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Baggin’ On A Budget

There’s nothing quite like sleeping in the great outdoors. We get to escape the confines of our four-walled lives to enjoy the stars, the solitude, and a soft breeze. One of the most extraordinary things about camping is just how accessible it is. Once you’ve got all the necessary gear, there are minimal expenses minus your campground reservation, maybe some firewood, and that day’s repast. However, assembling your arsenal of camping or hiking gear isn’t always an economical process. Tents, backpacks, lamps, cooking equipment, and more can add up, so it is helpful to know when there are budget-friendly options that won’t leave you with buyer’s remorse or an empty bank account. With that in mind, we’ve assembled a list of 12 sleeping bags—from lightweight backpacking bags to cozy camping bags—that cant meet all your needs while going easy on your wallet. Before we go any further, though, we thought it best to provide a brief primer about the science of sleeping bags.

Types Of Sleeping Bags

      • Rectangular

        These squared-off bags are the more traditional design associated with sleeping bags. These roomy sleepers are often used for camping, but there are also backpacking versions available. Many can be unzipped entirely and used as a quilt.

      • Mummy

        A staple amongst ultralight hikers, the mummy shape is intended to boost warmth while keeping down weight. The snugness of the mummy design enables its user to roll with the bag rather than inside it.

      • Semirectangular

        These fall somewhere between a rectangular bag and a mummy bag both in design and function; they’re typically right in the middle with respect to both roominess and warmth, however the latter is also impacted by the materials used. Semirectangular bags may also be known by other names like “spoon,” “barrel,” or “modified mummy.”

      • Double

        These less common sleeping bags are generally intended for couples that like to snuggle on their excursion; they can be found in both rectangular and semirectangular shapes. However, double bags can also be achieved by zipping together two of the same bag, as long as one bag is left-hand zip and the other is right-hand.

      • Sleeping Quilt

        These are a much less commonly found sleeping bag. Their open-back design wraps around your sleeping pad and cuts even more weight. They are often highly compressible and used for ultralight camping trips.

Anatomy Of A Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bags are more than just a zipped-up quilt. Although there are still simpler designs available nowadays, many are composed of complex features intended to increase warmth, ventilation, and general comfort and offer conveniences that make life on the trail just a little easier. Here are a few of the features you’ll find on the sleeping bags in our review.

  • Shell

    This is the bag’s exterior fabric and is often made of polyester or nylon, but there are also canvas shells available. The bag’s shell often uses a DWR (durable water repellent) coating to protect the insulation from getting damp.

  • Insulation

    Also often called the fill, insulation can either be down (i.e., the plumage that’s found underneath the exterior feathers on waterfowl) or synthetic materials like polyester. The benefits of down are that it’s light, warm, and highly compressible, while synthetic insulation is more resistant to dampness and more affordable.

  • Lining

    This is the interior of the bag (it’s what you feel against your skin). These are often made of similar materials to the shell but usually slightly softer, like polyester taffeta. More traditional sleeping bags may also utilize fabrics like cotton to give it more of a bed-like feel.

  • Neck Baffle

    Also called a draft collar, these extra tubes of insulation found near your neck seal heat inside the main compartment of a bag. These extend the bag’s usable temperature range to colder conditions.

  • Draft Tube

    You’ll find these running along the zipper of the bag. Like the neck baffle, the draft tube is intended to help lock in heat and, in this case, prevent it from escaping through the teeth and stitching of the zipper.

  • Hood

    Mummy bags will always feature some sort of hood that wraps around your head to increase its overall warmth by locking in heat. These hoods are often fitted with drawstrings to cinch them down snugly.

  • Stash Pocket

    On many of today’s bags, you’ll find a helpful pocket, typically enclosed with either a zipper or Velcro, where you can quickly stuff your cell phone or headlamp.

  • Sleeping Bag Liner

    This is a third-party accessory that many hikers will use to extend the warmth of their sleeping bags. Many liners can improve the temperature rating of a sleeping bag by as much as 25°F.

 

Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker

The Importance Of Temperature Ratings

Typically speaking, there are three types of bags, depending upon the temperatures for which your sleeping bag is most suitable. A summer-season sleeping bag is built for temperatures above 30°F or -1°C (hopefully, well above, since even 40°F can be pretty chilly). A three-season sleeping bag can tackle temperatures between 30°F and 15°F (-9°C), while a winter sleeping bag will be capable of handling temperatures of 15°F and lower.

 

To help consumers determine the relative warmth of their sleeping bags, they are provided with temperature ratings that are often listed in the product name itself. Though sleeping-bag makers used to conduct their own tests to determine these numbers, today, this testing is carried out by independent labs to ensure unbiased results. The original standard was called EN (European Norm), but more recently, the ISO (International Standards Organization) has taken over this task. However, both tests are practically identical, so an EN-rated bag should have the same ISO rating.

 

The two most common ratings you’ll find for sleeping bags are its Comfort Rating and Lower Limit Rating. The Lower Limit Rating indicates the temperature at which a warm sleeper (i.e., someone who has little trouble staying warm) can still feel comfortable. This is the rating you’ll find listed for men’s sleeping bags. The Comfort Rating is the temperature at which a cold sleeper would still be comfortable. This is the number listed with women’s sleeping bags because it’s generally believed that the “average woman” will not feel as warm in the same sleeping bag as the “average man,” physiologically speaking. There’s also a third, less commonly seen listing known as the Extreme Rating, and for a good reason. It’s defined as the minimum temperature at which a standard woman can remain for six hours without risk of death from hypothermia.

Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker

How We Judged

For our review we’ve broken down each sleeping bag into four different categories that we felt gave a good picture of the relative strengths and weaknesses of each product. These are each bag’s warmth, comfort, weight (and packed size), as well as its various features.

  • Warmth

    We’ve included the pertinent temperature ratings for each sleeping bag in the review. These ratings mostly come down to the insulation and design. For sleeping bags that opt for down insulation, the warmth of each bag is mainly determined by the down’s fill power and fill weight. Fill power is the size and quality of the down used, while fill weight is simply the number of ounces of down. Fill power scores for sleeping bags fall typically between 500 and 900, with higher numbers being better. There’s no measurable fill power for sleeping bags that use synthetic insulation, so fill weight plays more of a role in making this determination.

    The style of a sleeping bag can heavily influence the warmth of a sleeping bag. It’s no coincidence that the most efficient cold-weather sleeping bags are mummy bags, as this shape wraps around the body to reduce the amount of interior air that’s heated by your body. Other features like neck baffles and draft tubes can assist in keeping the heat locked inside your sleeping bag.

  • Comfort

    To evaluate the comfort of each sleeping bag, we considered the loftiness of its insulation, the softness of its liner, and the overall dimensions. While the cushioning and texture are relatively straightforward—the overall warmth of the bag will also play a factor—comfort is a bit more subjective due to bag dimensions. Some folks prefer the tight fit of a mummy bag, while others may like things a bit roomier. For most, a roomy footbox falls in the positive category.

  • Weight & Packed Size

    Weight may or may not be an issue with your choice of sleeping bag depending upon its intended use. Car campers are unlikely to sweat over the weight of their sleeping bag since it’s only traveling from their trunk to their tent. However, for those who plan to store their sleeping bag in a backpack and hike any considerable distance, weight is a notable factor. For ultralight hikers, weight is the ultimate factor.

    The weight of each bag nearly directly correlates with its packed size, also known as compressed volume. Lighter bags will almost always pack down smaller. Except for one sleeping bag, all of the compressed volumes listed for these bags was achieved using a compression sack since this is the most efficient way to pack them.

  • Features

    As mentioned earlier, there are several components of the bag that can make it more appealing. While some of the budget bags on our list have skimped on extra features to keep the price low, others have found ways to include a few party pieces. Some we’ve already mentioned, like the neck baffle, draft tube, and stash pocket, but the layout of the zippers can also play an important role. A two-way, full-length zipper not only enables the user to open up the footbox for bottom ventilation but even opens the bag completely to be used as a quilt. 

    We’ve also considered whether the product comes with a bag for storage and transport. Storage bags are often made of mesh to let the sleeping bag breathe (some sleeping bags also come with external loops so they can be hung up). Others may also have a stuff sack that packs the bag up smaller or even a compression sack to ensure the sleeping bag is backpack-ready.

     

For this review, we’ve focused on the men’s versions of these bags but included mentions if there are also women’s versions available. For the most part, when comparing men’s and women’s versions of the same sleeping bag, the only significant difference will be the dimensions, as women’s sleeping bags tend to run slightly smaller (they’re sometimes listed as the “short” version). Women’s sleeping bags can also be somewhat heavier, so know that the comfort rating is likely closer to the lower limit.

Our Top Picks

NEMO Forte 20: Best Overall Sleeping Bag

Kelty Cosmic 20: (Runner-Up) Best Overall Sleeping Bag

ALPS OutdoorZ Redwood: Best Camping Sleeping Bag

Klymit KSB 35: Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag

Kelty Callisto 30: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Under $50

NEMO Forte 20: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Rei.com

  • Warmth 80% 80%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Weight/Packed Size 60% 60%
  • Features 70% 70%

Pros

Excellent ventilation

Great for side sleepers

Cons

Heavy

Large pack size

Weight: [regular] 2lb 14oz, (1.3kg) [long] 3lb 2oz (1.4kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 22°F (-5°C)

Style: Semirectangular/Spoon

Kelty Cosmic 20: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker
  • Warmth 80% 80%
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Weight/Packed Size 70% 70%
  • Features 60% 60%

Pros

Warm

Roomy

Packable

Cons

Slightly heavy

Liner could be softer

Weight: [short] 2lb 7oz (1.1kg), [reg] 2lb 10oz (1.19kg), [long] 2lb 15oz (1.33kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 21°F (-6°C)

Style: Mummy

ALPS OutdoorZ Redwood: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Amazon.com

  • Warmth 90% 90%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Weight/Packed Size 20% 20%
  • Features 50% 50%

Pros

Very warm

Durable

Plush

Cons

Heavy

Large

No waterproofing

Weight: 11.7 lbs (5.3kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): -10°F (-23°C)

Style: Rectangular

Klymit KSB 35: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Amazon.com

  • Warmth 50% 50%
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Weight/Packed Size 80% 80%
  • Features 60% 60%

Pros

Very light

Compressible

Cons

Not warm enough for three seasons

Weight: 2.1lb (0.9kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 35°F (1°C)

Style: Mummy

Kelty Callisto 30: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Amazon.com

  • Warmth 50% 50%
  • Comfort 50% 50%
  • Weight/Packed Size 40% 40%
  • Features 60% 60%

Pros

Comfortable

Versatile

Great value

Cons

Could be warmer

Not suitable for backpacking

Weight: 4.2lb (1.9kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 30°F (-1°C)

Style: Rectangular

Mountain Hardwear Lamina 30: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Backcountry.com

  • Warmth 70% 70%
  • Comfort 60% 60%
  • Weight/Packed Size 70% 70%
  • Features 60% 60%

Pros

Included compression sack, Sufficiently packable

Cons

Minimal features

Weight: [regular] 2.17 lbs (1kg), [long] 2.28 lbs (1kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 27°F (-3°C)

Style: Mummy

Marmot Trestles 30: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Backcountry.com

  • Warmth 70% 70%
  • Comfort 60% 60%
  • Weight/Packed Size 50% 50%
  • Features 60% 60%

Pros

Durable, Included compression sack

Cons

Heavy

Not very packable

Weight: [regular] 3lb 1oz (1.4kg), [long] 3lb 5.2oz (1.5kg), [long wide] 3lbs 9.2oz (1.6kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 26.2 F (-3°C)

Style: Mummy

Coleman Brazos: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Rei.com

  • Warmth 60% 60%
  • Comfort 40% 40%
  • Weight/Packed Size 40% 40%
  • Features 40% 40%

Pros

Inexpensive

Warm

Useful features

Cons

Only one length option

Liner needs improvement

Weight: 4.1lb (1.8kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 20°F (-6°C)

Style: Rectangular

Kelty Galactic 30: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Backcountry.com

  • Warmth 60% 60%
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Weight/Packed Size 60% 60%
  • Features 60% 60%

Pros

Comfortable

Lightweight

Creative design

Cons

Lacking in features

Weight: [regular] 2lb 10oz (1.2kg), [long] 2lb 14oz (1.3kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 30°F (-1°C)

Style: Rectangular

Big Agnes Husted 20: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Amazon.com

  • Warmth 80% 80%
  • Comfort 60% 60%
  • Weight/Packed Size 50% 50%
  • Features 70% 70%

Pros

Warm

Great value

Well designed

Cons

Large compression volume

Slightly heavy

Weight: [regular] 2lb 12oz (1.25kg), [long] 3lb 1oz (1.39kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 20°F (-6°C)

Style: Mummy

Exped MegaSleep Duo 25: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Rei.com

  • Warmth 60% 60%
  • Comfort 60% 60%
  • Weight/Packed Size 60% 60%
  • Features 50% 50%

Pros

Packs well

Creative design

Cons

Thin padding

Could be warmer

Weight: [regular] 4.4 lbs (2kg), [long] 5lb (2.3kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 26.6°F (-3°C)

Style: Double (2-person)

REI Co-op Trailbreak 30: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Rei.com

  • Warmth 60% 60%
  • Comfort 60% 60%
  • Weight/Packed Size 80% 80%
  • Features 50% 50%

Pros

Lightweight

Highly package

Cons

Slightly cold

Scratchy liner

Lacking ventilation

Weight: [regular] 2lb 8oz (1.1kg), [long] 2lb 10oz (1.2kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 29°F (-1°C)

Style: Mummy

NEMO Forte 20

NEMO Forte 20: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker

Best Overall Sleeping Bag

  • Warmth 80% 80%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Weight/Packed Size 60% 60%
  • Features 70% 70%

Price: $200

Weight: [regular] 2lb 14oz, (1.3kg) [long] 3lb 2oz (1.4kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 22°F (-5°C)

Style: Semirectangular/Spoon

Shell: 30D polyester ripstop

Lining: 20D nylon taffeta w/ DWR

Insulation/Fill: Primaloft RISE (synthetic)

Compressed Volume: [regular] 9L, [long] 9.7L

What We Like: Excellent ventilation, Great for side sleepers

What We Don’t: Heavy, Large pack size

NEMO has illustrated their ingenuity with the Forte 20, a semirectangular backpacking sleeping bag designed to optimize comfort. This $200 bag uses NEMO’s Spoon shape to accommodate side sleepers—a feature not often found in backpacking sleeping bags. There’s a lot to love about the Forte 20. It’s soft and roomy with a large handful of features to increase its overall versatility. Whether it’s a warm June evening or a chilly November night, you can feel confident in getting a good night’s sleep no matter your preferred sleeping style. Unfortunately, these creature comforts compromise the weight, and as a backpacking sleeping bag, some will find that this is just a bit too heavy for lengthy expeditions. For more casual overnights or even car camping, though, the Forte 20 is a no-brainer. These factors earned the NEMO Forte 20 the title of Best Overall Sleeping Bag.

Kelty Cosmic 20

Kelty Cosmic 20: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker

(Runner-Up) Best Overall Sleeping Bag

  • Warmth 80% 80%
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Weight/Packed Size 70% 70%
  • Features 60% 60%

Price: $139.95

Weight: [short] 2lb 7oz (1.1kg), [reg] 2lb 10oz (1.19kg), [long] 2lb 15oz (1.33kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 21°F (-6°C)

Style: Mummy

Shell: 20D 400T nylon

Lining: 50D 300T polyester

Insulation/Fill: 550 FP Duck Down (75%) / Polyester (25%)

Compressed Volume: [regular] 8L, [long] 8.8L

What We Like: Warm, Roomy, Packable

What We Don’t: Slightly heavy, Liner could be softer

At only $140, the Kelty Cosmic 20 is a prime example of budget performance. It provides a spectacular balance of practical features at a reasonable price. This three-season trapezoidal mummy sleeping bag has a warmth-to-weight ratio that’s hard to beat, especially at its price point. While it lacks a few features that we appreciate from higher-end bags, the fact is that the price jump to these bags is significant. So for those of us that don’t need to optimize every detail on our sleeping bag (and empty our wallet while doing so), the Cosmic 20 is a very reasonable compromise. With a focus on all the features we value most in a sleeping bag, the Kelty Cosmic was named Runner-Up for Best Overall Sleeping Bag.

ALPS OutdoorZ Redwood

ALPS OutdoorZ Redwood: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker

Best Camping Sleeping Bag

  • Warmth 90% 90%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Weight/Packed Size 20% 20%
  • Features 50% 50%

Price: $157.97

Weight: 11.7 lbs (5.3kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): -10°F (-23°C)

Style: Rectangular

Shell: Canvas

Lining: 100% cotton

Insulation/Fill: TechLoft

Compressed Volume: N/A

What We Like: Very warm, Plush, Durable

What We Don’t: Heavy, Large, No waterproofing

ALPS OutdoorZ has taken an old-school approach to cold-weather camping with the Redwood, a rectangular sleeping bag built for camping. There are certainly cheaper sleeping bags out there, but they’ll have trouble competing with the unceasing warmth and comfort this bag delivers. Although we’re not sure why you’d want to go camping in sub-zero temperatures, it’s nice to know that you can. As already mentioned, the price tag makes this far less of a budget car-camping bag than the $35 Coleman Brazos or the $44.95 Kelty Callisto 30; it’s also nearly three times the weight. However, neither of those bags come close to the Redwood’s temperature rating or its comfort. If treated well, the ALPS OutdoorZ Redwood could be a buy-it-for-life purchase for car camping, and it was an easy winner for Best Camping Sleeping Bag.

Klymit KSB 35

Klymit KSB 35: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker

Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag

  • Warmth 50% 50%
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Weight/Packed Size 80% 80%
  • Features 60% 60%

Price: $179.95

Weight: 2.1lb (0.9kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 35°F (1°C)

Style: Mummy

Shell: 20D 400T nylon

Lining: Sil-Nylon

Insulation/Fill: 650FP Grey Duck Down (80%)/Synthetic (20%)

Compressed Volume: 7L

What We Like: Very light, Compressible

What We Don’t: Not warm enough for three seasons

You can’t discuss ultralight sleep systems without mentioning Klymit, who has attempted to bridge the gap between ultralight and budget hiking with the $179.95 KSB 35. The KSB 35 is light, it packs up well, and it has some valuable features that we’ve come to appreciate in a quality sleeping bag. However, its temperature rating makes this more of a two-season bag unless you supply yourself with a sleeping bag liner. Ultimately, it provides a decent amount of value to justify its low price tag relative to its much more expensive ultralight competitors. For those hikers who prefer backpacking in the spring and summer (and who doesn’t), this sleeping bag could meet your needs at a significantly lower price point. Its lightweight design and packability made the KSB 35 a natural choice for Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag.

Kelty Callisto 30

Kelty Callisto 30: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker

Best Budget Sleeping Bag Under $50

  • Warmth 50% 50%
  • Comfort 50% 50%
  • Weight/Packed Size 40% 40%
  • Features 60% 60%

Price: $44.95

Weight: 4.2lb (1.9kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 30°F (-1°C)

Style: Rectangular

Shell: 190T polyester taffeta

Lining: Polyester

Insulation/Fill: CloudLoft (synthetic)

Compressed Volume: N/A

What We Like: Comfortable, Versatile, Great value

What We Don’t: Could be warmer, Not suitable for backpacking

Coleman isn’t the only brand that can facilitate camping on a tight budget. At only $44.95, the Kelty Callisto 30 is excellent for weekend camping. There’s a certain point in cost-cutting where a product devolves from an inexpensive value into just being cheap, and thankfully, the Callisto 30 does not cross that line. At just under $45, this tight-budget bag is durable, the build quality is excellent, and the list of features makes it highly functional. While it won’t be able to serve as a regular backpacking sleeping bag, it should absolutely work for a camping trip or even a last-minute hiking trip as long—as it’s not too grueling. By managing to provide excellent value at a surprisingly low price, the Kelty Callisto 30 was a perfect fit for Best Budget Sleeping Bag Under $50.

Best of the Rest

Mountain Hardwear Lamina 30

Mountain Hardwear Lamina 30: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker
  • Warmth 70% 70%
  • Comfort 60% 60%
  • Weight/Packed Size 70% 70%
  • Features 60% 60%

Price: $170

Weight: [regular] 2.17 lbs (1kg), [long] 2.28 lbs (1kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 27°F (-3°C)

Style: Mummy

Shell: 30D ripstop nylon

Lining: 40D polyester

Insulation/Fill: Thermal.Q (synthetic)

Compressed Volume: 8.6L

What We Like: Included compression sack, Sufficiently packable

What We Don’t: Minimal features

With an average weight and compressed volume for a 30°F mummy bag, Mountain Hardwear’s Lamina 30 has all the makings of a great budget backpacking sleeping bag. It has a decent warmth-to-weight ratio, and while it can’t compete with a genuine ultralight backpacking sleeping bag, the fact is that it’s not trying to. For only $170, there’s a lot of value in the Lamina 30, and those hikers who aren’t trying to shed every possible ounce will find this to be an excellent addition to their next overnight trip.

Marmot Trestles 30

Marmot Trestles 30: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker
  • Warmth 70% 70%
  • Comfort 60% 60%
  • Weight/Packed Size 50% 50%
  • Features 60% 60%

Price: $100

Weight: [regular] 3lb 1oz (1.4kg), [long] 3lb 5.2oz (1.5kg), [long wide] 3lbs 9.2oz (1.6kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 26.2 F (-3°C)

Style: Mummy

Shell: 70D polyester

Lining: 70D polyester

Insulation/Fill: SpiraFil LT (synthetic)

Compressed Volume: [regular] 10.1L, [long] 10.6L, [long wide] 11L

What We Like: Durable, Included compression sack

What We Don’t: Heavy, Not very packable

It’s hard to believe that you can find a three-season mummy sleeping bag from a trusted name like Marmot for only $100. While we liked the build quality and the warmth of the Marmot Trestles 30, it didn’t quite hit the mark as a backpacking sleeping bag. The synthetic insulation hindered both weight and pack size, which both fall near the top of the priority list for gear specs. For more casual overnight trips or car camping, this bag ticks several necessary boxes and would make a great addition to your camping arsenal. Best of all, the manufacturer’s lifetime warranty makes it all the more appealing.

Coleman Brazos

Coleman Brazos: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker
  • Warmth 60% 60%
  • Comfort 40% 40%
  • Weight/Packed Size 40% 40%
  • Features 40% 40%

Price: $35

Weight: 4.1lb (1.8kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 20°F (-6°C)

Style: Rectangular

Shell: Polyester

Lining: Tricot knit

Insulation/Fill: Coletherm synthetic polyester

Compressed Volume: N/A

What We Like: Inexpensive, Warm, Useful features

What We Don’t: Only one length option, Liner needs improvement

When you think of budget-friendly camping gear, there’s one name that’s hard to ignore. For the casual, budget-conscious camper who simply needs a sleeping bag that’s insulated enough to handle at least three seasons, the Coleman Brazos may just fit the bill. At only $35, it’s inexpensive enough that you can buy a set for the whole family. However, we just had to know if this rectangular sleeping bag was more than just a good deal—was it also a worthwhile purchase? It’s also not a do-it-all kind of sleeping bag, as it’s more built for a night of car camping or even a kid’s sleepover party.

Kelty Galactic 30

Kelty Galactic 30: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker
  • Warmth 60% 60%
  • Comfort 70% 70%
  • Weight/Packed Size 60% 60%
  • Features 60% 60%

Price: $119.95

Weight: [regular] 2lb 10oz (1.2kg), [long] 2lb 14oz (1.3kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 30°F (-1°C)

Style: Rectangular

Shell: 50D Downproof Polyester Taffeta

Lining: 50D Downproof Polyester Taffeta

Insulation/Fill: 600 Fill Dridown

Compressed Volume: 13.7L (stuff sack)

What We Like: Comfortable, Lightweight, Creative design

What We Don’t: Lacking in features

Who says you have to sleep like a mummy while hiking in the great outdoors? Not Kelty, whose rectangular Galactic 30 bridges the gap between backpacking and camping at a price that’s easy to swallow. At just under $120, this no-frills, down sleeping bag provides decent comfort at a very acceptable weight, rivaling many mummy-style sleeping bags. With the Galactic 30, Kelty has managed to blend a more traditional sleeping-bag design with weight-saving materials to deliver a balance of comfort and packability you simply wouldn’t expect at first glance. It’s more than capable of accompanying you on an overnight hiking trip or serving as car-camping gear, and that versatility is what we loved about this bag. Although we would have liked a few more features, we can appreciate that the value of this no-frills bag was focused on its function rather than nonessential accessories.

Big Agnes Husted 20

Big Agnes Husted 20: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker
  • Warmth 80% 80%
  • Comfort 60% 60%
  • Weight/Packed Size 50% 50%
  • Features 70% 70%

Price: $119.95

Weight: [regular] 2lb 12oz (1.25kg), [long] 3lb 1oz (1.39kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 20°F (-6°C)

Style: Mummy

Shell: Nylon ripstop

Lining: Polyester taffeta

Insulation/Fill: Fireline Pro (synthetic)

Compressed Volume: 13.4L

What We Like: Warm, Great value, Well designed

What We Don’t: Large compression volume, Slightly heavy

As a backpacking sleeping bag, the Big Agnes Husted 20 offers a great deal of value for money. The build quality is without question, and it provides the same level of insulation as bags three times its price; it’s also packed with valuable features. We’d almost confuse it for a true ultralight sleeping bag were it not for two factors: its weight and packed size. At roughly 3lb and 13.4L compressed volume, it’s clear how Big Agnes was able to keep the cost down on this bag; ultralight thru-hikers are unlikely to give this a second look and will spend the extra money for something smaller and lighter. However, for the rest of us seeking out less ambitious adventures, like a long weekend hiking trip or even just a night of camping, the Husted 20 makes an excellent addition to your outdoor arsenal.

Exped MegaSleep Duo 25/40

Exped MegaSleep Duo 25: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker
  • Warmth 60% 60%
  • Comfort 60% 60%
  • Weight/Packed Size 60% 60%
  • Features 50% 50%

Price: $219 (regular)/$239 (long)

Weight: [regular] 4.4 lbs (2kg), [long] 5lb (2.3kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 26.6°F (-3°C)

Style: Double (2-person)

Shell: 40D ripstop nylon

Lining: 42D nylon

Insulation/Fill: Polyester Texpedloft microfiber (synthetic)

Compressed Volume: 14L

What We Like: Packs well, Creative design

What We Don’t: Thin padding, Could be warmer

Hiking doesn’t have to be a solitary activity, and in fact, many couples get a great deal of enjoyment from spending time together in the great outdoors. EXPED has recognized this need and designed a bag for you and your +1 with the MegaSleep Duo 25/40—a double sleeping bag that’s built for backpacking. The “Duo” in the name is underselling the versatility of this bag since it’s a 4-in-1; it can act as a 25°F or 40°F double bag, as well as split into two single sleeping bags or blankets. Solo hikers likely won’t get much use out of its transformability. Still, its lightweight construction and compressibility make this a rather creative solution for those who enjoy a good snuggle after a long day on the trail. Our only real gripe was that it could be a bit warmer. It’s somewhat borderline as a three-season sleeping bag but will operate quite effectively in spring and summer.

REI Co-op Trailbreak 30

REI Co-op Trailbreak 30: Best Budget Sleeping Bag Review - Gear Hacker
  • Warmth 60% 60%
  • Comfort 60% 60%
  • Weight/Packed Size 80% 80%
  • Features 50% 50%

Price: $100

Weight: [regular] 2lb 8oz (1.1kg), [long] 2lb 10oz (1.2kg)

Temperature Rating (Lower Limit): 29°F (-1°C)

Style: Mummy

Shell: Polyester

Lining: Polyester

Insulation/Fill: Polyester (synthetic)

Compressed Volume: [regular] 5.7L, [long] 6.3L

What We Like: Lightweight, Highly package

What We Don’t: Slightly cold, Scratchy liner, Lacking ventilation

Many of REI’s products can work as more affordable alternatives to high-end hiking gear. The $100 Trailbreak 30, a three-season mummy bag that’s built for backpacking, is a prime example. While it may not be the sleeping bag for everyone, it has many factors that make it appealing to backpackers on a budget. For only $100, its low weight and packability are quite impressive. Unfortunately, we weren’t keen on the comfort and insulation, and we feel this bag would have benefited from boosting these stats even if it meant upping the weight and the cost slightly. For those who value size over comfort, this sleeping bag could be an excellent fit.

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