Sleeping outdoors could mean sleeping rough if you are not equipped with the appropriate set of gear that will give you the necessary cushioning, insulation, and protection from moisture, suboptimal temperatures, and changing weather. Regular blankets, throws, quilts, and warm clothes oftentimes do not suffice especially when the temperatures drop.
When outdoors, sleeping bags extend comfort close to what a regular bed can offer. However, gearing up for comfort can be expensive. Renting a sleeping bag is an option but if you spend a lot of time camping or backpacking, rental costs could add up to much more than what it would cost you if you had your own sleeping bag. Plus, it’s more hygienic to have your own. You know whose microbiome has been in contact with the sleeping bag and when the bag was last washed. Luckily, the best budget sleeping bags can grant you a pleasant shut-eye without being rough on the pocket.
When needing room for more than just one, a double sleeping bag such as the Sleepingo Double Sleeping Bag for Backpacking, Camping, or Hiking will let you share the comfort with a partner or loved one on not-so-chilly nights.
Weighing only about 3 lbs, it is easy to transport and you can take it with you on almost any outdoor activity. At 87 x 59 inches, you will also be able to fit two adults in this bag.
The Sleepingo Double Sleeping Bag has a 32°F rating that works best on moderate temperatures. While you will not freeze in temperatures below 40°F to 32°F in this bag, you may want to start putting on additional layers of clothing or insulation to stay toasty.
The outer shell is made of polyester which repels moisture pretty well. The inner lining is made of Tetron and cotton which gives it a silky feel.
The zippers are anti-snag therefore they will not plow through the fabric when you open or close the bag. It has zippers on either side so if you need to get up in the middle of the night, you don’t disrupt your partner’s sleep. You can also unzip it to split it up into two sleeping bags.
It comes with two complementary pillows which, along with the bag, pack down to a small size.
If you find mummy bags or bags with tapered ends a little constricting and you want more legroom, envelop sleeping bags like the Abco Tech Sleeping Bag would give you the wiggle room that you need without being too roomy to allow cold air to drift in.
It is 86.6 inches long and 29.5 inches wide when unpacked. It weighs 4.20 lbs so backpackers may find this a little heavy. An average sleeper should find this comfortable to sleep in at 20-degree temperatures with the right clothing to boot. Most sleepers will probably find this bag ideal in temperatures within the 30-degree range.
If the weather becomes too warm, you can unzip it all the way and it will spread into one big comforter. It features a hood where you can put a camping pillow in but you can also cinch it up to wrap it around your head. The combination of the polyester inner lining and the double fill gives this bag a soft and cushiony feel, therefore, it is comfortable.
The outer shell prevents moisture from seeping into the bag. It can keep you dry inside despite mild precipitation. It comes in a compression sack with straps so that you can easily pack and transport it when needed.
For those who are into casual or urban car camping where you don’t have to travel long distances on foot, the Coleman 0°F Mummy Sleeping Bag would be perfect for you. Having a synthetic fill, it can keep you protected in temperatures as low as 0°F.
The Coleman 0°F North Rim Mummy Sleeping measures 82 x 32 x 4 inches and weighs 5.8 lbs. It can fit a person with a height of up to 6 ft and 2 in. Since it has a synthetic fill, it can be a little heavy so it may be best suited for camping.
Just like most mummy bags, it has a semi-sculpted hood that can be tightened with a drawstring to stave off the cold around the head area and seal the heat in. It is designed to handle temperatures as low as 0° F. Though that rating is more of a survival rating rather than a comfort rating, this sleeping bag will still keep you comfortably warm down to around 15° F.
It also features a draft tube or a flap throughout the length of the zipper to ensure that heat does not escape through the zipper. If the conditions are warmer, you can unzip the bottom for better ventilation. The zipper is designed to prevent snags and ripping through the fabric.
A sleeping bag is not just for extreme cold weather. They’re also great for slumber parties and summer camping. When temperatures don’t really warrant the use of bags with heavy insulation, you can count on the RevalCamp Lightweight Sleeping Bag.
The RevalCamp Lightweight Sleeping Bag is 71 inches long and 30 inches wide. It can fit children, teens, and adults under 6 feet. It is pretty lightweight at 2 lbs and because of this, it is very easy to pack.
Although it is lightweight and thin, as long as you’re geared up for the cold, you can stay warm in this bag in the mid-40s temperature range. It can get cold though if you use it at its survival rating of 40° F. The RevalCamp Lightweight Sleeping Bag is suitable for indoor use and in warmer conditions such as summer camping.
Just like most rectangular or envelope sleeping bags, it becomes a comforter when fully open. The bottom part has a zipper that you can open up to let the air in if it gets too stuffy or warm around your feet. If you want your sleeping bag to stand out, you can choose from 23 different bright, vibrant colors.
Every ounce matters when venturing outdoors. A sleeping bag such as the Winner Outfitters Mummy Sleeping Bag is lightweight enough to be versatile and you can take it to camping, hiking, or traveling at 35° F to 40° F weather.
It is 87 inches long and 32 inches wide so a tall person would fit perfectly fine in this bag. It only weighs 2.8 lbs. You can use it for backpacking and hiking without sacrificing your comfort. The Winner Outfitters Mummy Sleeping Bag is designed to help you withstand temperatures as low as 20° F but the toasty comfort rating would be somewhere between 35° F and 40° F.
It has a double slider zipper which you can adjust to regulate the temperature as you see fit. This feature makes the bag usable in all four seasons. It is fitted with draft collars and draft tubes to help retain the warmth inside the bag and prevent the cold from coming in. The hood is drawstring-adjustable to completely surround your head.
The polyester material gives the bag a soft feel and allows the bag to wick away moisture to protect it from dampening the inside.
Mummy bags are best suited for backpacking. Because of their shape, there’s a lesser amount of material involved which cuts the weight down. Those in the hunt for a starter or mid-level backpacking sleeping bag would probably find the Teton Sports TrailHead +20°F Ultralight Sleeping Bag a perfect sleeping companion.
The Teton Sports Adult TrailHead +20°F Ultralight Sleeping Bag is a lightweight bag at 2.9 lbs. It measures 87 x 32 inches at the shoulders x 20 inches at the foot. As it is a mummy bag, it will most likely have a snug fit. When it comes to storing it for travel, it packs down well so it is easy to transport.
The survival rating is +20°F and it can keep you toasty in the 40° F range. If the temperature dips lower than that, you’d have to dress up for comfort. The zipper has a draft tube to fend off the cold and seal in the heat within. It also features a hood with a drawstring that’s usually present in mummy sleeping bags. The footbox eliminates dead air space where cold air can linger.
Its inner lining is soft to the touch while the outer shell is water-resistant. This bag comes with a stuff sack so that you can easily stow it when not needed or when you’re on the go.
Down sleeping bags,while more lightweight compared to synthetic bags, can be more expensive. However, a sleeping bag like the Hyke&Byke Eolus can give you a down sleeping bag experience without the hefty cost associated with down bags.
The Hyke&Byke Eolus 15°F & 30°F 800 Fill Power Goose Down Sleeping Bag comes in the following sizes to fit most individuals:
Short – 72 x 26 inches wide at the shoulders, 21 inches wide at the hips, 11 inches wide at the toe box (bottom), and 56 inches of shoulder girth. These are for individuals up to 5′-6″ tall.
Regular – 78 inches long x 28 inches wide at the shoulders, 22 inches wide at the hips, 11 inches wide at the toe box (bottom), and 59 inches of shoulder girth. These are for individuals 5’-7” to 6′-1″ tall.
Long – 87 inches long x 32 inches wide at the shoulders, 26 inches wide at the hips, 14 inches wide at the toe box (bottom), and 64 inches of shoulder girth. These are for individuals 6′-2″ to 6′-6″ tall.
Each size weighs no more than 2.80 lbs making it suitable for different outdoor activities.
The outer shell is treated with DWR (durable water repellant) to protect the fill from getting damp. It has baffles to maintain warmth inside the bag. You can fit a pillow in the hood or you can cinch the hood up for warmth around your head. Its 800 fill power offers good insulation in 20-degree temperature for the 15°F rated bag and in 40-degree temperature for the 30°F rated bag.
Sometimes, temperatures can be too warm to stay all zipped up in a sleeping bag but too cold to completely get out of the bag. The Kelty Tuck 22F Degree Mummy Sleeping Bag offers a compromise by giving you a foot vent to let air in on situations like this.
The Kelty Tuck 22F Degree Mummy Sleeping Bag comes in sizes regular and long with the following specifications:
Regular – can fit individuals up to 6 ft tall and the bag weighs 3 lbs.
Long – can fit individuals up to 6 ft and 6 inches tall and the bag weighs 3 lbs and 3 oz.
You can use it for camping and backpacking but for those into ultralight backpacking, they may find this a little heavy.
It is rated 22°F for survival but if you want to be toasty, using it at 35°F to 40°F weather would be ideal. If your feet get too toasty, you can open up the foot vent to let your feet get some fresh air. If it’s too cold when to completely get out of the bag in the morning, you can let your feet out of the foot vent and pin up the bottom of the bag so that you can walk around with the sleeping wrapped around you. The hood has dual drawcords so that adjust the fit around your head.
If you need to go on a regular backpacking trip and need a light sleeping bag for temperatures in the mid-30s range, the Marmot Trestles 30 Mummy Sleeping Bag might be just what you need.
The Marmot Trestles 30 Mummy Sleeping Bag is a three-season bag that measures 72.05 x 15.75 x 7.48 inches and weighs 3 lbs and 1 oz.
You can stay toasty in this bag in mid-30s weather and it can start to get warmer in the 40s range. It has a survival rating of 30°F so you can still use this in lower temperatures up to 22°F provided that you’re suited up for the cold and you have other insulation gear.
For a snug fit around your head, you have 2 drawcords to dial in on the perfect fit on the hood. The footbox is sort of round to give you enough wiggle room and retain insulation. It also has draft tubes along the zipper to keep the cold out and the warmth in. It has a fold-down second zipper which lets you stretch out your arms if it’s warmer.
Sleeping outdoors in subzero temperatures requires a more heavy-duty,well-insulated bag like the North Star Sports Sub-Zero -15°F Sleeping Bag that can stand up against the extreme cold.
Made to be an oversized mummy bag, it measures 86 x 36 x 24 inches and can weigh up to 7.5 lbs which can be expected for heavily insulated bags. It can be bulky for hiking but good for camping. Due to its size, there is plenty of room to move and roll over. It is not as restricting as other mummy sleeping bags.
It has a survival rating of -15°F but for you to sleep comfortably, it has to be somewhere in 15°F weather. The North Star Sports Sub-Zero -15°F Sleeping Bag boasts of a synthetic silicone core fill which offers more loft. If a sleeping bag has more loft, it has more air space where it can trap heat, therefore, making your bag warmer.
It has a chest baffle which you can adjust with a drawstring to your comfort level to keep your body well-insulated. The hood is adjustable as well with a drawstring. The zippers have a full-length draft tube to keep cold at bay. The two-way, full-length zipper lets you open the bag from either end. Reflective fabric tabs are attached to the zipper so they are visible in the dark. The bag has a rip-stop polyester shell fabric that protects it from moisture from the outside.
Also read our latest guide about best 2 person sleeping bags.
Budget travelers often debate whether a sleeping bag is essential when traveling. The long and short of it is depends on where you are going and what types of activities you will be doing on your trip. If you’re going to be venturing off into a place with a cold climate, it is recommended that you pack up a sleeping bag. These are the benefits that you can get if you decide to take a sleeping bag with you:
A sleeping bag’s primary purpose is to provide warmth and thermal insulation. We’d want to be as toasty as possible. If you are camping or backpacking in areas where temperatures can become chilly or cold, a sleeping bag for cold weather would come in handy.
Lightly insulated sleeping bags are used for summer camping and indoor use. Heavily insulated ones are designed for extreme cold weather and are often used by hikers and other serious adventurers. Mummy bags, a type of sleeping bag, provide additional insulation by having a hood for your head. In harsh cold conditions, having a well-insulated sleeping bag to sleep in can dictate survival.
A sleeping bag can be used in other ways too. When traveling on public transportation like a bus, you can use a sleeping bag for warmth if the air-conditioning dispenses liberal amounts of coldness.
When outdoors, a sleeping bag can offer, to some extent, cushioning against the cold hard ground with or without a sleeping pad. If you are staying in guesthouses or hostels with questionable mattresses and beddings, you can use your sleeping bag as a bed away from home. They also give additional comfort on hard mattresses or hard bus seats.
A sleeping bag will serve as a barrier between you and the ground especially if you don’t have a tarp, groundsheet, or sleeping pad underneath you. By sleeping in a bag, you’d be shielded from dirt, debris, mud, and grass stains.
Sleeping bags serve as protection against different elements. Bugs and insects could abound at nighttime. It can also become your safety net if you need to sleep in unusual places due to inclement weather or other unforeseen events. When coupled with a bivouac sack (bivy), a waterproof cover used in place of a tent, you would have a temporary shelter where you can wait it out until the conditions become more favorable to move along.
Depending on the type of outdoor activity that you’ll be engaging in, several factors might come into play when choosing the right sleeping bag.
Get a sleeping bag that matches the anticipated temperature ranges of your trip. Check the bag’s specifications to know which conditions it’s going to be suited for.
|Bag Type||Temperature Rating|
|Summer Season||+30°F and higher|
|Three-season||+15°F to +30°F|
|Winter||+15°F and lower|
Pick a sleeping bag with a lower temperature rating than the lowest temperature you expect to experience. In that way, you’re ready if the temperature dips lower than expected. In the event it gets warmer, you can always open up the bag.
The insulation type can affect a sleeping bag’s durability, weight, and the amount of insulation it can provide, among other things. When backpacking or hiking, lighter bags are preferred while heavier ones can be used for camping.
These are sleeping bags stuffed with synthetic fill or sheets of batting. They are affordable but still reliable. The best trait of this type of bag is that it can continue to provide insulation even when wet. These bags also dry easily which make them ideal in damp climates.
Duck or geese down are used to fill these bags.Down may not offer as much insulation when damp so they often have water-resistant treatment for protection. These sleeping bags are perfect for cold, dry weather.
They are more lightweight, durable, and easier to compress than synthetic options. Because of its durability, it can maintain a consistent level of warmth for years to come. Given all of these qualities, down-insulated sleeping bags are more expensive than their synthetic counterparts.
This is subject to how much room you’d need in your sleeping bag.
Check the bag’s dimensions and see how it compares to your body’s measurements. Bags often come in short, regular, and long sizes.
An ISO or EN tested bag can be given three temperature ratings:
This is the lowest temperature that a cold sleeper would still find comfortable. The comfort rating is typically the temperature that’s assigned to women’s bags since women tend to sleep colder.
The limit rating shows the lowest temperature that will keep a warm sleeper comfortable. This is what is generally indicated in unisex and men’s bags.
This is the survival temperature at which a standard female can remain for six hours without risking death from hypothermia. This is simply a guide to help you weigh up your options and it does not guarantee that it’ll provide you with your desired warmth level as everyone’s body is different.
You would see this in sleeping bags with down insulation. This is a measure of the quality of the down. The higher the number, the loftier and warmer the down is.
High quality down puffs back up to produce more loft after you compress it. Because of this, it will have more heat-trapping space to make the sleeping bag warmer. Sleeping bags meant for extreme cold weather have high fill powers, typically close to 800.
Putting a sleeping bag liner inside the bag will keep it clean. On top of that, if it gets too cold, the sleeping bag liner can add around 10+ temperature rating. If it’s too warm, you can just stow the bag and sleep in the liner. It can also double as travel linen.
Keeping your bag in a stuff sack will make it take up less space when traveling. Just don’t leave it in the stuff sack too long as constant compression can damage the fill.
For long-term storage, use a large cotton or mesh storage sack.
Choosing the right sleeping bag that matches your budget will hinge on what you are going to be needing it for and where you will be taking the sleeping bag. It is good to know that there are options for every type of outdoor activity. Whether it is camping, backpacking, hiking, or bikepacking that you’re into, you are never without choices just because circumstances won’t allow for a more expensive sleeping bag. With the best budget sleeping bag, you get quality that can assure you of a good night’s sleep so that you will be ready to take on tomorrow’s adventure.