A sleeping bag can mean the difference between a happy comfort or a long and unhappy night. It can even help you avoid deadly hypothermia if you are cold and wet when in outdoors.
Follow these tips to choose the best backpacking budget sleeping bag for your next adventure and check out your favorite designs.
If you are warm-natured, get a budget sleeping bag rated about 10 degrees lower than the lowest temperatures you typically encounter on your camping. If you are cold-natured, get a budget sleeping bag rated 20 to 25 degrees lower than the coldest nights you hope.
KNOW YOUR BUDGET FOR THE SLEEPING BAG
Sleeping bag prices can vary from $50 to $500, it depends on some elements such as:
There are two main types of insulation: down, which is natural, and synthetic, which is man-made. Generally, the down sleeping bag is warmer, lighter and easier to pack, but it’s more expensive and requires extra care. The biggest downside to down is that it loses its ability to keep you warm if it becomes wet.
Synthetic insulation is less expensive than the down sleeping bag, requires little care and retains its warmth if the bag gets wet. Synthetic sleeping bags are heavier than downs, but they remain the best choice for routinely wet adventures.
To blur the line, you can now buy water-resistant down, which retains its ability to trap heat when wet. Still, even saturated water-resistant down loses some of its ability to trap heat, and you might have trouble drying out any bag in prolonged wet weather.
If you might get wet, don’t bring a down sleeping bag – it loses its warmth and dries really slowly. Use down when you’ll definitely be covered and make sure your bag is wrapped carefully when you are carrying it in your pack – in case it rains while you’re on your way to your destination! That said, down rules. Much lighter and smaller than synthetic.
For Choosing your hiking sleeping bag: down or synthetic, please check here.
One neat idea is to buy a $40 silk down mummy bag liner. The thing adds 10 degrees to your existing bag and it means you can make a summer bag into a fall bag. The silk liner is only about as big as two teenagers fists and weights very little. It also keeps your sleeping bag cleaner as it is totally washable.
This matters when you’re outdoor camping, but not so much when you’re RV car. Lighter, higher-quality insulation costs more, but you can trim weight and bulk simply by buying the best bag on a budget for the conditions. You can see my another article about Sleeping Bags under 3 lbs in 2017.
TEMPERATURE RATING (What’s the Mean of Temperature Ranges of A Sleeping Bag?)
You’ll notice labels with ratings like -10 degrees or +30 degrees, which tell you the lowest temperature at which most people will be comfortable cold weather sleeping in that particular bag. Price is affected by both the quality and amount of insulation, so the price goes up as rating goes down.
Our inside troop joke is that your bag temperature rating is the temperature the manufacturer states you won’t freeze to death. I recommend a bag liner for any bag; increases the rating another 10 degrees or so.
QUILTS VS MUMMY BAGS – Down quilts have steadily gained in popularity over the past few years, especially among ultralight backpackers. The reasoning is simple: down quilts provide the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any backcountry sleep system. They do this by cutting out the ineffective down that’s normally compressed under your body in a mummy bag. With a quilt, you’ll sleep directly on your pad and it feels similar to a down comforter. Quilts don’t have hoods, so it’s important to pack a warm hat or hooded clothing (puffy coat) for chilly evenings. Most quilts have pad attachment straps to help hold in heat, but mummy bags work better in cold/windy conditions because they’re less drafty. I prefer the flexibility, weight, and comfort of quilts when nighttime temperatures are above freezing (32°F) and mummy bags when temps dip below freezing.
Less expensive — yet lightweight — bags have sewn-through baffles, which can create cold spots along seams. Higher-quality horizontal baffles are typically warmer. Other high-quality construction upgrades include a draft tube (along with the zipper), a collar (inside the hood) and a no-snag zipper guard.
It is my belief that every person (not just Scouts) should have a best budget backpacking sleeping bag for the money that goes down to 0 degrees. If it is too warm, you can just unzip it a little. Sooner or later, you will need that lowest temperature rating, and your life may depend on it. The lower the rating, the more days of the year that you can go camping later. I consider a
The lower the rating, the more days of the year that you can go camping later. I consider a 40-degree bag is just about useless. It gives you a false sense of security but still costs money. Also, you can add quite a bit of warmth by wearing an oversized hooded sweatshirt or a ski-cap at night.
You need to keep your head and neck warm to be able to go to sleep. Mummy bags will definitely keep you warmer, you just have to get used to the restricted area around your feet and the bag closing in around your face. Get a bag that is a little extra long and it feels a lot better. I couldn’t care less about a light-weight sleeping bag or a highly compressible sleeping bag. About 99% of the camping is done within 50′ of a car. Warmth is the most important thing.
Get what you can afford for the best budget sleeping bag. You can still get outside with an inexpensive bag — which is what’s most important, right? If and when you have the dough for a budget sleeping bag for the money, your wilderness adventures will be a little more luxurious.
CARING FOR YOUR BAG
Properly cared for, a good sleeping bag can last 10 to 20 years. Body oils can compromise insulation, so you should always sleep in clean base layers. Post-trip, hang the bag to dry for a day or two, and then place it in a big storage sack and keep in a dry place. If your bag gets really dirty or starts losing loft, follow manufacturer instructions for washing it. I have wrote the article about washing a down sleeping bagand sleeping bag repair.
10 Best Budget Sleeping Bag
1. Coleman North Rim Extreme Weather Sleeping Bag ($48.41 on Amazon)
As Coleman says, it sleep comfortably, even when it’s 0° F outside, in the Coleman North Rim Mummy Sleeping Bag with a polyester rip-stop cover and polyester lining. It’s designed to keep you warm from top to bottom. The drawstring-adjustable hood surrounds your head to keep you warm. A special quilting construction eliminates potential cold spots. The full-length draft tube blocks heat loss through the zipper, and a box-shaped foot gives you extra room to move your feet. When you’re done, it’s easy to put it away in the stuff sack. The North Rim Adult Mummy Sleeping Bag fits heights up to 6 ft. 2 in. and is machine washable.
– For temperatures 0° F to 10° F.
– Designed for heights up to 6 ft. 2 in.
– Polyester rip-stop cover and polyester lining.
– Box-shaped foot for added room to move.
– Semi-sculpted drawstring-adjustable hood helps lock in heat.
– Quilting construction eliminates potential cold spots.
– Thermolock full-length draft tube prevents heat loss through the zipper.
– Two-way no-snag patented zipper plows fabric away from the zipper.
– Unzip the bottom for extra ventilation on warmer nights.
– Stuff sack for quick and easy storage.
– 5-year limited warranty.
On my first camping trip with this bag, the low temperature during the night was supposed to be around 40 degrees. As this is supposed to be a 0-degree bag, I thought I would test how warm it is by not wearing any warm clothing to bed. I got a little cold during the night, but I warmed back up once I pulled the drawstrings tight. I really like that there are two separate drawstrings–one right below your neck to keep most of your body warmth in, and a second around the hood to keep your head warm. I haven’t had a chance to use the Coleman North Rim Mummy Sleeping Bag again yet, but I imagine you could keep pretty warm in colder temperatures (maybe not quite 0 degrees), especially if you actually wear something warm to bed. I know people complain about the difficulty of packing up mummy bags. I didn’t find this one very difficult to stuff, but I have a fair amount of experience with this type of bag. Overall, for the price, I think this sleeping bag is hard to beat.
PROS: hood keeps your head warm
Chest baffle holds in heat
Foot area not too confining
Warmest sleeping bag I’ve ever owned–well worth the extra space and weight
CONS: zipper does not bind up but very difficult to get zipped up
Takes some effort to get back into stuff sack
A little more confining than a standard bag but still adequate for me (5′ 8″ tall, 250 lbs, broad shouldered)
2. Hyke and Byke Snowmass 0 Degree Down Sleeping Bag ($149.99 on Amazon)
Hyke and Byke Snowmass 0 °F Down Sleeping Bag
This Direct-to-Consumer premium quality ultralight 0 Degree mummy duck down sleeping bag for backpacking is the lightest, most compressible bag with the highest quality available.
Professionally designed for thru-hiking, backpacking, and camping, this bag boasts superior weight-to-warmth ratio and the ultimate sleeping bag for saving space and weight.
Stay Warm as a result of duck down insulation capabilities and waterproof fabrics – the microscopic air clusters found in down feathers creates “loft” that traps heat and keeps you warm from 10 to 40 degrees.
Hike Farther with one of the lightest 0 degree mummy down sleeping bags available (weighs barely over 4 lbs).
Long Lasting Durability from ultralight water repellent 400T 20 D ripstop nylon fabric liner with two YKK zippers, wide shoulders and large footbox, snag-free velcro, drawstring, horizontal baffles, and compression stuff sack case for storage included. Comes in size Regular or Long (Tall / XL).
– Material/Design Features: 400T Rip-Stop Nylon Fabric, heavy duty YKK zippers, horizntal designed baffles, responsibly sourced 550 fill power 90/10 premium quality duck down! Regular – 4.08 lbs & Long – 4.30 lbs
– Dimensions: Size Regular bags are 78″ long, 28″ wide at the shoulders, 22″ wide at the hips, and 11″ wide at the toe box (bottom). Regular size bags fit: 6′-1″ and below. Also, the shoulder girth is 59″. Our Long size bags have 64″ of shoulder girth. The dimensions of the size Long bags are 87″ long, 32″ wide at the shoulders, 26″ wide at the hips, and 14″ wide at the toe box (bottom). Long size bags fit: 6′-2″ to 6′-6″.
– Compressed Size: This down sleeping bag compresses to 11 inches long and 8 inches in diameter.
– Compression Sacks: designed to be lightweight, but also tough. Sack body – ultralight water repellent 400T 20D ripstop nylon fabric. Sack top and bottom compression panels – 210D PU-coated nylon. 4 point compression straps are HD black nylon webbing and the connected quick-release black thermoplastic buckles
First of all, it was a bargain to purchase as compared with similar down bags. I purchased the long version and was very pleased that it fit my 6′ 3″ & 230 lb. frame (though I think I’m probably near the bag’s capacity for a good fit). I appreciate the extra room, both length and extra width space, inside the long version of the bag and I have been comfortable inside with the mummy bag fully zipped on a freezing cold night. I have used it four times now, in different tents, in a hammock and in different temperatures. I woke up one morning with frost on the outside of the bag but toasty inside (using an insulated sleeping pad). If the outside temperature is greater than 50-degrees, you probably won’t want to fully zip this bag. It is also as compact a winter bag as I could want and I plan to use it for a winter backpacking. I would have given it five stars but for just a couple issues. First, it should come with a large cotton storage sack and I understand that Hyke and Byke has plans to introduce one soon. Second, this bag will go back in the stuff sack but it took me 30 minutes by myself to get it back in the first time. Maybe there’s a learning curve and hopefully I’ll improve with practice. But overall I’d say this is a great investment for cool weather camping and I am very grateful to own this sleeping bag.
3. Ohuhu Double Sleeping Bag with 2 Pillows and a Carrying Bag ($49.99 on Amazon)
- HIGH QUALITY: Crafted with high quality material (water resistant 210T polyester shell + T/C lining + 300G /M2 3D cotton filling) for soft, warm, comfort
- 2 IN 1 USE: Use it has two separate sleeping bags or connect the two together and combine it into one large bed for two. Zippers on both sides for easy entry and exits
- 4 PIECE SET: Comes with two small pillows and one carrying bag
- WARM & COMFORTABLE: Withstands weather of up to 23°F ( -5°C). Stay warm and cozy even when it’s 32°F~ 50°F (0°C ~10°C)
- PORTABLE & LIGHTWEIGHT: Fits snug into the carrying bag for quick and convenient portability
4. TETON Sports Mammoth Double Sleeping Bag ($119.99 on Amazon)
|Mammoth +20ºF||Mammoth 0ºF||Fahrenheit Mammoth +20ºF||Fahrenheit Mammoth 0ºF|
|Dimensions||94″ x 62″ (257×157 cm)||94″ x 62″ (257×157 cm)||94″ x 62″ (257×157 cm)||94″ x 62″ (257×157 cm)|
|Color Options||Blue or Grey||Green, Orange, or Teal||Grey||Grey|
|Fill||SuperLoft Elite||SuperLoft Elite||SuperLoft Elite||SuperLoft Elite|
|Lining||100% Brushed Poly Flannel||100% Brushed Poly Flannel||100% Cotton Flannel||100% Cotton Flannel|
|Pack Weight||14 lbs (6.35 kg)||16.5 lbs (7.5 kg)||14 lbs (6.35 kg)||16.5 lbs (7.5 kg)|
|Pack Size||27″ x 14″ x 14″ (69x36x36 cm)||28″ x 15.75″ x 15.75″ (71x40x40 cm)||27″ x 14″ x 14″ (69x36x36 cm)||28″ x 15.75″ x 15.75″ (71x40x40 cm)|
- THE ESSENTIAL COUPLE’S SLEEPING BAG: Has plenty of room for two to spread out–it’s enormous at 94×62 inches (239×157 cm); Pack weight 14 pounds (6.35 kg)
- HIGH-QUALITY MATERIALS: Taffeta shell and flannel liner withstand years of use; SuperLoft Elite fiber fill and construction work together to eliminate cold spots and drafts
- ADDED COMFORT: Brushed flannel liner feels like bed sheets; Zipper and shoulder draft tubes keep the cold air out; Unzips on each side and the bottom for easy access and ventilation
- 20 DEGREE SLEEPING BAG: Survival rated for cold temperatures; For comfort buy a bag rated 20 degrees lower; Lowest survival rating in this series is the TETON Sports Mammoth 0F
- LIMITED LIFETIME WARRANTY: TETON Sports’ AMAZING customer service team is one YOU CAN COUNT ON to get your products taken care of and get you back OUTDOORS; #getoutdoors with TETON Sports
– Assuming you have someone in the bag with you, DO NOT LAYER UP too much. We were in t-shirts and shorts and we were VERY warm in the Colorado mountains where it was in the low 40s. We even unzipped the sides to put a leg out at one point! Bottom line is that unless you’re literally in below-30 temps, you probably don’t need to stack up the layers. A base layer, something on your ears/head, and some warm socks is probably all you’ll need if the temps start to drop.
– Outer layer is sturdy and soft.
– Inner lining is VERY soft and cozy. I expected something a bit less comfortable if I’m being honest so it was a very pleasant surprise to find such a lush inner lining.
– Zippers are great! While we didn’t separate it entirely, I did notice that both sides zipped independently and each had a lined velcro strap to cover the zippers so the cold metal won’t touch your skin. I was hot one morning and was able to unzip my side while my wife stayed bundled up. Speaking of which, there is also a cinch around the top of the bag to create a mummy-style enclosure as seen in the picture. That little cubbie is also good for stuff pillows to keep them in place.
– Lots of straps on the stuff sack; easily carried like a backpack if need be!
– Get ready for a workout if you’re using the stuff sack it came with. Unless you have a magic folding/rolling gift, you’ll probably want an extra set of hands to get the first quarter of the bag in the sack. After that it’s just a matter of stuffing all the way down to the bottom of the sack…which takes some effort and time. We are able to get first half of the bag in the stuff sack pretty easily after a few practice runs but fully utilizing the full volume of the bag is difficult. I have found, however, that after cinching the bag closed, the bag molds itself to take up the entire sack so it all works out in the end. If you want an easier time, you’ll probably have to buy a bigger stuff sack but…
– The stuff sack is already pretty big and heavy. It has plenty of straps for carrying/tying down but it definitely isn’t suitable for more than a very light hike if any.
5. Coleman Autumn Trails 30 Degree Sleeping Bag (From $61.73 on Amazon)
- Big & Tall (39″x81″); fits most people up to 6’4″
- 5 pounds of Coletherm insulation keeps you comfortable down to 30º F
- Coleman’s ComfortSmart Technology ensures a comfortable, durable, high-quality sleeping bag
- No Snag Pattanted zipper
- Coleman Wrap ‘N’ Roll storage system.
Excellent replacement for a 30 plus year bag. Had a hard time finding the duck outer shell, many are made of taffeta, a lousy alternative. Makes the bag noisy and slippery, difficult to roll up after use. Also had somewhat difficult time finding this temperature range that has the flannel lining, another plus in my opinion. Anticipate using this bag as long as it’s predecessor.
Thanks for reading.