How to Choose Sleeping Bags for Backpacking
Backpackers can be forgiven if they’re a little obsessive about the warmth-to-weight ratio of a sleeping bag. You can’t sleep well if you’re cold, and even an ultra-efficient ultralight bag will still be one of the heavier, bulkier items in your pack. So, time spent evaluating your backcountry sleeping solution is time well-spent.
When deciding on a sleeping bag for backpacking, consider these key factors:
- Temperature rating: Choose a sleeping bag rated a little bit lower than the typical low temperatures you anticipate on your backpacking trips.
- Type of insulation: The big choice is down vs. synthetic. Each has its pros and cons, explained below.
- Weight: The quality of your insulation and the cut of your bag are the big factors. When you compare weights, compare bags with the same temperature rating.
- Features: Consider the extras that make your bag work best for you, including types adjustment features, stash pockets, pad compatibility and more.
What’s the Difference Between a Backpacking and a Camping Sleeping Bag? In general backpacking bags differ from camping bags in three ways:
- They are more lightweight.
- They pack down smaller.
- They are more efficient, providing more warmth for the weight.
The distinction between backpacking and camping bags is not a hard-and-fast one. So, If you’ll be doing both activities, go with a backpacking bag because every ounce counts when you carry it in a pack rather than in a car.