Best lightweight sleeping bag 2019: travel light and sleep well when backpacking, hiking and camping

Get lightweight, lights-out comfort with these snugly three-season lightweight sleeping bags from Thermarest, Mountain Hardwear, Snugpak and others

Best lightweight sleeping bags: a man treks through a wooded area wearing a backpack with rolled up sleeping bag on his back
(Image credit: Tamás Mészáros / Pexels)

When you’re on the trail all day, those extra grams really do make a difference, and one place where you can really shed the weight from your pack is choosing the best lightweight sleeping bag for your adventure. Why? Because the difference between the heaviest winter models and three-season summer sleeping bags is huge. 

The most important question when shaving weight off your sleeping bag is the temperature you plan to use it at. The lightest down quilt may only weigh 200g, but above the snowline that’ll be a freezing cold nightmare, so paying careful attention to usable temperature ratings is key here.

Another lightweight piece of kit you might consider adding to your pack is a camping mat, which come in inflatable or roll up designs.

Best lightweight sleeping bag: our expert pick

  • The big difference between ‘normal’ sleeping bags and lightweight sleepers is the fact that they are much lighter overall. Sounds obvious, right? These bags will keep your pack weight down, which is essential if you’re backpacking or on multi-day hiking trip and need to move fast and light.
  • Without doubt, the best lightweight sleeping bag is the Thermarest Hyperion 32, which requires little compromise from you yet weighs only slightly more than a can of Coke. Nikwax treated Goose Down rounds out a flexible package that you’ll want to use all the time because it’s so small and light.

Choosing the best lightweight sleeping bag

Sleeping bags usually have an EN ‘comfort’ rating, a slightly lower ‘comfort limit’ rating and a much lower ‘survival’ rating, which might mean you won’t actually freeze at that temperature, but you will be very uncomfortable indeed, so we’ve used ‘comfort’ ratings throughout this review.

Unfortunately, while technology has put most hardware on the SlimFast plan, there are still limits, and nowhere more acute than in sleeping bags. Lighter materials shave the grams, but lose lots of durability, while DWR coatings and treatments might add vital damp-proofing, but also add a few grams just in themselves - there’s literally no escape from the scales.  

As usual, down filling offers the lightest and warmest potential, but is utterly useless in damp conditions, while artificial fibers tend to be heavier, bulkier, but much happier in soggy UK conditions. Bear in mind that even in the summer heat, temperatures can drop in the night, and even more so as you climb above sea level (approx 1 degree less for every 100m), so single figure EN ratings are a good idea even for a light UK summer bag. 

Overall, while spending more will generally get you higher quality materials that can get away with lowering weight and still delivering a good night’s sleep, don't be tempted to take things too far. There are stupidly light options out there for hardcore adventure racers, but unless you’re actually taking on the Spine Race or the OMM keep a suspicious eye on the comfort factor, which such folk will happily sacrifice on the altar of fast and light. 

The best lightweight sleeping bags to buy now

The best lightweight sleeping bags: Thermarest Hyperion 32

(Image credit: Thermarest)

1. Thermarest Hyperion 32

The best lightweight sleeping bag overall

Best for: Everything
Weight: 460g
Temperature rating: 0°C
Filling: Goose Down
Reasons to buy
+Super light+All-rounder warmth rating

New for 2019, the Hyperion 32 takes on where older Hyperion models leave off, resulting in one of the finest lightweight sleeping bags you can buy. Weighing in at a mere 460grams it is very light indeed, but the enormous 900 Fill Goose Down filling will keep you warm down to a limit of zero degrees, which is impressive for the weight. It also packs down to around the size of a litre water bottle, which is tiny. 

A Nikwax treatment on the down itself staves off some of the worst effects of damp, with the treatment staying drier and maintaining loft 60 times longer than untreated down, according to Nikwax. 

A thermally-efficient box baffled construction and zoned fill (70% on the top and sides with 30% on the back) keeps the insulation around your core for maximum warmth and minimum weight, and finally the down filling is Responsible Down Standard Certified. 

It’s not cheap, but it is the best lightweight sleeping bags you can buy, and after a long day carrying it, you won’t regret spending the pounds to save those grams...

The best lightweight sleeping bags: Vango Ultralite Pro 100 Sleeping Bag

2. Vango Ultralite Pro 100 Sleeping Bag

Light on the pack and on the purse, this budget buy is our best sleeping bag for DofE

Best for: Purse-friendly
Weight: 900g
Temperature rating: -10
Filling: Synthetic
Reasons to buy
+Inexpensive+Great temperature rating for the price

Whether you take into account the budget price tag or you don’t, the Vango Ultralite Pro 100 is an impressive sleeping bag. With a temperature rating of -10 degrees, it even has some more expensive bags beaten for insulation.

The Thermal Reverb system of reflective aluminised lining bounces body heat back to you, and the Polair Active outer fabric remaining soft and warm to the touch.

At 900g it’s not feather-lite, but it’s still compact and comfortable to carry when backpacking and hiking. Better still, it comes recommended by both The DofE and The Scout Association. 

The best lightweight sleeping bags: Mountain Hardwear Lamina -1C

(Image credit: Mountain Hardwear)

3. Mountain Hardwear Lamina -1C

Best durability lightweight sleeping bag

Best for: Durability
Weight: 936g
Temperature rating: 3°C
Filling: Synthetic
Reasons to buy
+Great allrounder+No durability compromise

The Mountain Hardwear Lamina line is packed with light-for-their-warmth synthetic bags, and this is the lightest in the family. Coming in just under a kilo it’s heavier than some, but it is also the most robust.

A 30D Nylon Ripstop shell will last you for years, and the Thermal.Q artificial down insulation will keep you toasty in all weathers down to minus one degrees - an ideal combination for UK adventures. 

Although the comfort rating stops at a chilly three degrees, Mountain Hardwear have set a ‘comfort limit’ at minus three, which is really plumbing the mercury for such a light bag. This is partly achieved through thermal mapping, which allocates the heaviest insulation to where it is most needed, around your core. 

In addition, the ingenious design of the Lamnia line all adds up to a bag that punches well above its weight, such as the draft collar, tailored hood and anti snag zip. 

The best lightweight sleeping bags: Mountain Equipment Helium 250

(Image credit: Mountain Equipment)

4. Mountain Equipment Helium 250

Best for: Value
Weight: 705g
Temperature rating: +8°C
Filling: Pure Duck Down
Reasons to buy
+Excellent summer bag+Great spec, decent weight

The ME Helium 250 is a lovely bag for summer adventures, and the build quality will last for ages too. Weighing in well under a kilo it’s no heavyweight, but the 254 g of 90-10 Pure Duck Down fill will take some looking after to deliver the full insulation rating of a comfort rating of 8°C, with a limit at 3°C (extreme is a scary -11°C, which is unlikely in UK summer).

As you’d expect from ME, the Helium spec list reads well, even though it’s not the lightest down bag here by any means. An Alpine cut will keep heat trapped, Slanted Box-Wall baffles should keep the down well distributed and lofted, and details such as anatomically shaped hood and anatomically shaped foot-box and heat-retaining internal collar are all present and correct. 

A last highly desirable detail is an included waterproof roll-top stuff-sack, which is vital for keeping a down bag safe in your rucksack - a touch of drizzle and down will get useless very quickly. 

The best lightweight sleeping bags: Snugpak Adventure Racing Softie

(Image credit: Snugpak)

5. Snugpak Adventure Racing Softie

Best for: Value
Weight: 750g
Temperature rating: 0°C
Filling: Synthetic
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight system+All-weather protection

The Snugpak Adventure Racing Softie is a keenly-priced and well-specified synthetic bag, which is designed to be part of a ‘system’ with other Softpak items. These include a smock (adding extra insulation) and a bivi bag (weatherproof shell), but the bag itself can be used standalone, and delivers plenty of bang for buck. 

For a mere 750g, a comfort rating of zero degrees is a strong performance, and considering this is a synthetic bag even more so. It is designed for Adventure Racing though, so comfort has been compromised for weight saving. 

The outer shell is water resistant Paratex Micro, which should be treated with a certain amount of care, and weight-saving is evident in the 1/4 Length YKK Zip, which keeps heat in, but may be too much of a compromise for the casual camper. 

However, as one of the cheapest options here, far from the heaviest or the most delicate, this is certainly an option worth considering for lightweight use - just be prepared for the compromise.

The best lightweight sleeping bags: Sea To Summit Spark SpI Sleeping Bag

6. Sea To Summit Spark SPI Sleeping Bag

Want the lightness of our first pick but a bit more warmth? Try this one on for size.

Best for: Ultimate lightweight
Weight: 540g
Temperature rating: -5
Filling: Down
Reasons to buy
+Extremely light+Packs down very small

The Sea To Summit Spark SpI represents perhaps the best balance between weight and warmth on our list, with a temperature rating of -5, a total weight of just 540g, and an ultra-insulating, premium quality European goose down filling.

Sea to Summit say it’s perfect for ‘space conscious cycle tourers and ultra light walkers’, and that’s because it packs down small – really small. With that, plus the competitive weight, in mind, it’s a completely backpackable option for when you want to travel light, but not freeze. 

The best lightweight sleeping bags: Nordisk Oscar +10 Degrees Sleeping Bag

7. Nordisk Oscar +10 Degrees Sleeping Bag

The unbelievably light sleeping bag for summery weather

Best for: Adventure
Weight: 380g
Temperature rating: +10
Filling: Recycled synthetic
Reasons to buy
+The lightest on our list+Great summer sleeping bag

The best lightweight sleeping bags: Nemo Riff 15 Sleeping Bag

8. Nemo Riff 15 Sleeping Bag

This three-season sleeping bag caters to side sleepers and spooners alike

Best for: Picky sleepers
Weight: 1138g
Temperature rating: -9
Filling: Nylon
Reasons to buy
+Side sleeper-friendly+Zip-together design

If the straight-down style of snoozing that most sleeping bags demand leaves you wide-awake and uncomfortable when you have to camp, you might want to try the Nemo Riff 15 on for size.

The unique ‘Spoon’ shape of this model makes it the best sleeping bag for side sleepers, accommodating elbows and knees with extra wiggle room at the sides, and can even zip together with the compatible Jam sleeping bag for spooning in the more literal sense.

While its temperature rating of -9 makes it a good solid three season bag, the waterproof breathable footbox ensures nothing gets too sticky in warmer weather. 

The best lightweight sleeping bags: The North Face Aleutian Light Sleeping Bag

9. The North Face Aleutian Light Sleeping Bag

Big-ticket brand, excellent value bag

Best for: Value
Weight: 1634g
Temperature rating: +10
Filling: Synthetic
Reasons to buy
+Good summer bag+Unzips to lie completely flat

As a capable budget offering from a respected premium brand, this North Face sleeping bag offers arguably the best value on our list. At 1634g, it’s far and away the heaviest, too, but for the great price and the fact that it’s still really not that heavy, we can overlook it.

The wraparound footbox zipper means the sleeping bag can be unzipped in its entirety and folded out completely flat to be used as a blanket or mat, and the 10 degree comfort rating means it has just enough heft – thanks to that Heatseeker insulation, in turn courtesy of eco-conscious recycled synthetics – to keep you warm on summer nights.