Best lightweight sleeping bag 2018: travel light and sleep heavily when hiking and camping

With the most warmth for the least weight, lightweight sleeping bags are an essential for all seasons

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Prefer to travel light when backpacking and camping? You'll be glad to learn that the best lightweight sleeping bags don’t compromise on comfort or warmth.

Buying guide to the best lightweight sleeping bags

Most sleeping bag manufacturers use EN (or European Norm) ratings to express how comfortable their sleeping bags will be in certain temperatures, with the EN Lower Limit showing how much cold the bag can really withstand, and the Comfort Rating showing the minimum temperature at which you can have a comfortable night’s sleep in it.

Just how warm you’ll say inside a sleeping bag is largely down to the filling, where you have the choice between synthetic fibres and natural down, the fluffy non-flight feathers of (usually) ducks and geese.

Down is understandably more expensive, but its warmth-to-weight ratio is second to none: that is, you get more warmth in a lighter package, so it’s a win-win. Synthetic bags tend to weigh a bit more, but are perfectly good if you’re on a budget and, unlike down, synthetic sleeping bag fillings continue to insulate when sodden, so they’re a better bet on particularly rainy camping trips.

When it really comes down to it, that’s about all the guidance we can offer, because the rest is down to your particular sleeping quirks and preferences. If you tend to run cold, look to something like the Marmot Trestles Elite, which has strategic reinforcements to keep the cold off feet and other chilly extremities; if you’re a side sleeper at heart and don’t appreciate being forced to assume the mummy position just because you’re outdoors, try the oddly shaped but very clever Nemo Riff. For all manner of other specs and specialities, keep reading for our list of the best. 

The best lightweight sleeping bags, in order

The best lightweight sleeping bag

1. Nordisk Oscar +10 Degrees Sleeping Bag

The unbelievably light sleeping bag for summery weather

Specifications
Best for: Adventure
Weight: 380g
Temperature rating: +10
Filling: Recycled synthetic
Reasons to buy
+The lightest on our list+Great summer sleeping bag
Reasons to avoid
-No good for chilly nights 

The clue’s in the name as to the suitability of this super-lightweight sleeping bag, which has a comfort rating of 10 degrees, making it ideal for camping out in warmer months when you can’t bear to sleep bare, but don’t want anything that’ll overheat you.

The nylon shell is ultra-fine at 7 denier, around the same thickness as a pair of sheer tights, and it’s been engineered to optimise ventilation – no unpleasant stickiness when you wake up to a face full of summer sunshine.

It may not be the most versatile with its one-season suitability, or two at a stretch, however at just 380g packed (330g unpacked) it’s under half the weight of most of our other picks, making it the very best lightweight sleeping bag around. 

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

Specifications
Best for: Purse-friendly
Weight: 900g
Temperature rating: -10
Filling: Synthetic
Reasons to buy
+Inexpensive+Great temperature rating for the price
Reasons to avoid
- Not the lightest

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 immediately has some more expensive bags beaten for insulation, with the Thermal Reverb system of reflective aluminised lining serving to throw body heat right back at you, and the Polair Active outer fabric remaining soft and warm to the touch, not off-puttingly chilly like some shinier sleeping bag fabric can be.

At 900g it’s not the very lightest, but it’s still compact and comfortable to carry, and it comes recommended by both The DofE and The Scout Association. 

Western Mountaineering Lynx MF Down Sleeping Bag

3. Western Mountaineering Lynx MF Down Sleeping Bag

Stuffed full of fluffy, lofty down, this is our warmest sleeping bag ever

Specifications
Best for: Lifetime pick
Weight: 1420g
Temperature rating: -23
Filling: Down
Reasons to buy
+Durable construction+Keeps you really warm
Reasons to avoid
-No inside pocket 

This down-filled sleeping bag is engineered to last, making it the best investment bag on our list, but far from doing an okay job for a really long time, it does a stonking job for a really long time. Its -23 temperature rating blows the competition out of the water for survival kudos, thanks, no doubt, to the down that it’s filled to the baffles with.

One reviewer said it had “the best zipper I have ever used on a sleeping bag” which, when you’re out and about in freezing conditions and desperate to get into a non-drafty bed, is no small thing, but other than that, its features basically amount to that 8” of luxurious loft. It’s very, very dear, but when you’re getting a four-season sleeping bag this light, that’s to be expected. 

Marmot Trestles Elite 20 Sleeping Bag

4. Marmot Trestles Elite 20 Sleeping Bag

Keep out nigglesome drafts and drips with this wet weather-friendly sleeping bag

Specifications
Best for: Wet conditions
Weight: 950g
Temperature rating: -7
Filling: Nylon
Reasons to buy
+Nylon filling insulates even when wet+3D collar with draft collar
Reasons to avoid
-Middling temperature rating 

The Marmot Trestles Elite 20 sleeping bag makes our list for its easy and compact compression and performance in wet weather, making it a good one for more challenging trips.

If you’re unlucky enough to be caught out on a particularly wet and windy night, you’ll be glad to have a sleeping bag like this on side, as its light nylon filling not only keeps the sleeping bag lovely and light, it keeps on insulting even when wet; the 3D hood comes complete with draft collar to keep out biting breezes, and the blanket construction on the bottom is the ideal addition for anyone who gets chilly feet. 

Nemo Riff 15 Sleeping Bag

5. Nemo Riff 15 Sleeping Bag

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

Specifications
Best for: Picky sleepers
Weight: 1138g
Temperature rating: -9
Filling: Nylon
Reasons to buy
+Side sleeper-friendly+Zip-together design
Reasons to avoid
- Some wanted a bit more room at the shoulders

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. 

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.

Specifications
Best for: Ultimate lightweight
Weight: 540g
Temperature rating: -5
Filling: Down
Reasons to buy
+Extremely light+Packs down very small
Reasons to avoid
-No draft collar; a bit gappy 

Our second lightest sleeping bag is far from a booby prize. While it might just lose out to the Nordisk Oscar for the title, it actually represents 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 North Face Aleutian Light Sleeping Bag

7. The North Face Aleutian Light Sleeping Bag

Big-ticket brand, excellent value bag

Specifications
Best for: Value
Weight: 1634g
Temperature rating: +10
Filling: Synthetic
Reasons to buy
+Good summer bag+Unzips to lie completely flat
Reasons to avoid
-Heaviest on our list 

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.