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Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL
- Warmth 7.0
- Weight 5.0
- Comfort 7.0
- Versatility 10.0
- Features 10.0
Weight: 19.1 oz | Fill: 950+FP Goose Down
REASONS TO BUY
Super high fill power down
Functions as a quilt or a mummy bag
A full-length zipper with a baffle provides total containment.
REASONS TO AVOID
Not quite as light as the lightest bags available
The Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL takes top honors in our evaluation again again, owing primarily to its extraordinary adaptability. This bag has you covered whether you’re attempting to ventilate on a hot night or snuggle up when the temperature lowers. A full-length zipper down the center allows it to be used as a hoodless mummy bag or a flat quilt, giving you two great sleeping options. The Flicker 40 combines an ultra high loft, 950+ fill power down with a water-resistant and breathable Pertex Endurance UL shell. With this masterpiece, Feathered Friends spared no cost and utilized only the finest and lightest materials.
This is not the warmest bag; we chose the 40F version to see how light it is. It kept us warm in that temperature range, but much colder and we weren’t quite toasty. If you want greater warmth for a little more weight, look into the 30F and 20F choices. On chilly nights, the absence of a hood also lessens warmth. We like the dual drawcords at both the head and feet, which lets you wear it around camp on chilly mornings, and the full-length zipper is far higher quality and more functional than the weight-saving buckle and strap systems used on some competing quilts. The Flicker is the obvious winner in our comparison test, and we suggest that you begin your quest for a lightweight sleeping bag with this model.
The Best Ultralight Hooded Mummy Bag
Western Mountaineering Summerlite
- Warmth 9.0
- Weight 5.0
- Comfort 6.0
- Versatility 8.0
- Features 7.0
Weight: 19 oz | Fill: 850 Fill-Power Down
REASONS TO BUY
A fully enclosed mummy bag with hood
Warm and thermally efficient
Lightweight for a full-zip hooded mummy
REASONS TO AVOID
When something works well, we don’t see why it should be changed. The Western Mountaineering Summerlite has been around for a long and is a reliable lightweight backpack for a variety of reasons. While it is not EN certified, it seems to be sufficiently warm for its 32F rating, supporting our judgment that Western Mountaineering’s approach to temperature classifications is much more cautious than others. To build a warm bundle for a good night’s sleep, the Summerlite sandwiched high-quality 850 fill-power down between 12-denier fabric covered in a strong DWR. Despite the full-length zipper and hood, the Summerlite weighs in at a reasonable 19 ounces. It’s a multifunctional bag that’s as light as or lighter than the majority of the other types we examined.
The one compromise is a tighter cut, particularly at the legs, so this may not be a good option for bigger people or restless sleepers. But because it’s a regular mummy, it’s less dependent on matching with a specific pad, so it can be used whether you’re stretching out in a hut along the Appalachian Trail or curled up on a frozen sloping ledge on the side of a mountain. Despite its tighter design, the Summerlite is our favorite complete mummy bag for lightweight users.
Quilts vs. Mummy Bags
We understand that the debate between quilts and mummy bags may be divisive. While there are compelling reasons on both sides of this debate, we picked a favorite bag for each kind. Some of our testers prefer quilts, and some prefer mummies, and that’s just fine. We set out to conduct this review in order to give information to both schools of thinking. Our sole definite conclusion is that your needs take precedence over anybody else’s.
Best Bang for the Buck
Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20
- Warmth 9.0
- Weight 4.0
- Comfort 6.0
- Versatility 8.0
- Features 8.0
Weight: 20.9 oz | Fill: 850 Fill-Power Down
REASONS TO BUY
Warm for a quilt
Lofty 850 fill power, hydrophobic down
Lots of customizable options
REASONS TO AVOID
Constrictive when fully buckled up
Long, dangly drawcords
For many people, the weight-to-warmth ratio isn’t the only consideration for ultralight gear. Pricing is also an essential consideration. The Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20 provides the optimum balance. It did not get as high a rating as the Feathered Friends Flicker , but it’s available for a lot less and comes with free delivery in the United States. It’s difficult to find a bag that is as multipurpose and toasty as this one. The quilt can be opened into a blanket for summer nights or sealed down around a sleeping pad for maximum warmth on chilly ones. The Revelation is completely configurable in terms of fill power, fabric weight, overall width and length, and even colors. We tested the “stock” model for this review — beware that a customized quilt can take 2-4 weeks for delivery, but with a plethora of options, you can dial this one in to meet your specific desires.
If you’re close to the limits of the quilt’s dimensions, we recommend sizing up, as our larger testers found the quilt a bit constricting when entirely closed up. Although the attachment mechanism is quite customizable, it is dangly at times, which may be uncomfortable. However, the current model is the warmest quilt we tested and is comfortable across a wide range of temperatures, causing it to score high on our charts. The is a fantastic quilt at a reasonable price. Revelation is a worthy contender.
Best for a Tight Budget
Hammock Gear Economy Burrow 20
- Warmth 6.0
- Weight 2.0
- Comfort 7.0
- Versatility 8.0
- Features 8.0
Weight: 25 ounces | Fill: 800 Fill-Power Duck Down
REASONS TO BUY
Bargain for what you get
REASONS TO AVOID
Not that warm
Doesn’t cinch as well as some
More money spent on weight savings might be worthwhile for certain ultralight trekkers. However, the Econ line from Hammock Gear proves that you don’t need to break the bank for a quality lightweight quilt. We tested the Hammock Gear Economy Burrow 20, and we were surprised at how well it performed despite having a price that was less than half the cost of some of the premium models. It has the same number of features as some of the more costly alternatives and isn’t significantly heavier.
We tested the Economy Burrow in the backcountries of Zion and Joshua Tree National Parks, and it kept us warm on nights near freezing with the added benefit of packing down surprisingly well, too. It isn’t the lightest or warmest choice available, but the price is incredible for a blanket this practical. The size, temperature, fill, and foot box shape may all be modified, affecting the price, but it should remain less than the cost of practically every other competing choice. This is the bag for bargain hunters.
Best for Insane Packability
Sea to Summit Spark SpI 40
- Warmth 5.0
- Weight 9.0
- Comfort 6.0
- Versatility 5.0
- Features 6.0
Weight: 12.4 oz | Fill: 850+ Fill-Power Down
REASONS TO BUY
Extremely light for a mummy bag
Packs down to the size of a large grapefruit
REASONS TO AVOID
Only appropriate for summer temperatures
Somewhat tight cut
Some people go light, while others go ultralight. The Sea to Summit Spark SpI 40 is designed for the latter. This gadget is so light and compact at 12.4 ounces that you could lose it in your pack. The Spark comes with a compression bag that compresses it to around one liter of space – about the size of a Nalgene water bottle. We took this backpacking on a late summer overnight trip in southern Utah and easily fit everything into a 20-liter daypack. You can get away with carrying this inside an ultra-running vest for some quick and light mountain running experiences if you’re cautious.
The folks over at Sea to Summit made this tiny package possible by stripping nearly everything off this hooded mummy bag. There’s no draft collar or tube here, just a half-zip. Since the baffles are stitched through the shell fabric, thermal efficiency suffers. It’s not the warmest bag we tested, but it’s warmer than at least two blankets. It’s a great piece of equipment for short summer missions.
select up to 5 products to compare
|73||Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL
|71||Western Mountaineering Summerlite
|69||Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20
|68||Feathered Friends Hummingbird UL 30
|68||Feathered Friends Vireo UL
|66||Therm-a-Rest Vesper 32
|65||Western Mountaineering Astralite
|63||Sea to Summit Spark SpI 40
|63||Katabatic Gear Palisade 30
|61||Sierra Designs Cloud 800 / 35
|59||Outdoor Vitals StormLoft Down TopQuilt
|59||REI Co-op Magma Trail Quilt 30
|57||Hammock Gear Economy Burrow 20
|57||REI Co-op Magma 30
|57||Western Mountaineering HighLite
|56||Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 32
|53||Big Agnes Fussell UL Quilt
Why You Should Trust Us
The only way to evaluate the performance of a product is to use it. With this in mind, we put these bags to the test by sleeping in them a lot. We used them on windy desert nights, 15,000-foot blizzards, and everything in between. These backpacks have traveled through the Colorado and Wyoming Rockies, the deserts of southern Utah, and the high peaks and passes of the Nepal Himalayas’ Khumbu, Makalu, and Manaslu areas. Many people took turns sleeping in each bag, spending both cozy and miserable nights in the wilderness, suffering through enough sweating and shivering to truly understand the meaning of “temperature ratings.” One of our testers even acquired two colds, which he blames on the restless nights he spent in these bags looking for defects. We went above and beyond to ensure that we understand what we’re talking about, and we hope you find this review beneficial.
Our lightweight sleeping bag testing is organized into three categories, five rating metrics :
- Warmth (30% of total score weighting)
- Versatility (15% weighting)
Andy Wellman, Ethan Newman, Justin Simoni, and Jack Cramer joined an all-star team to put these lightweight sleeping bags to the test. Andy has written guidebooks, trekked large distances in the Rockies, Andes, and Himalayas, and has spent many nights beneath the stars. Ethan has spent over a decade working professionally in the outdoors as a rock climbing guide, wildland firefighter, wilderness ranger, and environmental educator. Justin has explored Colorado’s more exhilarating peaks and ridgelines, completing daring fastpack routes on his unsupported multi-day adventures, and has assisted with guided ultralight backpacking trips in Kings Canyon National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Gates of the Arctic National Park. Lastly, Jack is an experienced climber and member of the Yosemite Search & Rescue team who has personally tested over 60 different sleeping bags. They spend over 150 nights a year in a sleeping bag, from chilly bivvies on mountain slopes to cozy evenings around a campfire with friends, and we know how to sleep well outdoors.
Analysis and Test Results
To compare and score every quilt and bag as objectively as possible, we narrowed overall performance down to five metrics to evaluate each bag: Warmth, Weight, Comfort, Versatility, and Features. We weighted each statistic based on its relative value for an ideal UL sleeping bag since some of these criteria are more important than others. Keep in mind all these scores are comparative because we are only willing to speak for the products we test, not everything that exists in the entire ultralight sleeping bag market. This is why a 30-degree Fahrenheit sleeping bag may do well in terms of warmth; we are comparing it to other sleeping bags of comparable weight, not a 0-degree winter monster.
While most of these bags use high-quality materials and well-executed designs, there are limits to how lightweight things can get. In the world of lightweight sleeping bag design, one component of performance must occasionally be sacrificed to help another. A tighter cut, for example, may be lighter and warmer, but it is significantly less comfortable. Keep this in mind as you read through this review to be sure you identify the best balance for your needs.
Ultralight vs. Traditional
What does “ultralight” imply in the context of a sleeping bag? Ultralight is a set of guiding principles for reducing weight and thereby increasing how far you can go and how much fun you can have. This premise, however, requires that every ounce be counted. As a result, while attempting to balance warmth, weight, and comfort, you are often only able to attain two out of three. Some bags are lighter because they have a smaller cut or are made of lighter, less durable materials. Some, on the other hand, get by with broad interpretations of the meaning of warmth.
Quilts, rather than entire sleeping bags, have recently become popular lightweight options. The concept is that any down or fabric under your body compresses and loses loft, so why not get rid of it? Some bags remove hoods, shorten zippers, or strategically position down fill to enhance warmth while minimizing weight. Several of these bags are also intended to be used as part of a sleeping system, using an insulated pad and the warm gear you’ll already be carrying. Still, other products blur the line between sleeping bags and quilts and cherry-pick great ideas from both types of offerings.
The weights of the bags and blankets in this assessment vary from 9 ounces to just under 2 pounds. In contrast, our “backpacking” sleeping bag category runs from about 1.25 lbs to 3.5 lbs. There is some overlap, and the differences may seem minor, but as ultralight hikers say, “ounces make pounds, and pounds make pain.” If you’re not sure which category is best for you, try them both before making a buying choice.
While we do not include value in our performance ratings, we recognize that it is an important consideration in any purchase choice. New gear is thrilling, but most of us still prefer to spend the least amount possible for the equipment we need. This includes determining if it is worthwhile to spend more money on a luxurious sleeping bag. A prominent example is better quality down, which decreases weight but increases cost. Goose down with a high fill power has the greatest warmth-to-weight ratio of any readily available insulator. Still, it is much more expensive than duck down, even at comparable fill powers. We can help you consider the pros and cons of each, but only you can decide how much these differences are worth to you.
One numerical technique to evaluate value is to compare a product’s total score to its cost. For example, two bags might receive similar scores, but one could cost significantly less. If everything else is equal, the less priced choice would deliver more value. Without scoring for value, we’ve highlighted some less expensive options to help those looking to save a bit of cash. The Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20 gives top-notch performance with the fairest price tag. It’s not inexpensive, but it does cost significantly less than top-of-the-line products that it directly competes with. The Hammock Gear Econ Burrow comes with a step down in performance, but many people will be satisfied with its performance, especially considering the price savings. This model demonstrates that a nice lightweight model may still be obtained on a low budget. The Outdoor Vitals StormLoft Down TopQuilt 15F With its claimed limit temperature rating and the 800+ fill power down, is a fantastic bargain for someone’s first excursion into quilting.
You’ll have to stop and rest sometime, no matter how quick and light you travel. A good night’s sleep is vital for going hard the following day. A warm sleeping bag is essential for restful sleep. It is regarded as the “ultimate layer” by many ultralight hikers. If your sleeping system, including your bag, pad, and warm clothes, can’t keep you warm enough to recover after a long day, it doesn’t matter how lightweight it is.
Fortunately, the bags we tested mostly offer good to excellent warmth-to-weight ratios, using quality materials and clever designs to maximize warmth. You should choose your luggage depending on the weather and temperatures you anticipate encountering. Since warmth is the primary function of an ultralight sleeping bag, it accounts for 30% of the total score.
Sleeping bags operate by trapping numerous small pockets of air in the insulation, preventing heat loss to the surrounding air. Down feathers now provide the greatest warmth-to-weight ratio of any popular insulation material. Fill power, a measurement of the amount of loft provided by a certain weight of down, is used to determine the quality of down. Greater fill power figures imply higher loft and better warmth-to-weight ratios. Manufacturers integrate baffles into their sleeping bags to keep the down feathers in place. These are sewn pockets within the bag that ensure the insulation stays where it’s supposed to, whether spread evenly or placed strategically. Box baffles, sewn-through baffles, and other designs all have their advantages and disadvantages, but they share the same goal of keeping the down in place.
Synthetic fibers are the principal kind of insulation. One benefit of synthetic insulation is that it is a less expensive and simpler to deal with material. Swaths of synthetic batting don’t need an intricate system of baffles to stay in place, and if it gets wet, it still retains a significant amount of insulative power. The disadvantage is that synthetic fibers cannot provide the same warmth-to-weight ratio as down. Synthetic insulation may not pack down as tiny. Down is a more common option in lightweight sleeping bags for these reasons, but there are many scenarios when a synthetic bag may be a preferable alternative.
The temperature rating of most sleeping bags and blankets is suggested by the manufacturer (i.e., 20 degrees Fahrenheit). These figures, however, are dependent on the manufacturer’s honesty, and marketing departments aren’t normally recognized for their honesty. On one especially tough night of “product testing,” we slept in two bags, each rated to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, at an elevation of roughly 15,000 feet in Nepal. That night, it snowed, and the temperature plummeted to 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit. Two of our testers spent the night shivering horribly and eagerly anticipated the 3:00 AM pre-dawn wake-up call to begin moving again. So, why didn’t these models perform effectively at their advertised rating?
A prominent industry-standard test for sleeping bag warmth is known as EN 13537 . A sleeping bag, however, must have a hood to pass the test. Several of the purses and quilts in our evaluation fall into this category. If a bag can undergo EN 13537 testing, it receives four ratings, but the two to look at are the “comfort” and “lower limit” ratings. Most manufacturers use the lower limit as their advertised rating, but be aware that the lower limit is defined as “the temperature at which a standard male can sleep in a curled position without waking.” The “comfort” grade represents the temperature at which a “typical female” may sleep comfortably and relaxedly.
In the case of the two bags we shivered inside in Nepal, the temperature rating was indicated as the lowest limit. Although it’s true that we didn’t freeze to death that night, we were using the bags well below their comfort ratings in the upper 20s. Pay attention to these comfort ratings to acquire a better notion of a more realistic temperature limit. For sleeping bags that don’t qualify for or don’t receive an EN test, the manufacturers select their own rating to advertise. We have highlighted how these manufacturer ratings compare to a standardized EN rating in the individual product evaluations.
The amount and quality of insulation are important aspects in a bag’s warmth, but we also discovered that the design may have a significant impact. Features like closed foot boxes, draft collars, hoods, zipper baffles, and pad attachment systems (for quilts) can differentiate products that utilize similar insulation. Hooded mummy bags were often warmer since they enabled us to burrow deeper into the sack. Quilts, in contrast, inevitably allowed cold air to creep into the thermal envelope whenever we moved during the night, so we never seemed to feel quite as toasty.
Insulated Sleeping Pads and Quilts
Quilts, like other lightweight sleeping bags, are intended to be used as part of a sleep system that comprises the bag, a sleeping pad, and personal clothes. Make your system work together to keep you as comfortable and warm as possible. Most tested quilts are not intended to completely wrap the user, but rather to connect to an insulated sleeping pad to produce a warm envelope. The theory behind quilts is that the sleeper compresses any sleeping bag insulation below them, negating the insulating effect it would otherwise have, so why not ditch this unnecessary material and save weight? This may work well, but it takes careful selection of a sleeping pad to match your quilt, and the pad must provide excellent ground insulation.
The R-value of a sleeping pad is a measurement of its insulating power. A sleeping pad’s R-value indicates how much insulation it provides from the ground. During our testing on cold nights, we found that some quilts left chilly drafts, and we would have liked some extra insulation below us to fill in these gaps. Check that your insulated pad fits your blanket and that any additional clothes does not compress the insulation and diminish its efficiency. Pads vary in breadth, and a broader pad may spread out a blanket too much, leaving less space for you to sleep underneath.
We made a point of testing each of these bags while sleeping in temperatures extremely near to their advertised ratings, contracting two colds and shivering for many nights. These experiences taught us which bags were warm and which were not, and we rated these bags on comparative warmth, meaning the warmest got the highest score and the coldest got the lowest score.
Many bags are linked together for warmth (in proportion to their rating): EE Revelation 20 , the ZPacks Classic, and the Western Mountaineering Summerlite . The Western Mountaineering bag is a hooded mummy bag that creates a nearly complete thermal envelope around the sleeper, sealing in as much warmth as possible. The Zpacks and Revelation bags were also very warm, but the lack of a hood requires a warm hat or hooded jacket to insulate your head.
Although we appreciate blankets for their adaptability and spaciousness in warmer weather, our testing indicated that in cold weather, they don’t appear to close off as effectively as mummy-style bags and don’t keep us as warm.
The warmest quilt we tested was the Outdoor Vitals Down TopQuilt , which was undoubtedly due to how much down it packs into its baffles – ounces more than any other quilt in our evaluation. To get the most out of the temperature rating of this bag, it’s imperative that you pair this quilt with a down balaclava and warm sleeping pad, as both these influence just how toasty you’re going to feel while snoozing.
When it comes to warmth for a quilt, the REI Magma Trail Quilt 30 performed well in our tests, although it was a little difficult to put up right. Much of its warmth comes from deleting characteristics that would normally contribute to a quilt’s flexibility. For example, the Magma’s toasty foot box is important for keeping your feet warm, but on a hot night, it lacks the option for any sort of foot ventilation or the ability to transform the entire quilt into a blanket. In hot summer weather, this may make things a touch too toasty.
What separates this review from our other sleeping bag reviews is the emphasis on weight. Ultralight hikers are distinguishable from typical backpackers by having an overnight pack (non-consumable gear) weighing less than 10 pounds. The concept is that ultralighters may reap the advantages of a light pack while being ready to accept some tradeoffs in comfort or convenience. All of the goods in this evaluation may attain a ten-pound base weight, but if you’re going very lightweight, pay special attention to the weight score. Weight accounted for 25% of a product’s final score as the second most significant statistic.
It is worth noting that in almost all cases, we chose the option or version of each model that was the lightest weight, usually going with a higher temperature rating to do so. For those who want a bit more warmth and are willing to carry a few extra ounces to have it, there are usually slightly heavier and warmer options available. Several of the models we evaluated allow you to alter a wide range of features, such as overfilling the bag or adding draft tubes. These choices may dramatically impact the warmth of the bag, but they may cause your order to be delayed and raise the price of the product.
When it comes to lightweight sleeping bags, most have succeeded to reduce weight via a mix of high-quality insulation and simplified functionality and design. Down has one of the finest warmth-to-weight ratios, which is why it is the preferred insulation in the lightest goods. Fill power is used to grade down, and the greater the number, the more loft it has and consequently the better the quality. In most cases, the bags tested in this review use down with a fill power of 800 or more. The fill power and amount of down utilized in each competitor may be found in the product specifications.
Most blankets minimize weight by omitting fabric or insulation on the bottom of the bag. Lightweight straps or string systems help latch the sides of the quilt around the user or a sleeping pad, thereby eliminating the weight of a zipper as well. Quilts also do not have a hood, which saves weight and insulation. Some models also feature snaps to wrap the quilt around one’s neck while sleeping — a nice feature, but it can increase weight.
Mummy bags, on the other hand, use other techniques to minimize weight. Ultralight materials, both on the shell and the baffles, save weight but make the bags more fragile. Smaller zippers provide the same result. Zippers are also often shortened to save weight at the expense of venting options. Most ultralight mummy bags have rather narrow dimensions because less fabric is needed so that the bag can be further lightened.
Consider how flexible your sleeping bag and quilt are for various purposes when evaluating the total weight of your sleep system. Quilts and full zip sleeping bags may keep you warm on frigid mornings while you prepare for the day’s journey, allowing you to properly layer your clothes. Choose a nighttime insulated cap that can serve double duty while out on the trail if you’ll need extra warmth for your head at night, as most quilt users will.
We weighed these bags on an impartial scale to ascertain their weight before assigning ratings. In the case of quilts requiring extra straps or buckles to close up the quilt or affix it to a sleeping pad, we also included that weight. We elected, however, to weigh any included items or compression sacks individually.
One stand out in this metric is the Sea to Summit Spark 40 The mummy sack. It weighs an incredible 12 ounces and folds down to the size of a water bottle. To achieve this impressive weight, it eschews baffles for a sewn-through design to keep the insulation in place. This construction, however, is less thermally efficient because it creates uninsulated zones at the seams.
The Western Mountaineering HighLite throws many ultralight tricks at the problem of shaving grams, including using lofty, 850+ down, half zips, and thin fabric material to create a bag that weighs in at around 15 ounces. When it comes to quilts, the Big Agnes Fussell UL Quilt With its ultra-minimal footbox, it has a more blanket-like pattern than a typical camping quilt. It employs snaps instead of pad straps to shave a few more grams from the design and comes in at around 17 ounces.
The has a one-of-a-kind flyweight design that weighs 16.4 ounces. Feathered Friends Vireo UL , which is designed to have far less warmth in the top portion of the bag to then be supplemented with an additional insulation layer you’re already packing. This design choice adheres to the UL philosophy of prioritizing things with numerous applications in order to minimize weight throughout the complete pack system.
Comfort is the other half of the equation for a good night’s sleep. Things like drafts, drawcords dangling in your face, buckles wedged underneath you, or a claustrophobic shape can all prevent you from sleeping soundly. And if you get enough sleep, you should be able to perform better the following day. There’s nothing worse than loathing getting into a subpar sleeping bag or quilt, which is why comfort is important enough to make it 20% of the overall score.
The first thing we looked at when evaluating comfort was how well the bag fit. While our head testers are 5’11” and 5’8″ tall and slim, we bought all of the test models to fit a person 6’0″ height and normal width. We could compare the fit of each bag to the same standard by purchasing them all the same size. Fortunately, the majority of the bags in our study come in a variety of height and breadth choices, making it simple to tailor a bag to your specific form.
The length and breadth of a sleeping bag or quilt’s fit were instantly visible. Despite many being marketed for a 6’0″ person, some bags were too short, leaving it uncomfortable to cinch the collar over the shoulders or wear the hood over our heads.
To save weight, most ultralight blankets lower the breadth rather than the length. The most comfortable bags provided us the greatest space, enabling us to toss and turn freely. Mummy bags are historically claustrophobically cut. Nonetheless, others, such as the Feathered Friends Vireo UL, were amply sized. Quilts, on the other hand, provide lots of space but might produce claustrophobic emotions when we use their pad attachment techniques. Even after repositioning ourselves, some blankets were too thin to wrap ourselves in on colder evenings.
The smallest touches may either detract from or increase comfort. For example, the position of drawstrings, the feel of a fabric, or the shape of the hood can make or break a good night’s sleep. All of these little details affected each product’s comfort score.
Ultimately, the Feathered Friends Vireo UL The most comfortable sleeping bag or quilt was chosen. Its vast and spacious cut in the torso is designed to accommodate the extra fill of an insulated jacket, but it also left us feeling free to move about as desired. Many other bags/quilts scored just a little lower, including the Sierra Designs Cloud 35, which was unique out of all the sleeping bags we’ve tested in that it does away with a zippered design completely. Instead, an extra-wide comforter is used to wrap your body around.
The REI Co-op Magma 30 also performed well. The 63″ shoulder girth of this rucksack is a notable feature for us, with shoulders honed from rock climbing all day. None of the other top models of sleeping bags/quilts we evaluated received high marks for comfort. This isn’t to say they’re unpleasant, but it does underline the comfort sacrifices made in order to make sleeping bags lightweight. If the compromises we’ve documented across all these products in the name of wearing the coveted “ultralight” label are too much, consider a more traditional backpacking sleeping bag.
If you want a three-season sleeping bag, or are planning an epic six-month thru-hike that will span the seasons from cool spring into hot summer and back into a cool fall, then versatility is a critical metric. The bag’s versatility refers to its ability to be utilized comfortably in a range of scenarios. While grading each bag for adaptability, we questioned ourselves if it was feasible to wrap oneself up like a cocoon to remain warm on the coldest nights. Is it also possible to unzip the bag and breathe to keep cool on the hottest nights? When it comes to adaptability, sleeping bags that could accomplish both with ease rated the best, while sleeping bags that were only functional in one season or temperature range earned the lowest.
In general, quilts are more versatile than ultralight mummy bags, whose half-length zipper designed with weight savings in mind often made it even harder to ventilate on warm nights. Quilts and bags that included full-length zippers, or quilts that were long enough and broad enough to wrap oneself up fully, fared the best because they most easily allowed for staying warm on cold nights. Other from being used in both hot and cold seasons, we also considered whether a bag would be useful in damp locations. A bonus was given to ultralight packs that employed synthetic insulation, which does not clump and continues to offer significant insulation even when wet.
We also looked at whether a bag used a DWR (durable water repellent) treatment on its outer shell to protect it from absorbing liquids such as condensation, or used a naturally water-resistant fabric such as Pertex Quantum to accomplish the same thing. Last, we considered how portable a sleeping bag was. The smaller it packs down, the easier it is to carry along with you, and for a few outdoor sports like bike touring or bike packing, this is a critical component of whether a piece of gear can be useful or not. We weighted adaptability at 15% of a product’s overall score as an important but not critical measure.
The most versatile product without a doubt is the Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL . This bag may be used as a blanket or as a completely enclosed hoodless mummy bag, providing protection in a variety of conditions. On the warmest nights, it can be used as a spread-out blanket, which is also ideal for two people, or as a quilt with an enclosed foot box by tightening the drawstring on the end and zipping it up partway. The full-length zipper allows you to completely shut it up on chilly evenings and trap warm air inside with the assistance of a neck baffle with twin drawcords. No other bag suited the needs of all seasons so simply. While we tried the 40F version, it is also available in 30F and 20F variants for individuals who live or play in colder regions or seasons.
The is also towards the top of the versatility list. Zpacks Classic . This hoodless mummy bag is rated to 20F and features box baffle construction and a DWR coated Pertex Nylon shell. It’s perfect for chilly evenings. It also has a ¾ length zipper that allows one to open it up like a quilt for warmer nights. Pay attention to our adaptability ratings if you want a lightweight backpack that can be used in all three seasons.
The characteristics metric completes the picture of how well an individual lightweight sleeping bag functions. A sleeping bag is essentially a down-filled sack or blanket meant to keep you warm at night, and the features are all of the little parts that make it function. Drawstrings, draft collars, zippers, and hoods are all designed to enhance a sleeping bag’s functionality and make it a more useful addition to an efficient sleep system that conserves all the necessary BTUs you produce to sleep soundly.
Zippers, draft collars, cinch cords around the neck, face, hood, or feet, and, in the case of quilts, pad attachment mechanisms are the most prevalent characteristics seen on these bags. While evaluating features, we first looked at whether a bag’s unique functions worked effectively or were problematic and bothersome. Next we compared them to comparable features on other bags and graded them against the others.
Zippers that wouldn’t remain zipped or kept getting trapped in the fabric, pad straps that wouldn’t stay connected or lock in place, and drawcords that didn’t have buckles or wouldn’t stay tight are all instances of poor-performing elements that prompted us to lower the score.
The Feathered Friends Hummingbird UL 30 seeks to tackle many of those vexing zipper issues by using a flexible strip of plastic near the zipper to prevent cloth from getting pulled into the zipper and being trapped.
And once again, the Flicker 40 earns the highest feature rating. Not only did it have a ton of features — full-length zipper with a reinforced draft tube, drawcord enclosure at the feet, dual drawcord and neck baffle at the head, optional attachment points for DIY pad straps — but they all worked well. The difference between using a complete zipper vs simply sporadic buttons or straps to surround the blanket proved to be a game changer for heat retention.
The Sierra Designs Cloud 35 It also featured a superb collection of distinguishing traits. In fact, this sleeping bag seems to want to stand out in a category of its own, somewhere between a sleeping bag and a quilt. Zippers getting stuck within the shell fabric of the bag itself will never be a problem because there are no zippers to get stuck! Together with a zipperless design, the Cloud 35 boasts an intriguing footbox vent and an enormous duvet that can be worn free on warm evenings or tight on chilly ones. The sleeping pad sleeve prevents your underlying pad from becoming loose in the middle of the night, maintains the pad’s insulation in place, and provides the whole system stiffness to work its magic.
The Revelation 20 also has a great set of features, including a cleverly designed and versatile footbox that both vents and allows the entire quilt to transform into a blanket. Its warmth-to-weight ratio is also extremely impressive, particularly when compared to the price for a US-made blanket, and it is worth your time to examine.
Sleeping bags have been around for a long time, and there are several varieties for usage inside or outside of a tent. Anything from square-cut monsters to airy space-age blankets and everything in between. For this review, we specifically singled out ultralight sleeping bag and quilt options because the world of backpacking is only getting leaner as companies shave down the ounces in their gear and people start appreciating a more fast and light approach. Ultralight sleeping bags work best in warmer temperatures, but with good preparation and well-designed systems, they may be used in the shoulder seasons as well. These backpacks are designed for persons who wish to go rapidly across the mountains without carrying a heavy luggage. Ultralight systems are used in activities like as thru-hiking, fastpacking, bikepacking, alpine climbing, adventure racing, and bike touring to travel farther and faster in the wilderness. We hope that our comprehensive analysis of the top types of lightweight sleeping bags and quilts on the market helps you select the ideal option for your wilderness travels.
We combed through dozens of lightweight sleeping bags and quilts to discover the finest models and tested them in a variety of environments, from mountains to deserts to woods, to provide you with the best suggestions possible.
What is the best lightweight winter sleeping bag?
The best lightweight sleeping bags 2022
- Rab Neutrino 400 Down Sleeping Bag. The finest lightweight sleeping bag for the majority of individuals.
- Rab Mythic Ultra 180. …
- Decathlon Forclaz Trek MT900. …
- Robens Icefall Pro 300. …
- Thermarest Hyperion 32 UL Down. …
- Rab Solar Ultra 2. …
- Sea to Summit Spark Spl. …
- Vango Cobra 600.
What is considered ultra light sleeping bag?
Choose an ultralight sleeping bag if you wish to reduce the weight of your gear. These bags weigh about 2 pounds or lighter and compress down to miniscule size in a stuff sack, so they won’t sit like a rock at the bottom of your backpack.
What is the smallest lightest sleeping bag?
The following are the Best Lightweight Sleeping Bags for Backpacking in 2023:
- Zpacks Mummy Sleeping Bag.
- Sea to Summit Spark 3 18F.
- Rab Mythic Ultra 360.
- Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 20F.
- Zpacks 20F Hoodless Classic Sleeping Bag.
- Zpacks Zip Around Sleeping Bag.
- Feathered Friends Hummingbird.
- Macpac Dragonfly 400.
What is the coldest rated sleeping bag?
What Is the lowest sleeping bag temperature? The lowest temperature sleeping bags available provide protection in temperatures ranging from -20 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. McMichael explains that while there is a huge difference between a 0-degree bag and a -20-degree bag, “the difference between -20 and -40 is not big at all.