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 conditions 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.
Extreme — the minimum temperature at which a standard female can remain for six hours without risk of death from hypothermia (though frostbite is still possible).
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 Superlite Mummy – Best Ultralight Summer Sleeping Bag
Kelty Tuck 40 F – Best Ultralight for Tall People
Naturehike Cicada Ultralight – Best Ultralight Quilt Sleeping Bag
Aegismax 15 F Down – Best Ultralight Cheap Winter Sleeping Bag
Hyke & Byke Quandary 15 F Down – Best Ultralight Winter Sleeping Bag
Hyke & Byke Shavano 32 F – Best Quality Budget Sleeping bag
Snugpak Jungle 36 F – Best Ultralight for Tropical Climate
Marmot Trestles 30 F – Best Budget Ultralight Sleeping Bag
Easthills Outdoors Jungle Explorer – Best Ultralight Hammock
Chinook Superlite Mummy 45-Degree Sleeping Bag [+/- 45$]
The Superlite is a compact and lightweight summer bag with a temperature rating of 45DegreeF (7DegreeC) and its filled with 8 ounce (230 g) in one layer of Insufil 1 insulation. Insufil 1 fiber insulation has excellent heat retention and thermal properties to ensure a great nights rest.
The outer shell is ripstop nylon and the lining is polyester taffeta fabric. The insulated draft tube prevents heat loss through the #5 YKK 2-way zipper.
Other great features include an internal pocket, hang loops for drying and storage and zipper guard to prevent snags.
The 4-way compression stuff sack packs to a size of 14-Inch x 6-Inch (36 x 15 cm) uncompressed. Backed by a limited lifetime warranty. Chinook brand is based in Canada.
Kelty Tuck 40 Degree Thermapro Sleeping Bag [+/- 70$]
Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag for Tall People
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.
This oversized mummy bag is filled with ThermaPro synthetic insulation giving a pretty good ratio of warmth and compressibility. A great budget choice for summer/spring camping adventures. Light enough to be carried with you when bike touring and compact enough to meet the needs of ultralight backpackers.
Fits up to 6’6 ft tall fella. Kelty is based in Boulder, Colorado.
Naturehike Cicada Ultralight White Goose Down Rectangular Sleeping Bag [+/- 100$]
Best Ultralight Quilt Sleeping Bag
Naturehike is a recently established outdoor gear brand from China, which already received worldwide appreciation for its great quality/price ratio.
The Cicada’s wings 36°F is one of the lightest 36°F sleeping bags you can get your hands on. They have utilized twice as much insulation on the top of the bag as the bottom to maximize warmth to weight ratios.
Not only this but the top of the bag utilizes 800 fill power down insulation while the bottom of the sleeping bag utilizes synthetic insulation.
Weighing only 1.25lb it packs extremely small with the included 4-point compression sack, down to just 10 x 5 inches.
The Cicada’s wings 36℉ ultralight sleeping bag uses light and tough materials. The 15D ripstop fabric allows you to shave weight off of the sleeping bag, making this budget sleeping bag one of the best available if you’re looking for the comfort given by the rectangular shape. The downside is that it doesn’t have a hood.
This 15 Degree Down Sleeping Bag by Aegismax has more room in the shoulders and hips than traditional mummy bags, so you can move around while you sleep. Ideal for spring, summer, fall, and even warmer winters.
The 90/10 down insulation has a good warmth to weight ratio for the price. The bag is rated 15°F but I won’t risk it honestly, although it seems a good budget sleeping bag for relatively cold climates, should be warm enough at 32°F or even below.
Downsides are the lack of a draw-string around the neck, the lack of a hood, and the name of the brand, which really is unknown to the world.
Strong points are its lightweight, very small packed dimension, and the cheap price. An interesting product I would like to test.
Hyke & Byke Quandary 15 Degree Down Sleeping Bag [+/- 150$]
Best Ultralight Winter 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, a nother nice budget sleeping bag that can withstand cool temperatures.
Made of 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.
Material: 400T Rip-Stop Nylon Fabric Responsibly sourced 550 fill duck down
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.
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’ combination wave construction offers warmth and maximum loft on top, and a plush, blanket-like feel on the bottom.
Crafted from high-strength, breathable 210T Taffeta parachute with triple-stitch edge seams. The No-See-Um mesh on top provides excellent insect protection and ventilation. The mesh contains 2500 holes per square inch.
Measuring 300 x 200cm (118 x 79 Inches), it can fit two adults, so you can relax with a buddy or just hog the whole thing for yourself. The hammock supports a maximum capacity of 700 lb. yet weighs only 36 oz. and takes up little space in your pack.