Where can I buy a good sleeping bag?

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The cliché “you get what you pay for” still holds true today, with a few exceptions, one of which being sleeping bags. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to acquire a comfortable and practical bag, whether you’re car camping, hiking, or camping with kids. After performing more than 110 hours of research, considering 250 models, and dragging 41 bags through the wilds of California, Hawaii, and Colorado, we think the REI Co-op Siesta 25 Hooded Sleeping Bag is the best for basic camping. Sadly, REI is replacing the Siesta 25 Hooded bag this spring with a new one, and the previous version is currently out of stock. (We’re currently evaluating the bag and will report back as soon as we can.)

A person laying down in one of our picks for the best sleeping bag.

We do have pricier options (the Montbell Down Hugger 650 #1 and the Marmot Women’s Teton) that would be good crossover bags for anyone planning to do some backpacking as well as cool-weather car camping, as well as a suggestion for backpackers who prefer to sleep on their sides. We also offer comfy down bags for multiday backpacking excursions (the Feathered Friends Swallow YF 30 Sleeping Bag and the Feathered Friends Egret YF 20 Women’s Sleeping Bag) and a bag for couples who want to sleep together.

Our pick

REI Co-op Siesta Hooded 25

The best sleeping bag for camping

The cheaply priced poly-fill Siesta 25 is ideal if you need a bag mainly for vehicle camping—warm, it’s comfy, moisture resistant, simple to clean, and compact.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $64.

The REI Co-op Siesta Hooded 25 Sleeping Bag is as much sleeping bag as anyone could want for basic car camping, and it costs almost a third the price of more specialized backpacking options. It is light, comfy, and adaptable, and it is available in two sizes: standard and long, as well as single and double versions. The synthetic-insulated Siesta 25 is fairly warm for three-season camping (it’s rated to 25 °F—that is, below freezing), but it still packs into a cylindrical stuff bag, roughly 13 inches by 11 inches, that won’t take up much space in your vehicle trunk—an important consideration for big families. The bag is hooded, but it’s more like wrapping a pillow over your head than a classic mummy bag hood. Moreover, the polyester shell is weather resistant, and REI has a fair return policy.

If you already know you want to work a lot of backpacking into your camping habits, you’ll need a lighter, more stuffable bag than the REI Co-op Siesta 25, and we think the unisex Montbell Down Hugger is the best choice for people with broad shoulders and narrower hips who tend to get hot at night, as well as for people who move a lot in their sleep. It’s uncommon to find a comfy down bag for less than $400, but the Down Hugger was softer and loftier than other bags that cost $100 more. The bag’s shape and diagonal baffles made it seem significantly more roomy and accommodating than the majority of the standard mummy bags we examined. We didn’t observe any fraying throughout our testing period, however, but if a manufacturing flaw does occur, the bag is covered by Montbell’s lifetime guarantee. (The guarantee does not cover natural wear and tear; Montbell does provide repairs at “a fair cost.”)

Although it’s billed as a women’s bag, the Marmot Women’s Teton is a good fit for any narrow-bodied person who gets cold at night. It’s thinner and warmer than the Montbell Down Hugger, but it’s also one of the softest and warmest bags we tested: The thick insulation feels nearly overflowing and swaddles you as you sleep. The Teton also has thoughtful features, like a pocket within the bag to store electronics, and (new in the 2022 redesign) a compression zipper in the footbox that you can unzip to create more room. It is EN certified to 15 °F, and our testers found that figure to be true after several chilly nights of sleeping beneath the stars. It’s worth mentioning, though, that this bag is considerably warmer than many of the others we tried; in fact, it was sometimes too warm. A lifetime warranty covers manufacturing faults but does not cover regular wear and tear.

Also great

Big Agnes Sidewinder SL 20°

For side-sleepers

While designed for side sleepers, the construction of this hiking bag (insulated with a blend of down and synthetic fill) works well for anybody who tosses and turns at night.

Let’s be honest: most people toss and turn when they sleep outdoors. The Big Agnes Sidewinder SL 20° is ideal for hikers who move about when sleeping in a tent, such as side sleepers. One factor is the shell’s shape: It has a wider cut in the centre than your usual mummy bag. We were able to lay in every position conceivable with this bag, including on our side, stomach, back, and even in the fetal position. The bag never felt constricting as we moved about within. In addition to the “primary” down insulation in the bag, the hip sections include an extra layer of synthetic fill, which compresses less than down. Anybody who moves while sleeping has most likely awoken wrapped in their mummy bag, unable to reach the side zipper. We could always locate the zipper that goes down the front and center of this bag, no matter how much we moved about. Plus, the Sidewinder has a pillow sleeve behind the hood that holds a pillow beneath your head as you find that comfortable position on your sleeping pad. Big Agnes provides a limited guarantee against manufacture or material faults; wear and tear are not covered.

The Swallow YF 30 Sleeping Bag is a good alternative for folks who often carry a sleeping bag with them whether hiking or traveling. This bag is basic and plain, yet it is stuffed with premium down. It is certified to 30 degrees Fahrenheit and has a looser fit for wider bodies, making it an excellent choice for bigger persons or those who sleep hot. It’s not an ultralight bag, but its 900-plus fill-power goose down (more about fill power later, but in short, this means the bag is very lofty and therefore both lightweight and warm) is a rare find for under $500 and makes it light enough to carry easily on long-distance trips. Our Feathered Friends goods are crafted with certified RDS down and come with a lifetime warranty (except normal wear and tear).

The Feathered Friends Egret YF 20 is a high-end bag that, like the Swallow, is a rare find for its price. The Egret is thoughtfully crafted with the same 900-plus fill-power down) and is manufactured with high-quality materials, resulting in a basic, tried-and-true design that works in all situations. It is billed as a women’s bag, but we think the bag’s extra insulation (it’s rated to 20 °F) makes it a good fit for anyone who sleeps cold, as long as they’re not taller than 5-foot-9. (The bag is available in two sizes: small and medium.) The Egret, like the Swallow, is covered by Feathered Friends’ lifetime guarantee.

Also great

The Big Agnes Dream Island is spacious, warm, and comfortable, with a built-in sleeping-pad sleeve that solves a problem it had never occurred to us to try to solve: the annoyance of bag and pad getting misaligned in the middle of the night. The pad, which must be purchased separately, replaces the synthetic polyester insulation on the bottom half of the bag, making the Big Agnes, which is certified to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, extremely warm in comparison to its packed size. Since there is no insulation on the bottom of the Dream Island, it must be used in conjunction with a sleeping pad. The sleeve is designed to suit one of Big Agnes’ 50-by-78-inch double air mattresses (such as the Hinman) or two ordinary 25-by-78-inch pads (such as the Air Core Ultra). There are several firms that manufacture car-camping pads with these larger-than-average dimensions, and any of them will fit the Dream Island well. Big Agnes provides a limited guarantee against manufacture or material faults; wear and tear are not covered.

Our pick

REI Co-op Siesta Hooded 25

The best sleeping bag for camping

The cheaply priced poly-fill Siesta 25 is ideal if you need a bag mainly for vehicle camping—warm, it’s comfy, moisture resistant, simple to clean, and compact.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $64.

Also great

Big Agnes Sidewinder SL 20°

For side-sleepers

While designed for side sleepers, the construction of this hiking bag (insulated with a blend of down and synthetic fill) works well for anybody who tosses and turns at night.

Also great

Sam Schild, who tested a new crop of backpacking sleeping bags in 2022 for this guide, has backpacked the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, the Colorado Trail (three times), and the Grand Enchantment Trail. He’s also rode his bike throughout the United States, including the Colorado Trail in Colorado and the American Southwest. He’s brought a sleeping bag with him on all of his excursions to cozy up in at night. When he isn’t off on a human-powered adventure, you can find him in a coffee shop in Denver, Colorado, writing about the outdoors. Liz Thomas’ study and testing was the foundation for Sam’s work. She formerly held the unaided women’s Appalachian Trail speed record. She is also the instructor of Backpacker magazine’s online Thru-Hiking 101 class and the author of the National Outdoor Book Award-winning Long Trails: Mastering the Art of the Thru-Hike.

Kit Dillon, who tested car-camping sleeping bags for this guide, has been reviewing gear for Wirecutter since 2014, writing about everything from backpacks and luggage to cooking gear, road-trip gear and car-camping tents. He has also written for The Awl, The Metro, The Observer, and Fortune. He also lived in a tent for seven months in Hawaii, using a sleeping bag as a blanket for the most of the time.

Wirecutter senior editor Kalee Thompson, who tested car-camping bags for couples for this guide, has evaluated gear for Wired, Popular Science, and National Geographic Adventure, where she was a senior editor. As her first baby was born, she accepted the move from backpacking to vehicle camping, which involved purchasing a double bag.

Since car camping is often people’s first encounter with sleeping bags and tents, we began our testing there. The rectangular form of our top selection, the REI Co-op Siesta 25, will appeal to belly and side sleepers in particular. This car-camping sleeping bag is as close as you can get to tucking into your own bed outdoors without bringing a set of sheets, blankets, and your mattress to a campsite. While the Siesta 25 may be compressed, it is not intended for putting into a sack and packed deep into a standard backpack. It’s also not composed of sophisticated materials, and thru-hikers would consider it hefty.

If you want to go down the path for more than a mile on occasion, are trekking in colder weather, or are a side-sleeping hiker, we have included several solutions for you. Most hiking sleeping bags are mummy bags that hug tight to the body, trapping heat and preventing drafts. The upgrade and also-great picks in this guide are all backpacking sleeping bags, comfortable for most three-season conditions (that is, all but winter in most of the country) and suitable for locations ranging from public campgrounds to backcountry trails. (Once again, our options will not be suitable for thru-hikers searching for lightest gear.) A hiking bag with additional room for individuals who toss and turn in their sleep is another excellent option for side sleepers. (It might be more than anticipated, considering who doesn’t toss and turn while sleeping outside?)

If you usually camp with a companion, you may want to look into a double sleeping bag. We’ve included our favorite here, but it’s important to note that many single rectangular bags can zip together with another twin bag to create an impromptu double sleeping bag. Unzip both bags completely, then place one on top of the other and zip them together.

The sleeping bags we tested for this review in their stuff sacks, piled into a pyramid. Photo: Caleigh Waldman

We spent 19 hours researching and reviewing every sleeping bag review we could find online. GearLab, which has numerous detailed evaluations, provided some of the greatest things. We were also strongly influenced by the work of Switchback Travel, Backpacker, and Gear Institute. In addition to reading reviews, we spoke with experts and then evaluated each of the 250-plus bags on our initial list based on how they were reported to perform according to the following criteria:

Warmth: Your body creates warmth, then your sleeping bag traps that warmth in an enclosed area. The more insulation your bag has, the better it will trap your body heat, keeping you warm as you sleep. Bags with an excessive amount of empty space between you and the insulation will be less effective. That’s why it’s important—with backpacking bags in particular—to make sure your bag fits your body snugly, and yet isn’t so tight that it feels restrictive or uncomfortable.

Insulation: Rectangular down sleeping bags, unlike mummy bags, are not intended to keep you as warm as possible. Its rectangular design, loose fit, and absence of a head cover restrict their total heat retention potential. We reasoned that down filling was too costly and superfluous for a bag of this size, and our testing confirmed this.

For more robust outdoor camping, a sleeping bag filled with down is likely to be preferable than a bag filled with synthetic fill (unless allergies, expense, or ethical issues prevent you from doing so). Down is pricey, but it is light, compresses well, and is very insulating for its weight. If it’s taken care of properly, down will also last longer than synthetic fillings.

The “fluffiness” of down is measured by fill power. A greater fill power ounce of down may trap more air. This enhances the warmth (but not the weight) of the bag. Ultralight hikers who weigh every ounce in their pack may not consider bags with less than 850 fill power, but we believe 600 to 700 fill power is enough for the majority of individuals. One thing to note: A 650-fill-power and an 850-fill-power bag can be equally warm, but to make this happen, a 650-fill-power bag has to be significantly heavier than an 850-fill-power bag (it needs more down to achieve the same amount of insulation).

Temperature rating: We concentrated our testing on bags certified to be effective in low-limit temperature ratings ranging from 15 °F to 30 °F, which should be warm enough for most camping and hiking conditions from early spring through late autumn (depending on the location).

Comfort: This is a purely subjective criteria. To evaluate it as objectively as possible, we first compared notes from relevant review sites for each bag, looking specifically for comments on comfort and warmth. Slowly, we started to see some amount of consensus form across a few major brands and designs, which we used to narrow our scope.

Packability: The packed size and weight of a bag are less of a worry for a car camper than they are for a thru-hiker on a month-long adventure—and it may not be an issue at all for certain car campers with bigger cars. Nevertheless, if you’re packing a tiny vehicle with a weekend’s worth of belongings, you could be battling for every inch of space you can find. That’s when packability comes into play.

Weight: Nonetheless, weight is a significant consideration for hiking backpacks; for that area of our guide, we concentrated on bags weighing no more than 4 pounds (and most were under 3). Although many long-distance hikers, ultralighters, and alpinists would not contemplate carrying a backpack that hefty, we believe it is appropriate for most hikers. During a short-to-moderate trek, a bag weighing more than 3 pounds becomes a genuine burden.

Baffles: Baffles are stitched closures that keep down or synthetic filler in place between channels. (Yet, the term baffle is often used as shorthand for the channel itself.) While most stitching is horizontal, some manufacturers are experimenting with vertical or diagonal layouts. We avoided bags with widely spaced baffles since there isn’t always enough filling to disseminate uniformly throughout the chamber, therefore we avoided them.

A red sleeping bag stretched over a light source so that the down is visible. More light can be seen in areas where the down has shifted. This is an example of when down has shifted inside the channel of a sleeping bag and led to cold spots. Caleigh Waldman is the photographer.

Draft tube: Most bags also include a draft tube that runs the length of the zipper, preventing air from seeping between the teeth of the zipper.

Price: Sleeping bags can cost anywhere from $50 to $1,000, but we think most people can get everything they need for car camping for $130, and for backpacking, between $150 and $500. (Most backpacking bags costing less than $150 don’t have down filling, and the synthetic filling they do have isn’t the kind of high-quality insulation you’d need on a longer backpacking trip. They also lack adequate warranties.) A good down-filled camping bag should last at least ten years.

Finally, we whittled our selection down to 41 different sorts of test models.

How (and where) we tested

A close up of one of our testers laying inside a blue and black sleeping bag. Photo: Caleigh Waldman

We began by sleeping in the finalist sleeping bags. Kit Dillon got into each of the men’s/unisex candidates over the course of several weekend camping trips in Big Bear and along the coast of Central California, napping, reading, and generally hunkering down for the afternoon and evening to see how comfortable each bag felt on the trail.

Meanwhile, Liz Thomas led a group of our other top finalists on a 155-mile trek across the San Diego Trans-County Trail. Though none of the bags are intended for winter use, Liz also camped out in Colorado in January, sleeping under the stars without a tent near a snow patch.

Kalee Thompson took the double bags on three group camping trips, including to Indian Cove Campground in Joshua Tree National Park and to the oceanside Sycamore Canyon Campground at Point Mugu State Park in Oxnard, California. Both visits encountered nighttime temperatures in the low 30s. The third trip brought her to woodsy Wheeler Gorge near Ojai, California, where she and her fellow testers experienced mild nighttime lows in the 50s.

For our most recent update, in 2022, Sam tested seven new bags against our four existing picks for backpacking sleeping bags. He took them on a series of camping trips in Colorado’s high country, sleeping at (or over) 10,000 feet above sea level, where it gets cold even in July. He brought each sleeping bag in a rucksack and spent the night in it to see how comfortable they were. He put up his tent and slept in those sleeping bags after deciding who would be the finals.

Our pick: REI Co-op Siesta Hooded 25 Sleeping Bag

Photo: Michael Hession

Our pick

REI Co-op Siesta Hooded 25

The best sleeping bag for camping

The cheaply priced poly-fill Siesta 25 is ideal if you need a bag mainly for vehicle camping—warm, it’s comfy, moisture resistant, simple to clean, and compact.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $64.

If you’re searching for a comfy, adaptable sleeping bag for vehicle camping, we suggest the unisex REI Co-op Siesta Hooded 25 Sleeping Bag. It’s lighter than many of the other rectangular, synthetic-fill bags we tried, yet it’s still warm enough to use in the spring, autumn, and summer. (It has a temperature rating of 25 °F.) It also packs down smaller than the competitors. The Siesta 25 is available in two sizes (normal and long) to suit practically any size sleeper without adding unnecessary weight and material. There’s a double design as well for couples, but we haven’t had a chance to test that against our couples pick. Both the shell and the inside are constructed of water-resistant polyester taffeta, a soft material that creates very little noise. Some of our testers reported being able to slip in and out of this bag without disturbing their tentmate at night.

There are no catch: A strong nylon ribbon runs the length of the zipper to prevent snagging when getting in and out of the bag. That was the most efficient design of all the bags we tested. Photographer: Michael Hession

The Siesta 25 is surprisingly warm considering how thin it is. In our selection of vehicle camping bags, it was only second to the Slumberjack Country Squire 20 in terms of heat retention. We also like how the top of the Siesta 25 has a loose hood that can be pulled in to assist trap heat in colder weather. This sleeping bag has a no-snag strip around the zipper and plenty of draft tubes along the edge. Although the strip did not prove to be completely snag-proof in our testing, it was the most effective design of any model we examined at preventing those pesky catches. And the draft tubes did an excellent job of stopping winds from blowing through the lengthy zipped bag.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

This bag has less overall cushioning inside than our other options. It’s not as visible if you have a thick sleeping pad or air mattress, but it’s noticeable next to a down sleeping bag, for example. The REI Co-op Siesta Hooded 25 Sleeping Bag costs nearly twice as much as some of the cheapest car-camping bags we tested, but we think it’s worth the investment.

  • Available sizes: regular, long
  • Claimed weight (regular; long): 4 pounds 6 ounces; 4 pounds 11 ounces
  • Claimed length (regular; long): 72 inches; 78 inches
  • Type of insulation: recycled polyester fill

Upgrade pick for people who sleep warm: Montbell Down Hugger 650 #1

One of our testers sitting up inside a tent under an orange Montbell Down Hugger sleeping bag. Photo: Caleigh Waldman

Upgrade pick

We found the Montbell Down Hugger to be the most adaptable sleeping bag we tested. Because of its solid construction, comfy sleeping, and lifetime guarantee, it is appropriate for both novice and experienced travelers. While the Down Hugger is marketed as a unisex bag, we believe it is perfect for anybody who sleeps warmly.

Usually sleeping bags stretch in just one way (perpendicular to their baffles), but the bag’s diagonal baffling allows for movement in both directions—vertically and horizontally.

“I tend to feel restricted in too-tight mummy bags,” Kit said, “but the Montbell appeared to move with me no matter how much I fanned out at night.” This one-of-a-kind design also eliminates gaps between his body and the bag, which reduces drafty dead areas and should make the bag more comfortable for a wider variety of body types. The Montbell is our upgrade option because of its flexibility. This adaptable stretch is integrated in the footbox, which is flexible between your feet rather than wrapped around them as standard muffler-shaped footboxes are.

The Super Spiral-Stretch System sounds like marketing BS, but the bag itself was very comfortable to sleep in—especially for our more restless testers, who found mummy bags to be too constricting. Caleigh Waldman is the photographer.

Coupled with a draft tube that runs the length of the zipper, the Montbell incorporates a draft collar that is designed to keep heat in. Some experts warned us against Velcro on sleeping bags, saying it could snag on the nylon shell, but the Velcro closure on the Montbell appears to be very gentle. The Montbell has an EN limit of 11 °F.

The bag’s 650-fill-power down weighs over half its entire weight (2 pounds 10 ounces), and it shows. The Down Hugger seemed loftier than any other bag we examined; once inside, it enveloped you. The Down Hugger is 8.6 liters and 7.5 by 14.8 inches when compressed. That’s not ideal for a dedicated backpacking bag, but it should enough for weekend hikers who only take a few longer excursions each year. The bag is available in either a right or left zip arrangement, so a couple may purchase two and zip them together. The zippers include anti-snag covers, which have shown to be effective in our tests. The whole Down Hugger series is made from a combination of goose and duck down and is available in a range of fill powers, fill weights, and two lengths: normal and long. We’ve selected the 650 #1 because of its reasonable price and three-season rating, but if you want to upgrade to a warmer bag, or you want to shave off a little weight with the help of a higher fill power, you’ve got those options.

The draw cords on the Down Hugger, which tighten the hood and draft collar, are not as elastic as the rest of the pack. The draw cords typically relax to follow your movement as you move and stretch the baffles, however this produces minor holes and breaches in an otherwise tight bag. This is nothing that some careful cable cinching and sleep tweaks can’t cure, but it does seem to be a little flaw in an otherwise excellent bag.

A close up of the cinch cords on the Down Hugger's hood. They are very close to the tester's face. The Down Hugger’s hood cinch cords are a little awkward to use and placed too close to the neck and face. Caleigh Waldman is the photographer.

Additionally, the cinches on the Down Hugger’s hood have a tendency to crowd into your peripheral vision or to rub against your face as you’re trying to sleep. GearLab also observed that the 2012 ultralight Down Hugger spilled its down filling after just 80 days of continuous usage. We didn’t encounter that problem with the 2018 or 2022 models of the 650 fill, but if you do, you should be able to get a new bag under Montbell’s lifetime warranty. We’ll keep an eye out for it in the future.)

  • Available sizes: one size, available with right or left zip
  • Claimed weight: 2 pounds 10 ounces
  • Claimed length: 72 inches
  • Type of insulation: 650 fill-power down; Montbell claims that the firm exclusively utilizes down from food-raised water fowl and never live-plucked down.

Upgrade pick for people who sleep cold: Marmot Women’s Teton

A light purple Marmot Women’s Teton sleeping bag laid out on the floor. Photo: Michael Hession

Upgrade pick

The Marmot Women’s Teton was the most comfortable bag we tested. You may desire this bag (regardless of gender) if you feel chilly at night than other people and can fit in it (the larger of its two sizes is suitable for people as tall as 6 feet). We loved it because of its warmth, comfort, intelligent design elements, and low price. While some bags, like the Mountain Hardwear bag we tested, use a stiff fabric for the shell or liner, Marmot’s fabric is soft and silky—some of our testers even called it “seductive.” We first assumed we’d miscalculated the price since the bag was so fluffy and well-made—the Marmot Teton looks and feels like a $500 backpack, but it only costs $300.

It’s like snuggling a body pillow while lying on top of the Teton. The bag’s 650-fill-power down doesn’t bounce back as quickly as the pricier 900-plus-fill-power down in our upgrade picks, the Feathered Friends bags, but the Teton still felt loftier than most of the bags we slept in. Liz’s inflated sleeping pad broke a hole and fell flat in the middle of the night when she was camping in Colorado, but the Teton was so fluffy that her back still felt supported.

A closeup of the Marmot Teton's zipper. The Marmot Teton’s zipper has a glow-in-the-dark pull tab to help you find it at night. Photographer: Michael Hession

The Teton is intended to keep cooler sleepers warm. The Teton has a shorter foot box and shoulder girth than the other bags we tested; by removing drafty dead space, Marmot minimizes the volume of air that has to be heated within the bag. If you desire extra space for your feet, the footbox in the version we retested in 2022 includes an additional zipper that you may unzip to enlarge the breadth. The Teton’s footbox is also one of the most generously insulated we’ve seen—Liz didn’t need to wear socks to bed on a 24-degree January night in Colorado while sleeping in this bag—and it has the thickest draft tubes we’ve seen on a sleeping bag too. Another critical location prone to heat loss is protected by a similarly well-stuffed draft collar. The Teton boasts one of the most large hoods we tested, with enough of space for a cushion. Nevertheless, unlike the other bags we tested, the hood tightened over the face better and kept all except our noses and lips toasty. Marmot labels this bag as a 15 °F bag, which seems modest considering that it is EN comfort certified to 14 °F and limit rated to 0 °F.

The Marmot Teton’s footbox now incorporates a zipper that will let you adjust its snugness—just unzip it if you want more space for your feet. Photographer: Michael Hession

This bag has two half-length zippers running down both sides of the bag, which we liked—they make getting in and out of the bag easy since you can always find at least one of the zippers. On warmer evenings, the multiple zippers also let us to manage our temperature. Moreover, the bag’s plow-shaped zipper shoes aid to eliminate snagging while opening and closing the bag. The Teton and another of our top recommendations, the Big Agnes Sidewinder, were the only hiking bags we evaluated with a zip pocket accessible from the inside. The Teton’s pocket is big enough to hold a phone, which is helpful because keeping lithium batteries warm (though not hot!) increases their longevity and ensures you won’t wake up to a dead battery.

The hood of the Marmot Teton unzipped and folded open to show the roominess inside. The hood on the Marmot Teton has plenty of room to accommodate a pillow. Photographer: Michael Hession

The Marmot Teton is available in 5-foot-6 (regular) and 6-foot (long; it costs $20 more) lengths; Liz originally tested the regular size, and Sam tested the long version in 2022. It’s thinner than most men’s bags, but only by a few of inches when compared to classically designed mummy bags like the Mountain Hardwear Phantom. Sam, a man who is on the smaller side, had no trouble tossing and turning or sleeping in the fetal position in the Teton. The Teton is also somewhat broader in the shoulders than our recommendation for serious female trekkers, the Feathered Friends Egret.

The Teton and Big Agnes’ Sidewinder are quite comparable in many respects. The Teton is warmer but bulkier, whilst the Sidewinder is lighter and easier to transport. If you’re doing a mix of car camping and some backpacking, and tend to sleep colder, we recommend the Teton. But if you’re doing more backpacking than car camping, check out the Sidewinder.

The Teton is filled with weatherproof down and features a DWR (durable water repellent) shell. Earlier Teton models were not exceptional at resisting water, but in our tests, the 2022 model resisted absorbing water after eight weeks of usage. We saw a few feather quills popping out when testing older versions of the Teton, and we noted one review on Marmot’s website complaining about feather leakage in an even earlier edition. However, those previous versions of the Teton did not use calendering, a finishing process that makes materials more impervious to down; the 2022 Teton was made with a calendered (and recycled) nylon ripstop shell and a calendered taffeta lining. (Taffeta refers to the sort of weave commonly used in gown and dress fabric; maybe this is why all of our testers keep saying this bag feels opulent.) We didn’t notice any leaking down feathers when testing the latest version of this bag, and we assume the upgraded material may have contributed to this.

The major disadvantage of the Marmot Teton is that it may have too much down inside. This was the warmest bag we tested, and it’s probably overkill for most summer camping and hiking trips, particularly if you’re a warm sleeper. The Marmot Teton uses a high fill-power-rated down, which isn’t great for compression but is good for keeping you warm—at times, too warm. With temperatures over 40 °F, our testers found themselves unzipping both zippers and folding the top to one side. Since neither zipper extends all the way to the footbox, you can’t get your feet out of this bag without laying on top of it.

  • Available sizes: regular, long
  • Claimed weight (regular; long): 3 pounds 9.8 ounces.; 3 pounds 14.8 ounces
  • Claimed length (regular; long): 66 inches; 72 inches
  • Type of insulation: RDS-certified 650 fill-power duck down

Also great for side-sleeping backpackers: Big Agnes Sidewinder SL 20°

The teal blue Big Agnes Sidewinder SL 20° laid out on the floor. Photo: Michael Hession

Also great

Big Agnes Sidewinder SL 20°

For side-sleepers

While designed for side sleepers, the construction of this hiking bag (insulated with a blend of down and synthetic fill) works well for anybody who tosses and turns at night.

We discovered that the Big Agnes Sidewinder SL 20° (men’s and women’s) was the ideal mummy-style sleeping bag for sleeping on our sides. Although though it’s intended for side sleepers, we felt it would be useful for anybody who tosses and turns when sleeping outdoors, which includes many of us. The Sidewinder appealed to us because of its numerous active sleeper-friendly features, soft materials and design, and inexpensive pricing. This is the bag for you if you find yourself sleeping in different positions during the night. Also, if a highly packable sleeping bag is a priority, this bag packs down almost as small as the Feathered Friends Swallow and Egret bags, our picks for serious backpackers, and it costs $150 less.

Inflatable sleeping mats are pleasant, although not as much as a bed. As a result, your night in a tent will most likely include some tossing and turning. While the Sidewinder is intended for side sleepers who switch sides during the night, it’s also ideal for anybody who loves to shift about to find a comfortable-enough position on their sleeping pad. The shell is somewhat broader in the midsection than other hiking backpacks, giving it the appearance of a dad-bod figure. We were able to quickly transition between sleeping positions with this bag. It also contains a layer of synthetic insulation in the larger midsection region to minimize chilly areas when your hips compress the 650-fill down that serves as the bag’s main insulation. We were always warm, no matter what position we awoke in, and we could always locate the center-aligned zipper. Most sleeping bags have a zipper on either the left or right side—or both sides, as in the Marmot Teton—but the Sidewinder has a zipper in the middle. Even when we weren’t resting on our side, we found the Sidewinder’s center zipper simpler to access than any other side zipper.

Backpacking equipment, particularly inflated cushions, is notoriously slick. You’re probably losing that slick little cushion every time you shift positions when sleeping while camping. To avoid this, the Sidewinder’s hood incorporates a cushion sleeve made of flexible material sewed onto the back. Put your pillow into one of two tiny slots within the hood, and it will remain behind your head as you move. Once you move, you must still put the cushion beneath your head. Nonetheless, the sleeve does assist you maintain track of your pillow so you don’t have to rummage around in the dark to retrieve it once you turn over.

The Sidewinder unfolded to show the internal slits within the bag. The Sidewinder has two internal slits in the back of the bag leading to a pillow sleeve—you slide your pillow through one of the slits, and the sleeve holds the pillow more or less in place as you toss and turn in the night. Photographer: Michael Hession

Beside the pillow sleeve, this bag offers an outstanding hood. The draft collar is one continuous loop from one side of the zipper to the other since the zipper runs down the center of the bag. Most sleeping bags include two draft collars, one on top and sides of the hood and another on the chin. This bag’s continuous draft collar is cozier than other two-collar bags. The collar overlaps itself just once, which is half the amount of overlapping fabric pieces. Less overlapping cloth is also more pleasant. Also, the area where the materials overlap is the oh-so-fluffy draft tube that conceals the zipper. Since the zipper runs through the middle of your body, this down insulation tube must be filled. We believe this oversized draft tube is perfect for snuggling your face into.

The top end of the Sidewinder where the fabric around the collar is voluminous. A continuous draft collar (the lighter-colored cloth) encircle the aperture for your face on the Sidewinder. Photographer: Michael Hession

All of our options are made of softer fabrics than the typical slippery material that comes to mind when you think “sleeping bag.” The soft, comfy nylon ripstop shell of the Sidewinder. The polyester taffeta lining is soft on your skin and does not generate loud swishing sounds as you move. This material may not have the same rich feel as the Teton, but it comes close. The Sidewinder, like the Teton, offers a zipped pocket for keeping your phone’s battery warm on frigid evenings. Interestingly, this function is found in just a few hiking backpacks.

We haven’t used this bag long enough to know how it holds up over time; however, we did see a complaint concerning down leaking on the Big Agnes website. We’ll continue to use the bag and see how it performs. Likewise, although the Sidewinder’s zipper shoe has a snowplow tip to assist prevent snagging, the material on either side of the zipper is the standard soft, snag-able shell or lining fabric. (In contrast, the Feathered Friends sleeping bags we tested feature a stronger fabric band along the zipper to avoid snagging.)

  • Available men’s sizes: regular, long
  • Available women’s sizes: petite, regular
  • Claimed weight (men’s regular; men’s long): 2 pounds 4 ounces.; 2 pounds 8 ounces
  • Claimed weight (women’s petite; women’s regular): 2 pounds 7 ounces; 2 pounds 10 ounces
  • Claimed length (men’s regular; men’s long): 72 inches; 78 inches
  • Claimed length (women’s petite; women’s regular): 65 inches; 70 inches
  • Types of insulation: Water-repellent RDS-certified 650 fill-power down and recycled polyester fill

Also great for backpacking: Feathered Friends Swallow YF 30 Sleeping Bag

One of our testers sitting upright inside a blue Feathered Friends Osprey Nano 30 sleeping bag. Photo: Caleigh Waldman

Also great

Mummy-style sleeping bags haven’t changed much in the past few years, so it’s the details that make the Feather Friends Swallow YF 30 stand out, especially for the price: Water-resistant nylon exterior shells, 900-plus fill-power down, opulent interior nylon fabrics, tough snap retainers around the collars, and a lifetime guarantee.

Feathered Friends bags cost about 1.5 times as much as the other down bags we investigated. At first we were turned off by this high price—but if you’re planning to do a lot of camping for many years, we believe the expense may be worth it for a sleeping bag that should last a lifetime. We liked several of the company’s three-season bags, but we’d recommend the unisex 30-degree Swallow YF (formerly called the Osprey) as a good bag for serious backpackers looking for a high-quality, lightweight sleeping bag. Male testers were particularly fond of this bag, as were campers of all genders who slept hot and had wide shoulders.

A close up of the zipper on the Feathered Friends Nano sleeping bag. Like our other picks, Feathered Friends bags have zipper plows and a strip of firmer fabric near the zipper that guides the slider away from sagging nylon. Caleigh Waldman is the photographer.

The Swallow 30 weighs 1 pound 12 ounces and is filled with 900-plus fill goose down, which is uncommon in bags under $500. The Swallow was the smallest of all the sleeping bags we tried when compressed, yet it still bounced back into an indulgent nest of down. Feathered Friends does not employ EN ratings, but hikers generally agree that the company’s self-ratings are reliable. This bag, according to the Feather Buddies technique, will keep you warm down to 30 °F/-1.1 °C.

The Schoeller NanoSphere 20 nylon shell was one of the toughest and most water-resistant textiles we observed on a bag. Since we tested these bags, the firm has updated the fabric used for the shell of this bag to a nylon Pertex Quantum that they claim is even more waterproof. We’ll be testing the bags shortly to ensure they continue to operate as well as they did before.

A close up of the snap clip on the Feathered Friends Nano sleeping bag hood. Feathered Friends’s designs forgo the more common (and potentially abrasive) Velcro stays for a snap clip that secures the hood to the body of the bag. Caleigh Waldman is the photographer.

The Swallow 30 boasts thoughtful design elements, such as a “overlapping dual-webbing zip shield,” as Feathered Friends calls it—basically, a short strip of stronger fabric near the zipper that directs the zipper plow away from snagging on the nylon. If you intend to camp in colder regions and want more warmth, the Swallow 20 has the same design as the Swallow 30, but contains 3.2 ounces more filling and is rated to 20 °F rather than 30 °F.

  • Available sizes: regular, long
  • Claimed weight (regular; long): 1 pound 12.7 ounces.; 1 pound 14.3 ounces
  • Claimed length (regular; long): 72 inches; 78 inches
  • Type of Insulation: RDS-certified 900+ fill-power goose down

Also great for backpacking: Feathered Friends Egret YF 20 Women’s Sleeping Bag

One of our testers sitting upright in a purple Feathered Friends Egret Nano 20 Women's sleeping bag. Photo: Caleigh Waldman

Also great

The Feathered Friends Egret YF 20 is a high-end bag for serious backpackers who want a lightweight and well-constructed bag that will last a lifetime. It’s marketed as a women’s bag, but we found it to be suitable for anybody under 5-foot-9 who sleeps chilly.

It’s unusual to get a sleeping bag of this caliber for under $500. The Egret, like its cousin, the Feathered Friends Swallow, is well-known for its details. It didn’t have a built-in draft collar, but the hood padding was ample enough to compensate. Instead, there is a generous tube of down around the neck that also keeps the cold metal zipper from rubbing against your neck at night. The foot box is likewise very well insulated.

The Feathered Friends sleeping bags are among the lightest we tested, with the women’s medium Egret only 1 pound 19 ounces. While Feathered Friends does not employ EN ratings, hikers generally agree that the company’s ratings are accurate. The bag’s 20 °F (non-EN) rating seemed realistic to us: the bag remained extremely warm even as the temperature dropped below 20 °F.

The zipper on the Egret 20 rarely snags because of firm fabric near the zipper that keeps the zipper’s teeth away from the surrounding nylon. Caleigh Waldman is the photographer.

The Egret 20 repelled water better than any other bag Liz tested on her 160-mile hiking trip throughout San Diego County. Although not totally waterproof, the DWR coating on the shell kept the down insulation from seeping through, and the bag remained fluffy and warm even in humid and damp weather. Sam tested the newest version of the Egret 20, constructed with the more downproof and water-resistant Pertex Quantum 20D mini-ripstop fabric, during our most recent round of testing. He slept in a one-person backpacking tent during a rainstorm, and though the foot end of this bag was often rubbing against the wet tent wall, the new material’s DWR coating kept the down dryer than many bags would. Yet, if you ever find yourself surrounded by feathers, the Egret is covered by Feathered Friends’ lifetime guarantee.

A close up of one of our testers inside the Feather Friends Egret Nano sleeping bag with the hood cinched closely around her face. The elements will have a hard time reaching you when you’re bundled up in the warmest and lightest bag we tested. Caleigh Waldman is the photographer.

Besides from the expense, there were a few drawbacks to this Egret: Unlike the other bags we tried, this bag uses a metal snap button to secure the top of the bag near the hood. Since the snap is on the outside of the sleeping bag, it might be difficult to fasten from within. The zipper also doesn’t continue around the foot box, which makes it difficult to stick a foot outside the bag to cool off.

Those who camp in warmer regions and want less insulation yet like the thinner design of the Egret 30 might consider it.

  • Available sizes: small, medium
  • Claimed weight (small; medium): 1 pound 11.2 ounces; 1 pound 13 ounces
  • Claimed length (small; medium): 63 inches; 69 inches
  • Type of Insulation: RDS-certified 900+ fill-power goose down

Also great for couples: Big Agnes Dream Island 20°

Our pick for the best double sleeping back for couples, the Big Agnes Dream Island. Photo: Jeremy Pavia

Also great

The Big Agnes Dream Island 20° is the closest to feeling like a genuine bed that we tested. A built-in sleeping-pad compartment minimizes the bunching and sliding we’ve observed with other bags in the middle of the night (the pad is sold separately). The Dream Island is also lofty and cozy, more akin to sleeping with a giant, soft blanket wrapped over you than a regular sleeping bag. As a half-dozen bags stacked up in Kalee’s home office, she discovered that this was her go-to bag for midafternoon catnaps (her actual cat liked it too).

Two of our testers in laying in a double sleeping bag looking at each other. Sleeping next to each other in single bags is like using a bunk bed on your honeymoon. There is a better approach, and it is shown here. Photographer: Jeremy Pavia

The exterior shell of the Dream Island is ripstop nylon, while the interior lining is recycled polyester with a water-repellent finish. In the past, we had loved the lining, which used to be a cotton/poly blend, for its softness, as well as for the fact that it eliminated the constant swishing noises that inevitably accompany a night in a nylon- or polyester-lined bag. The liner of the bag has subsequently been altered; we’ll test it shortly to determine whether it’s gotten louder.

A cat on top of a double sleeping bag. The rare Cornish rex feline breed is too delicate constitutionally to venture into the out-of-doors, but the bedlike nature of modern sleeping bags makes for a fine interior repose. Photographer: Kalee Thompson

The Dream Island is insulated with 60 ounces of 50% recycled polyester. It measures 126 inches around the shoulders, 118 inches around the hips, and 112 inches around the feet, where it features a spacious box cut. We liked thoughtful features like the small strip of “no-draft” fabric that snaps between the heads of its two inhabitants, allowing them to better seal themselves in and stay warmer on cold nights. The hood drawstring cinches in four places, enabling each member of a pair to precisely adjust the hood to their own tastes.

The thing we love the most about the Big Agnes is the built-in sleeping pad sleeve, which works best with a double-size pad. Photographer: Jeremy Pavia

The Big Agnes bag’s most distinguishing feature is its integrated sleeping-pad sleeve, which enables it to go without insulation in the bottom half of the bag. We were first wary of this design, which seemed to be overly fussy or not adaptable enough. We’re persuaded of the excellence of this idea after three weekend car-camping excursions and a half-dozen nights with the bag laid on Kalee’s own bed at home. The Big Agnes system addresses a problem it had never occurred to us to try to solve: the annoying tendency of a sleeping bag to slide off or become otherwise akilter from a sleeping pad in the middle of the night. Prior camping excursions in a double bag set on top of an Aerobed-type mattress had led us to believe that this difficulty is exacerbated when there are two to a bag. Nylon or polyester bags may be slippery when placed on top of also-slippery air mattresses, causing them to slide down the mattress or tumble off one side. If you pitch your tent on anything other than precisely level ground, the issue is exacerbated. But, since the Dream Island secures sleepers between pad and bag, there is no slipping and sliding; instead, you have a higher chance of getting a good night’s sleep.

Close up of the access valve of the Big Agnes Dream Island sleeping bag. The sleeping bag’s sleeve leaves the outside corners of whatever pad (or pads) you use exposed, so you can access a valve to add a little support should you need it. Photographer: Jeremy Pavia

The Dream Island’s sleeve is designed to accommodate one of Big Agnes’ 50-by-78-inch double air mattresses. We utilized the Insulated Double Z, which is no longer available, but Big Agnes now offers double-size Hinman and Insulated Air Core Ultra variants. (Alternatively, you could use two regular 25-by-78-inch pads; both the Hinman and the Air Core are available in that size.) There are several firms that manufacture car-camping pads with these larger-than-average dimensions, and any of them will fit the Dream Island well. Though you could also use two smaller 20-by-72-inch pads—a common size for Therm-a-Rest–type camping pads—they’ll leave several extra inches on all sides of the Big Agnes’s sleeve. If you’re going to invest in a high-quality double bag like this one, we suggest coupling it with a matching double pad. (The Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed Duo, a hybrid sleeping bag/comforter design that’s surprisingly warm and adaptable, is a bag that works well with hiking sleeping pads you already possess.)

Pillow covers in the Big Agnes Dream Island. Pillow covers included. Photo: Jeremy Pavia

Our testers slept inside this bag right on top of a king-size bed at home and didn’t notice the absence of insulation below them. That said, we don’t think it would make sense to buy this bag if you’re not intending to use the integrated sleeve.

Though a couple of our tested bags might take up a third of the space in a small trunk and weigh close to 12 pounds, the Dream Island packs down to a relatively compact 12 by 22 inches when in its stuff sack; it weighs 7 pounds. It’s also the only bag we discovered that includes a separate mesh storage bag, making it simple to store properly for optimal loft preservation.

A “pillow barn” enables you to tuck your pillow into the sheetlike fabric, and corner hand pockets on the comforter allow you to “snuggle that top layer of the bag in around your neck,” according to a Big Agnes salesperson.

Despite the bag is rated to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it kept Kalee mildly cool during a February night in Joshua Tree National Park’s high desert (low: 36 degrees Fahrenheit). She does, admittedly, sleep chilly and frequently grabs for a decade-old down bag rated to 0 °F if temps drop into the 30s. Several of the other couples she and her husband camped with that weekend were also cooler inside rival double bags than they would have wanted. However, objectively evaluating the temperature of the bags is difficult since none of them follow to EN standards, methods that researchers use to determine the warmth of a bag via regulated laboratory testing.

  • Available size: regular
  • Claimed weight: 7 pounds
  • Claimed length: 78 inches
  • Type of insulation: 50% recycled polyester fill
Once upon a time, the Sierra Designs Mobile Mummy was our favorite sleeping bag for both car camping and backpacking. And it’s back now. Caleigh Waldman is the photographer.

If you have trouble sleeping and don’t mind being stared at around the campfire: Consider the Sierra Designs Mobile Mummy 15° (men’s and women’s), which lets you to sleep with your arms and legs sticking out of the bag. We were sad to see this Sierra Designs bag go around three years ago, even if it was no longer a selection. The Movable Mummy enables you to stretch your arms via blocked apertures and features a two-way zipper that allows you to completely release your legs. This implies that male users don’t even have to leave their bags in the middle of the night to discharge themselves. Sleepers of both genders will enjoy the ability to precisely change how much of your body is in or out of the bag to keep you warm on chilly nights and cool on hot ones. It’s filled with hydrophobic 800-fill down and has a ripstop recycled nylon shell and lining.

If you’re a side-sleeper backpacker who gets hot quickly: Try the Nemo Disco, a spoon-shaped bag with zipped “thermal gills” for ventilation designed for side sleepers. We found the bag worked well and appreciated several of its features, such as the large draft collar and the elastic cinch band for the hood. But we couldn’t lie comfortably in a fetal position, the exterior zippered pocket barely fits a phone, and we didn’t think the vents were a big enough improvement over simply unzipping the bag to justify the trouble.

If you like to sleep on your back and want a high-quality camping value: Consider the Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass, which is a great deal for a no-frills, 650-fill down-insulated mummy-shaped bag (closer to $200 than $300). But, we felt it a little bit constricting for moving about within the bag while the zipper was closed.

If your primary worry is weight, but money is a close second: Consider the REI Co-op Magma 30 (men’s and women’s), which weighs just 20 ounces and costs far less (even at $350) than similar lightweight backpacks. (Ultralight bags are a specialty area that we don’t cover in this list, mostly because they’re expensive and often created by smaller manufacturers, making them difficult to obtain.) The 650-fill-down bag was comfy and had a wonderful hood and zipper, but the tight cut was restrictive, and the nylon inner and shell had that slick lightweight fabric feel to it. Nonetheless, if you want to attempt ultralight hiking, this may be a nice starting point.

Do you need a women’s sleeping bag?

Length: Regardless of gender, you need to choose a bag that’s the right length for your body. Bags for men and women are often available in varied sizes depending on length and breadth (think of short, regular, long, wide). Anybody 5 feet 6 inches or shorter should consider purchasing a women’s bag, which is often the only model available in a 5-foot-6 length. (Women’s bags are sometimes available in 5-foot-9 lengths, too, which could be a smart option for people who don’t need a full 6-foot bag.)

The most effective and warmest backpack for you will have the least amount of extra room inside. Ideally, you should aim for the Goldilocks area, where you aren’t swimming in the bag, but it is not so small that you feel like you’ll burst out of it. Another problem with trying to squeeze yourself into a too-small bag: When your feet, hips, or shoulders press against the edge of the bag too much, you end up squishing the down. Down must be able to puff out as much as possible to protect against cold.

Contour: Since they are made for thinner shoulders, women’s bags are warmer than unisex and men’s bags. Since your shoulders are so near to your core and major organs, eliminating dead space in sleeping bag design is critical. Regardless of gender, if you have smaller shoulders, such as the conventional cyclist or endurance runner, a women’s backpack may be warmer and more comfortable for you.

Women’s bags are often broader around the hips, since women’s bodies are generally bigger around the hips than men’s. As previously said, the easiest approach to remain warm is to keep your body parts away from your sleeping bag. Because of the contoured shape, you may choose to sleep in a women’s bag if you have broader hips.

Insulation: Most well-designed women’s bags have extra insulation to protect the regions where the majority of people are most susceptible to temperature changes: the feet, head, and upper torso. By generously insulating these key areas, a so-called women’s sleeping bag can make you feel a lot warmer without needing to have extra stuffing all across the bag.

EN ratings inform campers about the temperature range in which a piece of gear should keep them warm. You’re likely to notice two ratings: comfort and limit. The temperature at which you will be comfortable and warm is referred to as the comfort grade. Limit ratings, on the other hand, relate to temperatures that can be tolerated. You won’t die, but you won’t be comfortable if you take your sleeping bag with a temperature restriction of 20 degrees into 20-degree weather. (Since weather can be unpredictable, REI even suggests choosing a bag that has a lower rating than the temperatures you expect to experience while camping—specifically, they recommend buying a bag that is limit rated for at least 15 degrees colder than the weather you expect to encounter.)

The temperature rating indicated on many women’s bags is the EN comfort rating; on men’s bags, the limit rating is more common. According to the labels on REI’s women’s sleeping bags, this is common practice: “Women and smaller-sized people generally have a lower tolerance for colder temperatures, while men and larger-sized people generally have a higher tolerance for colder temperatures. The comfort rating for women’s bags and the limit rating for men’s and unisex bags are industry standards.”

We were surprised at first when we compared similarly rated men’s and women’s bags and discovered that the women’s bags were more costly than the men’s bags. But according to REI’s explanation of the difference between men’s and women’s bags, women’s bags would need more insulation to achieve a given temperature rating (since women’s bags are comfort rated and men’s are limit rated). Greater insulation would imply a heavier fill weight and more down, both of which are frequently more expensive.

Since the EN certification procedure may be costly—sometimes excessively so for smaller businesses—some of the bag producers in this book, such as Feathered Friends, forego it in favor of their own estimations.

We’ll be evaluating a new crop of car-camping sleeping bags, as well as the newest edition of the Big Agnes Dream Island 20° and other two-person car-camping bags, this winter and spring.

Cabela’s Mountain Trapper 40 °F Sleeping Bag: This bag is similar to the now-discontinued Slumberjack Country Squire 20 in size and price, but we found the Country Squire 20’s inner liner to be a little more comfortable than the flannel of the Mountain Trapper. We also liked the Slumberjack’s retractable carrying case to this model’s wrap-and-strap stowaway technique.

We also tested bags from Big Agnes, Kelty, The North Face, Slumberjack, and Wenzel that have since been discontinued. Soon, we’ll be testing new choices in this area.

The Sierra Designs unisex Nitro 800/20 and women’s Nitro 800/20 are well-designed bags with two quirks that testers found polarizing. Both bags include a foot vent and half zippers (essentially a hole in the foot box where you can stick out your feet to prevent overheating). We found this combination odd, though, because the bags couldn’t be unzipped all the way—some testers had trouble getting into them. These versions are also presently unavailable.

The Sierra Designs Cloud sleeping bag has no zipper and depends on overlapping layers of cloth to keep you warm. We loved the sewn-in sleeve for holding a sleeping pad or pillow (or both). But, we did not find the zipperless design worked as well for side or stomach sleepers.

The Big Agnes Torchlight UL is a well-designed hiking mummy bag with two additional sets of zippers and inflatable panels to customize the fit. These side zippers may be used to provide greater space in the shoulders, hips, footbox, or all of the above. We felt this was a handy feature, although the zippers often snagged when we were changing the bag’s fit.

The Sea To Summit Spark 28°F is yet another ultralight mummy bag, even lighter than the REI Co-op Magma. Sea to Summit reduced the weight of this bag by reducing the zipper to three-quarter length. We discovered that the shorter zipper made getting out of the bag difficult, and the small form made moving around in the bag hard.

We’ve previously evaluated and rejected bags from Big Agnes, Cotopaxi, Nemo, and REI Co-op that have since been discontinued.

Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed Duo: We recommend this bag, and in the past when we had a larger guide dedicated to double bags, it was a runner-up pick. It’s an excellent alternative if you don’t want to purchase the large sleeping mat that comes with our top pick, the Dream Island.

Dolomite Double 20/-7 by North Face: The Dolomite garnered positive feedback from users on the company’s website and elsewhere. Our main criticism we probably wouldn’t have had if we hadn’t slept in so many competitors: the slipperiness and constant swishing sound of a bag that’s polyester inside and out. When given the option, almost all of our testers chose a more sheetlike liner. The Dolomite also has a lower loft than the other bags we evaluated. The Dolomite One Double Sleeping Bag has since replaced it in the company’s inventory; we expect to test new bags in this category shortly.

Teton Outdoors Mammoth 0 °F: A extremely massive bag. Our testers liked the Mammoth’s supersoft brushed-poly flannel lining and its roomy cut, though the couple who used the bag on a camping trip to Joshua Tree National Park were agitated by the cinch cord, which falls at the neck in a flap of fabric that interrupts the bag’s otherwise smooth lining. One of our testing couples, a 6-foot-6 man and a 5-foot-10 woman, slept in the bag at Wheeler Gorge Campground near Ojai, California, in April and found it plenty big and warm, though they had a hard time keeping it on their side-by-side sleeping pads. They remarked that the effort necessary to get the bag back into the way-too-tight sack was “absolutely not worth it” after a bad night’s sleep. There’s little mistake about it: wrestling this suitcase back into its carry bag requires a near-Herculean effort. Users have complained enough that the corporation has created a video demonstrating that it is possible. Is the mission complete?

REI has some important tips and tricks aimed at keeping your bag in good form. The tips include sleeping in it, cleaning it, treating it, and storing it. These are the fundamentals:

  • If you sleep in your clothing, make sure they’re clean. Over time, body oils, sweat, and dirt can create a musty smell and break down your bag liner.
  • Think about using a sleeping bag liner. Not only does a liner add to the warmth of a bag, but it’s also easy to clean, and it increases the lifespan of your bag.
  • Make sure to fluff your bag after it has sat compressed at the bottom of your pack all day. This step ensures that you have enough loft and hence warmth when sleeping.
  • When you’re not using your bag, store it unstuffed and inside out so that the liner doesn’t trap smells. Down bags, in particular, usually come with a large sack for long-term storage.
  • Never store a sleeping bag in its compression sack; doing so decreases the overall loft and heat retention of the material.
  • The safest method to wash a down bag is by hand in a bathtub, although a front-loading washer may also be used (avoid using a top-loader, which will rip the stitching). Nearly anyone who regularly washes sleeping bags has a preferred favorite soap; for down, we like Nikwax’s Down Wash Direct, and for synthetics, we go for Nikwax’s Tech Wash. Air dry your bag, or put a pair of tennis balls and dry it in your clothes dryer on air fluff (no heat!).
  • REI partners with Rainy Pass Repair to offer a bag-laundering service. You should never dry-clean your sleeping bag.
  • Hand-sew any holes that appear. This is easiest if you keep a needle and thread in your repair kit in the field—then, when you get home, you can remove the hand stitching and do a more professional-looking repair.
  • Create a fix out of duct tape or adhesive gear repair tape. Be warned, however, that if you want to repair the hole later, the sticky adhesive may remain once you remove the tape, and the rip might get worse.

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