Today we are going to look at 8 of the best value for money sleeping bags for backpackers.
It’s easy to slap a wad of cash on the counter and ask for the most expensive and lightest sleeping bag available. But do you really need to spend all that money when there are more affordable sleeping bags? Granted you lose some of the features and gain a bit of weight. A $$ worth sleeping bag is not 2 times tougher or lighter than a $ sleeping bag.
(Me trying to be creative with dollar signs)
All I’m saying is there are cheaper sleeping bags that can do the same job just as well. In the end, it all depends on how much certain features are worth to you. Are you willing to pay double the price of an affordable sleeping bag just to shave off half a pound of weight? In most cases, I’m not willing to make that trade. While I was putting this list together I came across a few limited lifetime warranty sleeping bags, a new model that does not replace the older model and is heavier too, but much roomier.
All of the sleeping bags are mummy bags or have shapes close to a mummy bag with improved comfort and roominess. There’s even a few models that can zip together to make a double sleeping bag. I’ve tried to cover all the basis offering some 0-degree sleeping bags, some 15 and 30-degree bags.
You won’t be cool with the 0 degree in summer, but the 15 and 30’s will be good 3 season options stepping in to early winter territory. I’ve even added some synthetic sleeping bags for good measure. All of the listed down bags are ethical down so my consciousness is clear! Keep in mind that you have to give 10-20 degrees leeway and be prepared to put on another layer of clothes when the thermometer comes close to the manufacturers advertised comfort temperature limits.
Insulation: 600 fill power Duck DriDown(moisture resistant, sort of)
Temperature Rating: EN comfort: 28F(comfortable for women), Limit; 17F (comfortable for men)
Packed Weight: 3 lbs. 5 oz.
Size: 80’’ long, 61’’ shoulder width
compression sack + storage sack included
We are starting off with an odd one. This is a zipperless down bag with very peculiar features. As a matter of fact, not only does it not have zippers, it also doesn’t have a cord to cinch down the hood. But don’t let that put you off. Comfort is behind every design decision of this bag and you won’t be disappointed. You enter through the circular opening and cover up with the integrated blanket which they call “the comforter”, how nice. The blanket is designed to seal off the big opening and prevent further heat loss. It also has pockets at its top corners where you can warm your hands at the end of a cold day.
The back has a pocket for a sleeping pad, and better make it a 20 inch wide one at that.
There is also a zipperless foot vent. It’s a flap on the underside of the bag that you can easily slide your feet through when it gets too warm. When not in use the flap does not let heat out thanks to the overlapping layers that seal it shut.
The shape sort of looks like a half canoe. It accommodates all kinds of sleeping positions and sleeping on your belly might be its specialty. Because of the width of the bag, it is ideal for bulkier guys, twist and turners or just broad shouldered greek gods. It might be a bit on the heavy side, but I’m willing to forgive it because of its comfort features and unique design.View at Amazon
Best budget down mummy bag
Insulation: 600 fill power DriDown(moisture resistant)
Temperature rating: EN comfort – 0F, 20F 40F variants
Shell: 50D Down proof polyester Ripstop (so down doesn’t poke out)
Packed Weight: 0F – 3 lbs 13oz, 20F – 2 lbs 13oz, 40F – 13 oz.
This is one of the most popular down sleeping bags out there. The awesome price might have something to do with it. Granted it’s not the lightest. The Kelty cosmic mummy bag series if you haven’t already gotten my small hints is one of the best value for money down bag you can get from a reputable brand.
It has a top and bottom cinch cords for the hood and draft collar for better heat retention. It has a two-way zipper so you can unzip the bottom part for your feet to breathe in warmer nights. Along the zipper, there’s a draft tube to prevent heat from escaping. As long as we are talking about zippers, the draft tube has a wide anti-snag material so the zipper doesn’t catch while you close it. The hood is nice and comfortable and the foot box is not cramped. It’s not a tight fitting bag so you should be comfortable in different sleeping positions plus a little restless tossing and turning if you’re into that sort of thing.
Some people have reported that the actual comfort rating should be +10 higher than advertised but that depends if you are a cold or a warm sleeper. Anyway, choose a sleeping bag with some extra buffer temperature rating to be on the safe side when temperatures go down.
The series represents a great budget-friendly sleeping bag for summer and winter backpacking. It has been very popular for many years now and this new version (old one was 550 fill down, this one is 600) is a great value for money sleeping bag.View at Amazon
One of the most affordable 800 fill down 0 F sleeping bags
Insulation: 800 fill power hydrophobic down
Packed Weight: 3 lbs.
At first when I saw the specs and the price I thought it was too good to be true. They have to have cut corners somewhere, but where exactly? The first thing that came to mind and to me would have been a deal breaker would be the sourcing of the down. To my surprise, it was RDS certified(Responsible Down Standard), which put to rest my suspicions.
The bag is not feature rich, there is no inside pocket, no two-way zipper or foot box ventilation, but then again you don’t really need that much ventilation from a 0-degree sleeping bag. It has a smart baffle tube system that spreads the down evenly at the needed places and you have extra insulation in the foot box to keep your feet nice and warm.
You can fully unzip the sleeping bag and use it as a quilt on warmer nights which is an added bonus. The zippers are YKK, so you also get the best zippers on the market.
You also get a limited lifetime warranty which is always a great bonus. This represents the trust they have in the build and quality of their products. I always like to see that in backpacking gear. Overall this is one of the most affordable lightweight 0-degree down sleeping bag (ethical down ) currently out there and is well worth the purchase!View at Amazon
Great budget 800 down sleeping bag
Insulation: 800 Fill power/550 grams of goose down (not hydrophobic)
Temperature Rating: survival: 15 F, comfort: 20 ~ 40 F
Packed Weight: 2.54 lbs.
Another limited lifetime warranty sleeping bag. We’re on a roll now. You can’t go wrong with this sleeping bag.
I like the black one with the striking orange inner liner by the way.
This is a good budget 800 down sleeping bag with basic features that get the job done. I’d call it a 3 season sleeping bag because the 15F temperature rating seems to be “survival” rating and by many reports, the comfort rating is around 30F. The company itself states it to be between 20-40F. It has YKK zippers with anti-snag material stitched to the draft tube alongside it. The zipper is also two way so you can open it on the bottom side for ventilation. The hood cinches nicely around the face and the draft collar also has cinch down cords. The foot box is with added insulation to keep your feet nice and toasty.
The bag is not too tight fitting, but it might suit back sleepers best. Again, no inside pockets, no clever foot box ventilation just the essentials. And don’t forget the lifetime warranty! Actually, this might be the best budget lightweight 800 goose down mummy sleeping bag currently on the market. What a tongue twister, anyway, check it out!View at Amazon
Best value for money feature rich comfortable sleeping bag
Insulation: 650 Nikwax Hydrophobic down
Temperature Rating: 15F and 30F models
Weight: 15F – 2 lbs. 14 oz.; 30F – 2 lbs. 5 oz.
compression sack + stuff sack included
I’ve got another odd one for you. The Nemo Disco sleeping bag is very special. It has all the bells and whistles you’ll need in a sleeping bag with unique temperature regulating features. I think the name might come from the vibrant color variants it comes in. There are 15F and 30F temperature models. The spoon shape allows for free movement so you can sleep in different positions while staying nice and warm. Side sleepers will feel very comfortable in this bag. The small items pocket is positioned on the outer shell instead of on the inside.
The two-way zippers provide good venting options. It has an anti-snag material stitched to the draft tube along the zipper as well. The foot box area is interesting. In addition to the entire bag being filled with hydrophobic down, the outer shell around the foot box is waterproof so it does not get wet from the condensation dripping down from the wall of the tent.
Oh, the hood is also another area of interest. It is bigger than the usual mummy bag hood because it has an inside pocket for a pillow or stuffing your puffy jacket. Instead of a draft collar, the Nemo has this small flap that imitates the “tucking in” part of a blanket for added comfort and temperature regulation. Sort of like the comforter/blanket in the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 600.
It’s time to address the most unique feature of this bag. The “Thermo gills“. The gills are 2 strips of zippers that when open let heat out without letting cold air in. You can regulate the temperature in your sleeping bag much better with the thermo gills.
I mentioned in the beginning that there are a few models that can zip together to form a double sleeping bag. This is one of them! You can zip together the men’s Disco and the women’s Rave.
This is not a cheap sleeping bag. This can be the bag you upgrade to in the future to lighten your gear without sacrificing comfort. You get what you pay for, but in this case, I think you get a bit more in terms of features and room to move and I love the added pillow pocket. Did I mention that Nemo stands firmly behind its products with a limited life time warranty? So if you want to treat yourself to one of the best value for money lightweight down sleeping bags look no further than the comfortable Nemo Disco 15 and 30 models.
I’m certainly down to boogie with the Disco – couldn’t resist to throw in that pun!View at Amazon
Compressible lightweight synthetic bag
Insulation: Synthetic Heatseeker Pro
Temperature rating: EN Lower limit: 22F, EN Comfort 33F
Weight: Regular: 2 lbs. 11 oz. Long: 2 lbs. 14 oz.
Size: 4 sizes from 71,5’’ to 6.6’
I’ve snuck in this classic for you. It’s not just a synthetic sleeping bag.
People still have their 30-year-old cat’s meow sleeping bags and this puts a smile on my face whenever I read such stories. I’ve put this here to offer a synthetic alternative on the off chance you are set to have a synthetic bag instead of down. Well, this is a special synthetic bag. It’s one of the lightest and most compressible synthetic sleeping bags out there. Granted its direct down competitors are not that much smaller when compressed or lighter. Cough … Kelty cosmic. It even has a women’s version that has added insulation and a mitten inside for your hands.
I like the design of the draft tube along the zipper that continues all the way taking the role as a draft collar as well. It’s nice and bulky and a welcome feature on cold nights. The hood is well shaped with a comfortable baffle on the end so you don’t cinch down the outer shell directly on your face. It even has a small pocket for a phone or other items. You can also zip the left-hand zipper model to a right-hand zipper model to form a double sleeping bag.
The back has pad loops to attach to a sleeping pad so you don’t roll off it when you shift. I love the fact that they’ve added 30D ripstop on the hood and foot box compared to the 20D body to strengthen those areas. If you’re a returning hiker or just starting out, this is a great lightweight synthetic bag to consider.View at Amazon
Insulation: Synthetic ThermaPro Ultra
Weight: Regular: 3 lbs. 11 oz. ; Long: 4 lbs. 2 oz.
This is a new model to an oldie but a goodie. When I saw the specs for a moment it left me puzzled. This new model is advertised to have all the room a restless twist and turner could want. The downside for that is the extra weight while keeping the same price as the older model Tuck 20/EN 22. But being the “get to the bottom of things kind of guy” I contacted Kelty and asked them about it. The new bag is a full pound heavier than the previous model – Why?
So I asked if this new model is more of a car camping solution, rather then a hiking/backpacking one. They told me that it is still considered a backpacking sleeping bag, but whether I would want to carry something that heavy is an “individual decision”.
Now that we’ve got that sorted, moving on. The bag has all the features as the old one, with the added room to twist and turn and this new more compact hood. All the extra weight went into the insulation for the added space to keep the same temperature rating.
Comfort and lightweight have a price. And if you are willing to lug this inexpensive comfortable and bulky synthetic bag, cough… 4 pounds, then this might be a bag to consider. This came out wrong, let me try again. If you like to have extra room and the tight-fitting mummy bags are not your thing then for an extra pound of weight you can get a very budget friendly 20-degree synthetic sleeping bag. There, much better.View at Amazon
Very budget-friendly synthetic sleeping bag
Insulation: Synthetic StormLight microfiber insulation (water resistant)
Temperature Rating: 20F
Weight: 3lbs. 10 oz
Shell: 75D Ripstop with water resistance
We’re going to end this with a very budget, very synthetic, and very waterproof sleeping bag. I reviewed its lighter 35F little brother in this thread . The newly developed insulation packs down smaller and traps air better thanks to the interwoven microfibers. The tough outer shell is also treated to be waterproof. This makes it a good choice in humid environments. It is on the heavy side but certainly not as heavy as the Tuck 20. It has an inside pocket for small items. The inner liner is nice to the touch.
This new model has updated Ykk zippers. Like it’s little brother you can zip together the red one and the green one to form a double sleeping bag.
All in all, this is as good as it’s going to get on a tight budget. Don’t get me wrong, you get a lot of bag for the money. Here’s the kicker, this sleeping bag comes with a limited lifetime warranty. So even if it is so inexpensive you will always have that warranty if a defect occurs in the years to come. And Outdoor Vitals has a very nice customer service. It is a great option for putting together hiking gear with limited funds without sacrificing comfort and reliability. Just don’t forget the sleeping pad and a nice puffy jacket as a back up when temperatures start reaching that 20 F mark.View at Amazon
With these examples, I hope I’ve shown you that you don’t need to break the bank to buy a good sleeping bag. There’s a good sleeping bag for every budget. You can go as comfortable as you like picking one of the more expensive bags like the Nemo Disco 15 or the zipperless unique shaped Sierra Designs Bed 600. The limited lifetime warranty offerings are a nice juicy carrot to lore you to try something new for a great price. Let me know in the comments below what are your favorite sleeping bags and what you like about them!