Small Sleeping Bags

Q. I am trying to find a lightweight sleeping bag that can be compressed enough to fit into my pack on weekend backpacking trips. There are so many out there, and I can't seem to find the right one. Any suggestions?

A. There are so many lightweight, highly compressible bags on the market right now that it IS hard to choose.

Compressibility is a function of the temperature rating and the insulation material of the bag. The warmer the bag, the more insulation, hence the more bulk. Down insulated bags are also MUCH more compressible than synthetic ones.

For 3-season backpacking, a temperature rating of 20-35 degrees F is standard, sometimes higher depending on where you live. Most bags in this range are 2-3 pounds and highly compressible, often to the size of a loaf of bread or less!

If climate (humid/rainy) or activities (boating/rafting) dictate that you go with a synthetic bag—unlike down, synthetic materials still insulate when wet—newer models filled with Polarguard Delta (The North Face) are the most compressible. Also you can buy a compression sack that crushes a bag down to a very manageable size. Some examples of the latest lightweight bags follow:

Down Filled
The North Face Kilo
Marmot Hydrogen
Kelty Light Year 25

Synthetic Filled
The North Face Flight
Kelty Light Year 3D

Good luck and happy camping!


This month’s Gear Guru question was submitted by Ashely Van Dyne. She will receive a BackcountryStore.com Nalgene bottle for her question. Enjoy Ashely!