getting in and out of the bag is relatively easy, too, because of its ergonomic zipper design. The proprietary Unique Spoon construction enabled the bag to have more room on its knees and elbows. Because of this design, shifting sleeping positions is not a problem. 

Heat-retention is pretty great with the NEMO Forte 20 Sleeping Bag, thanks to the PrimaLoft RISE insulation. This technology also improved the compressibility of the unit. The resulting product is a fully-insulated and ultra-lightweight backpacking sleeping bag. 

Pros:

  • Less weight but more insulation
  • DWR finish enables reliable water defense
  • Friendly for every side sleeper
  • Foot box is breathable and condensation-resistant
  • Can be packed compactly

Cons:

  • The zipper might snag sometimes

How To Choose The Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag

An ultralight sleeping bag is not just an ordinary sleeping amenity. Let me get that straight. When choosing this particular item, it is essential that you know all the factors that influence its quality and overall usability. 

At the end of the day, your goal here is to ensure that you can get a sleeping bag that can help you reach the dreamland while you are off the grid. 

If you want to keep things short, the following considerations and their brief explanations should help you get the right sleeping bag for you. 

  • Weight - It is essential that you can mind the weight of the sleeping bag, especially if you are going to use it on backpacking or hiking purposes. One of the biggest contributors to the weight of these sleeping bags is their insulation. The cut of the bag matters, too. 
  • Durability - The durability of the sleeping bag is also an essential matter to check. You need a sleeping bag that can withstand the outdoor conditions and constant use. 
  • Insulation - The insulation of a tent can be divided into two categories: down and synthetic. There are various advantages and disadvantages for each of these insulations types. I explained them below. 
  • Temperature Rating - The temperature rating can determine the overall comfort that you can feel while being inside a sleeping bag. If you are expecting cold temperatures, pick a sleeping bag that has a significantly low-temperature rating. In this way, you can survive any frigid backpacking environments.

Lightweight (Backpacking) Sleeping Bag vs Camping Sleeping Bag

Just like tents, sleeping bags have different classifications. There's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution for them.

There are two main categories for these sleeping bags: camping sleeping bags and lightweight sleeping bags. At this point, let me emphasize that the lightweight category here can refer to those sleeping bags that are used for backpacking. After all, the latter always adhere to the "pack lightly" adage. 

Since we are talking about the best lightweight sleeping bags here, we should address their key differences between those sleeping bags that are used for car camping and recreational camping.

Backpacking sleeping bags are:

  • Lighter than camping sleeping bags
  • They can be packed compactly
  • Provides efficient insulation

Keep in mind that you can use a backpacking sleeping bag for leisure camping. However, a conventional camping sleeping bag cannot be used in backpacking activities for the reason that the latter is heavy. 

The Weight Of Sleeping Bags

As I mentioned earlier, the two factors that influence the weight of a sleeping bag is its cut (shape) and insulation. To keep things short, intuitive insulation mechanisms (i.e., modern synthetics and power down fills) can wrap you with warmth without becoming too heavy.

Some fills can provide decent insulation, but you will be burdened by their weight. Always bear in mind that insulation is a crucial aspect in combating cold temperatures. 

When comparing the weights of different sleeping bags, make sure that you consider their temperature ratings. Specifically, only compare those units on the same ratings so that you can judge them accordingly. 

Shapes Of Sleeping Bags And Their Corresponding Weight

  • Rectangular - A rectangular sleeping bag is generally roomy. However, it is significantly heavier than its counterparts.
  • Semi-rectangular - Sleeping bags that have a semi-rectangular shape strikes the perfect balance between warmth, roominess, and weight management. 
  • Mummy - The mummy is considered to be the lightest cut for sleeping bags. It is slimmer than rectangular sleeping bags. It ensures efficient insulation delivery because of its confined construction. Moreover, it is snug and lightweight at the same time. 

Temperature Ratings Of The Best Lightweight Sleeping 

Next, we will delve to the temperature ratings of these sleeping bags. When it comes to this subject, you need to be aware of the term "lowest temperature." It is a crucial aspect that determines how cozy you can feel when inside the bag. 

Specifically, the lowest temperature speaks about the lowest possible temperature where a sleeper can feel the warmth while in the sleeping bag. If you are new to sleeping bags, it would really be best to choose those units that have lower ratings than the anticipated temperature of your destination. 

The lower the rating, the better--especially if you are going to scale snowy and frigid terrains. Even if it is warm, a low-temperature rating is not a problem. After all, you can just open the sleeping bag for additional ventilation.

Here are some of the other essential things that are related to the temperature of sleeping bags:

  • You can compare "EN" and "ISO" temperature ratings. Both of these are standard gauges for measuring the temperature ratings of any sleeping bags, regardless of their manufacturer. ISO is the latest standard, while the EN is the one. 
  • If a sleeping bag has a label of EN and ISO, it means that the unit has two designations: limit and comfort ratings. Comfort rating refers to the lowest possible temperature where a person can feel comfortable. Limit rating, on the other hand, is a classification that indicates the lowest possible temperature where a sleeper can feel warmth. 

Insulation

Of course, one should not forget about the insulation of a sleeping bag. It is a much-needed feature, even during fair weather conditions. 

As I mentioned a while ago, there are two types of insulation for outdoor sleeping bags: the down fills and synthetic fills. Look below and see the breakdown of these two insulators.

Down Insulation

  • Generally lightweight
  • Can be compressed and folded
  • Works well in both dry and cold conditions
  • Highly durable

One could say that down insulation is more durable and expensive than its synthetic counterparts. It is the most preferred option because of its efficient weight management and ability to be compressed.  

The durability of down insulation is useful because they enable extensive warmth retention. 

Keep in mind that no all down fills are the same. The "fill power" is a classification used to classify the quality of the fills. The higher the number, the more warmth and durability a sleeping bag can provide. Also, it would really be great if you can get water-resistant down fills.

Synthetic Insulation

  • Can be dried quickly
  • Provides insulation even if it is wet
  • Known to contain no allergens

Don't ever get the idea that synthetic fills have terrible performance. They are still used in the market because of their ability to generate warmth without being too painful in your pocket. 

One of the key advantages of synthetic fills is their ability to provide heat even if they are wet. By the way, most of these synthetic options are made from polyester. Notably, "fill power" doesn't usually apply to them.

Getting The Right Fit

Don't miss the opportunity to size up the sleeping bag. After all, the fit can determine the overall comfort and insulation that you can get in a particular sleeping bag unit.

Unfortunately, sizing differs from one manufacturer to another. In fact, I can say that this aspect is too general. However, it is still necessary that you can measure things up. 

It would really be best if you can check the dimensions and shape of the sleeping bag. By doing this, you will get an idea if that unit can fit your height and body size.

Also, don't forget that a slightly snugly fit provides guaranteed insulation. 

Essential Accessories

  • Stuff sack - Most commercial sleeping bags have stuff sacks. This is a storage system that enables you to compress the sleeping bag so that it can become compact and easy to pack.
  • Bag liner - A bag liner can help you maintain the cleanliness of the sleeping bag. Just slip it inside the bag, and you are good to go. Sometimes, these bag liners add insulation, too. 
  • Storage sack - It is not recommended to leave the sleeping bag compressed for too long. You need to take it out from the stuff sack and transfer it from a proper storage sack. 

How To Pack And Fold A Sleeping Bag

In this video, you can see some of the proper practices in folding and packing a sleeping bag. Watch it!

Conclusion

All camping and backpacking activities will need the service of the best ultralight sleeping bags. They are an essential amenity that can keep you warm and cozy even if you are away from your bedroom.

The selection I listed here are some of the finest options to check out for this particular item. But if you want to do some searching by yourself, the guide here will be useful.

That's it for now. If you have questions or suggestions, hit them in the comment section! 

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