How To Choose The Perfect Backpacking Sleeping Bag?

If you opt to spend time doing trekking, camping, or backpacking, you need the right tools and essentials to be comfortable enough. One best thing to bring with you is a backpacking sleeping bag.

If you desire to have the best night’s sleep along the trail, you need to have a sleeping bag that is comfortable for you to use.

Having a suitable sleeping bag for a multi-day hike is one of your essential gear that might also be a lifesaver.

Important Things To Consider When Buying A Sleeping Bag

When choosing a backpacking sleeping bag, you should not just look into good brands or something an advertisement would show you off. 

Instead, you might need to consider factors if you decide to have one to let you have a worry-free sleeping night with a lot of unknown trails.

How To Choose The Perfect Backpacking Sleeping BagGenerally speaking, the distinct feature of backpacking sleeping bags is that they can be packed down tinier. As a result, they are most likely to be efficient in providing warmth on a cold night, and most significantly, they are way lighter.

Some of those considerations are as follows:

1. Temperature Ratings

When deciding on a sleeping bag, you must consider having a lower rate than the typical low ratings. You can give yourself 10 degrees of margin on your soft edge.

So, if the average trail temperature on the trail you choose is 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you can purchase a bag below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

There is a specification about the comparison of your sleeping bags. It may be a little too complicated, but some things are essential: 

  • When purchasing or comparing two backpacks, you need to adhere to an “ISO” and “EN” temperature rate standards test. 
  • ISO or International Organization for Standardisation is a firm that is reliable in terms of putting up basic standards needed for every item’s reliability. 
  • The norm “EN” is the older version of it, and the two are mostly comparable in all labs. 
  • During ISO/EN rating reports, the sleeping bags are tagged with two specific temperature ratings: Comfort and limit ratings.
  • Comfort connotes the lowest temperature achieved on which the average cold adaptable person is usually assigned to women’s bags. 
  • On the other hand, the limit is the lowest temperature achieved on which the average warm sleeper and is generally assigned to unisex bags.

If there is an instance that temperature ratings do not include comfort or limit, then probably it is not certified with ISO or EN test results.

2. Insulation

How To Choose The Perfect Backpacking Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bags are composed of fillers to give warmth to you. You can choose between two: the down and synthetic insulations. They have a difference in terms of their heat-to-weight ratio.

Down Insulation

This kind of insulation capitalizes on better insulation and warmth retention. It is also lightweight and is highly packable. It can maintain its heat insulation for a lengthy duration.

However, it loses its insulation when it is wet, and it is also difficult to dry out.

Synthetic Insulation

This insulation is a bit massive and does not compress as well. It requires more materials to produce a higher amount of heat, like the down ones.

Although it is more complicated to pack, it is more preferred in a wet setting as it withstands water effortlessly. It allows your body to control your temperature inside.

Some hikers prefer using this type of sleeping bag if there are big chances that a change in the rain or damp weather is approaching.

3. Sleeping Bag Weight 

How To Choose The Perfect Backpacking Sleeping BagOne large composition that determines the importance of the bags is the fillers inside them for insulation purposes and their shape.

A bag that has a sleek profile tends to be lighter compared to the others. Therefore, an excellent fill power down insulation will likely give you better warmth and less weight than the synthetic ones.

The overall weight of your bags is most important in your backpack. Although the insulation filler matters, the measurement of the bag’s temperature ratings that passed the test standard are more reliable for warmth.

4. Sleeping Bag Shape

The weight is seemingly affected by the shape of the bags. There are three distinct shapes of your bags the mummy, semi-rectangular, and rectangular.

Most bags are cut into a mummy shape that reduces your weight and raises warmth on your body.  There also comes the rectangular shape that eliminates constraints and has adequate space for warmth inside.

In many instances, sleeping bags are made customizable to fit into any body type and even genders. There are bags especially made for kids, men, women, and different heights of people.

Usually, if you need to choose, you must have something that suits you well.

Also Read: Ultimate Trekking Packing List For Beginners

5. Additional Features

How To Choose The Perfect Backpacking Sleeping BagMost likely, when you find a backpacking sleeping bag, you also might want to consider the other valuable parts of it.

Some might be essential to your needs, such as the sleeping bag hood that can help your head to get warm with its adjustable neckline zip.

Another one is the stash pocket that is quite helpful in keeping your small things like watches, handkerchiefs, earrings, necklaces, and more.

Finally, some sleeping bags offer great features and accessories to match your style.


These factors are your checklist when you decide to have a backpacking sleeping bag during your long hike. It is also considered if you know how to use your bags for maximum usage properly.

Temperature ratings, sleeping bag insulation, weight, and shape are essential elements you should be looking for in a backpacking sleeping bag. These will give you good comfort if you are stuck in the middle of nowhere along your hike. 

If your budget is expandable enough, you can also acquire essential things such as gears and tents to make your adventure worthwhile.


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