How to Choose a Sleeping Bag for Backpack

A sleeping bag allows you to sleep comfortably after a day of hiking.Because backpack sleeping bags are designed to be carried on their back, they are usually lightweight and compressible. In addition to the weight of the sleeping bag, backpackers should consider the bag’s size, shape, temperature rating, insulation and special features. Use these tips to choose a sleeping bag for the backpack.


Choose a sleeping bag bag for temperatures you anticipate during your trip.  Prior to 2009, each sleeping bag manufacturer had its own temperature rating system. However, in 2009, many manufacturers adopted the European standard (EN) methodology of 13537 tests, so now the temperature ratings are more consistent in sleeping bag brands. There are 4 general categories of PT sleep temperature bag ratings. Ratings are calculated based on users wearing a layer of clothing and a hat, and using an insulated cushion under the sleeping bag.

Choose a summer season backpack sleeping bag for temperatures above 35 degrees F (1.6 degrees C).

Choose a 3-season sleeping bag for temperatures between 10 and 35 degrees F (-12.2 and 1.6 degrees C).

Choose a cool sleeping bag for temperatures between -10 and 10 degrees F (-23.3 and -12.2 degrees C).

Choose a winter or an extreme sleeping bag for temperatures below -10 degrees F (23.3 degrees C).

Choose a sleeping bag with a slightly lower temperature rating than the cooler temperature you expect to try for non-EN rated bags. For example, if you anticipate freezing temperatures, choose a bag that is rated at 20 degrees F (-6.6 degrees C), not 35 degrees F (1.6 degrees C). A 35 degree F (1.6 °C) rating is intended only to keep users comfortable at temperatures above 35 degrees F (1.6 °C).

Choose a gender-specific sleeping bag.  EN 133537 test revealed that women are cooler when they sleep than men. Look at the temperature ratings based on their gender.

Look for the PT Comfort Assessment for women. This rating indicates the lower outdoor temperature where the average woman can sleep comfortably using the sleeping bag.

Consider the PT Rating Minimum Limit for men. This rating indicates the lower outside temperature in which the average man can sleep comfortably using the sleeping bag.

Choose an extreme PT rating for both sexes. The PT rating indicates the lowest outdoor temperature at which the average person can stay alive using the sleeping bag. This classification should only be considered for extreme temperatures. It does not take into account comfort, but only focuses on survival.

Choose a sleeping bag with a low weight.  Because the sleeping bag will be held in your back, opt for a bag that has the lowest possible weight but still provides heat and necessary comfort. Look for sleeping bags that weigh less than 4 or 5 pounds, or 10 to 20 percent of your weight pack.

Consider the size of the sleeping bag.  Most manufacturers offer backpack sleeping bags designed specifically for men or women.

Determine the size of the women sleeping bag based on their height. Women’s bags come in 2 sizes: regular for women up to 5 feet (1.5 m), 6 inches tall (168 cm); And long for women 5 feet (1.5 m), 7 inches to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall (170 to 183 cm). Women’s bags are designed differently from men’s in that they are narrower on the shoulders, wider at the hips and can have extra insulation on the foot box, which is at the bottom of the sleeping bag near the feet.

Choose men’s sleeping bag based on their height. Men’s purses come in 3 sizes: small for men up to 5 feet (1.5 m), 6 inches tall (168 cm); Regular for men 5 feet (1.5 m), 7 inches to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall (170 to 183 cm); And long for men 6 feet (1.8 m), 1 inch to 6 feet (1.8 m), 6 inches tall (185 to 198 cm). Some brands offer extra-long sizes for men up to 6 feet (1.8 m), 8 inches tall (203 cm).

Referring to Fig.

5 Evaluate the shape of the sleeping bag backpack.  All sleeping bags made specifically for the backpack are mummy shaped.

Consider a sleeping bag with shoulder and narrow hip specifications for increased heat and decreased weight. Depending on your body shape, these narrow bags can be restrictive and uncomfortable.

Consider a mummy bag with the larger shoulder and hip specifications for greater comfort. Although these sleeping bags can provide more comfort, they are generally bulky and heavy than the narrower bags.

Determine the type of insulation you prefer.  Sleeping insulation bag or “fill in” reduces the amount of heat your body loses while you are sleeping. There are 2 main types of fill: down or synthetic.

Choose fill down for light durability. Down, which comes from geese and ducks, is a natural fiber that is breathable and durable. Its light, compressible nature makes it ideal for backpack sleeping bags.However, sleeping bags usually cost more than synthetic bags and lose insulation when they get wet.

Select synthetic fill for comfort in wet conditions. Synthetic fill is usually made of polyester and comes in 2 insulation categories.Short-clamp fills are thick to reduce heat loss and are compressible to the backpack. Fills continuous filaments are thicker and less compressible than basic short fills, but are more durable. Synthetic fill retains the heat even in rainy weather. Synthetic sleeping bags are usually heavier than down bags, but they are non-allergic and less expensive.

Choose a sleeping bag with a waterproof outer shell.  Look for sleeping bag shells that are treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish. This will allow the bead water in your sleeping bag and serve as a barrier to the insulation of fabric.

Choose an ideal sleeping bag for the backpack.

Choose a backpack sleeping bag with a built-in hood. The hood, which can be cinched with a cord, prevents loss of heat through your head.

Consider a sleeping bag with a suction tube, which keeps the heat from escaping along with the zipper of the bag.

Choose a sleeping bag with a concealed pocket for small items like glasses, watches or cell phones.

Find a sleeping bag backpack with cushion loops so you can attach the bag to your sleeping cushion. This will prevent your sleeping bag from rolling off the cushion.

Compare prices between sleeping bags.  Sleeping bags for the backpack are available in good retail and Sporting stores, camping suppliers and online. They range in price from about $ 100 to over $ 800. Evaluate how often you will use your sleeping bag before making an investment. If you are on a tight budget, consider buying a used sleeping bag.