The 5 Most Comfortable Sleeping Bags

Published on 02/06/2024 · 9 min readExperience cozy nights outdoors! Explore the 5 most comfortable sleeping bags, designed for warmth, softness, and the ultimate sleep under the stars.
Hunter Reed, Camping Expert
By Camping Expert Hunter Reed

Photo by zedspider

TLDR: The comfort of sleeping bags is determined by the design of the bag, including the insulation, shape, materials, and other features. Knowing these components will help you make the best choices and ensure cozy nights outdoors.

Sleeping well is important no matter what you're doing! Whether you're in your own bed getting ready for work the next day or sleeping under the stars in a tent, preparing for a long morning hike through the mountains. People often think that just because you aren't sleeping in an actual bed on camping trips, it's impossible to actually get a good night's sleep.

I'm here to tell you that this is not true at all! Camping gear has come a long way in the last few decades, and camping gear manufacturers have come to realize the importance of making their gear comfortable so that you can get the most out of every camping trip without waking up late with a case of the yawns due to a sleepless night of tossing and turning.

In this article, we will focus on sleeping bags, breaking down what makes some sleeping bags comfortable and what makes other sleeping bags not as comfortable. We'll also list the best sleeping bags on the market that will help you get a good night's rest and be ready for any adventure the next morning.

What makes some sleeping bags more comfortable than others?

Insulation types: Down vs. Synthetic

Insulation is one of the main players in what makes some sleeping bags just okay, and others feel like you're sleeping on a cloud.

Down: Typically, sleeping bags are the most comfortable. They have a higher warmth-to-weight ratio and are more compressible than synthetic bags. The downfall of down bags is that though they keep you warm and toasty when they're dry, down loses its insulation capabilities when it's wet.

Synthetic: If you camp in areas that are more prone to wet conditions, synthetic would be a better insulation option because it's more water-resistant and can still keep you warm and toasty even if it's wet. There are still some synthetic options that are comfortable, and we will talk about those in more depth below!

Shape and Size: Mummy Bags, Rectangular Bags and Special Shapes

The tapered in footbox and wider shoulder area is called a “mummy shape”. Photo by frantic00

The shape and size of a sleeping bag also directly affect its comfort level and thermal efficiency.

Mummy: Mummy-style sleeping bags with tapered feet and hoods are designed for maximum warmth and weight reduction, making them perfect for backpackers, cold-weather camping, and other outdoor activities.

Rectangular: Rectangular bags are generally more comfortable but a bit heavier, so they are a better option for car camping.

Special: There are some other shapes out there as well, like women-specific bags, which are more tailored to women's body shape, and extra-long bags, which are a good option if you're a tall camper who struggles to find a bag that's long enough to fit your whole torso comfortably.

Shell and Lining Fabrics: Breathability, Skin-Friendly Fabrics

Photo by Irina Wilhauk

Not only is the inner material (insulation) a factor in the comfort level of a sleeping bag, but the outer shell material also plays a big role. A breathable, moisture-regulating shell is important for regulating temperature, while a soft internal lining that feels good against your skin enhances comfort. A high-quality material can also reduce the noise of rustling, resulting in a quieter sleep.

Temperature Ratings and the Right Bag for Each Climate

When shopping around for sleeping bags, you'll almost always see a number in the name of the bag (for example, the Big Agnes Greystone 20). Sleeping bags come in a variety of temperature ratings. The number in the name of the bag is the rating of the lowest temperature at which the sleeping bag can keep an average sleeper warm (so for the previous example, the Big Agnes Greystone 20 could keep the average sleeper warm down to 20°).

Check the weather and temperatures of the locations you're planning on camping and try to get a bag that's a few degrees below the coldest temperature you expect (for example, if you expect 35 as the low, get a 25° bag). If you're a cold sleeper like myself, you'll want to get a bag that's rated even lower to ensure you don't wake up too cold. If I expected a low of 35, I would bring a 15° bag because I am always cold.

Extra Features: Hoods with Draft Collars, Zippers, and Pockets

There are also some other features that will make your sleeping bag even more comfortable. Draft collars or draft tubes and hoods will prevent cold air from entering and trap heat more efficiently. Zippers or ‘gills’ (as seen on the Nemo Riff 30) provide ventilation for temperature regulation.

Most Comfortable Sleeping Bags

Now that we have the basics covered let's jump into our list of the most comfortable sleeping bags!

1. NEMO Jazz Sleeping Bag

The Nemo Jazz is one of the most unique and most comfortable bags out there. It has a design that looks almost like a regular bed with an overfilled quilt on top, a soft, integrated sheet inside, and a pocket pillow to store your camping pillow and prevent it from sliding around while you're sleeping. The Jazz is a recycled synthetic sleeping bag that doesn't feel too bulky and retains its insulation capabilities when wet.

It is rated to 30° and zips on both sides, making it easy to get some extra ventilation on warm nights. It has a rectangular shape, and though it's a bit bulky and heavy for backpacking, it's a top option for car campers who aren't willing to compromise on getting a good night's rest.

Also comes in: Double Sleeping Bag Option (to sleep two campers)

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2. Therm-a-Rest Questar 20

For campers who are concerned about the weight of their gear and want a lightweight option, the Therm-a-Rest Questar is a great option. It has a down fill that's treated with a Nikwax Hydrophobic coating, so even though it's down; it can still resist water and keep you warm in the unfortunate circumstance that your bag gets a bit wet. The shell of the bag is a durable yet soft polyester material that doesn't make a ton of noise if you're moving around at night. It's a mummy sleeping bag, which some campers might find uncomfortable as their feet are a bit more restricted, but for campers who get chilly at night, especially near their feet, this bag will have you sleeping like a baby and waking up ready to hit the trail.

Also comes in: 0° Option, 32° Option

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3. Western Mountaineering MegaLite 30

Western Mountaineering is one of the top names in camping gear, and with good reason. They have incredibly high-quality gear that lasts a long time and performs well in variable conditions. The MegaLite has an extra plush goose-down fill that offers a great warmth-to-weight ratio for backpackers, backpackers, or mountaineering enthusiasts.

The shape is sort of a cross between a mummy bag and a rectangular bag (called a semi-rectangular shape), not having quite as much room in the foot box as rectangular bags but being much more spacious than a classic mummy bag. It's a great in-between for backpackers who don't want to skimp on comfort yet are counting every oz in their backpack. It is the priciest option on this list, but if you're a frequent camper who's struggled to find a comfortable bag in the past, it's worth every penny.

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4. Big Agnes Pluton UL 40

If you're looking for a comfortable and lightweight summer bag, the Big Agnes Pluton is a great choice. It's insulated with hydrophobic down to give you all the benefits of a down sleeping bag while still being able to retain heat when wet. It's an ultralight sleeping bag, so it is really lightweight and has great compression capabilities for easy carrying in your backpacking pack.

It has a two-way zipper, which allows you to get some airflow to your lower extremities if your feet or legs are too warm, or sleep with the top part unzipped if your core is too warm. The 40° temperature rating isn't going to be quite warm enough for chilly fall or spring nights, but if you're primarily looking for a low-weight summer bag, it will get the job done! It is a mummy-shaped bag but has a wider shoulder space than most mummy-shaped bags, so it won't feel overly restrictive compared to some mummy-shaped bags.

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5. Big Agnes Torchlight UL 20° Sleeping Bag

Another great Big Agnes bag with a lot of similar features to the Pluton but meant for a bit colder nights. It has the same hydrophobic down insulation and is also an ultralight bag meant for backpackers who don't want to add any unnecessary lbs to their gear. The Torchlight has a few more bells and whistles, including internal loops to secure a sleeping bag liner if you want to add some warmth capabilities to your bag's overall temperature rating.

The unique thing about the Torchlight, though, is its expandable zippered panels on either side of the bag that runs from the foot box all the way to the bottom of the hood. When unzipped, these panels offer an extra 5 inches of space each, for a total of 10 extra inches of space inside your bag. This feature makes your sleeping bag width a bit more customizable compared to a classic sleeping bag, and it allows you to spread out and get some extra room on warm nights or bundle up and stay cozy on colder nights.

Though it's marketed as a backpacking sleeping bag, it's a great option for all types of campers who want some versatility in their bag and to get a comfortable night of sleep during every camping trip.

Also comes in: 20° Women’s Specific Option, 30° Men’s Option, 30° Women’s Specific Option

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Talk to an Expert

Photo by New Africa

Making sure you're comfortable on camping trips is a multi-step process. Not only do you need the right bag, but you also need the right sleeping pad, tent, and clothing. Hopefully, after this article, you have a good idea of which sleeping bag is going to keep you warm and comfortable on your future camping trips, but if you still want to chat things over with someone or need help finding other gear to complete your camping setup, reach out to a Camping and Hiking Expert here on Curated! We can offer you free advice tailored to your exact camping situation and ensure you're ready to sleep like a baby in the backcountry and have enough energy to explore all there is to offer at your next camping destination!

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