Planning a long hike can be difficult. Trying to account for the weight you are carrying as well as plan for all your food, water, clothes, gear, and more is a complicated math problem.
Sleeping bag weight is important for planning ahead for a backpacking trip. The warmer and thicker the sleeping bag, the heavier it will be. Sleeping bags range from 1 to 3 pounds. The destination will influence the choice because of the nightly temperatures.
The main thought of planning is the lighter the better because of the number of things you need to carry. But, depending on your hike, you might opt for a heavier sleeping bag if the nightly temperatures get pretty cold.
Which Weight Category Should You Look at?
The hike you are going on will tell you a lot about how you need to prepare. You can find out what the weather can look like the week you go, you can read from other people about their experiences, and overall you can figure out if you need something that you didn’t have before.
You can search the dates you are going on the hike, and see what the weather has looked like on those dates in years past. You can see what the days should be like and plan for shorts or pants, and you can look at the nightly temperatures and see what sleeping bag you need. The time of year you go will also impact this. If you hike during the summer you can expect hot days, and nights can range from warm to cool depending on the area. If you are hiking in the fall or winter, then you can expect cooler days and colder nights. Knowing this will directly impact the sleeping bag you buy.
If you search for other people’s experiences online for how they liked or disliked the hike, then you will find out many things that could be a surprise to you. I know people who have gone on a backpacking trip over a few days and they were researching that there was this huge river for them to follow along the way, so they did not need to account for all of their water, just enough and they could then use water purifiers to make the water drinkable. Well, they showed up and there was no river. You can find out things like that, and you can find out if the nights are really as cold as they say, or what sleeping bags they used on the hike and how it worked.
You can also do research and see if some people recommend a specific brand or type of sleeping bag for the hike. Maybe it’s a trip you take during the summer, but the ground is so hard that someone recommends using a heavy-duty sleeping bag so that you can have more cushion beneath you. That information can impact the sleeping bag you choose as well as a number of other factors.
Light Weight Sleeping Bags
If you have taken a look at the hike you are going on, then you are aware of the temperatures you will experience during the day and during the night. If you are going to experience warmer weather then you can look at the list below!
|HighLite Sleeping Bag||1lb.||35°F||$370.00|
|Sea to Summit Spark Ultralight 28F Sleeping Bag||1lb. 2oz.||28°F||$389.00|
|Neutrino 200 Sleeping Bag: 34F Down||2.3oz.||34°F||$349.95|
|REI Co-op Magma 30 Sleeping Bag – Men’s||1lb. 6oz.||30°F||$349.99|
These are some lightweight sleeping bags that are not going to add much weight to your backpack, and they withstand some cold temperatures. In Fahrenheit, 32°F is considered freezing, whereas in Celsius that is 0°C, so the fact that a lightweight sleeping bag can withstand that cold of temperatures is great!
These sleeping bags are also great because you don’t have to perfectly fold them to fit into the bag that holds the sleeping bag. Instead, you can stuff the sleeping bag into its bag and easily get it tightly packed to help minimize the amount of space it will take up in your backpacking bag.
If you are going on a summer backpacking trip and you are moving locations every day, then having a sleeping bag that is easy to pack and unpack is a nice bonus that you don’t think about before the trip starts. but, once you get going on your trip, you find out how grateful you are for the simplicity and ease.
Medium Weight Sleeping Bags
Medium weight sleeping bags are great for being a generic all-use product. It can handle the colder temperatures while also being more lightweight for summer. These are going to be approximately one pound heavier than the lightweight category, but that is still pretty light for camping gear. The most you have to worry about is your tent, food, water, and other supplies that are heavy. A sleeping bag is not hard to account for, and remember that as your trip goes on, your bag will become lighter as you use the things you have packed.
|Western Mountaineering 10 Degree Versalite Sleeping Bag||2lbs.||0-10°F||$610.00|
|Helium Sleeping Bag: 15F Down||2lbs. 1oz.||15°F||$336.71|
|NEMO Forte 35 Sleeping Bag – Men’s||2lbs. 2oz.||31°F||$169.95|
|Questar Sleeping Bag: 20F Down||2lbs.||20°F||$254.96|
These sleeping bags withstand much colder temperatures. They all weigh the same, but the price for each is not consistent, so you have some room to decide on your budget and review the brands to see if these are worth your hard-earned money.
As you can see, the most expensive sleeping bag was proven through its results because it can withstand much colder temperatures than the other bags. These can work well in temperatures colder than the lightweight sleeping bags, but the first one on this list is going to give you better results. But, depending on your adventure, you might not need to spend that much money on a sleeping bag.
Heavy Weight Sleeping Bags
Heavy-duty sleeping bags are going to be in the biggest weight category, and they are going to likely have a fleece lining or other soft material on the inside. That way, you can make warmth and keep that warmth. Think of a nice insulated water bottle. It keeps the cold water cold, and it blocks out the warm air outside the water bottle. These sleeping bags will do the same thing, only with the opposite effect. They will keep you warm and block out the cold air around you. So, if you are scaling a wintery mountain, get a heavy-duty sleeping bag. The weight of it will help keep you warmer and keep you comfortable.
|Antelope MF Sleeping Bag: 5F Down||2lbs. 5oz.||5°F||(Sold out)|
|Therm-a-Rest Oberon 0 Sleeping Bag||2lbs. 5oz.||0°F||$499.95|
|Parsec™ 0F/-18C Sleeping Bag||2lbs. 6oz.||0°F||$489.95|
|Mythic 600 Sleeping Bag: 10F Down||1lbs. 15oz.||10°F||$584.95|
These sleeping bags are on the higher end of the price, but they also are made to help you in extreme weather. If temperatures drop unexpectedly, you will be okay with these sleeping bags because they will withstand the crazy temperatures. These sleeping bags are going to be quality, made to keep you warm, and they are made to make you survive any crazy cold you might experience. Now, if it is negative degrees during your backpacking trip, you likely won’t go because it would be too hard to move. But, if you hike in the winter and the nightly temperatures drop to about 0°F, then you will be okay.
Everyone who has gone camping a few times in their life knows how uncomfortable it is when you fall asleep and wake up an hour or two later because you are so cold. That issue should never become you with these sleeping bags. You will be able to sleep warm, and you might even be too warm. You might need to unzip your sleeping bag and try to cool off depending on the temperature of the night. But, being too warm in your sleeping bag is preferable to being too cold in your sleeping bag. You can try to cool down, but if you are already cold then there is not much else you can do to get warm while laying down.
How to Determine What Sleeping Bag is Right For You
You are already doing the right thing by understanding your location better and figuring out what temperatures you need to account for, but there are some other factors to think about before deciding on a perfect sleeping bag.
The sleeping pad or other bed option you use will impact your warmth. The ground gets cold at night, so having a sleeping pad between you and the ground will help keep you warmer. You can also be fully off the ground with a cot so you can stay very warm compared to a pad on the ground.
Sleeping bags can also be made with different fillers, that being down or synthetic. The down filler is used on more expensive sleeping bags and the synthetic is used on cheaper bags. Both work great, but based on quality the down product will win and that is why sleeping bags with that filler are more expensive.
Sleeping bags also come in different shapes. You can get a sleeping bag that can fit 2 adults, which is very nice if you are going on a camping trip with your spouse or the family. Then, you and your partner can stay together without having to sleep in two different sleeping bags. There are also sleeping bags in the mummy shape. This is when it gets slim around the feet and the overall shape looks like a mummy. These are really good for freezing temperatures and they will keep you very warm. This shape also has a hood for keeping your head warm and keeping out the cold.
Another shape you can get for your sleeping bag is the classic rectangle. It has four corners and acts more like a blanket that encloses rather than a tight warm sleeping bag. These sleeping bags are a classic, never fail, and do their job. Plus, you can unzip them all the way to make a blanket. Sometimes this is better to sleep with because you can have more airflow. But it also works nicely when you need an outdoor blanket. You can use it outside on a cold night by a bonfire while roasting marshmallows, and you can use it in your own backyard when you want to go on a picnic or stare at the stars.
Something you should make sure you do is to take care of your sleeping bag properly. Follow the instructions on how to wash your sleeping bag. If allowed, machine wash it at the appropriate temperatures. Camping involves bugs, and they can easily get in your sleeping bag. So you will definitely want to wash them out. Also, personal hygiene is not at its highest performance while you are camping. Showers are not available or they work poorly, and you get pretty dirty on hikes and other outdoor activities during the day. Then, at night you go back into your sleeping bag, so be sure to give it a good wash before storing it back in the garage.
Getting cheaper sleeping bags to bring with you on camping trips can be worthwhile because you can use them as an extra cushion beneath you, and you can have extra blankets in case it gets cold. If you are camping with kids then you will definitely use your sleeping bags and you can use them in the car ride as well. Then, when you get home, you can wash them all and you won’t have car blankets as well as camping blankets and sleeping bags to wash. It will simply be sleeping bags for you to wash.