Whether you’re going backpacking during the summer, or you’re feeling adventurous and want to see what it feels like to spend the night in nature when the temperature drops, you’re going to have to invest some money in a good sleeping bag.
Despite popular belief, you don’t have to spend a small fortune just to get a good night sleep in the outdoors – there are plenty of budget-friendly options out there.
To help you find them, I’ve made a list of the best backpacking sleeping bags under $100.
Take a look at my favorite ones!
Last update on 2018-01-16 PST - Details
- Backpacking: Summer vs. Winter
- Choosing The Right Budget-Friendly Sleeping Bag: Things To Look For
- Best Sleeping Bags Under $100: My Top 5 Choices
- 1. Abco Tech Sleeping Bag With Compression Sack - Stay Comfortable In Near-Freezing Temperatures
- 2. Winner Outfitters Mummy Sleeping Bag with Compression Sack – Keeps You Warm No Matter What
- 3. OutdoorsmanLab Sleeping Bag Lightweight For Camping, Backpacking, Travel – Just Stay Above 45°F
- 4. Coleman Green Valley Cool Weather Adult Sleeping Bag – Coziness At Its Best
- 5. Outdoor Vitals OV-Light 35 Degree Backpacking Sleeping Bag – Cut Weight, But Stay Warm
- Did You Find What You Were Looking For?
Backpacking: Summer vs. Winter
While the equipment you should bring with you pretty much stays the same whether you’re going backpacking in the summer or the winter, there are some significant differences when it comes to your sleeping bag.
Most people think of summer as the best time of the year to go backpacking – nothing beats sleeping under the stars during a warm, summer night. The best thing about it is that you won’t need much to stay warm; „light“ and „cool“ are the key terms you should look for not only when it comes to your clothes, but your sleeping bag, as well.
You probably won’t need more than a sleeping pad under your sleeping bag; alternatively, you could opt for a travel liner or a lightweight quilt.
You’re probably thinking:
Who in the right mind would choose to go backpacking in winter?
But hear me out:
" Winter offers an entirely different backpacking experience; the landscape changes drastically, but in a good way – frozen lakes and mountain tops covered in snow are quite stunning in their own way.
And since the summer-oriented campers and backpackers are all confined to their homes during the winter, you’ll find that a lot of previously crowded trails have turned into peaceful destinations for your trip.
Trust me, with the right equipment – an adequate sleeping bag and appropriate winter clothing – your winter backpacking adventure will be a lot more pleasurable than you might expect it to be.
And in case it starts snowing, I promise you’ll be blown away by the beauty of the surrounding landscape. "
Choosing The Right Budget-Friendly Sleeping Bag: Things To Look For
- Temperature Rating – This is probably the first thing you should look for when you're buying a sleeping bag. What temperature rating does is tell you what's the lowest temperature a particular sleeping bag is capable of handling – and by "handling" I mean not losing its ability to keep you warm.
- Type Of Insulation – Another major thing to consider is the insulation type. You can choose between down and synthetic insulation. If you’re looking for warmth, compactness, and durability, then down is the way to go (pun intended). Synthetic insulation bags, however, are the budget-friendly ones and they perform exceptionally well when it comes to keeping you warm in wet conditions.
- Weight – When it comes to carrying a backpack with you all day long, lighter is always better. Keep in mind that your sleeping bag will probably end up being one of the bulkier pieces of equipment in your backpack. While it's up to you to decide on the weight you feel most comfortable with, if you're going backpacking in winter, you won't have much of a choice.
- Size – There are two things to consider here; one of them is matching the size of your sleeping bag with your body size. They usually come in two sizes (regular and large), so choose according to your height and weight. The other important thing to keep an eye on is the size of the sleeping bag when it’s packed.
- Warmth – You need a bag that's capable of keeping the cold air out and the warm air in; this is where things come down to simple physics. The thicker the sleeping bag and the tighter the fit (I'll talk more about mummy-style bags in a moment), the better the ability to keep you warm at night.
- Shape Of The Sleeping Bag – The style you choose to go with should depend on whether you’re going backpacking during summer or winter. In general, rectangular-shaped sleeping bags are more suitable for higher temperatures, and they offer a lot more space. On the other hand, the mummy style of sleeping bags is a better option for freezing temperatures. They’ll fit snugly around your body and are a lot easier to carry around due to how lightweight they are.
- Waterproof – While this is not an absolute must – after all, your tent is the one that’s supposed to keep water out in the first place – I would certainly recommend a sleeping bag with a waterproof finish.
- Additional Features To Keep In Mind – Any compartment (or pocket) on your sleeping bag is always a bonus, as it will allow you to store valuable things safely – your smartphone, for example. And to make sure the heat isn't escaping more than it needs to, hoods and neck mufflers are more than welcome sleeping bag features.
Best Sleeping Bags Under $100: My Top 5 Choices
1. Abco Tech Sleeping Bag With Compression Sack - Stay Comfortable In Near-Freezing Temperatures
When it comes to handling low temperatures, this sleeping bag is as hardcore as it gets. With a temperature rating as low as 20⁰F, it's more than capable to keep you warm even during harsh, winter nights.
So, if winter backpacking is your thing, this budget-friendly sleeping bag is the way to go. For a decent amount of money, you'll get a bag suitable for all four seasons.
Another great thing about it is that it's entirely waterproof, so you can be sure you'll stay dry even if water somehow manages to find its way into your tent.
And for extra protection, there's the double fill technology – the durable, quickly-drying polyester fill will work alongside other features to make you feel as warm and comfortable as possible.
The only real disadvantage is that the bag is a little bulky. It weighs a bit over four pounds so, while it is a bit heavier than most of the other models on this list, I wouldn't say it's THAT heavy.
But when you count in the fact that you need to carry it around all day – as well as your backpack – you can see why the whole weight thing might be an issue.
2. Winner Outfitters Mummy Sleeping Bag with Compression Sack – Keeps You Warm No Matter What
Not everyone is a fan of mummy-style sleeping bags; the reason behind this is that they don't offer you a lot of room for wiggling around. However, they do an excellent job at keeping you warm, which is, in my opinion, far more important than being able to turn in your sleep.
And with a temperature rating between 35⁰F and 40⁰F, that's what this sleeping bag is made to do.
A few additional features help a lot, as well. First off, there's the draft collar, which will fit snugly around your neck and keep the cold air out. On top of that, the bag has draft tubes that go along the zipper, making it practically impossible to lose any heat through them.
Besides being more suitable for people with a smaller frame, the only real issue that came up (and it's a minor one, I assure you) was when it was time to pack up the sleeping bag. Here's the harsh truth:
Once you unpack it for the first time, you'll never be able to pack it the same way, which will make fitting it inside its bag a lot harder. I'm not sure that's entirely on the sleeping bag, though – maybe getting used to it just takes some time.
3. OutdoorsmanLab Sleeping Bag Lightweight For Camping, Backpacking, Travel – Just Stay Above 45°F
Remember when I talked about those additional features you should look for in a sleeping bag?
Well, this one has them.
One of my favorites is the integrated pillowcase; there's no need to worry about packing a pillow, as this feature allows you to use pretty much anything soft as a pillow – a towel or a piece of clothing, for example.
Another great additional feature the interior pocket – and a large one, if I might add. You can now sleep soundly knowing your valuables are safe.
There's also something that's advertised as temperature control feature. Sounds fancy, right?
What this „temperature control feature" really means is that you can unzip the bottom of the bag separately, so you can stick your feet out if it gets too hot inside the sleeping bag.
But there's one thing that bugged me with this sleeping bag - the temperature rating. While the manufacturer states that you'll feel comfortable even with the temperature falling somewhere between 35⁰F and 40⁰F, I wouldn't say that's entirely true.
So, just to be on the safe side, stick to using it in temperatures that don't fall below 45⁰F.
4. Coleman Green Valley Cool Weather Adult Sleeping Bag – Coziness At Its Best
Those of you that are over six feet tall should probably look away now. I'm sorry, but this sleeping bag is by no means suitable for you guys.
It's safe to guess that if you kept reading, you're in the five-feet range, so listen up:
If coziness and warmness are what you're looking for, you're in the right place.
With the temperature rating of 30 to 50⁰F, you can be sure this sleeping bag will keep you warm. ThermoLock feature is an excellent (and much appreciated) addition; these draft tubes will prevent heat loss that often occurs through the zipper.
While the shell is 100% polyester that keeps the water out, the inner side of the bag is 100% cotton, which means you won't wake up to that weird feeling of being stuck to your sleeping bag.
Another huge plus is that you can always opt for buying two of these and zipping them up as one – there's nothing better than snuggling up with your significant other during a chilly night.
There's just one minor issue that I need to mention – the sleeping bag doesn't come with a carrying bag, which means you'll have to buy one separately.
5. Outdoor Vitals OV-Light 35 Degree Backpacking Sleeping Bag – Cut Weight, But Stay Warm
It's time for another one of those mummy-style sleeping bags; if you're going backpacking, this shape is a lot more convenient because it usually weighs less.
That's particularly true for this Outdoor Vitals model – this sleeping bag weighs only 2.2 pounds, which is as low as it gets without compromising the temperature rating of 35°F.
Yes, you read that right – 2.2 pounds; pair this weight with a compression bag included in the package, and you get one of the best sleeping bags for backpacking – lightweight and compact.
One thing I've noticed about this sleeping bag is that the zipper seems rather weak – you can unzip it by just moving around in it when it's zipped. While this might not be a big deal if you're backpacking in summer, winter is an entirely different story – lose too much heat and things could go south pretty fast.
And speaking of losing heat, there's an additional feature made to prevent it – a smartly-positioned drawstring will allow you to tighten the bag around your face as much as you want.
Lastly, I would like you to know that this bag is capable of keeping you dry during unexpected downpours thanks to the VitalDry DWR and StormLIGHT features. What this means is that the outer shell of the bag is water-repellent, while the insulation is waterproof.
Did You Find What You Were Looking For?
If not, let me help you with making your decision.
When it comes to the best backpacking sleeping bag under $100, the Winner Outfitters Mummy Sleeping Bag with Compression Sack is my personal favorite – and the one I’d recommend to all my fellow backpackers out there.
Yes, it’s budget-friendly, but that could be said for all other sleeping bags on my list – the real reason why I chose it is the quality it offers for the price. This one’s made to keep you warm – even when the temperature falls below 40°F.
See, I told you there’s no need to spend a small fortune on a sleeping bag – you can get the Winner Outfitters Mummy Sleeping Bag with Compression Sack for as little as $35.