Hundred years ago, gypsies were the first backpackers, continually going from places to places. They often carried as much as 80 pounds or more with horses and animals.
It’s hard to imagine that you have to hoist that much of the weight on your back into the wildness nowadays. “Less is more” has become a motto of any backpackers if they want to have pleasant trips.
The secret of having light backpacking is not to bring less stuff but to pack wise. Instead of using bulky, incompressible sleeping bags, you should shift your preference into something lightweight and compact, which could help reduce the backpack’s weight tremendously.
Let's find out all the best lightweight compact sleeping bags for backpacking in this article.
Mummy Sleeping Bag
Hyke & Byke Shavano Ultralight Compact 30 Degree F Down Sleeping Bag
I have to admit that I love Hyke & Byke. Their products are well-known for being inexpensive and functional.
Hyke & Byke Shavano 32 °F Down Sleeping Bag is a classic example. This is probably one of the most affordable down fill sleeping bags you can find on the market. Some people may be skeptical about the price; but as soon as they touch the item, they would have to change their minds
This sleeping bag is exceptionally light and small. It is compressible so that you can save more space in your backpack.
While the 550 Duck Down enables you to stay toasty warm somewhere between 45 - 60 °F, this is not impressive numbers at all. Compared to its counterparts, the comfortable temperature rating is quite high. If you buy this sleeping only to use in early winter and late autumn, maybe it would keep you warm quite alright.
If you are looking for suitable sleeping bags for summer, visit my article Best sleeping bags for summer for more options.
The mummy shape allows heat to remain through the night and prevent cold air to get inside. Some people would find mummy-shaped sleeping bags a bit uncomfortable since they can’t move around comfortably.
Hyke & Byke Shavano 32 °F Down Sleeping Bag provides three sizes so you can choose the aptest size that leaves you plenty of space to move. Plus, the inner material doesn’t make you feel sticky. You can move as freely as you wish.
There is one drawback though. The zipper is snaggy. Therefore, it sticks sometimes and refuses to move. If you are a restless sleeper who often wakes up in the middle of the night zipping up your sleeping bag, chances are you will likely get stuck inside the bag for quite a while.
|Size||M/ L/ XL fits individuals from 5” to 6”6|
|2.03/ 2.15/ 2.27 lbs|
|Insulation||550 FP 90/10 Duck Down|
|Temperature rating °F|
The bag is a real deal for those backpackers who want to stay on their budget but still want a lightweight sleeping bag with comfortability. But I’d not recommend using this sleeping bag for a long trip if the zipper is not in good condition.
You can find out more about wallet-friendly sleeping bags in the article best budget sleeping bags.
Therm-a-Rest Questar 20-Degree Lightweight Down Sleeping Bag
Thermarest never fails to impress me with their attempt to bring products of value. Their Questar Mummy Sleeping Bag vividly portrays their intention to provide backpackers with both functionality and affordability.
This sleeping bag uses 650 down fill, treated with Nikwax. The goose down helps enhance the ability to maintain warmth while Nikiwax-treated fill implies that this sleeping bag is highly water-repellant. So if you have to settle down in a moist environment, you don’t have to worry about your down-filled sleeping bag.
The bag offers a zipper system that consists of one zipper at the top and one on the opposite direction at the bottom. This allows you to adjust the heat in the bottom without moving too much.
One more good idea from Thermarest is the flexible bands on the back. The bands are ideal to keep your sleeping bag and avert it from gliding.
The weight of this item is somewhere between 2 to 2.7 lbs depending on different sizes, which is considerably light. The down fill is a factor that makes the sleeping bag compact, saving you plenty of room in your backpack.
The only thing I don’t like about this bag is that the small and regular size is still roomy. Cold air could take the place of the excessive space and reduce the ability to retain heat.
|Size||Small: 73 in x 29 in|
Regular: 79 in x 31.5 in
Long: 85 in x 33 in
|Weight (lbs)||Small: 2 lbs|
Regular: 2 lbs 5 oz
Long: 2 lbs 7 oz
|Insulation||650-fill power Nikwax-treated Hydrophobic Goose Down|
|Temperature rating °F||31 °F|
All in all, I find Therm-a-Rest Questar is an ideal option for frequent backpackers who look for a 3-season down sleeping bag to stay warm even in damp condition.
Rectangular Sleeping Bag
AEGISMAX UL Goose Down Sleeping Bag
AEGISMAX is one prominent name in the sleeping-bag market that promises travelers great quality bags with affordable price. This particular sleeping bag, the AEGISMAX UL Goose Down Sleeping Bag is no exception.
It contains nearly 1 lb of 800 goose-down fill. The amount of goose down fill delivers a good insulation. In fact, you can stay toasty warm inside the bag within the range of temperature between 36 to 45° F. If you want to stay warm when the temperature drops to the max limit – 20° F, you should wear more clothes.
In case you want to have a sleeping bag for extreme weather, you may want to have a look at Best sleeping bag for winter.
Thanks to goose down fill, this bag is extremely compressible. It takes less space in your backpack and is incredibly lightweight. You won’t feel any different when carrying an additional sleeping bag like this. Furthermore, the down fill can quickly recover after being compressed and can become extremely lofty.
I’d not suggest washing any down-filled sleeping bag, but this bag is an exception. As for AEGISMAX UL Goose Down Sleeping Bag, it is washable.
You should wash the bag before your first use. This will make the bag loft up nicely. This is the biggest plus for a down-filled bag. However, you shouldn’t wash it too often because it would affect the long-term ability to maintain warmth of this bag.
Overall, the quality of the bag is somewhat similar to those high-end sleeping bags.
What don’t I like about this product? Probably cold spots. Though the down insulation is well-known for excellent insulation, in this product, it quickly settles down in the corner, which creates quite a few cold spots. This wouldn’t happen if you take some extra care of the bag when using it. I don’t think it is a brilliant idea to use this bag when the temperature drops below 40F.
|Size||Regular 75” X 31”|
Large 79” X 32”
|Weight (lbs)||1.5 – 1.7 lbs|
|Insulation||800 Fill Power 95/5 White Goose Down|
|Temperature rating °F||36° F - 45° F|
AEGISMAX UL Goose Down Sleeping Bag is an item that both quality and price match my expectation. I think it is a great 3-season bag for budget travelers. Though I would not recommend using this bag following its temperature rating, you can still top up or wear extra clothes to secure the heat during the night.
Naturehike Cicada's Wings 41 Degree F Lightweight Sleeping Bag
Naturehike is famous for their lightweight outdoor pieces of equipment from tents to sleeping bags. The Cicada's wings 41℉ Lightweight Sleeping Bag belongs to the Naturehike Ultralight series.
As the name suggested, this sleeping bag is remarkably light, only 1.25 lbs. You can easily clip it onto your backpack.
The cicada’s wings adopt 800 goose down, which is the premium material, as its insulators. As a result, the sleeping bag is compressible and extreme compact. It takes less place in your backpack so that you can bring additional outdoor equipment if needed.
The goose down promises toasty nights when the temperature drops low. The temperature rating of this bag is about 41℉. The company claims that it uses double insulation on the top of the bag so that you will stay restful within a comfortable temperature zone, which is from 41 to 59℉.
However, I’d not recommend it if you tend to use the sleeping bag when the temperature approaches its limit rating, which is around 35 ℉. Better safe than sorry.
You can create a double sleeping bag by joining two single ones together. Couples will love this feature of the Cicada's wings.
This sleeping bag isn’t waterproof, so you should be careful not using it in wet conditions. Also, it is not washable because the quality of the bag will be affected by water and cleaning detergent. It’s not necessarily a downside.
If you want to clean the sleeping bag, you only need a wet towel. Plus, you only need to wash it when the bag is extremely dirty. After washing, you should let it rest in shade rather than direct sunlight. For lazy backpackers who are always on the move, this is actually time-saving.
|Size||80.71" x 28.35"|
|Insulation||290g high quality 800 white goose down|
|Temperature rating °F||41℉|
The Cicada's wings 41℉ Lightweight Sleeping Bag is the lightest sleeping bag in this list. So it’d be suitable for backpackers who want to save extra space and weight for other gears.
5-in-1 Sleeping Bag
Outdoor Vitals Aerie 30 Degree F Down Sleeping Bag
Hammock camping has recently become a growing trend. However, the required tackle is merely too expensive.
What is the solution for budget backpackers? The answer is to buy a 5-in1 sleeping bag, which allows you to utilize 5 uses in only one product. Outdoor Vitals Aerie 30°F Down Underquilt Sleeping Bag is a bag I want to introduce.
This bag is astonishingly versatile, which can be used in many different situations. If you oft for hammock camping when the temperature is not ideal, the Outdoor Vitals Aerie 30°F can be used as an under-quilt to replace a normal sleeping bag.
Here comes the most significant shortcoming. This bag doesn’t include lines to attach it to the hammock. That means if you want to use the bag as an under-quilt, you have to buy your own lines. Other than that, this sleeping bag can be used as a hammock pod system, a technical blanket. Not to mention you can double the size of this bag by joining two bags together.
The Outdoor Vitals Aerie 30°F uses DWR treated 800+ fill power down to provide adequate warm at the temperature rating of up to 30°F. Many people think that this rating means they can sleep comfortably at 30°F, but this is not true. If you want to stay comfortably, better add extra layers.
The sleeping bag is DWR treated so it’s water-repellant, you don’t have to worry about dampness when going camping.
|Size||83” x 29”|
|Weight (lbs)||2 lb 2 oz + 3 oz sack|
|Insulation||DWR treated 800+ fill power down|
|Temperature rating °F||30°F|
Personally, I think this sleeping bag is suitable for packackers who often do hammock camping. This under-quilt sleeping bag is a wonderful heat-keeping companion during cold nights.
Chill Gorilla 30°F Down Sleeping Bag
Chill Gorilla approaches the market with serious attempts to deliver versatile and affordable outdoor gears for hardcore backpackers. The 30°F Down Underquilt Sleeping Bag is one of their best items, which bridges affordability and practicality.
This is just not a sleeping bag; it offers 5 different uses, ranging from under-quilt to special blanket. Do you like a less-than-$100 sleeping bag with many features like this? I bet the answer is yes.
My initial impression wasn’t all that confident. The outer plastic doesn’t look so good. That could make people hesitate at first. As you take a careful look at the bag, things get better. The 30°F Down Underquilt Sleeping Bag uses 800 fill power down as insulators. Down excels at retaining heat and decreasing the total weight of the bag. As a result, you have an extremely lightweight and compact sleeping bag for backpacking. The heat your body generates is well-kept so you can stay comfy inside the bag.
If you want to use this bag as an under-quilt, it’s easy to install and be ready to use. The bag’s shape is rectangular, which means you have plenty of room to move and turn, primarily when you use it as a special blanket.
|Size||76" x 64" x 2"|
|Weight (lbs)||1.8 lbs|
|Insulation||800 fill power down|
|Temperature rating °F||30°F|
So, travelers, if you are fond of a 5-in-1 sleeping bag that allows you to stay on your budget, this is the one you should buy.
How To Choose An Excellent Lightweight, Compact Sleeping Bag For Backpacking?
You probably wonder how I can differentiate between good sleeping bags and the not-so-good ones. There are several contributing factors for a suitable backpacking sleeping bag. Check out below.
Money talks. And most of the time it talks loud enough that leaves you dawdling. I know traveling is expensive, so you would prefer to cut down on unnecessary costs.
When it comes to sleeping bags, the price varies from bands to bands and between different types of fill materials. My recommendation is, if you are financially capable, go for down-filled bags. They are lightweight, compressible and famous for heat-keeping.
Many people worry that down fill is not water-resistant. But as you can see on the list, many down-filled bags are DWR treated, so that they can resist water better. It doesn’t mean DWR-treated down fill is 100% waterproof though.
How light should a sleeping bag be? Indeed, we don’t want to carry a bulky, space-consuming backpack on our trips.
Amateurs must face this problem when shopping for sleeping bags since they don’t know what the available options are.
My answer is you should not bring any bag that exceed 3 lbs on your trips. When you first hold the bag, it may not seem to be too heavy. But once it is on your backpack, the further you carry it, the heavier it becomes.
Lightweight sleeping bags are not suitable for the extreme weather, especially when the temperature drops below 10F.
The reason is these kinds of sleeping bags use a limited amount of fill in order to keep them light. If you want to use lightweight sleeping bags for extreme weather, you had better add extra layers. The ideal solution is to buy a better-insulated sleeping bag. Never risk your health just to save a few bucks.
By making this list of the best lightweight, compact sleeping bags for backpacking, I hope that you will find adequate and practical knowledge that would help you choose the most appropriate bag for your journey.