Looking for the best sleeping bag, pad or liner for your hiking needs? These recommendations will have you covered for your next trip.
Backpacking is one of the most wonderful experiences that you can have, especially for outdoor enthusiasts that are looking to get closer to nature. There are a few important things that you need to carry with you, including a good lightweight sleeping bag and a sleeping bag liner.
Keep in mind that there aren’t really sleeping bags that will give you everything you want. Some will be lightweight but won’t offer you much warmth in cold conditions, others are comfortable but heavy. So it is always good to first consider your usual backpacking weather conditions and your personal needs before making a choice. The same can be said for sleeping pads and liners. Choosing one that best suits your needs doesn’t have to be complicated though. Here are some of our favourites.
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Backpacking Three-Season Sleeping Bags
The name is self-explanatory with this one. The three-season sleeping bag is one of the most popular categories out there as it is the most versatile when it comes to weather conditions. Most three-season sleeping bags will allow you to comfortably get through the night in early spring to late autumn and milder winter nights. They are not usually recommended for very cold weather conditions though unless you know how to layer appropriately.
We’ll start with one of our all-time favourites, the Western Mountaineering Megalite. This one brings a lot of luxurious comfort in an incredibly packable, lightweight, and versatile sleeping bag.
This three-season sleeping bag is a little warmer than most 0C° (30F°) which makes it a great option for most hikes and backpacking trips.
What I loved the most is how roomy, comfortable, and versatile this one is. It is even perfect for summer. It offers you great breathability and the fabric technology is excellent.
It will even work during winter if you combine it with a good liner. Keep in mind that all of these amazing features come at a price.
This is a great buy if you are looking for a versatile lightweight sleeping bag. The Western Mountaineering Ultralite will do a terrific job in both warm and cold weather.
The 850 fil power will move and vent heat depending on weather conditions. You could even stay in a campsite that is -15C° (5F°) and get through the night quite nicely in this lightweight sleeping bag.
That’s incredibly warm for a three-season sleeping bag. The only downside to this sleeping bag is that it is a little bulkier than some others out there. But don’t worry this doesn’t mean that it is any heavier.
In short, this is a great sleeping bag for tackling extreme environments and outdoor adventurers will love it.
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We all have our priorities. Nemo prioritized room and comfort over warmth and weight. You’ll sleep better inside the Nemo Riff than on your average hostel bed. I’m not exaggerating.
Nemo noticed that most of us usually sleep on our sides, so this three-season 0C° lightweight sleeping bag is specifically designed for you to sleep comfortably on your side.
The extra room does mean its a little bulkier and slightly heavier. It is also less heat efficient than some other sleeping bags, but it sure is comfortable to sleep in.
This is the roomiest sleeping bag on this list, and if you prefer comfort than this one is great. I would recommend this sleeping bag for shorter backpacking trips because of the weight.
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If like me, you love to hike in areas where you are likely to encounter rain than this is the perfect lightweight sleeping bag for you.
This is not the warmest lightweight sleeping bag, but this 650 fil power three-season sleeping bag can repel water, dry fast and doesn’t get damaged in high-humidity environments.
Although not the warmest, it is pretty efficient in cooler weather and has been designed to spread warmth evenly so you won’t experience any cold spots.
Overall, this is the perfect sleeping bag for tropical weather.
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The Hyperion is a great lightweight sleeping bag which is easy to pack and small enough to carry on long distances.
Although this is advertised as a three-season sleeping bag, it is not very warm. This sleeping bag features a detachable sleeping pad system and works perfectly above 0°C, but I wouldn’t use it in colder weather.
However, if you have a good liner and a good tent you shouldn’t have to worry about the cold too much. I would recommend it for longer hikes in less extreme cold weather.
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Kelty offers some great budget gear for beginners and hikers who prefer shorter backpacking trips. This one is perfect if you are on a tight budget.
The Tuck is not the warmest sleeping bag out there but works really great if you are considering a summer or coastal hike. I wouldn’t consider this if you want to hike in any weather under 0C° (30F°).
I love that this sleeping bag completely unzips but still keeps your feet covered, perfect for summer nights. I wouldn’t say that the Tuck is the lightest or the most packable sleeping bag out there. But it’s not bad for short backpacking trips.
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Like the Tuck, the Cosmic is a very affordable sleeping bag that will keep you warm and comfortable during your hiking adventures.
The Cosmic is affordable and can easily compete with more expensive lightweight sleeping bags that are similar.
The Cosmic works well even under 0C°, and you can rely on it during those cold nights. It is really versatile and you won’t have any problems packing it for longer hikes. Just keep in mind that it is heavier than you might think.
This sleeping bag also doesn’t come with its own compression bag, you’ll have to purchase it separately. If you’re the occasional hiker then this is a great pick. It is affordable, versatile and reliable.
Winter Sleeping Bags
If you are an avid winter hiker that loves backpacking in the harshest winter weather, the winter sleeping bag is what you must have. This is the choice for most mountaineering adventures like alpine expeditions and Mount Everest base camp. These sleeping bags are not always lightweight or compact, but they are a must to keep you warm during those harsh nights.
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This one is the best of the best. You can literally get inside and sleep under a strong blizzard and you will be warm and comfortable.
This is the perfect lightweight sleeping bag for your winter adventures. Besides being perfect for temperatures under 0C°, this winter sleeping bag is incredibly packable and lightweight.
Western Mountaineering has managed to make a huge amount of down so compressible. Another great thing about the design is how roomy the shoulder area is. There is more than enough space to move around, even if the foot area is a little tight.
Overall, this is the perfect lightweight sleeping bag for mountaineering and winter adventures.
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If what you’re looking for when you’re dealing with extreme temperatures is comfort, then the Nemo Sonic is your best choice.
The shoulder and foot area of this lightweight sleeping bag are wide and comfortable giving you the freedom to sleep as you like.
Truthfully this is not the warmest sleeping bag though. It does work well in harsh winters and alpine environments but if you prefer staying really warm then you should consider a different winter sleeping bag such as the Kodiak MF instead.
This sleeping bag is really lightweight and it compresses well and is easy to pack. There is also a zipper for ventilation in case it isn’t as cold as you expected.
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Again, Marmot has succeeded in both designing and manufacturing a great sleeping bag capable of withstanding the harshest weather conditions.
For intrepid adventurers who hate planning and just throw themselves into the wilderness, this winter sleeping bag is one of the best options they can get. No matter how wet, cold or windy it is out there, the Marmot Col -20 can take it while keeping you dry, warm inside.
This is not the most lightweight sleeping bag, but with all its great features, I don’t mind the extra weight. This is the sleeping bag that you want if you get caught in a blizzard.
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The Neutrino 800 is the best Rab has to offer in winter sleeping bags. Designed to reach its lower limit around -20C° (-4F°), it does its best at around -10C°.
Below that, you’ll have to start layering. The Neutrino 800 is as lightweight and as packable as the Kodiak MF sleeping bag, but you’ll be paying half the price.
However, this one is far from being the warmest on the market. It’s quite roomy and therefore looses some of its heat efficiency. This sleeping bag is affordable and versatile and would work really well for your next mountaineering adventure.
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The Questar has gained a lot of popularity since it came out. Probably because of its great overall performance and its affordability. This one is the most inexpensive winter sleeping bag you can get without compromising safety and reliability.
This sleeping bag is just 650 fil power and it isn’t the warmest out there. Be prepared to start layering when you see temperatures start to drop below 0. And by 0 I mean C°, not F° as Therm-a-Rest intended.
Nevertheless, this winter sleeping bag is very comfortable with great space in the shoulder area and a decent foot box. The Questar is also really easy to pack.
This sleeping bag is also really lightweight and water resistant. It is a great buy if you have a limited budget and still want a good product that meets your needs.
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Marmot Lithium is a great lightweight sleeping bag and is also really warm. So warm in fact that you could easily withstand a cold night in alpine environments.
Unlike the Col, it isn’t waterproof though, so you want to pair this one with a good waterproof tarp or tent if you plan on hitting wetter trails.
Nonetheless, this sleeping bag is really light and easy to pack. Marmot Lithium is a classic winter sleeping bag perfect for hikers who like setting up camp or sleeping in mountain retreats.
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The Ascent 900 is the budget version of the Neutrino 800. With its 650 fil power duck down, you can sleep warm and cosy.
This winter sleeping bag is roomy enough for you to sleep any way you want, it isn’t as restricted as others. The shell has good weather resistance, so unlike the Marmot Lithium, you can go tentless and endure harsh weather without fearing the elements.
However, this winter sleeping bag is not as lightweight as others on the list but I think the weight is worth it.
It is a great option for seasonal hikers who want to hit the trails during winter without spending too much money. You could even make this one work for a mountaineering expedition.
Ultra Lightweight Sleeping Bags
This is the perfect choice for long and strenuous hikes where you want to make your pack as light as possible. These ultra lightweight sleeping bags are exactly what you need if you will be hiking hard and fast. These brands each have a very different function paired with excellent weight. But again you will have to consider what personal needs you have when backpacking.
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This is one of the best lightweight sleeping bags out there and is perfect for the fast-paced adventure in the wilderness.
Its 900 fil power has astonishing compressibility and only weighs 400 grams; that’s the best thing Rab’s technology has done with it. The comfort zone in cold weather is around 0C° (30F°) but with a proper pad, a liner, and some layering, you could sleep comfortably below that.
This sleeping bag is not the most comfortable as it isn’t very roomy, but that adds to the warmth efficiency.
Its fluorocarbon hydrophobic down is treated with Nikwax which keeps you dry. It does a great job besides a little moisture that you may experience around the foot box.
The Rab Mythic Ultra 180 does a great job as a 3-season sleeping bag for reduced size and weight. It is one of the more expensive lightweight sleeping bags on the market.
This is another great product by Western Mountaineering. The Summerlite is one of the best hooded lightweight sleeping bags on the market.
Its weight to warmth ratio allows you to hit the trail and spend the night comfortably around 0C° (32C°) without layering. If the night gets a little warmer than expected, its full-length zipper allows you to get some extra ventilation.
Its excellent materials guarantee that with proper care, this sleeping bag will be there for you for a long time. However, in order to achieve such a high level of warmth efficiency, Western Mountaineering designed this ultralight sleeping bag with a tight cut.
This makes it less roomy and a little uncomfortable if you’re the kind of person who moves a lot while sleeping. The Summerlite is a great ultralight option.
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If you’re not planning for a cold hike, this one is the lightest option on this list. With only 255 grams (9 Oz.) of down and amazing water resistance technology, I would say this one is your best ultralight option for summer or tropical hikes.
The fabric feels nice and it’s roomy enough for people who tend to move while sleeping so that guarantees some extra comfort.
However, if you’re looking for something warm, you’ll have to layer if you want to spend the night at 0C° without freezing. This ultralight sleeping bag with a quilt design features a pad attachment easy to use and very helpful for you to stay on top of your sleeping pad.
It is easy to pack, lightweight, water-resistant and is a great sleeping bag for tropical hiking. Combine it with a liner to make it perfect for cooler nights.
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This Western Mountaineering is one of the lightest sleeping bags on this list. It’s 850 fil power is very well packed and has a total weight of 425 grams (15 Oz.)
However, despite its very well crafted baffles and comfortable materials, this one is probably not the best option for large people. Short people will definitely have a better time with it since it feels a little tight around the foot box and it’s not as long as advertised.
The Highlite 35 falls under the summer category. Even with 850 fil power, you shouldn’t expect a lot of warmth from it. You can make it work with some layering and liners, but I think its better if you use it for summer trips or at least be sure you’re also packing a good tent if you’re attempting a colder hike.
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This is another true ultralight sleeping bag that is great for fast-paced hikers and people who like packing very light. The Spark SP III is superb to pack.
It is also one of the smallest lightweight sleeping bags on the market. In fact it is so small that a 1 liter water bottle takes up more space.
With only 340 grams (12 Oz.) packing 850 fil power down, this is the second lightest ultralight sleeping bag on this list. Unless you layer or camp inside a tent, you’ll hardly be able to reach 0C° comfortably.
Overall, this is another ultralight sleeping bag perfect for the warm months, but you can make it work the whole year if you also pack a tent or a bivvy sack.
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So this is not the lightest or the warmest sleeping bag you can get, but the Sierra Designs Cloud 800 is the most comfortable one you can buy in this category.
With the Cloud 800, you’ll get a huge hood that allows you to fit a pillow, its quilt style design and its integrated comforter will allow you to sleep incredibly comfortable above 0C° without the need to layer.
The zipperless vent system in its foot box is a very cool and useful feature. If it’s too warm, you can stick your feet out. It’s strategically placed down will provide enough warmth but you will definitely need a sleeping pad because the backside of it doesn’t come with any kind of fill at all.
Compared to others on this category, its 632 grams (22.3 Oz.) make this one heavier; however, for all the comfort and all the amazing features it packs, I think it’s worth considering this one as a serious option.
Sleeping pads are great to use if you need more padding and ground insulation. You won’t always find very comfortable sleeping bags, especially lightweight sleeping bags that don’t offer much cushioning.
Sleeping pads ensure that you have a comfortable layer between the ground and your body so you don’t have to feel every bump on the ground. It also gives you some extra heat insulation so should definitely be used in colder weather.
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This is a perfect option for avid hikers who love comfort after a tough day on the trails. The Sea to Summit sleeping pad provides superb comfort, great stability, and support.
The only con about this sleeping pad is that it is bulky and heavier than you would expect. But if you have enough space and are willing to carry some extra weight, the comfortable sleep you will have on top of this Sea to Summit has no match.
Its dual air chambers seem a little redundant but that provides durability and ultra-reliability for many hiking adventures. If you’re willing to carry its 710 grams, inside a bulky pack, this sleeping pad provides comfort and reliability like no other.
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Them-a-Rest is a leading sleeping pad design and manufacturing for the last decade. And this sleeping pad makes this very obvious.
The NeoAir XLite is lightweight, packable, comfortable, and versatile. If you’re looking for an ultralight sleeping pad that balances all the qualities of a good backpacking product, this is the one.
Its 454 Grams (16 Oz.) and its excellent packability allow you to hike light while its 4.2 R-value guarantees good insulation from the ground. This one isn’t the best at anything in particular, but it’s definitely the most balanced one.
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Most sleeping pads either offer you comfort or less weight. But the Tensor Ultralight is different in this respect. It offers you both.
This is a comfortable sleeping bag that is durable and a pretty decent weight. With its 425 grams or 15 Oz. it may not be the lightest but it isn’t exactly heavy either.
I mean, it’s going to be hard to find a lighter option with the same quality and comfort. For all the comfort, stability, and the decent weight this sleeping pad provides, there was one thing I didn’t like.
Even if you’ll feel well insulated, the R-value is unknown. So you won’t really know until you try it.
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This is a great affordable sleeping pad. It’s really hard to find something reasonably priced that provides such great specs.
Its 490 Gr or 17.3 Oz can definitely compete against the top of the line sleeping pads that cost three times more. The Klymit Static V2 is great to pack and is moderately comfortable.
However, on the downside, it doesn’t have a great R-Value; that means you won’t be very insolated from the ground. If you were looking for something affordable and lightweight, this is it.
But if you are looking for something that can give you a ton of comfort while helping you endure the harshest winter, this isn’t the one for you.
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I think of the Exped SynMat XP 9 as the tank of sleeping pads. It is super durable, with its exceptional construction, it will last for years. You can also take it where ever you want. It is great for harsh winters, desert camping and even tropical rainforests.
The R-Value is the second-highest on this list, its 6 points mean you’ll have great insulation during the coldest nights.
The comfort comes at a price though. All this comfort and versatility are packed in 1.09 Kg (38.5 Oz) of quality materials. In short, this is the perfect sleeping pad, especially for tall people, if you don’t mind carrying the extra weight.
The SynMat Hyperlite is designed for aggressive hikers who want a comfortable yet lightweight sleeping pad. With its 348 Grams (12.3 Oz) it really accomplishes the second but at the cost of some comfort around the foot box.
The R-value is 3.3, which means you will have a certain amount of insulation, but if you want to put it directly on the snow, you better have a good sleeping bag.
This sleeping pad features something they call anti-slip Grip Skin, designed to bring stability and avoid undesirable movement while you’re sleeping.
In my opinion, this is a great sleeping pad for long hikes, alpine expeditions, or simply for aggressive hikers who like counting every gram and still get a decent amount of comfort.
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If you have ever been tired after a tough day in the mountains and all you want is sleep then the NeoAir XTherm is perfect. It provides a brand new inflation valve, making it much easier to inflate.
This model provides excellent comfort, warmth, and insulation; all packed inside a very small and lightweight sleeping pad. Depending on how big you are, you may feel it a little narrow.
Its 516 Grams (18.2 Oz.) may not be the lightest but for an R-value of 6.9, it’s definitely worth carrying those few extra grams. This one is as great as it sounds, but on the downside, this is the most expensive sleeping pad on this list.
Sleeping Bag Liners
I would highly recommend always having a sleeping liner when backpacking. Besides being great against the elements as it adds warmth to your sleeping bag, it is also really important for general hygiene. You can think of the liner as a bed sheet for your sleeping bag.
Especially if you have a down sleeping bag, washing it can be difficult. And when you are on a long hike, you’ll be sleeping each night in the same sleeping bag. A sleeping bag liner is usually easier to wash, even during your hike and dries quickly. They are quite lightweight and easy to pack and should always have a place in your backpack.
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The Cocoon Silk Mummy Liner is amazingly comfortable and feels great on your skin. For 150 Grams (5 Oz) this is a lightweight way to make your sleeping bag up to 5F° warmer.
This is a durable product, its silky ripstop fabric allows you to be a little rough on it without worrying that it may tear. However, ripstop is known for being a little noisy, so you should expect the same from this Mummy Liner.
It’s not really a con unless you are sensitive to sound when sleeping. If the weather is warm enough, you can even use this liner by itself; but note that the weather should be really warm if you’re planning to leave your sleeping bag at home.
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Maybe not as comfortable as the Cocoon Silk, but this lightweight sleeping bag liner can really provide some extra warmth when the night gets very cold.
And if the weather is not as cold as expected, you can always leave your sleeping bag packed and use only the liner instead. To be specific, you can get 15F° of extra warmth.
The Themolite Reactor is very packable, you’ll barely notice it in your backpack. Weight may become a little problem if you’re counting every gram, its 255 Grams (9 Oz.) sounds a little heavy but if you’re confident about the weather conditions, you can pack this one instead of a full sleeping bag.
Just be sure because sleeping bags are kind of irreplaceable when the temperature starts to drop below 10C°. Also, its polyester fabric may not be as comfortable as ripstop silk, but it is less noisy. So that’s a pro.
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This liner wasn’t designed for alpine or winter adventures. Instead, it’s meant for humid tropical use. Sea to Summit advertise this liner as being 100% Polyester Coolmax fabric, and due to its stretchiness, we can guess there is a small percentage of spandex in it.
If you tend to travel to places known for its bugs like the tropics, then this is a great option. Its bug repellent technology guarantees that you won’t be annoyed by mosquitoes or other kinds of bugs during your sleep.
Just be careful about how you wash it because you can really shorten the repellent lifespan. The fabric feels nice and soft on your skin, and it’s great at wicking moisture and dealing with humidity. I really recommend this one for a jungle hike, just don’t expect it to warm you up at all.
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This is an affordable sleeping liner. This lightweight sleeping bag liner is comfortable, durable, and will add a couple of degrees to your sleeping system.
One of the best features on this liner is that it is so easy to pack. Once folded it is hardly bigger than your fist.
Its polyester construction feels nice, dries fast, and is tear-resistant. Although you can consider this lightweight, the term can be used loosely. It’s 272 Grams (9.6 Oz.) may feel a little heavy for something that doesn’t add a lot of warmth.
I think this is a nice option if you’re looking for something comfortable that also expands your sleeping bag’s lifespan for a very affordable price.
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If what you’re looking for is to add some degrees to your sleeping system, this is a versatile option. It’s Polyester Coolmax fabric dries very quickly and is very resistant while also providing a lot of comfort in any kind of environment.
Its moisture management technology is perfect if you sweat during the night, making it great to use for extended backpacking trips. This liner is very roomy and very easy to access, so you will have a guaranteed nice sleep with it.
It’s 255 Grams (9 Oz) put this liner among the lightest ones on the market. The perfect pairing for your lightweight sleeping bag. Although it is versatile I wouldn’t use this one for temperatures below 15C°.