The best sleeping bags in 2019: A full guide
Have you ever spent the night shivering because your sleeping bag was not suited to your needs? Spring or winter, light and compact, down or synthetic, we help you choose the right one.
It is a fact: To spend a comfortable night in the nature, the quality of your sleep will be as important as that of your tent. It will allow you to stay warm, to be comfortable but also to rest well. A crucial point to be at your best for the next day. It is also one of the heaviest equipment you will have to carry. Between quality, comfort, performance and lightness, our selection will help you find your way.
How to choose your sleeping bag: the essential thing to know
Today, technologies make it possible to create sleeping bags that are both lightweight and highly insulating. When I choose a bag, I first look at its weight. A heavy and bulky bag becomes a big problem when you’re hiking. Of course, staying warm is just as important and you will need to find a good understanding between lightness and warmth. A good solution is to have several sleeping bags that will adapt to all seasons and all times. If your budget does not permit, choose a bag that will keep you warm during the coldest times you plan to use it.
In a sleeping bag, heat is created by your body and thus heats the space inside your bag. It plays the role of insulator. In other words, the better the insulation will be, the hotter you will be. Also, the smaller the space to be heated, the better will be and your bed will be hot quickly. If you are looking for warmth, then opt for a bag not too big that will fit best to the shape of your body. The sleeping bag also serves as protection against moisture. By locking well inside, the down keeps us from contact with moist soil and also protects us from the humidity of the air. Very convenient for those who like to sleep under the stars.
The 1 season sleeping bag (summer): these duvets are reserved for relatively warm temperatures (10 ° C and more). They are unsuitable for the mountains and will be perfect for camping at low altitude during the hottest months of the summer.
The 2 season sleeping bag (spring / summer): the 2 season sleeping bag is a little tricky in its use. I expect that if you spend a night at high altitude, you could easily get cold when the temperature is below 0 ° C. It will be especially suitable for those of you who are staying in low altitude areas.
The 3 season sleeping bag (spring / summer / autumn): undoubtedly the most versatile sleeping bag type and our favorite on travelonbudget. It is also the most widespread. Usable in autumn and spring from -10 ° C but also in summer by opening the zipper. If you want to invest in a good bag that will cover most of your needs, go for this one.
The 4 season sleeping bag (winter): there are few duvets 4 seasons, strictly speaking, ie a flexible bag that will adapt to different temperature ranges. Here, we talk about winter or cold sleeping bag for temperatures below -10 ° C. A bag that you can use in any season, playing with the opening to lose insulation. Still, if it’s really hot, you will sweat and so ironically get cold.
In a sleeping bag, heat is created by your body and thus heats the space inside your bag. In other words, the better the insulation will be and the hotter you will be. Also, the smaller the space to be heated, the better. Your bed will be quickly warm. If you are looking for warmth, then opt for a bag not too big that will fit best to the shape of your body. To help you find your way, three temperatures are indicated on the sleeping bags:
Comfort temperature: temperature from which, you are in thermal equilibrium and you do not feel the cold.
Comfort temperature limit: the minimum temperature for which curled up on yourself you do not feel the cold.
Extreme temperature: temperature from which the risk of hypothermia appears.
Shapes: Rectangle, Sarcophagus or Quilt?
As we have seen, the insulation and interior space of your bag will guarantee a comfortable night. Among the many forms of sleeping bag available, we will dwell on the most common:
Rectangle shape: this shape is comfortable, giving you a wider space in the legs and feet. It is a shape suitable for mild weather during the hottest months of the year.
Sarcophagus or mummy shape: this shape is ideal for the coldest months of the year. The bag adapts to the shape of your body thus reducing the interior space. Sarcophagus bags are usually equipped with a hood to maximize the insulation in the head.
Shape quilt: This is a cup sarcophagus that is open in the back. The idea is that the part of the bag under your back, in other words between you and your mattress, is not very useful for insulation. Thus, by removing this part, it lightens the weight of the bag. It is therefore ideal for hikers who wish to optimize the weight of their equipment. This cut will not be suitable for those of you who sleep on one side. Also, I do not recommend it for use in negative temperatures. This cup is not equipped with a hood, think to take a head warm.
Insulation: Duvet or synthetic?
Two types of insulation offer to you, Duvet and synthetic. Duvet sleeping bags are made from the feathers of young birds (usually geese or ducks). They have the advantage of being lighter and more compressible. They are very good insulators and are more durable than well-maintained synthetic bags. On the other hand, they are expensive, absorb moisture more easily and therefore take longer to dry. Synthetic sleeping bags absorb less moisture, dry faster and are easier to maintain. They are also much cheaper. They are, on the other hand, heavier and bulky offering a weight/insulation less interesting than a down. Also, they are less durable in time.
Comparative: our selection of the best sleeping bag
The sleeping bag is probably the most important part of your equipment. It is one of the heaviest and expensive. Take into account your needs in order to choose a bag adapted to its use based on our advice given above. Remember, a quality bag will be your ally for many years.
Best 1 and 2 seasons sleeping bags
The duvets summer and two seasons are ideal to stay at low altitude because their insulating power is quite low. Thus, even if they are developed for spring and summer, they will not perform well in temperatures below 10 ° C for 1 season models and negative for 2 seasons models.
Best 3 seasons sleeping bags
The 3 season duvets are the most versatile and will satisfy most of your uses. They will perform well up to temperatures of -10 ° C and will also be used in summer playing with the zipper.
Best cold, winter and 4 seasons sleeping bags
The duvets cold are designed for use in winter for the less lenient conditions. Such a sleeping bag will be your ally for temperatures below -10 ° C. They will suit the most adventurous of us who love extreme conditions. Note that there is a little model that is really 4 seasons and they will be unsuitable for the hot seasons at low altitude and quite heavy in general. At travelonbudget, for more versatility, we prefer to have a sleeping bag 3 seasons and 1 down very cold in our closets.
Ultra light sleeping bags (light and compact)
The very light beds will be your ally during treks or long hikes. Down being one of the heaviest elements in your backpack, reducing the weight allotted to it will bring you a significant comfort gain. This is a must have if you practice hiking regularly.
Best double sleeping bags (2 places)
For the most romantic of you, there are double duvets. I do not recommend this type of sleeping bag if temperatures are not mild. The inner space of the bag being larger, it will take longer to heat and you will have heat loss. Also these double beds are rather heavy and bulky. They still have charm if you camp in love, it’s undeniable. For trekkers, you can head to twin sleeping bags. For this you must of course buy the same model, one with a closure on the left and the other on the right. This is especially the case for sarcophagus-shaped beds.
Best kids sleeping bags
Children love nature and many enjoy hiking. I have kept some great childhood memories of my hikes in the Alps with my grandparents. For a warm and comfortable night, we recommend sleeping bags adapted to their morphology. Designed for children, they are smaller, lighter and above all much cheaper. Note that children will feel more comfortable in rectangular sleeping bags. We advise you to opt for synthetic beds because in case of accident it will dry quickly. Children’s beds are recommended until 10-12 years old. Beyond that, if your child loves hiking, opt for a good adult bag that will keep for many years and will grow.
Questions / Answers
Can a winter down be used in the summer?
It is quite possible to use a winter sleeping bag in summer, just open it to ventilate you if you are hot. You can also use some models in cover mode. On the other hand, if it is a model for extreme conditions, you may be too hot.
Sleeping bag 1 place or 2 places?
Choosing a 2-seater sleeping bag may seem more comfortable because it’s more spacious, but the air will usually take longer to warm up. Better to opt for a down perfectly fitting the silhouette. Of course, if you travel as a couple, the 2-seater model is possible, especially in summer. My advice: if you really want to share a sleeping bag for two, choose a twin model.
Should I clean my sleeping bag?
Every morning, when you wake up, think about airing your sleeping bag by opening it big. Thus, you will evacuate some of the moisture caused by perspiration. The down will have a longer life and will be less impregnated by odors. It is also advisable to wash your down from time to time. To avoid damaging the insulation, prefer washing by hand, with very little soap, without letting it dry for too long. In general, avoid washing your sleeping bag too frequently.
Where to buy your sleeping bag at the best price?
You will find duvets in all the shops specialized in hiking or in large sports equipment stores. Feel free to take a look on the internet to enjoy more attractive prices. For internet shopping, we recommend that you always check the return policy of the store. We have been buying our diaper bags online for years and we have never had a problem. Do not hesitate to buy on your favorite site. On travelonbudget, we recommend Amazon which offers a huge choice and top-notch customer service. In addition, you can help yourself to many customer reviews to make your choice. By purchasing directly from Amazon, you have the option to return the product free of charge in case of problems.