Best Budget Sleeping Bag 2021
In this Guide
Finding the right sleeping bag doesn’t have to be tough. We have put down some solid buying advice to help you pick the best cheap sleeping bag while making sure you don’t compromise on the warmth or comfort of the bag. Keep reading for our list of best budget backpacking sleeping bags and also for our insight into the best ways to use sleeping bags. Now, let us delve into in-depth reviews of some of the best budget sleeping bags we have tested in our trails.
How to choose the best budget sleeping bag?
When choosing which sleeping bag to buy, there are some factors you need to take into consideration to ensure that the sleeping bag you want is the most suitable for your adventure hiking and camping needs! We’ve compiled a list of the most critical factors you need to keep in mind when buying the best sleeping bag.
Fit: Mummy or Rectangle Bags
There are two main different types of fits available in the market, and which one you pick is primarily based on personal preference
Mummy bags, as the name suggests, enclose you tightly quite literally like a mummy who doesn’t leave much space available in the bag. This less area heavily contributes to the warmth of the bag by trapping the heat generated by your body better. Mummy bags are relatively heavier than quilts, and they come with or without hoods. They come with full length, half-length, or ⅓ length zippers. A mummy design is useful for trimming materials and weight in a bag intended for human-powered adventure. If you don’t toss & turn in your sleep, or if you are comfortable with cozy settings, Mummy bags should be your pick.
Most people are likely to find spacious dimensions more comfortable than overnight confinement. That’s why our testers prefer the broader feel of rectangular bags over a tapered mummy shape. Rectangle bags are thus an alternative to those who don’t prefer constricting spaces. They have a larger area and allow for generous sleeping positions.
It may not be as warm as a tightly enclosed mummy bag, because the heat from your body is spread across a larger area in this case. These don’t come with hoods and don’t have zippers. That’s the reason they are lightweight as compared to Mummy bags. Rectangular sleeping bags are not all the same size, but we found the manufacturers’ listed dimensions to be accurate generally. Make sure the length is long enough for your height. Beyond that, more full bags will usually feel more comfortable.
Unfortunately, choosing a temperature rating isn’t an exact science because the ratings by the manufacturers don’t tend to be accurate. A sleeping bag’s usable temp range is determined by an interplay between how well it can seal heat in versus how well it can let excess heat escape. Hoods and draft tubes enhance a bag’s capacity to trap heat, while long zippers ensure you don’t overheat on warmer nights. They only give you a ballpark estimate as to what you can expect out of the bag. If a bag comes with a temperature rating of 20F, it means that it will keep you alive down till that temperature and not that you would still be as warm at 20F. Always go for a bag that’s warmer than you would want it to be. E.g., one that is roughly 10 degrees lower than the temperature you’ll be sleeping in.
Warmth and Insulation Material
The classic mummy shape of most sleeping bags is designed to provide maximum warmth with minimum materials. Sleeping bags thus offer arguably the highest warmth-to-weight ratio of any insulating layer. This warmth is determined by the quantity and quality of the insulation, along with the bag’s thermal efficiency. You can get a rough idea of a sleeping bag’s warmth by considering its insulation and design, but without considerable experience, it can be hard to make a confident prediction. There are mainly two types of insulation materials in sleeping bags: Down and Synthetics.
Down bags are the popular choice among backpackers, because of the excellent weight-to-warmth ratio they provide. The down fill power is the reason for the unmatchable weight-to-warmth rate of down bags. Bags with higher down fill powers are preferred for winter weathers. They also compress more and are expensive as compared to Synthetic bags. Synthetic insulation is a cheaper alternative to Down. They weigh more and compress less. On the brighter side, they overtake down in their performance when wet and also dry faster.
Most sleeping bags feature a nylon shell on the outside that’s either water-resistant or waterproof, enabling the bag to stay in good shape whatever conditions you’re camping in.
Durable water repellent (DWR) makes water on the outside of the bag bead up, as opposed to soaking into the bag. While DWR is applied to sleeping bags during manufacturing, over time, it will wear off.
Some sleeping bags advertise their ability to stay “warm when wet.” Typically, these are synthetic sleeping bags. Even if they still stay somewhat insulated, this is not going to be comfortable to sleep in, so don’t be confused by the hype. You should always try to keep your bag as dry as possible.
Weight and Packed Size
A secondary characteristic to consider when selecting a sleeping bag is how well it packs down, and thus, how much space it will take up in your car, attic, or suitcase. By and large, the packed sizes we measured corresponded closely with warmth—warmer bags were larger and colder bags packed smaller. The variation between similarly warm bags seems to be small enough that it shouldn’t greatly influence a purchasing decision.
Versatility and Extra Useful Features
One of the most common alternatives used for a sleeping bag is to convert it into a blanket for lounging. Rectangular bags can usually accomplish this with ease, primarily if the zipper extends around the foot of the bag. Mummy bags, in contrast, cannot unzip to become an ordinary blanket. Many rectangular bags also have the added benefit of allowing them to be zipped together to create a two-person bag.
Extra Features can also be handy, so some of the additional accessories to be on the lookout for include:
- Sleeping bag liners
- Storage sack
- Stuff sack
While most bags come with compression sacks, and might or might not include storage sacks, storage sacks are very important to extend the life of your sleeping bag. A final feature that more sleeping bag makers are introducing in their newer models is a system for attaching the bag to a sleeping pad. Most of our testers think these attachment systems are unnecessary because it can be downright tricky to roll off a pillow inside a cramped two-person tent. Some people, however, do appreciate being able to secure their sleeping bags to their pad.
TOP 6 Best Budget Sleeping Bags 2021
1) Kelty Cosmic Down Sleeping Bag
- Shape: Mummy
- Temperature Rating: 19°F
- Fill: 600-fill DriDown
- Weight: 2 lbs. 6.6 oz.
The Kelty Cosmic is one of our best budget sleeping bags available— you won’t find a more affordable sleeping bag that also doesn’t compromise on quality. This bag is comfortable and features a soft and cozy interior. The shell is durable and adds to this bag’s longevity. Features like a draft collar and an easy to adjust hood help keep warm air in and cold air out. Along with its mid-range 600-fill down, the bag offers cozy warmth and excellent compressibility. And considering the typical price of a down bag, the Cosmic Down’s $170 MSRP stands out.
One of its best features is the hydrophobic treatment it offers, which is a big helper should some water make its way into the tent or if you sleep too close to the wet tent walls. This model isn’t the warmest bag, though, and the 20°F manufacturer rating is somewhat generous. It’s toasty in the low 30’s, but you’ll need to layer up if temps enter the 20’s. Compared with the Forte above, the tighter-fitting Cosmic is the better buy if you’ll be backpacking more than 1-2 times a year or want to travel light.
|Great crossover bag as it is also Best for backpacking and camping||Too snug for comfort seekers|
|Excellent value for money with an excellent warmth-to-price ratio||No storage sack and no compression sack|
|Burly and roomy fit||Heavier than average|
An affordable option that’s still suitable for overnight backpacking
2) NEMO Kyan 35
- Shape: Mummy
- Temperature Rating: 35 F
- Fill: Synthetic Primaloft Silver
- Weight: 1.89 lbs
The Nemo Kyan 35 stacks up well as one of the best affordable sleeping bags out there. Perhaps it is its weight, which is its most impressive feature—under two pounds for a synthetic 3-season bag, which is pretty much unheard of. It also won’t take up much room in your pack because it comes with a great compression sack and packs down as small the best down bags we’ve tried. In camp, we think you’ll be pleased by the dimensions that feel surprisingly roomy for a traditional mummy bag design. Another feature we like is the zippered “gills” on the top of the bag that allow you to reduce the level of insulation on warmer nights.
|Super lightweight and compact||Warmth doesn’t match the temperature rating|
|Very packable for a synthetic bag||Finicky zippers on “gills” and stash pocket|
|Comes with a good compression sack|
Recommended, and it is especially great for wet activities or environments where the versatility of the synthetic insulation will bring you peace of mind.
3) Coleman North Rim Extreme
- Shape: Mummy
- Temperature Rating: 0°F
- Fill: Thermoloc Polyester Ripstop
- Weight: 6 lbs. 3 oz
The North Rim has the comfortable shape of the traditional mummy sleeping bag ideal for minimizing weight during human-powered backcountry adventures. However, at 6 lbs 3 oz, this is a car camping bag, not a backpacking model. Apart from this drawback, the North Rim feels well executed. Its legit draft collar and sturdy hood ensure that it lives up to its 0°F temp rating. We also like the interior stash pocket for storing a phone or headlamp so you can protect your batteries throughout any frigid night. Finally, the Coleman zippers are client favorites for their durability. The North Rim comes in one size designed to fit people up to 6’2’’, and even has features like a draft tube and two-way zipper. For winter camping, this sleeping bag is surprisingly well-built and a good deal.
|Can be used as a blanket by unzipping it & flipping it over||Bulky for backpacking|
|Sizable draft collar and comes with a hood||Mediocre packed size|
|Super warm||Coarse fabric|
The best budget hiking sleeping bag with a good compression sack to help you stay warm and comfortable on your hiking trail!
4) Marmot Trestles 30 Mummy Sleeping Bag
- Shape: Mummy
- Temperature Rating: 30 F
- Fill: SpiraFil high loft insulation
- Weight: 3 pounds, 1 ounce
With an incredible insulation system, thanks to the synthetic insulation, the Trestles mummy-style sleeping bag retains the exceptional warmth, softness, and compressibility of the best budget down sleeping bag. It is also EN rated as comfortable for men to the lower limit of approximately 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The Trestles’ combination wave construction offers warmth and maximum loft on top, and a plush, blanket-like feel on the bottom—keeping your body in comfort all night long. It also has a full-length, locking YKK two-way zipper and a fold-down secondary zipper for added ventilation and easy access.
|Fluffy loft with a lot of breathability||Tad heavy for backpacking|
|Right packed size and easy to slide into the bag|
|Has a handy pocket inside of the bag|
A tremendous down sleeping bag that is also inexpensive and lightweight, making it one of our favorite best budget sleeping bags!
5) REDCAMP Cotton Flannel
- Shape: Envelope
- Temperature Rating: 32°F
- Fill: soft flannel liner and rebounded hollow cotton fiber
- Weight: 1.98 lbs
The REDCAMP Sleeping Bag is great for both indoor and outdoor activities. With a carrying bag, it can be taken anywhere you want to go. It is suitable for hiking, climbing, camping, self-driving tour, fishing, and other outdoor activities. Among so many different options for affordable sleeping bags, the Redcamp Cotton Flannel can set itself apart. Its price is only slightly above rock bottom and offers an impressive trifecta of warmth, comfort, and versatility in a package that still feels well-made. The simple rectangular design offers spacious interior dimensions to ensure a free night’s sleep. Plus, you can keep your phone battery warm (and holding a charge) by keeping it inside the small velcro stash pocket.
|Simple rectangle design||Not the strongest zipper|
|Zip together a second bag|
Not only a favorite since it is the best budget sleeping bag for a single person, but it’s also our top choice for an affordable two-person option. Simply buy two and zip them together.
6) Teton Sports Celsius XXL
- Shape: Half-circle mummy style and rectangle
- Temperature Rating: 0°F
- Fill: Brushed Flannel
- Weight: 7 pounds
The Teton Sport’s Celsius XXL stands out from the rest of the list because it offers two incredible features: luxurious dimensions and exceptional warmth. With 39 inches of width, it is the widest best budget single sleeping bag, which means it solves the common complaint most people have about sleeping bags feeling too restrictive or narrow. The bag is also exceptional in its ability to provide complete warmth and comfort as it’s filled with plenty of hollow fiber insulation and sports a legit draft collar and hood to seal heat in.
This bag’s high quality, its price, presents an excellent deal. However, several cheaper bags could meet the needs of most people, especially when warmth may not be essential.
|Cozy flannel lining||More expensive|
|Luxurious dimensions.||Could be too warm|
|Great durable zippers||Bulky packed size|
The best budget winter sleeping bag to keep you cozy and warm on freezing nights during your camping trip!
How to Properly Use and Care for Sleeping Bags?
Firstly, be very careful with your zippers. One of the most frustrating things people have complained about is their zippers breaking or snapping off completely in brand new sleeping bags. While not all sleeping bags come with functional quality zippers, it only takes a little extra care while zipping to prevent it from breaking. If you have kids jumping around and on sleeping bags, know that it might cause the loft to get unevenly distributed and damage the down. Also, make sure you don’t take your sleeping bag too near a campfire, even a tiny flame of fire can damage the bag.
Air Out Bag
It’s recommended to air out the bag daily for at least 10 minutes, especially when it’s in active use. This evaporates the condensation, sweat, or dew collected in the bag and makes it dry again. Also, make sure the bag is not exposed to harsh sunlight for too long, which might damage the outer coating of the bag. If the bag has gotten wet, it should be aired out for several hours.
The way you choose to store your sleeping bag will determine how long your sleeping bag lasts. Make sure to air out the bag well, and always store it in a loose storage sack. Although most sleeping bags come with a bag, even if yours doesn’t, you can easily purchase one!
Storing it inside a stuff sack is a bad idea since it eventually damages the fill because of the compression.
Sleeping bag liner
Consider using a sleeping bag liner. It can be of cotton, linen, silk, or any lightweight, thin material. They ensure that the sleeping bag doesn’t get dirty. You only will have to wash the liner after use and not the entire sleeping bag, so it makes it more durable. They also provide you with 5F to 15F of additional warmth that might be useful in colder weather.
FAQS for Best Budget Sleeping Bags
If you have any more confusions and queries, worry not, we have compiled a quick and informative FAQ’s section to ease any possible remaining worries!
Q: How much does a sleeping bag cost?
Depending on the brand, style, and materials, sleeping bags can vary widely in cost. Your sleeping bag is one of your most critical pieces of gear, and it may also be more expensive. While there is a wide range, you can usually find the best cheap sleeping bag with a good-quality sleeping bag between $50 and $250.
Q: How long will my sleeping bag last?
A high-quality sleeping bag that’s maintained well can last up to 20 years. To extend the life of your sleeping bag, sleep in clean clothes when you’re inside your bag to prevent your body from sweat, oil, and dirt piling in the sleeping bag. You can also get a sleeping bag liner to sleep inside, which is easier to clean. If you are returning to the same campsite, hang your sleeping bag as you would at home to help air it out.
Q: How do I clean my sleeping bag?
It is recommended to wash your sleeping bag once every year or every other year, depending on how dirty it is. Try to keep it as clean as possible without having to wash it. You can also clean the bag using a mild spot and water with a sponge or cloth. Always check the bag’s washing instructions before cleaning (you’ll usually find these on the tag). Typically, you should use a front-load machine, or dry clean the bag. Afterward, thoroughly dry the bag. Let it run for a few hours in the dryer to ensure there is no moisture in the bag.