The Best Ultralight Budget Sleeping Bags for Backpacking, Cycle touring, and Bikepacking Compared
The lightweight sleeping bags listed here are certainly not the best in the market for backpacking, hiking, and bicycle touring, but do you really need the best? The sleeping bag is probably the single most important piece of equipment when facing cold climates, but for most of us, who do not really travel in extreme environments, a budget lightweight sleeping bag would just to the job.
We selected 10 relatively cheap sleeping bags trying to feature different models for different travel condition and traveler’s tastes. Most of them will keep you warm down to 5°C, some even in lower temperatures, a few are instead designed to handle more tropical climates.
Understanding Sleeping Bags temperature rates
The EN 13537 Standard that is now used by many sleeping bag manufacturers, it is the official European criterion for the classification of sleeping bags. The EN13537 applies to all sleeping bags with the exemption of sleeping bags for military use and sleeping bags for extreme temperatures (below -25°C).
To be labeled for the EN temperature rate, sleeping bags need to undergo a standardized lab procedure which determines 4 different factors, from Wikipedia:
Upper Limit — the temperature at which a standard male can sleep without excessive perspiration. It is established with the hood and zippers open and with the arms outside of the bag.
Comfort — the temperature at which a standard female can expect to sleep comfortably in a relaxed position.
Lower Limit — the temperature at which a standard male can sleep for eight hours in a curled position without waking.
These ratings are taken assuming that the subject is using a sleeping pad, tent and is wearing one base layer of thermal underwear. If you want to better understand this rating we recommend this article.
Unfortunately, brands are often not transparent about whether or not they refer to the EN standard, and which factor they consider when they state their sleeping bag’s temperature rating. Apparently, most refer to the lower limit, while others to the more relevant Comfort zone.
Moreover, it is important to be aware that standards like this cannot be taken as universal truths. Plenty of factors are involved in the temperature real feel, which varies widely from person to person. Hydration, nutrition, altitude, and quality of the other gear (sleeping pad, tent, clothes) are also very important factors.
Mummy VS Rectangular Sleeping Bags
The narrower the space inside your sleeping bag, the easier it will be for your body to warm up the air inside, thus giving you a feeling of warmth. That’s why real winter sleeping bags are always mummy shaped. The movement though, inside a mummy sleeping bag is very constrained, forcing you to sleep in only a few positions, this can be hell for some (like me for example) and cause intense sweating when the temperatures get warmer.
There is nothing such a 4-season sleeping bag, 4-seasons means winter. If you’re going to hike, backpack, or bicycle tour across different climate zones there’s no way you’ll always be comfortable with the same sleeping bag.
Down VS Synthetic insulation
There are two types of materials used to fill a sleeping bag, bird downs (generally duck or goose) and synthetic materials. The cheapest sleeping bags are usually filled with synthetic materials, less efficient in retaining warmth compared to downs.
The lightweight sleeping bags listed here though, are not the cheapest on the market, but a decent compromise between price and quality. Indeed some of the best budget sleeping bags feature down insulation. Other advantages of down are that they compress more (reducing the packed size), and are usually lighter.
Few more things to know about sleeping bags
Some sleeping bags feature waterproof coating, do not be fooled though, sleeping inside a wet bag will never be comfortable, so I won’t consider this as a decisive factor, although it will help a lot if condensation is an issue.
Another thing to consider is that not all down are the same: the filling power ratio is a value that measures the insulating power of the down filling. A down filling power of 800 is considered high-quality, unfortunately you’ll hardly find a budget sleeping bag with these characteristics.
Best budget lightweight sleeping bags compared
Chinook Polar Micro Mummy Down 32-Degree Sleeping Bag
The Polar Micro is a great summer bag, ultra compact and lightweight. The stitch-through construction is filled with 10.6 ounces (300 g) of 90/10 French Pyrenean grey goose down, 600+ fill power giving a temperature rating of 32°F (0°C).
|Chinook Polar Micro Mummy Down 32-Degree Sleeping Bag||1.5 lbs|
Kelty Tuck EX 40 Degree ThermaPro RH Sleeping Bag
This is an interesting sleeping bag for warm weather, wide enough to sleep in more comfortable positions it has an additional cool feature.
Should you feel too warm you can just un-zip the Comfort-Tuck Zipper system stick your feet out and give your toes a breath of fresh air. Plus, a media storage pocket keeps your devices close to you all night.
Kelty is based in Boulder, Colorado.
|Kelty Tuck EX 40 Degree ThermaPro RH|
Packed: 8 x 17 in
Naturehike is a recently established outdoor gear brand from China, which already received worldwide appreciation for its great quality/price ratio.
The Cicada’s wings 36°F is one of the lightest 36°F sleeping bags you can get your hands on. They have utilized twice as much insulation on the top of the bag as the bottom to maximize warmth to weight ratios. Not only this but the top of the bag utilizes 800 fill power down insulation while the bottom of the sleeping bag utilizes synthetic insulation.
Weighing only 1.25lb it packs extremely small with the included 4-point compression sack, down to just 10 x 5 inches.
The Cicada’s wings 36℉ ultralight sleeping bag uses light and tough materials. The 15D ripstop fabric allows you to shave weight off of the sleeping bag, making this budget sleeping bag one of the best available if you’re looking for the comfort given by the rectangular shape. The downside is that it doesn’t have a hood.
|Naturehike 800 Fill Power Ultralight White Goose Down ||1.3 lbs|
Size: 74.8x 28.3″
Tough Outdoors All-Season Hooded XL
The Tough Outdoors All-Season Hooded XL is not the lightest sleeping bag around but it’s in the list because it can fit anyone up to 6’6 (194cm), not a very common feature. It is also ideal for those who like to move and stretch during the night.
It’s a classic rectangular sleeping bag built with a durable, ripstop waterproof shell, high-loft insulation, and a soft, non-scratchy woven liner. This huge backpacking sleeping bag (88 x 34″) has an extreme minimum temperature of 40°F.
Very important, you can wash the Tough Outdoors All-Season Hooded XL in the washing machine, it comes with a compression sack, allowing it to pack down to 15x8x8 inches.
This sleeping bag features an inner storage pocket, perfect for keeping your keys and phone accessible at all times.
Last but not least, it’s a very cheap product
|Tough Outdoors All-Season Hooded XL||4 lbs|
88 x 34 in
223 x 86 cm
Packed 15 x 8 x 8 inches
|Ripstop waterproof shell, high-loft insulation,|
cotton flannel liner
This 15 Degree Down Sleeping Bag by Elevens has more room in the shoulders and hips than traditional mummy bags, so you can move around while you sleep. Ideal for spring, summer, fall, and even warmer winters.
The 90/10 down insulation has a good warmth to weight ratio for the price. The bag is rated 15°F but I won’t risk it honestly, although it seems a good budget sleeping bag for relatively cold climates, should be warm enough at 32°F or even below.
|Elevens 15 Degree Down Sleeping Bag||2 lbs|
650+ FP Duck Down
Hyke & Byke Quandary 15 Degree Down Sleeping Bag
Hyke & Byke is a new brand of outdoor gear that started small but has quickly made a big impression on outdoor enthusiasts across the world.
Hyke & Byke has a strong corporate ethic, trying to offer premium products for a great value while also working to alleviate poverty through funding microloans.
The Quandary is one of the lightest 15-degree mummy down sleeping bags available, just over 3 lbs, another nice budget sleeping bag that can withstand cool temperatures.
Made from ultralight water repellent 400T 20 D ripstop nylon fabric liner with double large YKK zippers and anti-snag slider, it features a wide shoulder and foot space, drawstring, horizontal baffles, and compression stuff sack. Available in size Short, Regular or Long (Tall / XL).
This sleeping bag has many positive reviews on Amazon and seems like a bargain for the price.
|Hyke & Byke Quandary 15 Degree Down Sleeping Bag||3 lbs|
|400T Rip-Stop Nylon Fabric|
Responsibly sourced 550 fill duck down
Hyke & Byke Shavano 32 F Ultralight
Another Hyke & Byke budget lightweight sleeping bag, the Shavano 32 is one of the lightest mummy sleeping bags available with a 0°C rating, weighing barely over 2 lbs. Again great quality for the price. The small packed size 6.5×9″ makes it ideal for cycle touring, bikepacking and backpacking.
|Hyke & Byke Shavano 32 F Ultralight||2 lbs|
water repellent 400T 20 D
Ripstop nylon fabric
Snugpak Jungle 36 Degree Sleeping Bag
Snugpak is a well-known brand from England. The Snugpak Jungle Bag is the perfect choice for those backpackers or bicycle travelers who are heading warmer climates.
The Jungle Bag was specially designed for humid, hot environments, the Travelsoft insulation was chosen for its exceptional performance in tropical and sub-tropical environments. The design of the Snugpak Jungle Bag allows it to pack down very small, and with its square bottom, the Jungle Bag can unzip into a blanket or ground cloth.
Additionally, the Jungle Bag features a roll away mosquito net that can be zipped over the face and fully seal the bag to any ground-borne critters.
|Snugpak Jungle 36 Degree Sleeping Bag||1.7 lbs|
30″ x 86″
|Nylon Travelsoft insulation||56$|
Marmot Trestles 30 Mummy Sleeping Bag
Marmot is certainly one of the most famous brands in the outdoor industry, with a reputation for quality and product testing.
Featuring SpiraFil high-loft insulation, the Trestles mummy-style sleeping bag retains the warmth, softness, and compressibility of a natural down bag, with the added moisture resistance that comes with synthetic insulation.
It is EN rated as comfortable for men to the lower limit of approximately 30°F. The Trestles’s combination wave construction offers warmth and maximum loft on top, and a plush, blanket-like feel on the bottom.
|Marmot Trestles 30 ||3 lbs|
|SpiraFil high-loft insulation||99$|
Wingace 15 Degree backpacking Sleeping Bag
The roomy Wingace sleeping bag only weighs 2 pounds, making it lightweight enough to be carried in your backpack and warm enough to withstand the freezing temperature while you are camping out.
This ultralight duck down sleeping bag for backpacking is among the lightest, most compressible bags on the market, unfortunately there is a lack of reviews on the item and the brand itself.
This bag is made with 400T Nylon Fabric, heavy duty YKK zippers, 90/10 premium quality duck down filling.
This model makes it possible to join two sleeping bags to make a king size one for couples.
|WINGACE 15 Degree Duck Down||2 lbs|
|400T Nylon Fabric|
90/10 premium quality duck down
Outdoor Vitals StormLight 30 MummyPod Ultralight Sleeping Bag for Hammock or Ground Camping
The patented Mummypod was recently released and raised over $73,000 on Kickstarter. This is the flagship product from Outdoor Vitals, a family owned company based in the US.
Outdoor Vitals got to work targeting the increasingly popular market of hammock camping, dominated by overpriced gear, designing this affordable MummyPod for both hammock and ground camping.
The MummyPod features an exclusive foot-box and a completely redesigned shoulder baffle, (enabling it to work just as effectively on a hammock as it does on the ground), YKK anti-snag zipper.
Filled with StormLIGHT insulation, which is allegedly twice as warm as standard insulation and effectively waterproof.
|Outdoor Vitals StormLight 30||3lbs|
|75D Poly Rhombus Rip-Stop|
StormLIGHT™ microfiber insulation
Would you recommend something different? Feel free to contribute to the comment section below!