The best sleeping bags you can buy

The best sleeping bags you can buy

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The Insider Pick:

I've spent some pretty cold nights in some pretty harsh places over the past decade. I rode out a windstorm on the Ingraham Flats glacier of Mt. Rainier back in 2012. I've set up camp at the fittingly named Trail Camp on Mt. Whitney four times. It's also known as High Camp because the elevation there is just above 12,000 feet. Yeah, it gets chilly. I've slept in leaky huts high up in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range of Colombia during biblical downpours.

And so forth, the point here isn't to rattle off the names of various mountains — as much fun as that can be — the point is I know what makes the difference between a terrible backcountry night and a passable evening during which you actually get some shuteye. It's the sleeping bag. You probably guessed that already, being as you're here to read about sleeping bags.

As with many elements of gear intended for use far afield, choosing the best sleeping bag means weighing various needs and selecting an option that comes closest to meeting as many of them as possible. You're not going to find one sleeping bag that suits all climates, activities, and users.

The warmest bags out there are also the heaviest. You have to keep warm when camped out at night, but if you're trekking dozens of miles each day, that huge heavy sleeping bag might not be worth the extra pounds. If you're car camping or pitching your tent after a short stroll into the woods, that slender, form-fitting mummy bag that only weighs a couple of pounds thanks to its advanced synthetic fill might be overkill. Why not spread out in a big, comfortable bag and rest easy if pack weight is no issue?

When choosing the best sleeping bag, there are a few basic considerations you have to make, including your size relative to a given option, the temperature rating of the bag, the likely temperatures of the places in which you'll use it, and your personal requirements for comfort. Some people hate hooded bags, for example, while some people just love drawing the draft collar tight around their heads and trapping all that warm air inside. Me? I like the option of the collar, but you'll rarely find my head tucked into the hood unless it's truly freezing inside that tent.

In assembling this guide, I looked for bags that will suit a range of activities. You could read for hours on end about ultra-light sleeping bags ideal for glacial trekking or about double bags great for couples. But you probably don't have hours to devote to that, thus this more inclusive survey of five great sleeping bag options.

Although the Hyke & Byke Quandary 15 Degree is our top pick, for the reasons laid out in the slides below, you should also consider the Mountain Hardware Lamina Z Bonfire, the Coleman North Rim Extreme Weather, the Teton Sports Fahrenheit, and the Sleepingo Double Sleeping Bag.

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The best sleeping bag overall

Hyke & Byke

Why you'll love it: When you find yourself miles from the comforts of civilization with a rainstorm or snowfall setting in around your tent, you'll be glad you have the warm, water-repellent, and durably-made Hyke & Byke Quandary sleeping bag to crawl into.

The Hyke & Byke Quandary 15 Degree sleeping bag is all about warmth. Its durable shell is made from 400T 20 D ripstop nylon fabric that resists punctures and tears and helps to keep its all-natural duck down filling in place and evenly distributed all around your body. The bag features baffles around the zipper that prevent heat loss and it has both hood and shoulder drawstrings, so you can trap in warmth with or without encasing your head in the fabric. The bag is water-repellent, which further helps with warmth and comfort, and it's even available in multiple colors, not that gear color really matters much.

Now keep all that good stuff in mind when you hear these next points: The Quandary weighs only three pounds and costs only $130. The long version weighs 3.32 pounds, which is still impressive! This sleeping bag offers the same warmth rating as many bags that weigh nearly twice as much, and yet it also costs much less than many comparable choices. This is partly true because Hyke & Byke is trying to aggressively position its products since it's new on the scene.

Out of hundreds of reviews left for the Quandary sleeping bag on Amazon, more than 80% of them come with five-star reviews, with another 10% featuring four-star ratings. One reviewer mentioned having to shed her extra layers because it was so warm in the bag, while another joked that: "The only issue I had with the sleeping bag was that I actually had to get out and pack it up in the morning, when I would have liked to just stay in it all day!"

AMorningChores.com review of the Hyke & Byke Quandary gave it an A+ rating and singled out the bag's water-repellent fabric and how well it packs down. A BestSeekers.com write-up mentions its excellent heat retention qualities, a must for safety and comfort.

Pros:Lightweight option, packs down well, good for backpacking, great low price point

Cons:Too narrow for larger users and/or wide shoulders; zipper snags easily

Buy the Hyke & Byke Quandary 15 Degree sleeping bag on Amazon for $129.99 (originally $249.99)

The best sleeping bag for extreme cold

Mountain Hardware/Business Insider

Why you'll love it: The Mountain Hardware Lamina Z Bonfire is rated at -30 degrees Fahrenheit, so if you need to keep warm when it's super cold, this is the bag to choose.

I've spent a good amount of time tucked into a Mountain Hardware Lamina Z Bonfire sleeping bag, and the very first time I crawled inside one, I was simply testing it out on the hardwood floor of my living room. What struck me at once was how comfortable I felt even on the wooden floor. This bag is so thick and padded that you could almost skip the sleeping pad and still be comfortable on most surfaces. Its soft polyester lining is comfortable and moisture-wicking, and its exterior is made from a resilient nylon. The "Thermal Q" filling retains its insulating properties even if it gets damp.

As for warmth, I have yet to spend a night in a climate too cold for this bag to keep me more than warm enough for comfort. In fact, you will usually have to allow some cool air in to bring the interior temperature down to a comfortable level.

That warmth does come with its drawbacks, of course: The Lamina Z Bonfire weighs more than five pounds and, even after your best efforts at compression, it will still occupy a bit more pack space than a basketball (about 15 liters of space). The weight and size of this bag almost make it unsuitable for use during climbing expeditions or on long treks unless you will genuinely be facing temperatures well below freezing.

Being rather expensive, the Lamina Z Bonfire is not a top seller on Amazon, though all of the reviews you will find there are glowing. One buyer states using the bag is "like sleeping in a sauna," while another celebrates the comfort it offers even to a man standing more than 6'4".

A review from the blog of trusted outdoor gear retailerREI didn't hold back with praise for the Mountain Hardware Lamina Z Bonfire, celebrating its heat retention and lack of cold spots, though their testers did point out the bulky size of the bag even when it is compressed for packing.

Pros:Fabulously warm sleeping bag; comfortable padding; water-resistant shell

Cons:Heavy and bulky, not ideal for distance backpacking or for climbing expeditions

Buy the Mountain Hardware Lamina Z Bonfire sleeping bag on Amazon for $237 and up (prices vary by size)

The best sleeping bag on a budget

Coleman

Why you'll love it: The Coleman North Rim Extreme Weather sleeping bag costs a quarter the price of many options that boast similar statistics of warmth and weight. 

For a change, let's start out with a few of the negative points because they will actually make the highlights of this sleeping bag stand out even more. The Coleman North Rim Extreme Weather bag is rather heavy, at over four pounds, and it doesn't compress that well. Even packed down tight, it takes up a lot of space in your backpack, and that's despite the fact that it probably won't be comfortable for an adult male much taller than 6'2".

Beyond that, this is a superlative sleeping bag. It has a tough ripstop polyester exterior and a soft, comfortable interior lining that just so happens to also be made of polyester. Thanks to the fact that the fill is also made from — you guessed it! — polyester you can machine-wash this bag without it losing its insulation quality. You can even tumble it dry on low. The North Rim Extreme should keep you warm even at temperatures well below the freezing point. It's rated as a zero-to-ten-degree Fahrenheit bag, and details like a full-length draft tube placed behind the zipper and a drawstring hood help keep the heat inside the bag where you need it.

But that price is the crown jewel here. This sleeping bag costs only a bit more than forty bucks. For the warmth and quality, you can't beat that price.

And hundreds of customers know it. While only 64% of current Amazon reviews are five-star, there are enough positive vibes out there for this bag to rate at 4.4-stars overall. One buyer remarked on becoming too warm in the zipped-shut bag despite snow actively falling outside his tent, while another summed it up with the words: "Overall, for the price, I think this sleeping bag is hard to beat."

As for what the pros have to say, aCamping Quartermaster review praised the rugged stitching and, of course, the low price, but did bemoan the bags weight and bulkiness when packed down. A reviewer with All Around Camping noted the draft-blocking curtain around the head and shoulder areas of the bag, but advised bigger, taller folks to look elsewhere.

Pros:Great low price tag, warm and cozy, easy to adjust ventilation properties

Cons:Heavy, bulky even when compressed, too small for taller, larger users

Buy the Coleman North Rim Extreme Weather sleeping bag on Amazon for $48.59 (originally $66.99)

The best sleeping bag for casual comfort

Teton/Business Insider

Why you'll love it: The Teton Sports Fahrenheit is a throwback to the classic fabric-lined bags you lugged to camp during childhood summers, albeit with some modern upgrades. 

There is nothing little about the Teton Sports Fahrenheit sleeping bag, save for its rather modest price tag. This bag weighs in at more than six pounds, and it measures 90 inches long by 39 inches wide when unfurled. Packed "tight," you'll still have a challenge ahead of you to get it into a mid-sized hiking pack if you also intended to bring a change of clothing, but that's not the point. This is the sleeping bag you bring when car camping or RVing, or that you setup in the backyard or on the basement floor when the kids want to play at camping. It's also a fine choice for that unexpected guest who's doing a bit of couch surfing.

The interior of the Teton Sports Fahrenheit is lined with 100% cotton flannel fabric. It's soft to the touch and helps keep you warm and comfortable even as the mercury drops outside. The exterior of the sleeping bag is made from a tough taffeta shell that cuts wind chill and is moderately water-resistant. The bag is rated to keep you warm even down to minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit, with curved hood design and drawstring closure helping seal in the warmth and keep the cold out.

The Teton Sports Fahrenheit scores an average rating of 4.4 stars with several hundred reviews logged on Amazon. Most buyers celebrate the generous size of the bag, recommending it for car camping or use close to home. One smitten reviewer gushed that is "seriously awesome" and "the nicest sleeping bag [I've] ever come across."

In oneYouTube video review, the tester pointed out how spacious and comfortable the Teton Sports Fahrenheit bag is thanks to its rectangular shape. ABest Advisor reviewer noted the dual layer fill, which helps create an insulation buffer between the bag's interior and the ambient temperature.

Pros:Very spacious and comfortable, decent price point, soft, warm interior

Cons:Heavy and bulky, too short for taller users, lining clings to velcro and to damp skin

Buy the Teton Sports Fahrenheit sleeping bag on Amazon for $57.72 to $109.99 (price varies by size and color)

The best sleeping bag for couples

Sleepingo

Why you'll love it: With plenty of room for two adults or three kids, the Sleepingo Queen Size XL 2-Person sleeping bag is warm and inviting even when the winter chill sets in.

The Sleepingo XL 2-Person sleeping bag measures 87 inches long and 59 inches wide, so it is more than large enough to accommodate two full-sized adults. In fact, a standard queen-sized bed measures just 80 inches in length by 60 inches wide, so this sleeping bag offers even more real estate, as it were. It's impressively lightweight, at just around three pounds, but it's also only rated for temperatures down to the 32-degree freezing point. You'll be warm enough in climates a bit colder than that provided you and your sleeping partner don't mind snuggling close. Also just don't use it naked and that will help.

The Sleepingo Double bag has a waterproof outer shell and an interior made of 210-thread count fabric that is as comfortable as high-quality bed sheets. This is a decent choice, then, for the couple who likes to go camping but doesn't exactly want to feel like they're roughing it. The included travel pillows lined by the same smooth fabric help there, too.

In a pinch (or in the event of a sudden lover's quarrel) this one large sleeping bag can be zipped apart into two halves which can then be zipped closed to form two separate bags.

More than 1,200 Amazon customers have chimed in on the Sleepingo Double, and it enjoys a stellar 4.8-star rating even after all those reviews and scores. For the record, that's impressive. Multiple people echo one user who calls it "extra soft and comfortable," while many also point out the great price.

A reviewer withWanderPig.com says that if you're "looking for a cost-effective solution to outdoor sleeping then this model from Sleepingo is the way to go." And thanks to its low price and fine quality, aHiker Track write up rated it as the number one choice for double sleeping bags.

Pros:Soft and comfortable interior; very lightweight for double bag; good price for good quality

Cons:Only rated down to 32 degrees

Buy the Sleepingo Double Sleeping Bag on Amazon for$ 57.95 (originally $99.99)

Source : http://www.businessinsider.com/best-sleeping-bag

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