With more than a decade of backpacking experience, we’ve been able to test hundreds of sleeping bags and know what it takes to keep you warm and comfortable outside. Our favorite sleeping bag for 2019 is the new which amazed us with its featherlight weight and incredible warmth.
Therm-a-rest Hyperion 20
The best ultralight
Why should you buy this: The Hyperion is incredibly warm for its weight.
Who’s it for: Backpackers who want warmth in a featherlight bag.
How much will it cost: $390-$430
Temperature rating: 20-degrees Fahrenheit
Weight: 1 pound, 4 ounces
Fill: 13 ounces of 900 Fill Goose NHD/RDS
Why we picked the Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 20:
The Therm-a-Rest Hyperion is so light in weight you won’t believe it’ll keep you warm, but it will. Its incredible lightness and warmth comes from the premium 900 fill goose down that is packed into the well-placed baffles. You get plenty of loft from the 900 fill down making the bag as comfy as it is cozy. The down is smartly distributed with 70 percent of the loft on the top of the bag where you need it the most and 30 percent underneath you. Be warned, the Hyperion is so comfy that you’ll want to climb into it each night and not get out.
Our two favorite features are the long zipper and the sleeping pad straps. The three-quarter length zipper allows you to cool off quickly when you overheat — just unzip as needed. In warmer weather, you can even use the bag on top of you like a quilt. You can’t unzip it fully like a rectangular bag, but you can stick your feet in the closed foot box and drape the unzipped bag across your legs and torso. The sleeping pads straps are a bonus feature not seen on many other sleeping bags. They hold the sleeping pad securely to your bag so you don’t slip off and end up on the hard, cold ground. These straps are a godsend for the restless sleeper, but they can be removed if you don’t want them.
The Hyperion has a mummy cut so it can be snug around the shoulders for larger individuals. The regular bag measures 57 inches across the shoulders, 49.5 inches across the hips, and 43 inches in the foot box. The Hyperion is rated down to 20 degrees if you have the right base layers for sleeping but it is most comfortable at 32 degrees or warmer. It’s plenty warm enough for three-season usage — possibly even four seasons if you consider yourself a warm sleeper or don’t travel in extreme conditions. It also is available in a 32-degree version that weighs an incredible 16 ounces. For fair weather hiking, the 32 degree Hyperion is an outstanding bag for lightweight or long-distance hikers.
REI Co-Op Magma 15
The best three-season down sleeping bag
Why should you buy this: The Magma 15 from REI offers a winning combination of quality design, outstanding warmth, and reasonable cost.
Who’s it for: The Magma 15 is for backpackers who place a priority on warmth when it comes to sleeping.
How much will it cost: $370-$390
Temperature rating: 16-degrees Fahrenheit
Weight: 2 pounds
Fill: 16 ounces of 850 fill DWR-treated goose down
Why we picked the REI Co-Op Magma 15:
The REI Magma may not have snazzy features like self-closing toe boxes but the bag hits the mark where it matters most — comfort and warmth. The lightweight Magma has an inner 15D nylon lining that is soft to the skin and an outer 15D Pertex shell that resists tearing and repels moisture. It has enough space in the toe box to move your feet and is roomy enough in the hood to fit a small backpacking pillow for a good night’s sleep. The bag has a fitted mummy cut that trims weight and a variable baffle design that deliver warmth. Most people won’t mind the trim fit, but broad-shouldered people may find it a bit snug.
The Magma 15 has a temperature range that makes it a solid three-season bag suitable for spring, summer, and fall in the mountains. When temperatures plummet, there are two drawstrings on the hood that provide a snug fit while an insulated draft collar and a draft tube on the zipper help to trap body heat inside the bag. To let off some heat, the bag can be unzipped in an arc across the shoulders. When conditions warm up, the bag can be fully unzipped and used as a quilt. An internal anti-snag strip makes it easy to open the bag from both inside and outside the bag without catching on the fabric. The new-for-2019 Magma 15 is available in both a men’s and women’s version. For warmer climates, there is a 30-degree Magma sleeping bag and a quilt.
Big Agnes Bolten SL 20
The best three-season synthetic sleeping bag
Why should you buy this: Backpackers who want all-weather protection should look at the Big Agnes Bolten SL 20, which is crafted with a durable and lightweight synthetic insulation that stays warm even when it’s wet outside.
Who’s it for: Backpackers and car campers who explore in areas where wetness is a major concern.
How much will it cost: $290-$300
Temperature rating: 20-degrees Fahrenheit
Weight: 2 pounds, 11 ounces
Fill: PrimaLoft Silver and PrimaLoft Gold Active stretch insulation
Why we picked Big Agnes Bolten SL 20:
There is little argument that a down sleeping bag is warm — it’s perhaps the warmest material you can wrap yourself in. However, down insulation does have a significant flaw — it loses its warmth when wet. Manufacturers have turned to a special water-resistant down that is treated superficially with a DWR-like Nikwax but this technology is relatively new and its effect on the longevity of a down bag is unknown.
While many sleeping bag makers use down in their high-end bags, manufacturers like Big Agnes realize there is a huge market for synthetic fabrics, as well. These synthetic bags offer a significant advantage because they stay warm even while wet, though wet warmth does come at a cost as synthetic bags are often heavier and bulkier. This is where the Big Agnes Bolten SL 20 shines by offering the wet warmth advantage of synthetic insulation while maintaining a lightweight profile that rivals many down bags in the same temperature class.
So, how does the Big Agnes manage to make a synthetic bag almost as light as down? The answer lies in the materials. The company uses PrimaLoft Silver and combines it with PrimaLoft Gold Active stretch insulation. Primaloft has spent decades perfecting its insulation so it mimics down with millions of air pockets that trap your body heat. The result is a lightweight insulation that’s warm, durable, and compressible. The active stretch insulation is a unique addition to the bag. It’s built into side stretch panels that provide some give in the sleeping bag allowing you to sleep on your side and move around inside your bag.
The Big Agnes Bolten screams comfort with a top zipper that is easy to undo and extends almost the full length of the bag. When unzipped, the bag can be used as a quilt for sleeping in warmer weather. Other features include interior fabric loops for sleeping bag liners, exterior loops for easy drying, and an integrated draft tube to prevent snags and minimize cold air from seeping in through the zipper.
Big Agnes Lost Dog 15
The most eco-friendly
Why should you buy this: The Lost Dog 15 is warm, comfy, and easy on the environment.
Who’s it for: Backpackers who want a warm sleeping bag made from recyclable materials.
How much will it cost: $190-$210
Temperature rating: 15-degrees Fahrenheit
Weight: 3 pounds, 3 ounces
Fill: 31 ounces of FireLine Eco Synthetic Insulation
Why we picked the Big Agnes Lost Dog 15:
The Lost Dog 15 from Big Agnes shows that you can make a piece of gear from recycled materials and not sacrifice quality. The company’s latest three-season sleeping bag, the Lost Dog 15, is constructed with 100 percent recycled FireLine ECO Synthetic Insulation. This super warm synthetic and recycled polyester insulation is constructed to have an excellent loft, high compressibility, and an outstanding weight-to-warmth ratio. Whether you are in a tent or cowboy camping, the Lost Dog 15 will keep you warm down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. It also is available in a 30-degree and a 45-degree version for warmer weather and a zero-degree bag for winter.
The bag is packed full of features both big and small. Our favorite feature is the flex pad sleeve which is designed to fit over almost any sleeping pad and hold it securely in place. No matter how much you toss and turn, you will stay securely on your sleeping pad. The bag has a free-range foot box for wiggle room and a free-range hood that allows you to lift your head without getting tangled up in the bag. On the inside of the bag, there is a jacket-style hood that securely lines your face and a draft-free zipper for a snug, warm fit.
The Lost Dog 15 is part of a growing trend of sustainability among manufacturers, and it is a movement that we are happy to see.
Therm-a-Rest Vesper Down Quilt 20
The best quilt
Why should you buy this: The Vesper quilt weighs less than a pound and is incredibly warm for its weight.
Who’s it for: Backpackers who want warmth in a featherlight quilt.
How much will it cost: $380
Temperature rating: 20-degrees Fahrenheit
Weight: 19 ounces
Fill: 12 ounces of 900-fill-power Nikwax Hydrophobic down
Why we picked the Therm-a-Rest Vesper 20:
The Therm-a-Rest Vesper quilt is incredibly light, just like its cousin the Hyperion sleeping bag which made it to the top of our list. Both the Hyperion and the Vesper owe their remarkable lightness and warmth to the premium 900 fill goose down used for insulation The quilt used the box baffled construction with mesh walls to ensure maximum loft and even distribution of down. For the sleeper, this means you’ll enjoy maximum comfort and no cold spots.
The outstanding feature of the Vesper quilt is its packability. It packs down to 5.5 x 8 inches (2.8L), allowing you to stuff it easily into a 5L compression sack. Pair the Vesper with Therm-a-Rest’s new Uberlite sleeping pad and you can fit both into a 10L sack. The quilt takes up barely any space in your pack allowing you to travel lighter and with a smaller backpack.
Like most Therm-a-Rest sleeping bags, the Vesper quilt includes a single sleeping pad strap. This SynergyLink Connector holds the sleeping pad securely to your bag so you don’t slip off and end up on the hard, cold ground. The straps is a must-have for the restless sleeper, but it can be removed if you are trimming ounces. Just keep track of the strap as it is easy to lose.
The Vesper has a mummy cut that is open at the top and a sealed foot box. There is no zipper, but the quilt does have a snap at the top that you can use to close the quilt around you like a sleeping bag. This design is not as air-tight as a sleeping bag, but the side baffles and top snap does help to reduce drafts. You want the flexibility of sleeping with just a blanket on top of you when it is warm and the ability to snuggle in the quilt when temps are colder. The Vesper quilt was tested down to its 20-degrees Fahrenheit limit, but we recommend it for warmer temps that are at least above freezing unless you want to wear a few extra layers to bed.
The Vesper quilt also is available in a 32-degree version that weighs a mere 15 ounces and packs down equally as small as its 20-degree counterpart.