How to Pick the Lightest Sleeping Bag

Here is exactly what you need to know about buying the lightest sleeping bag. We are going to discuss the most common sleeping bag fillers that will keep you warm in the climate where you choose to use it. Also, what makes a sleeping bag warm, rectangular verses mummy type sleeping bags, and the size and style of bag for both men and women.

After reading this article you will be able to choose the lightest sleeping bag for yourself.

One of the most important factors about keeping warm in your sleeping bag is to find a sleeping bag with a snug fit. The best style sleeping bags that qualify for snug fit are the mummy-style sleeping bags.

If the bag is too big you will use extra body heat trying to keep the entire sleeping bag warm. You want to choose a sleeping bag with just enough wiggle room to be comfortable. You may need some tossing and turning space.

The most important consideration for lightest sleeping bag is the filler

Goose down and synthetic fill material are most commonly used for the lightest sleeping bags. These lightweight materials have their own pros and cons. Goose down has been popular over the years because of its ability to keep you warm in any climate.

Also, goose down is lighter in weight. Manufacturers can pack more goose down into a sleeping bag, making it warmer and light at the same time. However, there is a significant disadvantage to using a sleeping bag filled with goose down as it loses its ability to keep you warm when it becomes wet. Goose down retains water and so when it becomes wet it doesn’t retain heat as well as some synthetic materials do.

While synthetic sleeping bags are great for being light weight, they can also be cheaper to buy. Some synthetic fiber fills will dry quickly and fewer will keep you warm when they get wet. Keep this in mind when selecting the lightest sleeping bag: Synthetic sleeping bags can also be water resistant and will do a better job at keeping you warm should your sleeping bag become wet.

Another consideration to sleeping bags is the shell material that they are made from. Polyester, nylon, and taffeta are common materials used for mummy sleeping bags. They are the least durable and best for late spring, summer and early fall adventures. These materials are low cost breathable fabrics which will need to be water proofed for wet conditions.

Ripstop nylon is a common shell material. It is a nylon or polyester material that has a tighter weave. The heavier threads make it stronger and more resistant to tears and moisture. Ripstop is a breathable material and is great for three-season camping.

Also there are DryClime, microfiber, and gossamer micro which are very tight woven materials very strong and moisture resistant. These are very lightweight materials and are great for three or four-season camping.

DryLoft is very water resistant and breathable, making it very comfortable. It doesn’t trap moisture, keeping you warm and dry leaving dampness outside where it belongs.

Rectangular vs Mummy

Of the two types of sleeping bags, rectangular and mummy bags, the mummy bag is known for being lighter weight. The fill is kept in compartments within the sleeping bag which can keep the weight of the sleeping bag down. While rectangular sleeping bags are fine for everyday use, the lightest sleeping bags will almost always come in the form of the mummy sleeping bag, typically, because of their size.

Also they are more compressible making them not only smaller but also lighter. Now let’s look at the size of your new sleeping bag.

One size doesn’t fit all

There are three key measurements to consider when choosing the lightest sleeping bag. They are length, shoulder girth and hip girth. Sleeping bags basically come in two sizes for men. Regular size will typically fit someone up to 6’ tall. Sleeping bags marked long are typically for tall people and will fit someone from 6’ to 6’ 6” tall.

Women’s sleeping also come in regular and long sizes usually measuring up to 5’ 4” for regular and 5’ 10” for long. In general, you’ll want the shortest sleeping bag for maximize warmth. Be sure to keep some extra room in your sleeping bag so that you don’t compress the filling—compressed filling doesn’t keep you warm.

You’ll also want room to keep clothes or extra footwear inside the bag with you to keep them warm. Next let’s look at girth.

For men shoulder girth is typically sixty to 64”. However, some can be as narrow as 58” and others as wide as 66” inches. Women’s sleeping bags are typically narrower at the shoulders at about 56” to 60”. Girth is mostly important for comfort and warmth.

Remember, you don’t want lots of extra room in your sleeping bag because it takes more energy to heat the extra room inside your sleeping bag. But you do want enough room for tossing and turning.

Hip girth varies for men and women. Typically, hip girth for men is 58” while hip girth for women is 60”. The best way to determine what works best for you is to try a few sleeping bags on and see which fits you best.

You may also want to consider sleeping bags with extra insulation in the feet and torso areas. If you usually get cold feet when you sleep, this could save you when you’re out in the field. You might also consider a sleeping bag with a 2-way zipper, which can come in handy if you want some extra ventilation for your feet.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for the lightest sleeping bag there are many factors to consider. The construction of your sleeping bag makes it light. So keep in mind lighter materials such as polyester, nylon, and the other synthetic materials. Some are more breathable, stronger and lighter weight. Also keep in mind that the mummy bag is usually smaller which will make it lighter.

The final factor is the size of the sleeping bag. The less material required within the sleeping bag, the lighter it will be. Don’t sacrifice size for comfort as the correct size sleeping bag is vital for heat distribution. Now you can determine the best light weight sleeping bag for your purposes.

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