Buying an Ultralight Sleeping Bag

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The average weight of a person’s bag when backpacking is usually between 30 – 60 pounds. The term ‘ultralight backpacking‘ typically refers to backpacking with a base pack weight below 10 pounds (4.5 kg).

To achieve such a low pack weight, one needs to carry multipurpose equipment and items that are as light as possible.

Ultralight sleeping bags are commonly used by many backpackers these days, as they can be a lot lighter then ‘regular’ sleeping bags and can help to cut down the overall bag weight in a big way.

Featherlite sleeping bagWhen buying an ultralight sleeping bag, it’s important to get the right one (and not just the lightest one), as you want something that’ll be warm enough and enable you to sleep comfortably out in the wild.

Because of this, your sleeping bag is one of the few parts of your camping equipment you don’t want to scrimp on.

Unfortunately, lightweight sleeping bags can often be quite expensive, so it’s important you buy the right one for you, as it’ll be a long-term investment.

What to Look for When Choosing an Ultralight Sleeping Bag

When you’re buying an ultralight sleeping bag, there are a couple of things that you need to look out for:

Insulation Material
The weight of your sleeping bag will largely be determined by the insulation material within it (as this makes up the majority of the bag). The most commonly used insulation types in sleeping bags are synthetic or down, with down being the lighter of the two.

Because of this, most lightweight sleeping bags are filled with down insulation (although this makes them more expensive). The main drawback of down (apart from the price) is that if it gets wet it loses all of its insulating properties, so it’s important to keep your down-filled sleeping bag dry at all times.

This is something that most people never consider, but the shape of your sleeping bag can drastically effect how much it weighs. For example, the large, rectangular sleeping bags that most people will be accustomed to are massively inefficient, as there is so much space within the sleeping bag not being used.

A larger sleeping bag = More material needed = More weight.

Mummy-style sleeping bags are much lighter, and because they hug around your body they’re also much better at keeping you warm.

The Best Ultralight Sleeping Bags

Here are a few of the better ultralight sleeping bags on the market, chosen to accommodate a range of different temperatures:

1. Marmot Arroyo 30F / -1C Down Sleeping Bag
The Arroyo has a temperature rating of 30 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for slightly warmer temperatures than the rest. It uses 800+ fill high quality power goose down and weighs just 1lbs 11oz (765g), making it ultralight and perfect for hiking in summer conditions.

2. Ledge Featherlite 20 Degree Ultra Light Weight Sleeping Bag
For slightly colder temperatures (down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit) there is the Ledge Featherlight. This uses Ultra-fine Denier micro synthetic fill (making it slightly heavier than most ultralight sleeping bags) and weighs in at 3.4 lbs (1540g).

The fact that it uses synthetic insulation as opposed to down massively affects the price, however, as it cost less than $60. This sleeping bag is suited to summer conditions wherever you are in the world, and will also work well in warmer spring and autumn conditions.

3. Mountain Hardwear UltraLamina +15 Synthetic Sleeping Bag
Mountain Hardwear’s UltraLamina ultralight sleeping bag can handle temperatures down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to its high grade synthetic insulation and ‘welded construction’. It weighs just 2 lb 14oz (1304 grams), making it versatile and lightweight.

For more information on choosing and buy sleeping bags, check out ‘How to choose a sleeping bag for traveling’.

Related posts:

  1. How to Buy a Cold Weather Sleeping Bag
  2. How to Choose a Sleeping Bag for Traveling
  3. How to Clean (and Care for) Your Sleeping Bag
  4. Buying Earplugs for Sleeping as You Travel
  5. How to Travel With Only a Carry-On Sized Bag

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