Have a brilliant nights sleep with the cozy-est sleeping bag

After a days hard activity, a good nights sleep is what you want most. Especially if the following day is going to be a tough one.

 

Choosing the right one

Like a lot of outdoor equipment the choice of sleeping bags is huge. Sleeping bags are designed to suit different outdoor activities, and your whole experience can be helped by choosing the right bag.

It’s a depressing night lying there unable to sleep because you are too cold, or because your sleeping bag is wet. I have experienced both and I don’t recommend it. It is worth taking some time to find the best sleeping bag for your nights out-of-doors that you have planned.

There are several factors to consider in your decision, so let’s have a look at some –

Cost

Most of us are working to a budget when we consider buying our gear. We want the best results for the best value. I would suggest if it is a choice between two bags, choose the more expensive, do not skimp on price. You will probably find that “that will do” – won’t!

On the other hand a more expensive bag might be in excess of what you really require. It might be too warm, because it is designed for winter use, not a summer’s night. There is also the possibility that it will be heavier, and if you are backpacking, weight is always an issue.

Activity

What do you want your sleeping bag for?

  • Will you be carrying it in a rucksack?
  • Where will you be sleeping – in a camping barn, in a tent or out-of-doors?
  • How often will you be using it?
  • Where are you going?
  • What temperatures will you be using it in?
  • If you are sleeping in the open will it cope with the damp.

Weight

This is important if you are doing a camping hike for more than one day. The lighter the sleeping bag, the lighter is your backpack. Making your trip easier.

Volume

Again if you are carrying your sleeping bag in a rucksack, the less room it takes up the more room for other items.

Size

Sleeping bags do not vary hugely in their dimensions. However if you are a larger sized person it is worth checking. (See the Snugpack softy crysalis 2 below).

Temperature

All sleeping bags are rated by seasons, 2, 3 or 4 season. I use this as a rough guide, 2 season warmer Spring/summer weather, 4 season colder wintry weather. The supplier should also inform you about the different temperatures that a sleeping bag is designed to be used in. There is no point having a sleeping bag that can be  used in -10, if all your camping will be done in the summer.

Water resistance

If you are planning to sleep out under the skies. Then you will want a sleeping bag that has some form of proofing, even if you are using a bivy bag.

Getting the best

It’s a balance of all the above that has to be made to get the best sleeping bag for your adventure. Below are four examples that we recommend, which may also help guide you to make the right choice.

Two of them are insulated with synthetic material, and two with down. Three of them are 2-3 season bags, which would be suitable to use when backpacking. One is a 4 season, should you be wanting to go abroad to colder climates this summer or are planning a winter trek.

There is a range of weight and price across the four sleeping bags.

Whatever you chose to do this season, have a good night’s sleep!

 


1. Snugpak Softie Chrysalis 2 Sleeping bag

Features

This sleeping bag from Snugpak has three interesting innovations. There is a panel along the inside of the bag with a zip, that can be used to expand the volume of the bag, and clips at the bottom so that it can be folded over and made shorter. This is to help the user to manage their warmth, in relation to the bags volume. It also has a built in Led torch on the hood, with an emergency flashing option.

The Chrysalis 2 is made from Paratex fabric which is hard-wearing, light weight , windproof and  water-repellent. It is soft to the touch and breathable, wicking moisture away from the source.

It is mummy shaped and fits  into its own stuff sack. weighing 1300g.

My thoughts

The inside of the sleeping bag is easy to slide into, with an instant feel of warmth and comfort. Although the bag is shaped and is narrower towards the feet. There is enough stretch in the fabric to prevent a mummified sensation, for those who like to move their legs around, like me.

I am not really convinced about the two features that enable alterations to the bag size, to be honest – I do not really see the point. If I am too warm I simply undo the zip of a bag a bit. I do not think I would go to the trouble of un-zipping the bag and re-zipping it in the middle of the night, because I am too warm. However if you are short (child for instance) or find standard sleeping bags too tight because of your build, then these features may be the answer.

Also when I camp I take a head torch, as do most people I think. So the Led light seems an unnecessary extra to me.

It is the lowest priced of the sleeping bags reviewed, but the second heaviest. It fits comfortably into a rucksack, but is not as small as the Vango.

A good sleeping bag if you are planning to stay on a static camp site, or sleeping barn for a period in the warmer months.


2. Vango Ultralite Pro 200

 

Features

The Ultralite Pro 200 comes third in the light weight statistics of our four sleeping bags (1100g). However it is the smallest pack size. So in the pack size/weight ratio it comes out tops. That is probably why it is recommended for the D of E, and the Scouts for backpacking.

It is a snug fit.The insulation is 4T synthetic in a Trilateral construction to improve warmth and eliminate cold spots. Vango’s Thermal-Reverb reflects heat radiated from the user’s body back, making the bag warmer with less weight. It has excellent wicking properties so that the user can stay warm without being wet.

The fabric is soft to touch, water and tear resistant.

My thoughts

This is a relatively inexpensive sleeping bag with a good weight/ warmth ratio, that packs pretty small. It is ideal for backpacking in warmer weathers, if you are not planning too many trips. That is a good reason for the Ultralite Pro being recommended for the D of E, and the Scouts.

It feels thin and it is the narrowest of the bags reviewed. There is a measure of flexibility around the leg area, but not around the feet. I did feel pretty mummified, but it did capture my warmth pretty quickly.

As you slide in to it, it has a silky feel. There is a collar with a draw cord on the inside which is quite effective. I found that the hood was sufficient but not enclosing my head as much as some of the other bags.


3. Rab Morpheus 4 Down/synthetic Sleeping Bag

Features

This is a four season sleeping bag weighing 1600g, it is the heaviest of the bags reviewed. The insulation is 650 fill power R.D.S. certified Hydrophobic Duck Down upper, with Pyrotec™Polyester microfibre insulation in the base to increase moisture resistance. The fabric is a lightweight 30d ripstop, so that the Morpheus is durable and suitable for all year use. It can be used in  temperatures as low as -30°C

It has a zip access both sides for comfort and ventilation, it is an extra wide mummy shape.

My thoughts

This is the most expensive of our four bags (£195.50) and the heaviest.That is because it is designed to be used in more extreme weather. Climates that are moist and cold.

The whole bag speaks warmth, and as soon as you climb inside you feel secure and snug it is almost like being in bed. It is spacious but the warmth is sealed in though with the internal collar and hood drawcords.

I like the two zips either side of the sleeping bag, both as ventilation options and as access to the bag. It just makes it a little more useful for sitting in when preparing your coffee in the morning.

It has a stuff sack which is a bit on the large side, and a cotton storage sack for when it is not in use, to help maintain the loft of the down.

It is worth the cost if you are planning to go to somewhere that is really cold.


4. Mountain Equipment Helium 250 Down Sleeping Bag

Features

This is the lightest of our 2-3 season sleeping bags being reviewed weighing only 705g. It has its own stuff sack so is ideal for backpacking. However it is the second most expensive.

The Mountain equipment Helium is an Alpine fit. Insulated with 700 fill power Duck Down in a baffle construction to restrict migration.

The outer fabric is Mountain Equipment’s Helium™20 outer shell, which is light and breathable. The densely woven construction ensures that the bag is windproof and highly resistant to heat loss.

The inner fabric is Supersoft™30, which has good breathability, is durable, with a soft feel.

My thoughts

If you are a hardcore backpacker, planning to do a lot of backpacking in the warmer months of the coming years. Then I think this is a worthwhile investment. It is the most expensive of the 2-3 season bags reviewed here (£180), but it is also the lightest with a small pack size. Weight and space are of the utmost importance if you are on a major trail for a week or more. I think after a few days of walking, you will be glad that you spent that extra because your pack is lighter.

I like the feel of down, as soon as you get into the bag it conveys a sense of snugness, feeling good all helps those zeds! It is quite spacious so I could move my legs a bit, but there is not a lot of flexibility in the fabric.

The Mountain Equipment Helium 250 has its own neat storage cube, to keep the down in optimum condition when the sleeping bag is not being used.

The down is not Hydrophobic and the outer fabric is not water-resistant at all, so I would not recommend this bag if you are planning to not be under cover. Wet down loses its warmth and does not dry quickly.


Summary


1. Snugpak Softie Chrysalis 2 Sleeping bag

  • Fabric: Paratex Light and Paratex Micro (100% Polyester)
  • Insulation: Snugpak Softie, Snugpak’s exclusive synthetic (polyester) filling
  • Built in Expanda panel
  • Built in Led torch
  • Weight: 1300g
  • Mummy shape
  • Comfort temperature: 2°C
  • Low temperature: -3°C
  • Pack size: 20 x 36cm
  • Rating: Good for use in static sites, in warmer weather
  • Price:£72.21
  • Buy now: Snugpak Softie Chrysalis 2 Sleeping Bag

2. Vango Ultralite Pro 200

  • Tri-Lateral construction – An independently floating layer of insulation is not compressed by stitching, which reduces cold spots and increase core temperature.
  • 4T synthetic insulation – Innovative synthetic insulation fibre. Improves warmth to weight ratio by trapping air in its patented channel structure
  • The tightly woven construction of the 20D, 33g/m­², nylon Polair Active fabric create a warm, soft to touch and easily compressible material which is also water and tear resistant.
  • Thermal-Reverb – Aluminised layer reflects radiated body heat back to the user for maximum warmth
  • Thermal Embrace System – Elasticated thread sewn into the inner fabric. Makes the sleeping bag gently conform close to the body. Reduces cold spots and increases loft of insulation.
  • Insulated, adjustable shoulder baffle – Retains heat within the sleeping bag
  • 3D hood with multi-cord closure – Structured hood design keeps the head and shoulders warmer during the night. The hood’s dual cord thicknesses allow easy adjustment in the dark
  • Arrow Foot – Shaped foot area allowing feet to relax into their natural position
  • 3D insulated zip baffle – Minimises heat loss through the zip. The 3D shape allows the filling to loft and provide insulation
  • Full Length Two-Way Auto-Lock Zip with Zip Guard: Used to seal in warmth or provide ventilation and can be used from inside the bag. Anti-catch piping helps to prevent the zip from snagging on the lining.
  • Internal pocket – Provides convenient storage for small items
  • Omega shaping – Engineered to position zips and seams in the lower section of the bag. Ergonomically shaped to fit around head and shoulders for improved heat retention
  • 4-strap compression stuffsack – Minimises pack size for easy transportation
  • Weight: 1100g
  • Comfort temperature: 4°C
  • Low temperature: -1°C
  • Extreme temperature: -16°C
  • Pack size; 20 x 30cm
  • Rating: Excellent for occasional summer backpacking. D of E and Scout recommended
  • Price: £75.95
  • buy now: Vango Ultralite Pro 200 Sleeping Bag

3. Rab Morpheus 4 Down/synthetic Sleeping Bag

  • Outer fabric: Light-weight 30D Ripstop nylon
  • Liner fabric: Light-weight nylon
  • Upper insulation: 650FP R.D.S. Certified European Hydrophobic Duck Down
  • Base insulation: Pyrotec™polyester microfibre, added durability and moisture resistance
  • Extra wide mummy shape
  • twin zips to allow both arms exit, additional usability and venting options
  • Lift hand YKK® 3/4 length zip, right hand YKK® 1/4 length zip
  • Anti snag bonded zip guards
  • Concealed internal collar and hood drawcords
  • Internal stash pocket
  • Weight: 1600g
  • Comfort temperature: -4°C
  • Low temperature: -11°C
  • Extreme temperature: -30°C
  • Pack size: 28 x 43cm
  • Rating: This is ideal for extreme temperatures
  • Price: £195.50
  • Buy now: Rab Morpheus 4 Down/Synthetic Sleeping Bag

4. Mountain Equipment Helium 250 Down Sleeping Bag

  • Extreme Temperature -15°C / 5°F
  • Comfort Limit Temperature 2°C / 36°F
  • Comfort Temperature 6°C/ 43°F
  • Good Nights Sleep  0°C / 32°F
  • Fit – Alpine Fit with tapered lower section for improved thermal efficiency
  • Trapezium 4 – 4 baffle trapezoid foot piece for excellent down control and loft with low weight
  • DC5 Hood – 5 baffle anatomical fit hood provides excellent warmth and down control
  • Solus Collar – Solus collar for optimum lightweight insulation with down draft tubes
  • Slanted Box Wall Construction – Slanted box wall baffles for minimal weight and excellent stability
  • Baffle Walls – 30g baffle walls for down control and structure
  • Zips – ¾ length zip with anti-snag baffle
  • He30 – He30 Outer shell and hood lining is exceptionally lightweight and highly breathable
  • Weighing as little as 30g/m., Helium 30 combines fine denier yarns and a high thread count to create a fabric that is exceptionally light, compressible and tough. Its densely woven construction ensures the highest levels of down-proofing, wind resistance and resistance to heat loss
  • Supersoft 20 lining – exceptionally light, breathable and comfortable
  • Supplied with a lightweight stuff sack
  • 725+ Fill Power Duck Down – ME’s premium duck down. Sourced from Northern China, with an actual minimum down cluster content of 90% and individually tested both to ensure a minimum fill power of 725 cubic inches and be DOWN CODEX approved
  • Weight: 710g
  • Pack size: 23 x 36cm
  • Rating: Worth the price for the regular committed backpacker
  • Price: £180
  • Buy now: Mountain Equipment Helium 250 Down Sleeping Bag
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Content Writer

I have loved walking in the in the great outdoors as long as I can remember, weather is not an issue and any landscape is a new adventure. Personal details:- Height 5'10"(1.78m), Wt 12st10oz(81kg) Chest 41"(104cm) Trouser size 32"W,32"L, Baselayer/midlayer size medium. Hardshell layer size large.