I looked for a review on this topic and didn’t see it. Does anyone have any suggestions for a compact and lightweight sleeping bag (emphasis on the former)? I’d like it to be rated to 15 or 20 degrees Fahrenheit. 45 degrees wouldn’t be warm enough, but I understand that there’s going to be a tradeoff for a compact bag
Thanks in advance.
pint of beer - September 11, 2020
i’ve had a sleeping bag on my list for a while but haven’t started looking yet. thanks for the reminder haha. what’s your budget? i’d rather not spend more than 200 but it looks like a lot of the best rated light ones are more than that…
SeaBee - September 11, 2020
I’ve always used a Mountain Hardwear Lamina 30 as my general three-season bag, and it lives in my BOB. It lists under 200$US, and you can usually find off-season stock for less. Synthetic fill, so you don’t have to baby it like down. It’s under 3#, so not horribly heavy but definitely not ultralight. Packs down pretty small for a three-season bag. Of course, down packs better, but the catch with down is you can’t keep it packed/compressed in storage or it loses its loft. You really shouldn’t do it with synthetic either but it’ll hold up better than down in the long run if you do.
For those thinking about cold temps, keep in mind that a tent will add 10-15 degrees to the ambient temperature before you even hop into a bag.
As with anything else, the not-perfect item you have ready in your kit will be much more useful to you than the almost-perfect item you meant to buy but didn’t get around to purchasing before the fun began.
MarcusAurelius - September 11, 2020
I have a Mountainsmith that I’ve used before in single-degree temperatures comfortably. However, that bag is insanely bulky. Not sure how much it weighs, but it is hard to stuff into a 35L dry sack.
Carlotta SusannaStaff - September 11, 2020
I think you’re right – it might be difficult to find a compact seeping bag that is also suitable for very cold temps. Is it for your BOB, or just to keep it light and compact while hiking in the cold? That might make a difference in how you go about it.
For car camping I own and like the Nemo Forte (https://www.nemoequipment.com/product/forte-womens/ ), which is rated at 35F/2C but its weight is 2 lb 9 oz/1.16 kg, and its packed size 12.0 x 8.5 in dia/30 x 22 cm so not really compact.
While in my BOB I only carry a SOL Escape Lite bivvy (https://www.surviveoutdoorslonger.com/survive-outdoors-longer-escape-litetm-bivvy.html,) combined with a Frog & Co One Person Tent ( https://www.survivalfrog.com/products/solo-1-person-backpacking-tent), a Rakaya Design Yekka sleeping pad ( https://rakaiadesigns.com/pages/yekkasleepingpad), and warm clothing (long jons, hat, gloves, socks).
I haven’t tried it personally, but the AegisMaxis is well reviewed (not only on Amazon) https://www.amazon.com/AEGISMAX-Outdoor-Urltra-Light-Sleeping-Three-Season/dp/B07BYZP96P
MarcusAurelius - September 11, 2020
Well, I kind of like my BOB purchases to be able to do double duty. So both. Ha.
That SOL bivy is an interesting option. Have you slept in the bivvy before? I tend to wonder how durable they are and how warm they are.
Carlotta SusannaStaff - September 14, 2020
In this case I wouldn’t reccomend a bivvy. It is really for extreme emergency purposes, and it is even marketed as such. As per their website: “use it as a liner to enhance the warmth of your traditional sleeping bag, as an ultra-light weight summer bag or as an emergency bivvy.“
I haven’t slept in it (or in any other bivvy for that matter) because I’m really ok to keep it just for extreme emergencies in the BOB (again, paired with warm clothing and a tent or shelter).
Although it seems relatively well made I wouldn’t expect it to last for ever if I were to use it often. FWIW SOL rates its durability at 2 (max is 3 for the Escape Bivvy), which it doesn’t really mean anything. The material is something better than a normal space blanket – it resembles fabric (although it’s not) and it’s even sewn together (see pic below). The first thing I’d worry if I were to use this every day is that the stitches would rip at a certain point.
hikermor - September 14, 2020
There are bivvys and there are bivvys. The more durrable bivvys are essentially overbags which add typically 10 to 15 dgrees of warmth. The one I typically use was purchased in 1975 and is still working just fine. I use it about three times a year. Other bivvys are ndeed more fragile and will not last very long, but they are good for at least one or two trips. I have seveeral of those as well, tucked away in arious locations. I expect they will be far better thn nothing when needed..
I have a bivvy with me, ven on day hikes. They are very useful for sheltring injured victims, as well.
Alicia - September 12, 2020
I recently purchased the 15deg Outdoor Vitals Atlas Hybrid for my BOB. It’s lighter than my older full synthetic and packs down to the smallest bag I’ve ever used. But I’ve not really upgraded since the 90s and my North Face Cat’s Meow 20 deg bag with microfleece interior which is a pound heavier for 5 less degrees of warmth. I haven’t had a down bag before for comparison and this down/synthetic blend fill seems skimpy but did get me warm on a cool evening hang out test and too warm indoors. I’ve not used it for an overnight outing to date. I am impressed with the center zip design that makes it flexible for side sleeping and to use upside down like a quilt. Was sold by the shoulder baffles plus enough girth that I’m not feeling like a pea in a tight pod. I also have a sea-to-summit reactor bag liner which could increase it to a 0-5 deg bag or double as a summer bag on its own as the weather is quite variable in my location.
hikermor - September 12, 2020
Get a down bag rated for the temp you prfer, speend the money, and you can thank me later…Synthetic fills can be equally warm but will bulk up more.
Down needs only reasonabe care, like any item of outdoor gear. Don’t compromise its lofting capability…
you can always increase the warmth of any bag with a bivvy sack, extra clothing, a good pad underneath, a good meal just beefore bed, etc.
Paulino Martin - September 18, 2020
I second the down recommendation. It’s definitely worth saving for if price is an issue.
Matt Black - September 14, 2020
Hey there, Marcus.
As with everything in life, there will be tradeoffs. For what you seek, REI is going to give you sticker shock, depending on your budget.
REI has a handful that meet your criteria.
Coleman has a few more options.
I’m in the midst of looking into sleeping bags again, too.
My current bag is a 3 season Coleman for my regular camping, but that’s not going to work for me because a 4 season is necessary for bugging out any time of year; and it’s really bulky.
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