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10 Best Sleeping Bags for 2021

The best sleeping bags for warmth on outdoor adventures

Sleeping Bag Ratings For Outdoor Use
  • Sleeping bags are essential if you’re going to be staying outdoors
  • They keep you warm overnight, retaining body heat and keeping moisture out
  • You will need to choose a Season rating, size, and material based on how you’ll be using it
  • They should be able to last for years, no matter how strenuous your trip

Our Top Picks

The Best Sleeping Bags

What everybody wants at the end of a long day of adventuring is a restful, warm and comfortable sleep.

Depending on the type of sleeper you are, and where you will be sleeping, choosing the perfect sleeping bag for you could get much more complicated than you’d imagine.

From the various shapes and materials to different togs and types of insulation, there are hundreds of sleeping bags out there, but finding the right one is very important to ensure you’re warm enough. You probably also don’t want to be too warm, which could lead to an uncomfortable night.

The OEX Leviathan EV 900 Sleeping Bag is our pick for the best around. It is a 4 Season bag, so will keep you really warm, although be aware that if you only camp in summer you may not need something quite so warming.

We have rounded up the best sleeping bags out there, whether you’re going on a week-long expedition up Snowdon or sleeping in a nice comfortable tent in summer after a day of fishing.

The Essential Sleeping Bag Buying Guide

For a full guide on how to choose the best sleeping bag, read our guide.

Season Rating

You can buy a sleeping bag which is for One Season (summer), Two Seasons (summer and autumn), Three (Spring, Summer, Autumn) or Four Seasons. Four+ Seasons is also available, but this is usually for non-UK conditions.

Temperature Rating

Temperature ratings will be expressed in comfort (lower and upper limits) and extreme ratings.

The comfort rating refers to the temperature you can use the bag in and still will feel warm and comfortable when in a rolled-up position. When the bag is used in any temperatures below this, you are likely to feel the cold. Most sleeping bags will just use the ‘lower’ limit here, but those which keep you very warm through 4 seasons will often have an ‘upper’ one too.

Extreme ratings are also used, which is the ‘survival’ temperature. It is essentially the temperature at which the sleeping bag will keep you alive without frostbite. However, you should not use the sleeping bag at this temperature if it can be avoided.

Men usually sleep at cooler temperatures to women as they are less likely to feel the cold, so there is usually a bit of leeway here, but they are only a guide.

Insulation Type

You have two options here – down, or synthetic.

The former is usually duck down. The loft creates little air pockets which makes it more effective at trapping heat. Because they don’t need to be filled as much, they are lighter and pack up smaller. The warmth-to-weight ratio of a down sleeping bag cannot be beaten by a synthetic bag. But a big disadvantage is that it absorbs water when damp, ruining the heat properties and taking ages to dry.

Synthetic is the most common, and will also be cheaper and require the least attention in terms of care. They also perform better in wet conditions, retaining some of their heat. But they will usually be thicker and heavier, as they need more filling in order to work at the same temperature levels.

Other Things To Know About Sleeping Bags...

What are some brands to look out for?

Snugpak, Duvaley, Sea to Summit, Alpkit, Active Era, OEX, Robens and Vango are some of the top names in the sleeping bag industry. Most make other similar products, whether this is bedding or other camping equipment, so know their stuff.

Always look for the brands you know and trust – you may have to pay a bit more but will get great quality and other benefits like lifetime guarantees in return.

Is down ethical to use in sleeping bags?

If you avoid animal products, then you will probably want to opt for synthetic bags. However, most duck down used in sleeping bags today should be used to Responsible Down Standard (RDS), which safeguards the welfare of the geese and ducks used.

RDS means that plucking feathers from live birds is prohibited, as is force-feeding, and the ducks and geese must be treated with a holistic approach throughout their lives.

Can I wash a sleeping bag?

Usually, but always follow the particular instructions for your sleeping bag. The majority will need to be hand-washed, but you may find some are machine washable on a gentle wash with cold water and suitable soap.

Ideally, just spot wash in between uses, and never use fabric conditioners or similar. Never dry clean either, as it can get rid of the original DWR (durable water repellent) coating.

Keep in mind that a deep wash will take around 2-3 hours to dry at the very least. To care for your bag in between uses, ensure it is aired after each use, and store it safely in a stuff bag which is fully closed.