The Best Way to Find the Most Compact Sleeping Bag

Compact Sleeping BagIf you’re trying to find the most compact sleeping bag, then here’s how to save a lot of headache. You need a sleeping bag that will store in a small space, either in your vehicle or in your home. You don’t have the space to stow a large sleeping bag. Not only that but you want to go hiking and don’t want a large heavy sleeping bag on your back. We will discuss bag styles, what they are and how to choose the one that is the best for compact use.

We will discuss the shell and how some fabrics are better suited, and how the filler can have a drastic effect on your ability to compress your sleeping bag in order to make it as compact as possible. When you are through reading you’ll be able to make the appropriate selection of the most compact sleeping bag.

Sleeping bag styles

You’ll find that there are basically two styles of sleeping bags. They are the rectangle sleeping bag and the mummy bag. Typically, the rectangle sleeping bag is designed for light-duty work. It’s designed for warmer temperatures and larger spaces. In most cases you can zip two of them together and create one large sleeping bag for two people.

Depending on the shell (outer material) and the filler (inner insulating material) you’ll find that the rectangle sleeping bag is difficult to use as the most compact sleeping bag. Your better choice is the mummy sleeping bag as they typically use less material, and less or typically better fillers.

If your sleeping is large you will find it difficult to roll it up into a compact size. And if it’s heavy that usually means that the filler is also a heavier filler. Both of these can make your sleeping bag difficult to roll into a smaller roll. You’ll never be able to compress a large heavy sleeping bag into a small compact roll.

The shell

The shell is the material that encompasses the filler and the liner. The first thing to consider is the fabric that the shell is composed of. Is it a heavy cotton fabric or is it made of some other light weight synthetic fabric? Cotton is a great fabric but has limitations for becoming compact.

Polyester, nylon, taffeta and nylon Ripstop are common materials used for mummy sleeping bags. They are lightweight and easy to compact. Compared to cotton these synthetic fabrics are much finer making them lighter and a better choice for the most compact sleeping bag.


Let’s talk about the filler or the material that is used to insulate the sleeping bag. Cotton again is used as a typical filler. However, it is not the best type of filler for the most compact sleeping bag. Cotton does not compact well and is not the best solution for keeping you warm. Cotton is typically used for warmer temperatures and can be heavier than synthetic fillers. It is usually not recommended for extremely compact sleeping bags.

Goose down is often used as a filler and can become very compact. Goose down is probably Mother Nature’s best solution for keeping you warm, as it is light weight and compacts very easily. It is known for its ability to keep you warm in extreme conditions. However, if it gets wet, goose down can become cold. But it compacts well. Manufacturers have found that they can treat goose down so that it will dry faster.

Manufacturers have also found that they can put more goose down in a sleeping bag, making it warmer and still making it lighter than most other types of fillers. A drawback to goose down is its expense. Goose down can be quite expensive and it seems to get more expensive all the time. Goose down is one of the best choices for the most compact sleeping bag.

Another type of filler are the synthetic fillers. They can be made of different polyester or nylon materials. They have several features, being lightweight, inexpensive and typically dry faster than goose down or cotton.

Compression sack

One of the most important aspects of the most compact sleeping bag has absolutely nothing to do with the sleeping bag itself. It’s the stuff sack. A sleeping bag can only compress so much. However, there is another solution—the sack that you stuff your sleeping bag into for traveling.

The best stuff sacks are made of nylon Ripstop which is a woven fabric that uses reinforcing techniques that keeps them from ripping or tearing. When this material is being manufactured thick reinforcing threads are interwoven into the pattern, making nylon Ripstop strong, waterproof and the perfect solution for compacting your sleeping bag.

Simply roll your sleeping bag into a small roll then push it into the stuff sack. The best stuff sacks also include a top lid with a zippered pocket. Some include handles and D-rings. They come in various sizes and can include double stitched seams to make them stronger.


The real question is, how does a sleeping bag compress into the most compact sleeping bag? The answer is what it is made of. If your sleeping bag is made up of heavier material, chances are it won’t compact into a small sleeping bag. You’ll want to consider the material that the shell is made of.

The lightest, most compactable material for the shell is a synthetic polyester or nylon material. Nylon Ripstop is considered one of the best. Also keep in mind the material that the filler is made of. The filler must be lightweight and compactable. Goose down is one of the best and most popular. However, there are several synthetic options available.

Typically, the synthetic options will dry faster when wet and will compact easily. Lightweight materials are used consistently for the best compression and to create the most compact sleeping bag.