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Best Sleeping Bags for Backpacking

While backpacking, you can expect to spend as much time with your backpack on as in your sleeping bag. It is a place of rest and recovery and not something worth opting for a cheap option. Many other places in a gear list, we recommend finding the best value, but a sleeping bag is one of the most emotionally impactful items, and having one you simply love will improve any thru-hike or backpacking trip. That is why many of the options on our list are closer to the premium category than the budget side. Small, hand-crafted options are simply unmatched in their quality, and that is why our top three picks for the best sleeping bags are all made by cottage backpacking companies.

  1. Our Choice: Feathered Friends Flicker

  2. Our Quilt Choice: Katabatic Flex 22 Quilt

  3. Most Ultralight: Zpacks Classic

  4. Affordable Value Sleeping Bag: REI Magma 15

  5. Affordable quilt Option: Therm-a-rest Corus 20 Quilt

  6. Ultralight Quilt: Enlightened Equipment Enigma

  7. Affordable Value #2: Mountain Hardware Bishop Pass 15

  8. Premium Quality: Western Mountaineering UL 20F


The Best Backpacking sleeping bags

Flicker YF Feathered Friends best Backpacking sleeping bag and quilt review

What we like

  1. Versatility to unzip completely into a blanket or cinch up to a mummy bag

  2. Lightweight and packable

  3. Durable and holds up well on a thru-hike

  4. Water-resistant outer fabric

What we don’t

  1. Expensive

  2. Occasionally out of stock

Thanks to the smart design, portability, top-notch comfort, warmth, water resistance, and high-quality materials and craftsmanship, the Flicker YF Quilt Sleeping bag ticks all the boxes for a quality sleeping bag. Another reason behind the popularity of this sleeping bag is its versatility, as it can be converted to a blanket on warm nights making it suitable for all weather conditions and all the likely climates encountered on the PCT.


Katabatic Flex 22 quilt and sleeping bag review for best backpacking quilts and sleeping bags

What we like

  1. Comes in 3 different sizes

  2. Very good loft and fill quality

  3. Versatility similar to the Flicker (above)

  4. Premium quality

What we don’t

  1. Slightly colder than the 22-degree

  2. rating, we guess it is about 30 degree

  3. We did not find the secure pad attachment system useful

Produced by a small company based in Colorado, the Katabatic Flex 22 Quilt is a high-quality quilt designed for use over multiple seasons. Thanks to the versatile design – it can also open fully as a blanket – the Flex 22 Quilt is able to perform well over a wide range of temperatures. This quilt is one of the most expensive on this list but is worth it if you can afford it. Katabatic quilts are handcrafted by a cottage brand, the lead time is longer than some of the larger names on the list but the quality is superior.

Zpacks Classic Sleeping Bag Review

What we like

  1. Lightweight and compressible design

  2. High-quality 900-fill power goose down

  3. Spacious foot box

  4. Water-resistant and breathable outer shell

  5. Three different temperature ratings are available

What we don’t

  1. Very Expensive

  2. Not the most dependable Zipper

  3. Less Durable than the top two choices on the list

The Zpacks Classic Sleeping Bag is a lightweight, down-filled sleeping bag in the ultralight category for both backpackers and thru-hikers. It is made with high-quality 900-fill power goose-down. The bag has a 3/4-length zipper (down to approximately your calves), which helps make it comfortable even on warm nights. The bag’s outer shell is made from a water-resistant and breathable material, which helps to keep the interior dry. The bag is available in different sizes and temperature ratings, ranging from a 20-degree Fahrenheit bag to a 40-degree Fahrenheit bag.


REI Magma Sleeping bag review

What we like

  1. Durable and compresses well when packing

  2. Very warm option for cold sleepers

What we don’t

  1. Less Loft than Comparable bags

  2. Limited Versatility

  3. Heavy

Ultra-lightweight and with an interior made of plush nylon material, the Magma 15 is a great option at a lower price than others on the list. It is one of the warmer bags on the list, and we recommend this sleeping bag for cold sleepers. The Magma has most of the features found in high-end sleeping bags, such as a draft collar, a trapezoidal foot tube, zipper draft tube, and variable-sized baffle construction. This is the best value if you are looking for a sleeping bag for a three-season hike, shoulder season hike, or a longer PCT thru-hike.


Bishop sleeping bag review

What we like

  1. Affordable

  2. Plenty of room

  3. We found it very comfortable, especially for the price

What we don’t

  1. Heavy

  2. Does not compress well, not very packable

A more affordable option than the Magma 15 and Flicker quilt, the Bishop Pass 15 is a great sleeping bag for outdoor enthusiasts on a budget. The durable construction, warmth, and top-notch comfort make this sleeping bag a total bargain. However, there’s slightly less room in this Bishop Pass 15 with tapered ends. As it typically goes with ultralight backpacking gear, this sleeping bag weighs more than many of the lighter bags on the list. But this is the right fit if you want something warm, quality, and durable for a lower price.

Thermarest sleeping bag review

What we like

  1. Packable and compresses well

  2. Great warmth for cold sleepers

  3. Better loft than comparable bags in this price range

What we don’t

  1. Large and not offered in smaller sizes

  2. The included stuff sack is too big

The Therm-a-Rest Corus 20 Quilt is an excellent blend of affordable price, comfort, and weight. It’s especially beneficial for backpackers and thru-hikers looking to travel as light as possible. The warm-to-weight ratio is excellent and perfect for higher elevations. When the nighttime temperature drops, this bag is sufficient to keep you warm while not sacrificing useless insulation and weight at lower elevations. This is a great option to combat the variability of the PCT and other backpacking trips in the west. Unfortunately, the Corus 20 is not offered in smaller sizes, and it can be a little big for shorter hikers.

Enlightened Equipment Enigma sleeping bag review for best backpacking sleeping bags on the pct

What we like

  1. Accurate temperature rating

  2. Solid design and comfort

  3. Great value sleeping bag

What we don’t

  1. Often out of stock and long lead times

  2. Lacks a hood

Ultra-lightweight and comfortable, the Enigma is designed for backpackers and thru-hikers that want a high-quality quilt that won’t weigh them down. The spacious interior of this quilt makes it ideal for side-sleepers or people that toss around a lot in their sleep. And you get enough warmth on cold nights to sleep comfortably. There is also the option to order a fully customized Enigma by providing your desired size, temperature, down fill, or color. Lead time for customized orders could be up to 6 weeks, but stock options are also available.


Western Mountaineering UltraLite Sleeping Bag: 20F review for backpacking

What we like

  1. Best warmth on the list

  2. Great loft even after compressed

  3. Lightweight and even includes a hood

What we don’t

  1. Extremely pricey

  2. Possibly too much bag for most 3 season backpacking trips

The last product on this list, but definitely not the least. The WM Ultralite is actually the most expensive sleeping bag and comes with several premium features – 850+ goose fill power goose down, down-filled ground collar, zipper tape guard, and continuous baffles. If you have the budget, the Ultralite is a no-brainer.

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