"I regret investing in the best sleeping bag" is a quote you'll never hear from a camper. It's easy to underestimate how cold it can get outdoors at night, and trying to nod off when you can't get properly warm is the absolute worst. In this guide, we've rounded up the best sleeping bags for camping to ensure you stay cosy, comfy, and ready to tackle whatever outdoor adventure you have planned. While some particularly advanced models are on the market, sleeping bags tend to rely less on technology, per se, and more on high-quality materials.
That said, there are a range of outer shells, down treatments and heat-capturing trickery that are worth keeping an eye out for. Filling-wise, the choice is between a down vs synthetic sleeping bag – down is both lighter and warmer than synthetic but takes more looking after (if portability is paramount, you'd be better heading to our best lightweight sleeping bag guide for more specialist options). Pair your purchase with one of the best camping mats or even a quality camping bed for ultimate comfort under canvas. Read on for our pick of the best sleeping bags to buy now.
The best sleeping bags to buy right now
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Our recommendation for the best sleeping bag right now is the Rab Solar 2 Ultra, which should tick the right boxes for all but the most intrepid campers. It's a robust three-season mummy sleeping bag that delivers a lot for a very reasonable price; it combines an outer of 100% recycled polyester with an inner triple layer of Recycled Stratus Synthetic Sheet Insulation, and it'll help you keep warm in colder weather with Thermo Ionic Lining Technology, a metallic layer that reflects heat back into the bag more efficiently without adding very much weight.
At 1,140g, it's not exactly featherweight, but it is very portable, and a well-designed compression sack means that it packs down very nicely. Other impressive features include an adjustable hood, a neck baffle to trap heat and a well-sized pocket for your phone. It's a bit of a shame that this isn't an all-season bag, but you do get an awful lot of quality for what you'll pay.
Read our full Rab Solar Ultra 2 sleeping bag review.
This 3-season soft down-stuffed bag stands out for its triple zip system, which allows you to unzip the bag around the torso and free your arms to cool down (or sit and make a cup of tea in the door of your tent on chilly mornings), fold the top of the bag down like a blanket or open up the bag fully into a quilt (ideal if you’re not sure if quilt-only camping is for you yet).
The generous filling of the Ascent is Ultra Dry Down 750+ Loft, RDS 90/10 Premium Duck Down, and the shape sits in between a narrow mummy and a rectangular sleeping bag, allowing a bit more wiggle room and for the bag to function as a quilt, and making this a good choice for side sleepers who need that bit more room.
Vertical baffles over the chest section ensure the down insulation cannot migrate or shift to the outside of the bag during sleep, thus avoiding cold spots. The wide hood is great, too, and can be cinched in snugly around the face, where it stays snug even if you toss and turn.
Read our full Sea to Summit Ascent ACI -4°C Down Sleeping bag review
The Therm-a-Rest Polar Ranger is the ultimate cold-weather sleeping bag. It's warm, extremely comfortable, sustainably made, and just a fantastic piece of outdoor equipment overall. The 800-fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down filling is durable and made with Responsible Down Standard Certified down; it'll keep you toasty even in the coldest temperatures.
Should you feel warm, you can always open the Side Vents to control the temperature inside the Polar Ranger. However, you'll likely need to stay warm, and the overstuffed draft tubes, external quilt loops, and draft collar ensure the heat won't escape from inside the bag. Not to mention, thanks to the Toe-asis Foot Warmer Pocket, your feet will always feel cosy, making it almost impossible for you to feel cold.
The only criticism we can offer is the size and weight of the Polar Ranger. Still, I know it would be unfair to expect something that can keep you warm in extreme temperatures and be super lightweight and packable. That said, you can compress the Polar Ranger down to a compact size (with some effort), so even if you're backpacking, you can easily carry it with you. Highly recommended!
Read our full Therm-a-Rest Polar Ranger Sleeping Bag review
The reasonably priced Kelty Cosmic Ultra is a great all-rounder and will keep you comfortable through three seasons of camping trips. While this isn't a particular specialism, it's reasonably lightweight and packs down pretty small (the stuff sack is 8 x 13in / 20 x 33cm). This mummy-style bag uses 'trapezoidal baffle construction' designed to retain heat, and we found it cosy and comfy. A PFC-free water-repellent coating is a practical addition, as is the internal zippered pocket for stashing valuables, and it's available in a few shapes and sizes to fit different bodies. There are more specialist options around, for the average camper, this would make a great choice.
Read our full Kelty Cosmic Ultra review
Striking just the right balance of weight and performance, the Rab Neutrino 400 is the result of decades of testing and tweaking by one of the outdoors industry's best-known brands, and if what you want is a sleeping bag that'll keep you warm in all but the most extreme cold, and won't weigh you down when you're on the move, it's hard to go wrong here.
It's a low-midweight bag that weighs in at 775g / 27oz and is comfort rated to -1C (with an 'edge of comfort' rating of -7C / 20F), making it suitable for year-round use. It's hand-filled with 800 Fill Power Responsible Down Standard (RDS) Certified Goose Down that's treated with a Nikwax fluorocarbon-free hydrophobic finish that makes it more water-resistant than standard goose down, but you'll still want to keep it protected from the damp in its waterproof roll-top compression sack. Beautifully designed and made from eco-friendly recycled materials, it's a brilliant all-rounder.
Read our full Rab Neutrino 400 sleeping bag review
Billed as the ideal backpacking bag for side sleepers, the Nemo Disco has an unusual 'spoon' shape that gives you extra room around the elbows and knees and enables you to roll over in the night (and even curl up a bit) without dragging the entire sleeping bag with you. It's fantastically comfortable with a whole stack of size options; there are men's and women's versions in two lengths, plus two fill weights, and you get some interesting features.
One notable example is the 'blanket fold', a padded flap that runs under your chin and keeps the cold out, and 'thermo gills' around the middle that unzip to reveal a section of less padded fabric, letting you cool down without letting in a draught, as well as giving you a bit of extra room in the middle. It's not particularly light or compact, but its thoughtful features and excellent comfort mean that we can give it a firm recommendation.
Read our full Nemo Disco sleeping bag review
This isn't a compact or lightweight option, but if you're car camping and the priority is comfort, the Birch from the Scandinavian family camping brand Outwell is the best sleeping bag for you. The Birch is slightly wider and longer than usual, with a generous hood to give plenty of wriggle room. Shoulder and zip baffles keep the heat in. The two-way L-shaped zip allows for further temperature regulation: you can pop your feet out to cool them down, for instance, or even undo the whole thing and spread it flat like a duvet. Finally, there's a moveable pillow included. If you want even more cosiness, there are three different insulation weights to choose from – the Birch Lux or Birch Supreme are built for colder temperatures.
With the Night Cap, Sierra Designs has somewhat reinvented the whole sleeping bag concept. There's no zip, which sounds like it'd cause issues, but in fact, it's perhaps the comfiest sleeping bag our tester had ever slept in. The innovative origami design folds over at the front and feet to allow you to snuggle up fully or pop an arm or foot out when you need to cool down a bit. It's like a massive comforter that doesn't get twisted or bunched up. The foot section's 'self-sealing' design effectively prevents drafts from creeping in, and the shoulder pockets ensure the top half stays in place around you when it's cold too.
There's also a sleeve in the back to tuck your sleeping mat into, which is great if you like to lie comatose on your back at night but not so helpful if you want to lie on your side at any point. Sierra Designs has integrated recycled materials into the design for an eco-friendly slant, and it's available in 20 and 35-degree versions. Choose between Regular, Long, and Women's specific lengths (be aware the Women's version is for shorter women only – it fits up to 5'6" / 172.72cm).
Make sure mini campers get a great night’s sleep with Decathlon’s 2-in-1 sleeping bag for kids, which includes both a sleeping bag and a sleeping pad. We like that the sleeping pad can be used separately from the bag or slotted into the bottom of the sleeping bag so that small campers don’t slide off in the night. You’ll get good value for money for years to come with this clever design, as the 2-in-1 bag can also be cinched in or extended with bungees, so the sleeping bag can ‘grow’ with your child (it sleeps children measuring from 115 cm and 155 cm in height). The mat does need a few puffs to inflate it, but then the system is quickly ready for bedtime. This bag is only really warm enough for summer holidays – take it on family adventures and summer holidays, and it all stores away neatly in a carry bag when not in use.
If you fancy cosying up with your camping partner, there's always the option of doubling up. For summer trips, one of the best double sleeping bags we've found is the Vango Homestead. This 150x208cm square bag has plenty of room for two, and for a low RRP delivers a lot of bang for your buck. The soft lining feels lovely to touch, and it's pleasingly breathable (although be aware that this is strictly for summer adventures). It also looks super smart – as well as campervan or car camping trips, you could use it for guests coming to stay in your home.
Read our full Vango Homestead double sleeping bag review
How to choose the best sleeping bag for you
The best sleeping bag for you will depend on a variety of factors, the big two being how warm it needs to be and how lightweight it needs to be. Usually, the warmer the bag, the heavier it is, although the latest and best technical sleeping bags manage to deliver warmth for very little weight.
Lighter-weight materials will often wear out faster and need more care and attention to keep them undamaged in normal use. While a winter sleeping bag (for the UK) should be comfortable well below zero, spring and summer bags can have a comfort rating of zero and up, although bear in mind it’s usually easier to fix being too warm rather than being too cold at night.
Not all sleeping bags need to be super-light, especially if you’re car-camping for a night or two, but if you're trekking or hiking to your campsite – or wild camping – then shaving those extra grams off will pay dividends. If hiking with your sleeping bag is on the cards, then looking at packability is sensible – you'll need something that fits comfortably into your hiking backpack with all your other gear. Cheap synthetic sleeping bags are the bulkiest, while expensive goose-down compresses for travel the best.
The best sleeping bag brands include Thermarest, Rab, Vango, Mountain Equipment, Mountain Hardware, Montane, Mammut, Patagonia and Alpkit. These brands will not only have wide ranges to choose from, ensuring you get the ideal spec and sizing for you, but they also have strong environmental pedigrees.
Are sleeping bag temperature ratings accurate?
Be wary of taking minimum temperature ratings literally, as these results are achieved in a lab and are therefore only guidelines - real-world variables will impact a sleeping bag’s temperature performance.
Most sleeping bags state an EN rating, which is a European standard (EN13537) covering four temperature ranges. These are: upper limit, comfort, lower limit, and extreme (a survival only rating and not to be followed for normal use).
On a related note, check the fit of a sleeping bag before you buy, as different lengths and chest sizes are often available. The better the fit (you want it to be snug but not tight), the warmer you’ll be. Don’t be tricked into thinking you’ll be wearing more than just base layers in a sleeping bag, either, as extra clothing changes the fit of the bag and sometimes makes it colder. If it's nippy out, lay your jacket on top.