There’s nothing like watching the sunrise after a long hike and a night under the stars. Well, maybe watching the sunset by a fire after you’ve set up camp. Either way, you’ll need a cozy sleeping bag to get the best rest for more adventures the next day. But with so many different products and price ranges, which bag should you pick (and pack)? Study Finds ventured out to find the best sleeping bags for your travels.
Frequent traveling and spending time in nature are good for your physical and mental health. According to one recent study, people feel more connected to nature enjoy wonderful health benefits. “Physically and psychologically reconnecting with nature can be beneficial for human health and well-being, and at the same time encourages individuals to act in ways which protect the health of the planet,” says researcher Leanne Martin from the University of Plymouth.
While you’re reconnecting, be sure to be a good listener: Sounds of nature can decrease pain, lower stress, improve mood and enhance cognitive performance. And what better place to listen to mother nature than a national park? Especially since the pandemic, a camping trip is on many Americans’ bucket lists, and a stay at a national park is much more affordable than a stay at a hotel.
So, pack your bags! To help you find one that keeps you toasty and comfortable after those long hiking adventures, Study Finds visited 10 expert websites and created a list of the top five best sleeping bags for 2023 based on their reviews. If you think we missed one, please let us know in the comments.
The List: Best Sleeping Bags, According To Experts
1. NEMO Disco 15
Most experts recommend this sleeping bag model, especially if you like some extra room. “Unlike slender mummy designs that trim dimensions to shave weight, Nemo utilizes a ‘spoon’-shaped concept on the Disco. The focus is on comfort: the bag is wider […], so side sleepers and others can roll around without feeling constrained,” says Switchback Travel.
In addition to being roomy, “this bag is packed with luxurious features, like a pocket to hold your pillow in place and NEMO’s signature ‘thermo gills’ that help vent heat on warm nights,” writes Clever Hiker. GearJunkie adds that the bag’s “30-denier ripstop shell feels sturdy and held up well in testing on rough terrain. The nylon liner is also super soft and pleasant to sleep against. A final touch we appreciated is the breathable waterproof foot.”
According to Travel + Leisure, this NEMO model is “filled with RDS-certified, sustainable and traceable, hydrophobic, PFC-free 650-fill-power down insulation with a water-repellent finish, both the shell and lining fabric protect against moisture. […] Stomach sleepers who are restless at night should appreciate the Disco 15 as a warm and comfortable sleeping bag that’s well worth the price. All that, and it’s covered by a Nemo lifetime warranty, too.”
2. Mountain Hardware Bishop Pass
This model got our number two spot by being frequently recommended and affordable. “This is our favorite budget bag because it combines 650-fill power down in a simple mummy design that offers a solid balance of performance characteristics. The warmth-to-weight ratio is impressive for an affordable option, and it packs smaller than other models that provide similar warmth,” states GearLab.
The bag “is protected by a DWR (durable water repellent) ripstop nylon shell. […] While this bag might not be the warmest or lightest in the line-up, it proves to be more durable than some of its thin-skinned competitors,” writes GearJunkie.
Finally, Travel + Leisure describes it as, “a nifty glow-in-the-dark zipper with an anti-snag slider allows for easy entry and exit. The bag may also be zipped up with another compatible Mountain Hardwear sleeping bag (with a right zipper) to create a bed for two. […] Overall, this bag is a good value for a three-season bag, particularly the 0-degree model that our testers say can withstand strong wind and temps in the teens.”
3. Kelty Cosmic 20
This sleeping bag is another frequent quality and budget pick among experts. “Kelty still knows how to make a good sleeping bag at a fair price, and the Cosmic 20 […] is no exception. […] For the price, we think it’s the best backpacking sleeping bag on the market,” writes GearJunkie.
Switchback Travel says, “The Cosmic 20 is one of the cheaper down sleeping bags on the market—definitely from a major manufacturer—but the ISO Comfort rating of 32 degrees Fahrenheit should keep you cozy in most 3-season conditions. […] At under 3 pounds for the regular version, it’s our favorite budget down bag for 2023.”
The verdict? According to Clever Hiker, “The Kelty Cosmic 20 […] is a great budget buy for beginners, car campers, and those that aren’t as concerned with weight and bulk. […] This bag is functional and comfortable enough to get the job done.”
4. Mountain Hardwear’s 0F Phantom
This sleeping bag made our list due to its warmth and a glowing review by TripSavvy. As a “solid do-everything winter bag” it’s their “Best Overall” pick for cold weather. “Mountain Hardwear’s Phantom 0F is essentially a puffy down jacket in sleeping bag form. […] The hood is an area where the Phantom really stands out compared to other bags we tested, with a solid draft collar to hold in warmth. There’s also a cinch to seal the hood around your head for when temperatures are at the lower end of the bag’s capabilities.”
According to Men’s Journal, “the Phantom is one of the most innovative sleeping bags on the market.” In addition to “ a high warmth-to-weight ratio,” it features a neat extra: “The Phantom’s glow-in-the-dark zipper pull and anti-snag zipper design make for easy entries and exits, especially in the dark.”
“Cold environments call for a warm sleeping bag, and Mountain Hardwear’s Phantom 0F has long been a go-to choice for winter camping and high-altitude expeditions,” writes Switchback Travel. “Filled with almost 2 pounds of 850-fill down and featuring a lofty draft collar, 3D contoured hood, and draft-eliminating face gasket, the Phantom is a warm haven from sub-freezing temperatures.”
5. Big Agnes Sidewinder SL 20 Sleeping Bag
This is another one for side-sleepers and toss-and-turners. “We were able to move between every possible position you might want to lie in with this bag—on our side, stomach, back, and even in the fetal position. While we were moving around inside, the bag never felt constrictive,” writes Wirecutter.
For extra-wiggly sleepers, “the Sidewinder series has ambidextrous zippers and wiggle room built in for those whose camp nights usually end up in a twisted sleeping bag mess. This includes a zipper that won’t fold under when you move, as well as a foot box shaped to fit the way feet lie when sideways,” says GearJunkie.
Travel + Leisure notes: “This ergonomically contoured bag with body-mapped FireLine ECO synthetic insulation alleviates pressure points at the hips and feet, moves along with your body as you roll from side to side, and stays optimally warm as you settle — and resettle — into position. The insulation is lofty with a PFC-free water-repellent finish to keep you dry and warm, even if the bag itself gets wet. The Big Agnes also gets extra eco-friendly points for its incorporation of post-consumer recycled polyester.”
- Travel + Leisure
- Clever Hiker
- Switchback Travel
- The Gear Loop
- Men’s Journal
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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.