Backcountry Digs at Their Finest
The Best Sleeping Bags of 2016
Mountain Hardwear HyperLamina Flame 20
With proprietary seam-welded construction, the HyperLamina Flame 20 is designed to eliminate unintended venting that permeates conventional bags. Its synthetic and lofty Thermal.Q insulation is rated to keep you warm until 21 degrees Fahrenheit with strategically placed zones, while maintaining incredible compressibility. And at only 2 pounds, 10 ounces, it won’t bog you down on the trail.
Sea to Summit Spark Sp III
All of Sea to Summit’s products take packability to the extreme. The Spark Sp III is no different: Packed down into its stuff-sack, this 850-fill power bag eats up less space than most tool rolls and provides enough warmth to keep riders who hit the high altitudes cozy and content. Its hydrophobic Ultra-Dry Down internals and DWR-treated shell also mean it won’t turn to mush in a downpour.
At under $200, the REI Lumen delivers Ritz Carlton comfort for Days Inn dollars. Its double rip-stop nylon shell is abrasion- and water-resistant and has an overlapping layer construction, and the contoured hood features an insulated face muffler. Roomier dimensions, especially in the shoulders and hips, make this bag a great choice for tossers and turners.
Rab Expedition 1400
Built to keep blood flowing in mountaineers hitting 8,000-meter summits, zipping up the Rab Expedition 1400 is even warmer than sliding into a Taunton — and it smells better, too. That’s thanks to 1,400 grams of Nikwax-developed hydrophobic, fluorocarbon-free, 850-fill power goose down lining its Pertex shell. A roomier fit allows maneuvers with your full climbing kit still in tow and further lends to its -40 degrees Celsius thermal rating. Longitudinal baffles are employed to keep those feathers at bay, which are hand filled in Derbyshire, England (as is proper).
Marmot Always Summer
Marmot’s sleeping bag line wins awards with every update, so it’s no surprise that the Always Summer, a down bag rated at 40 degrees Fahrenheit, once again garnered a lot of praise from testers. Water-repellent down, stretch baffles and insulated zipper guards and draft collar make this the perfect bag for warm summer camping.
Eddie Bauer Airbender +20
The guides and design team behind Eddie Bauer’s First Ascent line have redefined lightweight with their new Airbender bag. At just over three pounds — including a built-in inflatable air pad — the combination Climashield- and DownTek-insulated, waterproof bag is the perfect lightweight expedition sleeping solution. It’s also the most expensive on our list, a fine example of getting what you pay for.
Nemo Tango Duo Slim 30
We’ve all tried to zip a pair of conventional mummy bags together for some more “intimate” camping. The result? Uncomfortable sleeping and flaring tempers all night. The Tango Duo sleeping bag from Nemo is the camping equivalent of a full-sized bed. It comes complete with a slip cover to attach any two 20-inch-wide sleeping pads, which fit inside the bag; because it has a backless design, it packs down to the same size and weight of a traditional bag. It’s an ideal solution for those who want to stay active off the trail, too.
Kifaru Slick Bag
Colorado-based Kifaru got their start in 1978, and the Slick Bag harnesses their decades of hunting and tactical innovation. Featuring RhinoSkin shell and lining that the company says will stand up to boots-in-bag use, continuous Climashield insulation along the whole body, expanded shoulder space and extra-wide foot boxes, the Slick Bag is an excellent extreme conditions bag.
REI’s -20 degree Fahrenheit Expedition bag is a true four-season bed. A double zipper system allows you stay comfortable in any temperature; unzip the inner zipper to reveal a little extra space and dump heat, or keep both zippers closed when you’re high above the tree line. Water-repellent down and face fabric, as well as an independent hood and collar closure, firmly plant the Expedition as a powerhouse for heat retention. It might be overkill this summer, but if you’re heading anywhere high altitude, you’ll thank us while your partners shiver all night.
The North Face Mercurial 1S
Weighing in under two pounds, the Mercurial 1S is perfect for ultralight fastpackers and hammock campers. The semi-rectangular cut has extra room to fit a liner bag ($109+) for extra warmth (it’s rated at 45 degrees alone, so you’ll probably need the liner most of the year). The Primaloft Silver insulation is wicking, so even humid nights or desert camping will be comfortable year-round. As a bonus, both the Mercurial and its liner unzip to lay flat for blanket or comforter use around camp.