Have you ever spent a night in the cold? The night can be rough enough to make you long for the morning or wish you never agreed to backpack.
However, with the best budget backpacking sleeping bag, you will enjoy every day you hike. The right sleeping bag is one that keeps you warm regardless of whether the weather gets warm or drizzly or cold. Although mummy bags are still the most prevalent sleeping bags, so many other styles have come up to match your sleeping style (side, stomach, back, or combination sleeper). There are also women-specific sleeping bags – with more insulation to keep women warm.
You do not have to break your bank to buy a lightweight, warm, and high-quality sleeping bag. If you are on a budget, do not spend anything more than $100 – a premium price tag is not always an indication of high quality.
A good budget sleeping bag should be warm in all weather, lightweight, highly compressible, and sport high-quality construction. This guide walks you through the best budget hiking sleeping bag brands on the market and a comprehensive guide to help you choose the best. Here is a quick view:
Tough Outdoors All-Season XL Sleeping Bag
REVALCAMP Sleeping Bag
Hi-Hiker Mummy Bag
Oaskys Camping Sleeping Bag
Outdoorsman Lab Sleeping Bag
RedCamp Cotton Flannel Sleeping Bag
Outdoor Vitals Backpacking Sleeping Bag
EcooPro Warm Weather Sleeping Bag
Tough Outdoors Mummy Backpacking Sleeping Bag
Snugpak Jungle Bag
Whether you need an inexpensive down sleeping bag, a bag for your kids, or a bag that zips into a double sleeping bag, the market has everything. However, how do you discern which bag is right for you? Below are factors to consider:
The best budget backpacking sleeping bag will be ideal for all temperatures. You can tell where and when to use your sleeping bag based on its temperature rating. Backpacking sleeping bags fall into three categories:
These have a temperature rating of between 20 degrees Fahrenheit and 32 degrees Fahrenheit – the majority of the bags on the market fall in this category. You can use these bags in summer, spring, fall, and even when the temperatures drop significantly in winter.
Any bag rated higher than 32 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for the high summer temperatures. Most of these bags have a thin filling that makes them lightweight and compact – ideal for long hiking trips. However, the summer sleeping bags might fail to adequately protect you in places where summer nights get chilly. Shop for these bags only if you are sure that the temperature of the place you hike does not get chilly and uncomfortable.
To avoid any inconveniences, we recommend the 3-seasons sleeping bag above as it is more versatile. Choose a sleeping bag whose bottom zip opens up to cool your legs on a warm night.
These are backpacking sleeping bags rated for 20 degrees Fahrenheit and below. If you are backpacking to the mountains or upcountry during winter, a thick camping sleeping bag comes in handy. Although these bags are weatherproof and waterproof, most of them are bulky, thanks to the heavy filling. In the winter, a warm double sleeping bag is preferable as you and your partner can warm one another.
On your sleeping bag, you will see EN and ISO ratings. These are standardized temperature ratings that show exactly how a sleeping bag performs – this protects you from false advertising from some manufacturers.
EN is short for European Norm and ISO for International Standardization Organization. The two organizations test sleeping bags the same way and their criterion allows you to make accurate comparisons between two sleeping bag models. Both ratings give comfort rating and lower limit rating numbers.
Comfort rating is the temperature at which the average woman comfortably sleeps – women do not sweat as men at night. On the other hand, lower limit temperature refers to the comfortable temperature that keeps a man sleeping for eight straight hours. Although you may not sleep that long on a backpacking trip, the rating still helps you choose the most comfortable sleeping bag. You might also see an Extreme Rating, which is the temperature at which a woman sleeps comfortably for six straight hours.
You must pick a sleeping bag that accommodates a wide range of temperatures to keep you comfortable and avoid disappointments. In some instances, the EN and ISO ratings might be low because they do not consider how the temperatures of different regions affect your sleep. It is advisable to check weather forecasts before planning your backpacking trip. This way, you will know the coldest temperature to expect. From them, create a buffer of 10 degrees to ensure you never get cold at night.
Besides the prevailing weather as shown in weather forecasts, consider your age and whether you are a warm or cold sleeper. It is also important that you carry warm clothing, especially if you will backpack in winter, to avoid freezing. Again even the best budget backpacking sleeping bag is not a replacement for a sleeping pad; bringing a sleeping pad keeps you warmer at night.
Some sleeping bags have no EN and ISO ratings. For such bags, you will have to rely on the manufacturer ratings and hope that their ratings are true.
Today, there are not many backpacking sleeping bags with down insulation. While down compresses into a small package, is breathable and comfortable, it is also expensive than synthetic insulation. Again, with the drive towards cruelty-free products, materials, or animal origin are slowly leaving the sleeping bag industry. Down varies in quality, but even the mid-grade or low-grade down is superior to synthetic insulator.
Nevertheless, most sleeping bags have synthetic insulation. Synthetic insulators are inexpensive – you will easily find premium bags that cost less than $100. Again, synthetic insulators are the best in damp conditions. While some down insulators resist wet weather, synthetic fillings still perform better. Because this list only has budget backpacking sleeping bags, go for synthetic insulation options. Plus, you feel good knowing that a duck did not die so you can have a sleeping bag.
The amount of fill stuffed in a bag determines how much protection you get against the cold. Summer sleeping bags have about a pound or two of the fill material while winter sleeping bags have four or more pounds. When looking at fill weight, consider the EN and ISO ratings to choose a bag that offers enough warmth. The fill weight comes in handy on sleeping bags without EN and ISO ratings.
The weight of a sleeping bag is proportional to the fill weight and the size of the bag. The sleeping bag is only second to your backpacking tent in bulkiness. As such, you need to take your time to find a bag that balances functionality with weight and ease of packing. A one-pound sleeping bag with a small storage sack comes in handy when you hike a trail for hours. However, how protective is such a sleeping bag in cold weather? A good bag should be between two and three pounds. Ensure that the storage sack has lightweight compression straps so you can squeeze the bag into a compact package.
Ensure that the sleeping bag sports durable nylon or polyester material with a soft but breathable lining. Polyester and nylon fabrics are preferable for their weather and water resistance qualities. The strongest polyester or nylon fabric should form the outer part of the sleeping bag while the lining should have either cotton, pongee polyester, or any other soft material.
The breathability of the lining wicks away sweat on nights when you sleep warm.
The durability of most sleeping bags appears in Denier’s ratings (D). A good sleeping bag should fall between 10D and 30D, but some go as high as 70D.
Warmth and durability will not matter if your sleeping bag does not fit your height. If you are taller than 6 feet, always go for a sleeping bag that is at least 75 inches in length. If you have large shoulders, pick a bag that is at least 69 inches wide at the shoulders. Mummy sleeping bags are great and relatively less bulky, but they limit movement when you sleep at night. Rectangular sleeping bags are ideal if you toss and turn a lot at night.
|Image||Title||Season||Fits||View On Amazon|
|Tough Outdoors All-Season XL Sleeping Bag||4-season||6'6"||View Product On Amazon|
|REVALCAMP Sleeping Bag||3-Season||6’1"||View Product On Amazon|
|Hi-Hiker Mummy Bag||4-season||6'2"||View Product On Amazon|
|Oaskys Camping Sleeping Bag||3-season||6'2"||View Product On Amazon|
|Outdoorsman Lab Sleeping Bag||4-season||6' 3"||View Product On Amazon|
|RedCamp Cotton Flannel Sleeping Bag||3-Season||6'6"||View Product On Amazon|
|Outdoor Vitals Backpacking Sleeping Bag||3-Season||6'6"||View Product On Amazon|
|EcooPro Warm Weather Sleeping Bag||3-Season||6'6"||View Product On Amazon|
|Tough Outdoors Mummy Backpacking Sleeping Bag||4-Season||6'6"||View Product On Amazon|
|Snugpak Jungle Bag||3-Season||6'6"||View Product On Amazon|
The Tough Outdoors All-Season XL Sleeping Bag is an extra-large budget sleeping bag designed for adults up to 6.6 feet. It sports a 3-season construction to keep you comfortably warm on warm days, cold days and even drizzly days. It has a rating of 41 degrees Fahrenheit, but still keeps you comfortable when the temperatures rise to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Its 3 pounds of double-layered bonded fiber adapts to your sleeping so you feel comfortable at all times. It sports a soft cotton flannel lining that adds to its comfort.
The rectangular sleeping bag measures 88 inches by 34 inches to accommodate backpackers as tall as 6 feet 6.
The sleeping bag packs down into a compact package measuring 16 by 8 by 8 inches. At only 4 pounds, you can carry this bag for long periods without feeling fatigued. It is machine washable and dries within a few hours.
The inner lining has a pocket to hold your essentials. This bag unzips into a large blanket, enough to cover two adults.
The REVALCAMP Sleeping Bag is affordable yet functional. It comes in a rugged construction to resist the harsh weather and the conditions in the woods when you hike or camp.
This is an ideal camping bag for kids and adults up to 6 feet 1. It measures 30 inches wide and 71 inches long, giving small-bodied users enough room to toss and turn. You can choose between a hooded bag (envelop design) and a hoodless rectangular sleeping bag depending on your sleeping needs. With its smooth zips and its rectangular design, it is easy to slip in and out of the bag. Its zip stays closed and its plush filling keeps you comfortable regardless of how much you toss and turn at night.
Pick from a choice of 15 colors with additional patterned and printed bags to match the hiking theme.
The sleeping bag packs down into a compact 2-pound package that you can carry anywhere without feeling fatigued.
The Hi-Hiker Mummy Bag sports a rugged construction so you can use it for many camping seasons. It is a mummy–style sleeping bag that comes with a storage sack and a free soft travel pillow. Although the bag has a thick fill to keep you warm even when it is freezing cold, it still folds into a small package.
Hi-Hiker uses heat retention technology, coupled with a quilted construction and an insulated foot box. This keeps you warm, dry, and comfortable even when temperatures get as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The hood of this sleeping bag features drawstrings so you can lock warm air in and the cold out. Its lining sports a breathable construction to wick away sweat on days when you sleep warm.
This is an ideal sleeping bag for all sleepers up to 6 feet 2. Because your head needs the most support, Hi-Hiker offers a free pillow that is lightweight and packable. You can pick from a choice of three colors to match your taste.
The bag packs into a small package into the provided nylon bag. The storage bag has compression straps to keep the package even smaller.
You can use this sleeping bag for three seasons, in cold and warm conditions. The outer material is weather-resistant to keep you warm and dry even when it gets damp outside. Its double-filled technology keeps you warm when temperatures get as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit while the breathability maintains your comfort at high temperatures.
Each bag has a separated zipper at the bottom so you can remove your legs a crack when it gets hot inside. Again, you can open the zipper all the way so the rectangular sleeping bag turns into a large blanket. Its half-circle hood sports adjustable drawstrings so you can lock out the cold and lock in warmth.
The outer material is a premium anti-tearing polyester fabric that protects you from dampness and excess warmth. Inside the bag features a soft polyester pongee material that feels comfortable on your skin and wicks away sweat. In between these two is 100 percent hollow cotton fill that adapts when you toss and turn to keep you comfortable.
The bag accommodates kids as well as adults up to 6 feet 5.
The Outdoorsman Lab Sleeping Bag is available in three sizes to meet the needs of all backpackers from kids to adults up to 6 feet 4. Even the XL size bag still packs into a compact package that weighs only 3.3 pounds. The regular and standard sleeping bags weigh less than 3 pounds so you can carry them all day without fatigue.
You can choose between a three-season and a four-season sleeping bag, depending on the prevailing weather in the woods you will hike. Regardless of the option you pick, the manufacturer guarantees warmth during cold nights and comfort on nights you sleep warm. On the head section is a semi-circle hood with drawstrings so you can further lock out cold.
Outside, the sleeping bag sports a tear and water-resistant polyester construction to last long and protect you from elements. Inside, the unit has a quick-drying lining made of soft pongee material.
Each sleeping bag has a zipper foot box from where you can stick out your feet on warm nights. You can zip two sleeping bags together to make a double sleeping bag.
This sleeping bag accommodates kids and adults up to 6 feet 6. RedCamp offers the sleeping bag in three fill options; 2-pound, 3-pound, and 4-pound fill options to meet all your sleeping needs. The thicker backpacking sleeping bags are ideal for women. Its filling flannel adapts to your sleeping needs.
Thanks to its heavy filling, the RedCamp Cotton Flannel Sleeping Bag might be the best women’s sleeping bag on this list. However, its large size also makes it ideal for men and taller users. At 91 inches long and 33 inches wide, the sleeping bag provides enough room to toss and turn.
The outer material is a rugged polyester ripstop material that resists tear and water. The thickest sleeping bag protects you from temperatures as low as 23 degrees Fahrenheit while the 2-pound filling option is ideal for temperatures as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Its zippered hood is detachable – this makes it possible for you to unzip the sleeping bag all the way to make a blanket. This hood can also transform into a pillow when you add a fill material. You can zip two sleeping bags together to form one double-size sleeping bag for you and your loved one. Along the liner is a handy pocket to hold your keys and phone.
Outdoor Vitals boasts of the New StormLight microfiber insulation that keeps you warm on winter nights. This insulation keeps you at least 2 times warmer than standard insulation. Even then, the insulation does not affect the breathability of the sleeping bag so you still sleep dry and comfortable on warm nights. The microfibers fill in the sleeping bag compresses almost as much as a cheap down sleeping bag would.
This mummy sleeping bag is available in a choice of blue and orange colors. You can zip two sleeping bags together for a double sleeping bag for you and your loved one. The bag is ideal for adults up to 6 feet 2.
The outer material is a polyester ripstop fabric that is durable and waterproof. Inside, the bag has a soft pongee lining with utmost breathability to wick away sweat on warm nights.
The backpacking sleeping bag is machine washable and dries within a few hours. With each package, you get a limited lifetime warranty as a guarantee of good quality.
The EcooPro Warm Weather Sleeping Bag sports a comfortable, durable, and lightweight construction. Its outer material is nylon which makes the sleeping bag waterproof. Inside, the bag has a soft polyester lining, which is highly breathable to keep you dry on sweaty nights. The fill is 100 percent cotton, which protects you from temperatures as low as 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
The rectangular sleeping bag features a smooth zip closure that offers great convenience. This bag measures 83 inches long and 30 inches wide – enough size for adults up to 6 feet 3 or two children. Even though it is a large-sized backpacking sleeping bag, it packs down into a 1.7-pound package that only stands at eleven inches.
Its innovative insulation and high breathability keeps it comfortable in diverse weather conditions. You get a one–year warranty with every package.
Tough Outdoors makes it to the list again for its mummy sleeping bag. The company has produced the best budget backpacking sleeping bag models on the market and their mummy sleeping bag is one of them. This bag accommodates users up to 6 feet 6, including men with wide shoulders.
You can use the bag for your summer backpacking or camping expedition. It has a 60F+ rating, which means it might not hold so well in winter temperatures, but it keeps you comfortable in cold summer nights. In between the lining and the outer material is a comfortable filling that adapts to your sleeping position to keep you comfortable all night long. The side zippers are smooth and easy to pull on when you sleep.
On the inner lining of the sleeping bag is a small pocket to hold your essentials. The unit packs down into a small package that weighs only 2.05 pounds – this feels light when you hike rough terrain.
The Snugpak Jungle Bag is so named because it comes in camo colors black, olive and desert sand; choose which one fits the woods you hike. It is a large-sized backpacking sleeping bag at 86 inches long and 31 inches wide – this fits kids and adults up to 6 feet 6 and those with wide shoulders. It sports a rectangular design that unzips all the way to form a blanket
One unique feature of this sleeping bag is its roll-away mosquito net that you can zip over your face. The net ensures you still get fresh air even as you lock out mosquitos, insects, and snakes.
The Snugpak Jungle Bag features a lightweight construction. Its outer material is nylon, which not only adds to the lightweight nature of the bag, but also makes the sleeping bag waterproof and weatherproof. It has a soft lining and lightweight insulation. Rated at 45 degrees Fahrenheit, this backpacking sleeping bag keeps you comfortable in cold weather as well as hot summers. It packs into a small package, measuring 7 inches tall and 6 inches wide – just large enough to fit on your palm.
If your sleeping bag is not warm enough, the ultimate solution will be replacing it with a warmer bag. However, in the meantime, you can use a sleeping bag liner which adds to the sleeping bag’s warmth and breathability. You can also wear a heavy underlayer to keep yourself warm before slipping into the bag. If you are camping as a couple and the sleeping bags you have can zip into a double bag, zipping them together will make both of you warmer.
Women should go for women sleeping bags as they are more comfortable than standard sleeping bags. Most of these sleeping bags are smaller than standard bags and have more insulation since women sleep colder than men. Again, the bags might have more support and are wider around the hips to accommodate the shape of a woman. Because women love color, most of these bags come in a wide range of colors.
The enclosed nature of a sleeping bag, the added insulation, and its lightweight nature, make it ideal for backpacking. A blanket heavy enough to keep you warm will fill your backpacking bag and feel bulky. Again, a blanket is not weatherproof. If you prefer a blanket, buy a sleeping bag that opens into a blanket. Better yet, get a sleeping bag whose bottom opens so you can remove your legs when the night gets hot.
No matter how thick your sleeping bag is, it still does not offer you the support and comfort you get with a sleeping pad. When shopping for a sleeping pad to match your sleeping bag, look at the R-value of the pad (this is like its temperature rating). The R-value ranges from 0 to 9.5. A standard summer pad should have a value of three or lower. A three-season pad to match your 3-season sleeping bag should have a value of at least 5. If you are looking for a sleeping bag for winter use, pick one that has a value of more than 5.
A mummy sleeping bag is formfitting which reduced the bulk and makes it lightweight and compact for backpacking. Instead of the wide base of rectangular bags, most mummy bags have a thicker fill which makes them warmer.
Fill power is the ability of a down-filled sleeping bag to spring back to shape after compression. Usually, an ounce of down contains millions of filaments, which spring back to shape when you compress them. By so doing, the filaments hold air, which keeps you warm. A down sleeping pillow with a higher fill power is more resistant to compression, traps more air, and lofts better. It, therefore, feels warmer and the manufacturer does not have to use a lot of down to keep you warm.
Most sleeping bags are water-resistant; this means they resist penetration of water to a certain degree. Some are waterproof, especially nylon sleeping bag, which means that no matter how much it rains, the sleeping bag is fully impermeable to water.
The best budget backpacking sleeping bags are every backpacker’s friend. With so many sleeping bags on the market, it is challenging to single out a backpack. If you are a first-time shopper, you need to take your time and understand the size, material, lining, denier, and EN/ISO ratings. If you only need to replace a backpacking sleeping bag that is worn out, think of what you could improve from the bag you have had.
I recommend a three-season sleeping bag for its versatility. Instead of buying one bag for summer and another one for winter, you could choose one that works well in all seasons. You can start by trying out the Tough Outdoors All-Season XL Sleeping Bag and the Hi-Hiker Mummy Bag. These are 3-season backpacking sleeping bag that fits kids and adults up to 6 feet 6. The sleeping bags are not only large to accommodate different users, but also versatile to work in all weather conditions. For their sizes, the sleeping bags are light enough and will never fatigue you when you hike for long distances.