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Gear Patrol: 10 Best Sleeping Bags for Backpacking


Gear Patrol: 10 Best Sleeping Bags for Backpacking

August 28, 2013

“Sleeping bag tech has made its way into the space age,” say our friends at Gear Patrol, camping aficionados and world’s most discerning judges of outdoor equipment. “Your 20-year-old sleeping bag from summer camp is no longer up to snuff.”

Photo by Foster Huntington for A Restless Transplant

After an exhaustive Gear Patrol investigation of everything there is to know about water-resistant breathable fabrics and synthetic insulation and temperature ratings and 800-fill down, and warmth-to-weight ratings and about a zillion other variables, the editors came up with the 10 Top Sleeping Bags to take backpacking. Here’s the list (go to Gear Patrol to get the full scoop):

1. REI Igneo: Best All-Around Sleeping Bag; $339. Thanks to its 800-fill down and superlight shell, the Igneo is one of the lighter bags on our list. Sporting a new waterproofing coat developed by Toyota and a performance cut, it does away with some of the frills but none of the comfort.

2. Marmot Cloudbreak: Best New Tech Sleeping Bag; $199. Marmot’s body-mapping technology puts their Thermal R Micro insulation in all the right places to keep you warm without overheating. Their dual-hood closure is also a novel feature: different shaped shock cords around the head and neck keep you comfortable rather than tightening the hood like a noose.

3. Stoic Somnus 15: Best Mountaineering Bag; $350. The Stoic features a center zip rather than the side zip seen elsewhere, a design element originally developed so climbers could stay in their bag while roped up on a big wall. …Weighing in at under two pounds, it’s easily one of the lightest bags in our line-up.

4. Sierra Designs Pyro Maniac 15/30: Most Versatile Sleeping Bag; $227. The Pyro Maniac splits the difference between ultra warm and lightweight. It’s got an optional down comforter that buttons into the main bag for added warmth down to 15° during spring and fall camping.

5. Kelty Cosmic 20 Degree Down: Best Budget Sleeping Bag; $100. Bottom line: If you’re an ultralight hiker planning a week-long trek, this probably isn’t your bag. If you’re looking for a car camping bag, you’re good to go.

6. Eddie Bauer First Ascent Karakoram +20°: Most Comfortable Sleeping Bag; $349. One of the most feature-rich bags on the list. A roomy foot box, interior pocket for essential gear, and full-length draft collar and baffles round out a nearly perfect bag.

7. Sierra Designs DriDown Zissou 15 Degree: Gear Patrol Editor’s Pick; $271. If you’re worried about getting wet and willing to pay a little premium, the Zissou is your best bet to stay warm and happy.

8. Feathered Friends Hummingbird Nano: Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag; $389. It may be the most expensive bag on the list, but ounce for ounce, the Hummingbird is one of the warmest around. A 1 lb. 10 oz, this bag can be compressed down to the size of a Nalgene bottle.

9. Sea to Summit TkII: Best Recreational Travel Sleeping Bag; $249. The TkII is no slouch when it comes to repelling water, but what really sets it apart is the attention paid to the fill patter: none of the 650-fill down is wasted in unnecessary baffles or quilting.

10. L.L. Bean Katahdin 20: Best Updated Sleeping Bag; $169. L.L. Bean recently updated the insulation in the Katahdin to PrimaLoft Synergy, which is the only insulation on the market that is inherently water repellent. A Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatment is woven into the insulation and lining to ensure you stay dry no matter the conditions.

Wondering where to go with that new sleeping bag? Check out our favorite Hike of the Week destinations, from Ireland’s Diamond Hill to the Cliffs of Menorca to Colorado Gold Rush Territory.

Prefer to sleep off the ground? See Remodelista’s 7 Classic Canvas Cots for Summer Slumber.

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