Planning a summer trek to hike new trails and sleep under the stars? Don’t go anywhere without your trusty summer sleeping bag! To stay cool and dry on the trail without weighing down your pack, it’s essential to select the best summer sleeping bag for backpacking to give you the rest you require.
Not sure how to choose the best summer sleeping bag for backpacking? Here’s what you need to know about picking a summer sleeping bag, including the top 5 options you’ll want to consider for your next trek.
The top 5 summer sleeping bag for backpacking we recommend for 2021:
If you’re not sure what to look for when picking out the best summer sleeping bag for backpacking, you’ve come to the right place. Check out the key features you’re going to want to keep an eye out for below.
Your campsite is an important factor to take into consideration when picking out the best summer sleeping bag for backpacking. You need to identify where you intend to set up camp and your usage needs for your sleeping bag before you can choose the one that works best for you.
For example, check out the expected weather conditions in the region you’re going to be backpacking and camping in, the shelters around, and how long you’ll be sleeping in the great outdoors.
You’ll also want to consider factors such as the altitude and wind in the area of your campsite(s). That way, you’ll be able to decide which summer backpacking sleeping bag has the features you need to protect you from certain kinds of elements and hold up against the type of environment you’ll be camping in.
The vast majority of sleeping bags available sport some kind of a temperature rating. Summer sleeping bags are typically rated for 35 degrees Fahrenheit and up. You’ll want to purchase a summer sleeping bag with temperature ratings a little bit under the minimum temperature you expect to be camping in.
You’ll find it much less complicated to just unzip your sleeping bag if temperatures get a bit too balmy rather than try to get warmer if a chilly wind sets in.
Even if you’re going to be camping in summer weather, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for a cool night at the campsite just the same. You can easily add a sleeping bag liner for extra warmth if needed. Liners are a great way to use your summer sleeping bags in a variety of climates and extend the multi-use function of your gear.
If you’re going to be backpacking in a region where the weather changes on a dime or is prone to variance, you’ll definitely want to consider having a sleeping bag liner on hand, just in case. There are liners available for just about any type of sleeping bag, in materials such as cotton, silk, fleece, and synthetic fabrics with great moisture wicking properties.
When selecting the best summer sleeping bag for backpacking, you’ll definitely want to consider the amount of insulation it provides compared with your usage needs. Sleeping bags manufactured from synthetic fibers typically feature a solid range of textures and shapes that are soft and compact enough to make for easy packing.
Synthetic fibers provide quality insulation even when they get wet, which is a great thing if you run into summer rains.
However, synthetic sleeping bags are also a lot heavier and take up more space than standard sleeping bags featuring down insulation do. Besides this, synthetic material doesn’t usually last as long as down. That said, synthetics are considerably easier on the wallet than goose down, so this is another element to take into account as well.
When it comes to the best summer sleeping bag for backpacking made with goose down, you’ll enjoy exceptional insulation that truly stands the test of time. Goose down sleeping bags are a solid investment, so if you care for them well they really will last you forever.
Sleeping bags made with goose down are also highly compact so you can fit them into your gear with ease.
The only major downside with goose down is the fact that it doesn’t wick moisture at all and completely foregoes its insulating properties when it becomes wet. The good news is, some manufacturers opt to incorporate waterproof shells for goose down sleeping bags to solve this conundrum.
You can keep your goose down sleeping bag in a waterproof bag when on the road to avoid it getting wet if you come across some showers. Goose down sleeping bags are more expensive than synthetics, but their longevity of use is well worth it.
You can purchase the best summer sleeping bag for backpacking in a range of shapes and sizes, so it partly comes down to a matter of personal preference and partly to functionality. The 3 main types of sleeping bag shapes are mummy sleeping bags, rectangular sleeping bags, and semi-rectangular sleeping bags.
Mummy sleeping bags are narrower and made to fit nice and tight around the body for extra insulation. Some mummy sleeping bags include an insulated hood to keep your head even warmer in cooler conditions.
You can close the insulated hood if you so desire or leave it open if it’s too warm outside. While it might not some like this would be the case, mummies are actually the most lightweight summer sleeping bag option.
If you don’t care about the narrower fit of a mummy sleeping bag, this type will save you plenty of space in your gear and won’t weigh you down. Plus, if you run into cooler temperatures at night, the bag will keep you warm and insulated.
Rectangular sleeping bags are the traditional option, offering you plenty of freedom of movement to sleep in. We would note that the rectangular design is not quite as insulating as the mummy variety, but if you’re going to be backpacking in strictly balmy temperatures, that will work to your advantage.
The majority of rectangular sleeping bags sport double zippers so you can transition your sleeping bag into a cozy blanket.
Semi-rectangular sleeping bags are a new selection on the market, meant to offer a happy medium to users between the mummy and rectangular design. You’ll have less space to sleep in, but you’ll also enjoy better insulation. If you like some of the qualities of mummies but feel they don’t offer enough space to move, you might like the compromise of a semi-rectangular sleeping bag.
Here are the top 5 best summer sleeping bag for backpacking picks you’ll want to consider for your next backpacking adventure.
The first selection for our best summer sleeping bag for backpacking review is a super light option, so if you’re going to be backpacking in very warm summer climates this could be a quality pick for you.
The mummy Millet LD Baikal 750 Sleeping Bag weighs a mere 1 pound and 11 ounces and fares well when comparing warmth vs. weight. We liked that the synthetic fabric is designed to provide excellent insulation with integrated silicone fibers.
We love that the design is water repellant to keep you warm and dry even if you hit some damp conditions. The sleeping bag’s outer layer sports 40-denier nylon which makes it highly resistant to wear and tear. We also loved the side zipper that runs up the entire length of the sleeping bag, shoulder collar, cold resistant flap, and hood to cover your head for sleep if you so desire.
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The Marmot NanoWave is a very affordable option for the best summer sleeping bag for backpacking. The sleeping bag is an excellent pick if you like to go backpacking now and then and will be camping in very hot weather.
The design is even more lightweight than our previous pick, which means it is also not quite as warm. However, if you’re going to be hiking in very hot temperatures where it doesn’t cool down much at night, this shouldn’t be an issue.
We loved the nylon exterior and inside polyester layer that offers excellent comfort and breathability when you’re sleeping. The Marmot NanoWave also integrates their branded SpiraFil insulation in between the outer and inner layer, featuring substantial spiralized fibers and tiny polyester ones.
Other cool features include a drawcord at the hood, a two-way zipper, and even loops for hanging so you can dry out the sleeping bag if you get rain showers overnight. For newer backpackers who want a quality option at a phenomenal price, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better choice than the Marmot NanoWave.
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The next best summer sleeping bag for backpacking selection on our list is the incomparable RAB Ignition 2 Sleeping Bag. We picked this sleeping bag because of its extreme versatility—it is not only an excellent choice for warm summer backpacking adventures but will serve you well in the spring and autumn. The material this sleeping bag is manufactured from is of exceptional quality, featuring Pyrotec insulation for additional comfort and compactness.
You’ll have no issue folding this sleeping bag up nice and tight and slipping it into your pack. The sleeping bag’s exterior features lightweight yet sturdy 30-denier ripstop. We were impressed to see that the RAB Ignition 2 Sleeping Bag also sports a zipper that runs halfway up the design to make it easy to slip in and out of the bag.
Plus, the angled foot box and drawcord in the head region are nice touches.
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The North Face Aleutian 40/4 Sleeping Bag is very similar to our previous selection, except it is a much lighter option. It is also way more affordable than our previous pick and a good option for beginners and backpacking pros alike.
We were happy to see that this best summer sleeping bag for backpacking sports Heatseeker Eco Insulation to give a light but quality amount of insulation for a satisfactory ratio of warm vs. weight. The Heatseeker Eco Insulation is also environmentally friendly, designed purely from recycled fibers.
We liked the added touches of a full zipper on one side of the sleeping bag and a shorter zipper on the opposite side. We were also pleased with the quality ventilation of The North Face Aleutian 40/4 Sleeping Bag, with a draft collar and foot box that contours to your body.
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Our final pick for the best summer sleeping bag for backpacking is the Kelty Tuck Tuck 35/EN 30 Sleeping Bag. We chose this sleeping bag because it offers additional insulation when compared to some of the other picks on our list, making it ideal for both warm weather backpacking and cooler weather adventures.
The lowest temperature rating it is compatible with is 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
The sleeping bag sports ThermaPro insulation manufactured from synthetic fibers to help you stay warm and dry even if you run into damp weather conditions. The exterior and inner layers of the Kelty Tuck sleeping bag feature 75-denier polyester for durability.
We were glad to see that the sleeping bag sports a hood for extra head comfort, a zipper draft tube, and a media pocket to store your device. If you don’t mind the extra weight, this summer sleeping bag is a quality option that will truly last you for years of backpacking excursions ahead.
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For us, the absolute winner from the top 5 best summer sleeping bag for backpacking picks is the Rab Ignition 2 Sleeping Bag. We loved all the use you can get out of this versatile sleeping bag, as it is light enough to use in the summer but insulated enough for cooler seasons like spring and fall.
The material is really comfortable with quality Pyrotec insulation to keep you nice and dry. We feel that compactness is a really important feature when selecting the best summer sleeping bag for backpacking, and you’ll have no issue fitting the Rab Ignition 2 Sleeping Bag into a nice little space in your pack.
What’s more, the 30-denier ripstop material and the handy zipper that runs halfway up the design make this sleeping bag a user-friendly and durable choice. The Rab Ignition 2 Sleeping Bag is a quality, lightweight, breathable, compact, and ultra-comfortable option to help you achieve a restful night’s sleep on many summer backpacking adventures to come.