Best Sleeping Bags TechnoBuffalo 2019

Packing the wrong sleeping bag on an outing can mean the difference between a peaceful night's rest and hypothermia. I spend two-thirds of my year on the road, sleeping bag tied to a backpack. I've tested and rounded up the best bags for any occasion.

Best Overall: Kelty Tuck

It's challenging to find a balance between portability and warmth, but the Kelty Tuck succeeds where others fail. Thermapro insulation is Kelty technology that retains body heat while still being packable. The internal batting is a synthetic blend sewn in an offset quilt pattern into a polyester taffeta liner. The combination offers a luxurious place to relax while being durable enough to take anywhere.

The lightweight, compressible filling of the Kelty Tuck squishes down into an included 9"x15" storage bag and can be compressed more tightly by using a conventional stuff sack. There's an internal media storage pocket in this bag that safely stores phones and headphones. On chilly nights, you can draw the hood over your head and cinch it tight. Zipper draft tubes in this Kelty are genius in design, never snagging or being difficult to pull up or down.

My favorite feature of this model is the vented foot box that Kelty calls a "comfort tuck." If you're feeling too warm, you unzip the foot-box at the end of the bag and ease your feet out. This sleeping bag comes in a regular size that accommodates those up to 6' tall and a more extended model to fit users 6'6". At 31 ounces, this sleep system isn't an ultralight bag meant for long treks down the Appalachian Trail, but it will do just fine on shorter weekend adventures.

Pros:

  • Keeps you warm down to 22 degrees
  • Vented foot box
  • Thermal comfort hood
  • Internal media pocket
  • Available in regular and extended sizes

Cons:

  • Too heavy for long hikes

Best Overall

Kelty Tuck

The all-purpose bag

The temperature-regulating Kelty Tucks comes with a thermal hood and vented foot-box and is a great piece of gear for short weekend hikes or car camping.

Best Value: Coleman Palmetto

Seasoned campers and newbies are familiar with Coleman. The trustworthy brand is known worldwide for its coolers, tents, and sleeping bags. This model, the Coleman Palmetto, is a basic rectangular bag with a few distinctive features that you won't find in other sleeping bags.

The Palmetto sleeps campers up to 5'11" and is rated to use in temperatures as low as 30 degrees. The exterior is a slick red polyester, and the liner is a tricot fiber blend that is soft to the touch and snuggly warm. Unique to this model is what Coleman calls Roll Control Fasteners and No Tie Closures. The fasteners are plastic hooks that stick out of the sides of the bag. When you roll the sleeping bag up, the quick tie cords that hang from the foot of the sleeping bag slip over the hooks for easy one-person packing. It's a nice touch.

This model weighs in at four pounds and is far too heavy for backpacking trips of any kind. I've had two of these, and the stuff sacks that came with the sleeping bags both tore before my third camping outing. That complaint aside, this is a budget bag that's satisfying comfortable and well made and will earn its keep on any camping trip or sleepover.

Pros:

  • Soft flannel-like interior
  • Keeps you warm down to 30 degrees
  • Inexpensive
  • Convenient interior pocket
  • Smooth zippers

Cons:

  • Too heavy for backpacking
  • Stuff sack prone to ripping

Best Value

Coleman Palmetto

A no-frills comfortable bag

The Palmetto is a low-priced bag that's easy to roll up and comfortable to use. It's too heavy for hiking but a solid choice for car camping or sleepovers.

Best Ultralight: Sea to Summit Spark Down

When you're backpacking across the country, every ounce matters. The Sea to Summit Spark is the Rolls Royce of ultralight bags. It weighs a measly 12 ounces and comes with a featherweight compression sack, so you can squish it down small. Also included is a large storage bag for use during the off-season or when you want to put your bag away in a closet, garage, or wherever you keep your gear.

This is a warm weather-specific bag, rated down to 40 degrees. The Spark is suitable for summer hikes and camping but will only be able to serve as a liner on colder trips. It's filled with 850+ ultra-dry water-resistant down and has a contoured mummy shape to retain body heat. YKK zippers run a third of the length down the bag and are super smooth to operate.

This bag is pricey. It's aimed at those wanting to keep their pack weight low. If you're a thru-hiker and you hit the trails during the summer months or need a high-quality liner, the Sea to Summit is a compact, ultralight sleeping bag that won't take up much room in your backpack and will keep you warm and dry.

Pros:

  • Weighs only 12 ounces
  • YKK zippers are smooth
  • Includes compression sack
  • Down-filled
  • Super compact

Cons:

  • Not for cold weather
  • Pricey

Best Ultralight

Sea to Summit Spark Down

When every ounce counts

Thru-hikers, this is the sleep system for you! Weighing 12 ounces and able to shrink down small, this is a summer bag that won't take up much pack room.

Best for Couples: Sleepingo Double

The Sleepingo Double is a clever piece of camping equipment! It can function as a spacious queen-sized double bag that has more than enough room for two adults, or it can be unzipped and used as two separate sleeping bags. Genius!

The outer shell on the Sleepingo Double is waterproof polyester that doesn't absorb dew, spills, or moisture that gets inside your tent or camper. The inner lining is a combo of tetron and cotton that's soft against the skin. This XL sleeping bag also comes with two tiny camp pillows that fold up small but aren't as comfortable as pillows you could bring from home.

This bag is very thin. It's far too thin to place directly on the floor of your tent. You'll feel the temperature of the ground and every pebble beneath you. In a camper, this shouldn't be an issue. The bag is rated for 32 degrees, but we've shivered the night away in temps that barely dipped below 50 degrees. For warm summer months, this is an affordable sleeping bag for two that's worth every penny.

Pros:

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Lots of room for two adults
  • Can be used as one bag or two
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Summer only bag
  • Very thin

Best for Couples

Sleepingo Double

Snuggle up with the one you love

This double bag fits two adults and is waterproof on the outside and cozy on the inside. If you're a summer camper, this is a bargain.

Best for Kids: Kelty Woobie

Sleeping bags for kids generally cater to slumber parties. They're usually sparse on insulation and designed for the comfort of a heated home. The Kelty Woobie is altogether different and in a good way!

The shell is polyester taffeta that resists moisture and stains. The interior uses Kelty Cloud loft insulation that's warm down to 30 degrees. Additionally, there's a top draft collar and hood to prevent cold air from sneaking inside the bag.

The Kelty Woobie comes in two color choices and fits most children up to the age of 5, or those up to four feet in height. The bag is heavy for its size--more than three pounds--and has some trouble compressing in the included bag. Other than that, this is a standout product from Kelty. It will keep any toddler snug as a bug in a rug and all that.

Pros:

  • ProTKTKTK
  • Two color choices
  • Stuff sack included
  • Warm down to 30 degrees

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Difficult to compress

Best for Kids

Kelty Woobie

The Woobie for the Win

For toddlers, this is a win-win. Everything from the hood to the insulation is designed to keep kids warm down to 30 degrees.

Best for Winter: Hyke & Byke Snowmass

Hyke & Byke is a relatively new outdoor company started by a handful of engineers. They design their own bags with two goals in mind: keep costs low and build peak quality equipment. The Hyke & Byke Snowmass is in my backpack every winter, and I swear by its ability to keep my body temperature up when outside temps dip low.

This is a mummy-style bag. The newest iteration has a broader shoulder area and larger foot box, so you feel less claustrophobic and can bundle up if you like. Hydrophobic 650 FT duck down is the filler, and the underside is LofTech Summit, a down-like synthetic, that is hard-wearing and long-lasting. The external fabrics are waterproof, protect you against the elements, and the bag comes with a cinch sack that makes it manageably smaller.

This isn't an ultralight sleeping bag, and it can't be considering its intended usage. Still, three pounds is a lot to carry on your back when trudging through the snow in the winter. If you don't have much gear to haul, this is a phenomenal sleeping bag at a truly impressive price. I've found it keeps me warm when temps dip to 10 degrees, and I wouldn't hesitate to rebuy it.

Pros:

  • Unbelievably comfortable
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Wide shoulders & large foot-box
  • Regular, long, and short sizes
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Weighs more than 3 pounds

Best for Winter

Hyke & Byke Snowmass

Keeps body temps up when temps dip low

If you dig winter camping, this bag will wrap you in comfort and warmth when winter winds blow and temps drop below 30 degrees.

Best for Summer: Marmot Voyager 55

Summer and fall camping are unpredictable. One minute it's 80 and sunny and the next it's 50 and raining. The Marmot Voyager 55 sleeping bag is the idyllic companion for such trips. With SpiralFill high-loft insulation on the inside, this breathable bag will keep you heated down to 55 degrees without causing you to break into a sweat.

The Voyager 55 comes in regular and tall sizes, so you can grab the fit that suits your body type. This is a mummy-shaped sleeping bag that may leave those who are broad-chested feeling too confined. For the more slender, this is a superior choice for backpacking and car camping. The included compression sack shrinks this sleep system down to the size of a football, making it a stellar choice for backpacking.

The Voyager 55 is made for camping during the warmer spring, summer, and fall months. I've found that I could fit a fleece sleeping bag liner in the bag during colder seasons and it kept me warm in those instances down to 30 degrees. This is a basic model that will suit warm weather campers and hikers on a budget.

Pros:

  • Regular and long sizes
  • Great for summer camping
  • Stays warm down into the lower 50s
  • Shrinks down small

Cons:

  • May be too slim for some

Best for Summer

Marmot Voyager 55

A basic bag for summer camping

This a simple bag that breathes well, keeps you warm, and compresses small enough to leave room in your backpack for other supplies.

Best Big & Tall: TETON Sports Cesius XXL

If you're big or tall, finding a sleeping bag that doesn't give you enough room to stretch out or turn over is a real pain. The TETON Sports Celsius XXL sleeping bag is extra wide and extra tall, plus it comes with a few things you won't find in more expensive bags.

This sleeping bag is available in three colors. You also get a choice as to whether you want the zipper on the left or right side. A nice touch if you're a leftie or have a dominant hand. Hang loops are attached to the ends of the bag for long-term storage and to maintain bag loft.

This bed in a bag tops out at seven pounds and is too heavy for backpacking. If you're car camping though, rain or shine, you'll stay warm and dry in the Celsius XXL. A few extras like an interior pocket, mummy hood, and taped and anti-snag zippers make this bag one of our favorites.

Pros:

  • Extra-wide and extra tall
  • Choice of left or right-sided zipper
  • Internal pocket
  • Taped, anti-snag zippers
  • Hang loops for storage

Cons:

  • Heavy

Best Big & Tall

TETON Sports Cesius XXL

A big bargain

If you struggle with finding a big enough sleeping bag, you've met your match. This warm bag comes with lots of extras for car camping.

Bottom line

Sleeping bags have thankfully evolved from the rectangular one-size-fits-all envelope styles to sleep systems designed for any and every occasion. If you're hiking the PCT, there's a specialized bag for that. If you're into car camping at your local state park, there's a sleeping bag that's perfect for you. You get the idea.

My favorite sleeping bag is the Kelty Tuck. As someone prone to overheating on even the chilliest of nights, I love the vented foot-box that I can unzip to let my feet hang out. If you're the type that feels every breeze, even through multiple layers, you'll be thrilled with the thermal hood. It pulls tight over your head to keep the wind and chills out and body heat in so you can focus on more important things, like sleeping.

This sleeping bag is super compressible, and it does an exceptional job of retaining warmth even when it gets wet. It's not the ideal bag for hiking the PCT or similar long-distance trails. The Kelty Tuck is 31 ounces, and that's a bit hefty for taking on summer hiking adventures. If you're walking 10 to 15 miles a day on a weekend hike or you need a bag for car camping, this is the one you want to crawl inside each night. It keeps you toasty warm down to 22 degrees, has excellent snag-free zippers, and is the best all-around bag for your money.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Jodi Owan spends the better part of the year hiking, adventuring, and writing. You can find her on Instagram or her website.

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