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The best sleeping bags for every adventure

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The best sleeping bags for every adventure

John Muir set out for the mountains with “a little bread and tea in a couple of blankets, a little sugar, and a tin cup.” I admire his ultralight ethos and disregard for comfort on the trail, but I’d be willing to bet that if Muir were around today, he’d bring a good sleeping bag with him, if only for the sake of being lighter. than old blankets. Tea is essential, I can’t argue with that.

Whether you’re following Muir through the countryside, planning the perfect family camping trip, or hiking the Camino de Santiago, there’s a sleeping bag for that. No matter how you travel, where you’re headed, or how much comfort you’re looking for, after years of testing, we’ve found the best sleeping bags for everyone.

Adrienne So, Martin Cizmar, and Matt Jancer contributed to this guide.

Be sure to read our other outdoor guides, including the best sleeping pads, best tents, best camping stoves, and our camping cooking guide.

table of Contents

  1. Best for backpackers: Mountain Hardware Bishop Pass 15
  2. The best for motorhomes: REI Siesta Hooded 20
  3. The best all-in-one sleep system: Zenbivy bed
  4. Best ultralight: Sea to Summit Spark 15
  5. Best for Side Sleepers: Therm-a-Rest Questar 20
  6. Best for hot climates: Groundhog NanoWave 45
  7. Best for spring and fall trips: Magma 15 sleeping bag
  8. Best expedition bag: Rab 1000 Expedition
  9. best quilt: Therm-a-rest Vesper 32
  10. The best for children: REI children’s cone
  11. Best synthetic bag: Groundhog Ultra Elite 20
  12. How to choose the perfect sleeping bag
  13. How we test
  14. What all the terms mean

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Best sleeping bag for backpacking

Mountain Hardware’s Bishop Pass 15 offers the best warmth-to-weight ratio while still achieving a small size and not being too expensive. It’s not perfect, but it offers the best compromise for most backpackers, being warm enough for shoulder seasons and light enough (2 pounds, 5.4 ounces) that you won’t mind even when you barely need it. in summer. I’ve slept in this bag for over two weeks, with nighttime temperatures ranging from 28°F to 65°F, and yes, it was too warm as a sleeping bag. But on those warmer nights, I opened it and covered myself like a warm blanket. Otherwise, I slept very well. It is a versatile bag.

The Bishop Pass 15 uses 650-fill down down wrapped in a 20-denier water-resistant ripstop nylon shell. (Note: you will often see 20 denier written as 20D; see below for more information on What do those terms mean?.) One of the best things about this bag is the draft collar and front gasket feature, which does a great job of keeping your head warm. With the drawstring tight, you can retain even more body heat. This is one of the few bags I’ve tried where I didn’t feel the need for a hat. The insulation does a good job of staying where it should; I didn’t find any cold spots on this bag.

My only complaint about this bag is that it’s tight – there’s not much room for anything but me. That makes it efficient and keeps you warm, but it’s not a good choice if you’re looking for something spacious (see Therm-a-Rest Questar below). I don’t love the zipper either. The puller glows in the dark, which is great, and the zipper doesn’t snag much, but in my experience, it also doesn’t pull as easily as others. Still, those are minor complaints about a bag that does everything else well.


  • Temporal classification: 15°F/-9°C
  • Comfort rating: 26°F/-3°C
  • Fill: 650 Fill Shutdown

The best sleeping bag for motorhomes

Car camping sleeping bags are not a place to spend a lot of money. If your best efforts to protect yourself from the heat around you fail, there is a car to retreat to after all. That’s why we love the REI Siesta Hooded 20: it’s very warm and affordable. It’s not a mummy bag either, because you’re not climbing Denali; Why suffer from cramps if you don’t have to? The rectangular cut of the Siesta makes it a much more spacious and comfortable bag. The Siesta is made entirely of recycled polyester, with a polyester fill. Despite that, the lining of this bag is noticeably softer than many others in this guide.

The Siesta’s 20-degree rating makes it enough for three-season trips, and unlike most rectangular bags, the Siesta has a hood that helps on those cold nights. However, what makes this such a versatile bag is the double zipper system. There’s a full-length zipper, which means you can turn it into a quilt on warmer nights, and there’s also a second, partial-length zipper on the other side so you can get more airflow when you want it. (You can now also zip two Naps together, which wasn’t possible with previous versions.)


  • Temporal classification: 20°F/-6°C
  • Fill: 650 Fill Shutdown

The best all-in-one sleep system

The Zenbivy 25 bed (9/10, WIRED recommends) is without a doubt the most comfortable camping sleeping experience I’ve ever had. It wouldn’t be my top choice for extreme situations, but as long as the expected temperatures fit within the Zenbivy’s range, it doesn’t get much more comfortable than this. However, the Zenbivy is not just a sleeping bag. It is a sheet, hood and duvet style bag that can be combined in various ways depending on what you want.

The top sheet covering the mat is made from 50-denier polyester pongee, which is wonderfully soft and feels like your bed at home. The sheet has the hood part of the sleeping bag attached to it. Then you place the top quilt (made of 20D nylon) on top. This is the coolest and most relaxed way to use the system, perfect for those warm nights. This is how I did most of my testing since I sleep pretty hot. If the temperature drops, you can close the duvet foot box in a mummy bag configuration and zip the top sides of the bottom sheet. I made this on a couple of cooler nights on the Keweenaw Peninsula when it was pretty cold.

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