What makes the best summer sleeping bag? Different campers will have different answers to this question. Just like any other type of sleeping bag, those designed for use in the summer can be categorized by style, design, material, temperature rating, usage, and so on.
The majority of them may look the same on the surface to the untrained eye. However, things aren’t always that simple.
So, what are you looking for in a summer sleeping bag? Are you looking to feel cool while sleeping or warm? Are you looking for a single or double sleeping bag? Do you want to be able to sleep in the open air or in a tent?
The more questions you ask yourself, the easier it becomes to pick the right summer sleeping bag. Check out these top five picks and find out what type of camper you are and what kind of bag you need.
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Best Sleeping Bags - Reviews
If you’re looking for something lightweight, versatile, and intended for 3-4 season camping, this sleeping bag might just check all the boxes on your list. It’s also available in 4 colors, which is always a plus.
The sleeping bag features synthetic insulation. It has a comfort temperature range between 35° and 40° and can be used even in 15° weather. That’s the extreme temperature rating. There’s also a thicker version of the Winner Outfitters mummy sleeping bag that’s rated 10° lower all around. All 4 colors are available in this thicker and warmer version.
The outer shell is water resistant but not waterproof. The 350T polyester fabric is fairly rugged in harsh weather. The filling is hollow fiber, which has decent heat retention, and the interior lining is also 350T polyester.
The mummy-style design ensures a very snug fit. The hood can be adjusted with the drawstring. The 7.25’ long sleeping bag is 32” wide at the shoulders, which is pretty much the industry standard for sleeping bags.
What's to like about the Winner Outfitters Mummy Sleeping Bag
The draft tubes around the zipper improve the insulation. And, the draft collars present in the hood around the neck area also help retain body heat as well as prevent cold air from getting inside the sleeping bag.
What's not to like about the Winner Outfitters Mummy Sleeping Bag
The fact that the sleeping bag doesn’t feature a waterproof outer shell is a minor drawback. During autumn and early winter you can expect quite a bit of rain, but of course most sleeping bags are designed to be used inside camping tents and not out in the open.
This sleeping bag is designed for warm and slightly cool weather. The rectangular design emphasizes comfort and versatility.
The MalloMe sleeping bag is available as a single or double. It uses synthetic insulation, double layers, and reliable S-shaped stitching to maintain consistent heat retention and to minimize the amount of cold air that can get inside.
Due to the envelope design, you can put two sleeping bags on top of each other and double the sleeping capacity; you can do this with both the single and double sleeping bags.
Another benefit of using the MalloMe sleeping bag on your next camping trip is the waterproof outer shell. It prevents the insulation from getting wet without messing with the heat retention properties.
It also makes it easier to maintain the sleeping bag. When compressed, the bag is around 11” tall and just under 6 pounds. It’s a bit heavier than most but the extra filling, shell fabric, and insulation type make this to be expected.
What's to like about the MalloMe Camping Sleeping Bag
The waterproofing is perhaps the main selling point. Sure, the ability to put two bags together and make room for the entire family is also nice. However, being able to stop water at the outer shell like it’s nothing has many benefits.
What's not to like about the MalloMe Camping Sleeping Bag
This sleeping bag is a bit heavier and larger than others even when compressed. This may not make it the ideal choice for backpacking.
If you’ve never used any Coleman camping gear before, you’re in for a treat. This sleeping bag is designed for maximum comfort at an affordable price. It’s not for extreme weather but it serves campers well from late spring and up to early fall.
The sleeping bag has an envelope shape. It doesn’t feature a hood because there’s rarely a reason to use one in 60° weather. In terms of size, it doesn’t have the biggest footprint. The Coleman Sunridge is designed for campers up to 5’11” tall, which makes it more suitable for teens and young adults.
The comfort rating is for temperatures between 40° and 60°. When it’s really hot out, just don’t sleep in the bag or leave it unzipped.
As with all Coleman sleeping bags, this one also uses the ZipPlow system that eliminates fabric snagging when working the zippers. The polyester cover is water resistant but not waterproof. The liner is also polyester which provides a certain softness and enough warmth for temperatures in the low 40s.
What's to like about the Coleman Sunridge Sleeping Bag
Another cool feature is the Quick Cord. This snap and lock system makes it super easy to roll and pack the sleeping bag. That’s because there’s no need to tie the cord or make a knot to hold the roll together.
What's not to like about the Coleman Sunridge Sleeping Bag
Although quite cozy, the sleeping bag may still feel too warm for some people. The interior lining has more of a flannel feel than cool nylon. Depending on your body type and heat retention, you may not find it as cool as intended.
Built for extreme camping, harsh weather, and maximum protection, the Teton Sports Celsius XXL sleeping bag is a very interesting choice. If you’re looking to do some late autumn or winter camping, this is one piece of camping equipment that you may not want to leave home without.
The Celsius XXL has a comfort temperature rating of 30°. You can push it even further of course, as the extreme temperature rating is 0° – however, it’s not advised to do so. Just know that the sleeping bag may come in handy in emergency situations.
Brushed poly flannel makes up the lining. It’s plush, comfortable, and warm, and it has good moisture wicking properties. Padding in the form of draft tubes is added around the shoulders and along the zipper line to minimize drafts.
The shape is rectangular. However, because this sleeping bag is made for harsh weather conditions, it also features a mummy-style hood. This will help keep your head off the ground while also providing extra warmth.
The sleeping bag is 7.5’ long and 39” wide. In terms of space, this is as much as you can get from a single sleeping bag. This is also evident in the 7 lbs. packed weight and the 17” x 12.5” packed dimensions. It’s anything but light.
What's to like about the Teton Sports Celsius XXL Sleeping Bag
The temperature ratings are the highlights of this sleeping bag. Even the comfort rating might be good enough for the winter (assuming that people don’t go camping during a cold spell). The ability to clearly survive a sudden drop in temperature overnight is all the more impressive.
What's not to like about the Teton Sports Celsius XXL Sleeping Bag
For the average camper, this sleeping bag might be a bit of a drag. It’s big, bulky, and quite heavy. And, on top of that, the compression sack doesn’t do a great job of shrinking the sleeping bag to desirable sizes.
Canway offers an interesting alternative when it comes to cheap and warm sleeping bags. This bag is designed for late autumn use or mild winter conditions. It is snug and can be compressed to small dimensions for easy portability.
The rectangular shape guarantees plenty of room, enough to satisfy even the most restless sleepers. The sleeping bag is 31.5” wide. The outer shell is 230T polyester which is fairly durable when facing cold winds and weather in general.
The filling is hollow cotton which is known for its breathability and heat retention properties. What’s even better is that it maintains those properties even when slightly damp.
The overall feel of the sleeping bag is soft. The skin-friendly lining is comfortable but not too thick that you may risk overheating. Add to that the waterproof shell and dealing with the elements becomes a lot easier.
The comfort temperature rating is 41° to 59°. However, the low limit goes down to 32°.
What's to like about the Canway 4-Season Sleeping Bag
This sleeping bag only weighs around 4.2 lbs. when fully compressed. For a winter sleeping bag, this is very good as most of them tend to exceed 5 or even 6 lbs. in weight. The 7.1” x 13.4” dimensions give the sleeping bag a small footprint for folded winter camping gear.
What's not to like about the Canway 4-Season Sleeping Bag
The Velcro securing strap is easy to use. However, it doesn’t have great insulating properties. Although it prevents the zipper from opening when moving around in your sleep, it may hinder the sleeping bag’s heat retention ability.
Best Sleeping Bags - Buyers Guide
The type of sleeping bag tends to indicate its seasonality.
Summer sleeping bags can be broken down into two categories. There are Season 1 and Season 2 bags. Season 1 sleeping bags are ideal for summer camping and even indoor use.
Season 2 sleeping bags may be used from late spring all the way to early autumn. They have minimal heat blocking properties but decent heat retention properties.
Winter sleeping bags can also be categorized as Season 3 and Season 4. Season 4 sleeping bags are designed for frosty weather, snow, and harsh winds. Season 3 sleeping bags are a bit more versatile as they work best in the fall and early winter. They’re not usually designed to handle frost.
It’s also worth noting that most Season 4 sleeping bags use down insulation, which will be discussed further down in this article.
Sleeping bags come in two shapes. However, one of the shapes that can be broken down into two subcategories depending on specific design features.
Mummy-style sleeping bags start out spacious at the top but get narrower as you go down towards the footbox. This shape is often used in cold weather sleeping bags as it offers a snug fit and better heat retention.
The mummy-style hood can be adjusted with drawstrings or it could be self-adjustable, depending on the manufacturer.
Rectangular sleeping bags are very versatile and spacious. They maintain the same width from one end to another and quite often feature 2-way zippers. This allows you to zip together two bags in order to double the space.
You can do this with single and with double sleeping bags, as long as they are rectangular. Note that cross-brand compatibility is rare.
Semi-rectangular sleeping bags are basically a cross between mummy-style and rectangular sleeping bags. They have the same width from the shoulders down but they also feature a hood for extra protection around the head.
The hood may or may not be detachable. It’s worth noting that semi-rectangular sleeping bags may also be referred to as envelope sleeping bags with a semi-circular mummy-style hood. The wording matters less than the actual design and description.
The temperature rating is highly important when selecting a sleeping bag. Different fillings, quilting patterns, and linings create certain conditions. It’s the reason why it’s not ideal to use the same sleeping bag for winter and summer camping.
When looking at the specifications you’ll often notice two temperature ratings: comfort ratings and extreme ratings.
The comfort rating indicates the optimum temperature range for you to feel warm (cold weather sleeping bags) or cool (summer sleeping bags). The comfort rating also takes into account sleeping in a rolled-up position.
The extreme rating, also referred to as the survival temperature, indicates the lowest temperature that you can use your sleeping bag. Although it may seem harsh, the extreme rating is known to indicate the minimum temperature before hypothermia or frostbite might set in. It doesn’t indicate the minimum temperature threshold for comfort.
There are two types of insulations that you need to know about concerning sleeping bags – down and synthetic insulation.
Down insulation is made with under feathers. Mostly taken from ducks and geese. This type of insulation has amazing heat retention and is also very light. It also performs better at various temperature ranges which is why it’s typically found in three or four-season sleeping bags.
A down sleeping bag tends to last longer and compress a lot easier into compact sacks. However, it also has some drawbacks. Of the two, down insulation is considerably more expensive. It also loses heat retention when it gets wet and may need specialized maintenance.
Synthetic insulation is the way to go when shopping on a tight budget. Manmade fillings are cheap and easy to clean. Also, when synthetic insulation gets wet, or damp, it doesn’t lose its heat retention properties, unlike down insulation.
The insulation per weight ratio is quite poor in comparison. Synthetic insulation is bulky and heavy and still barely offers the same level of retention as down insulation. It also deteriorates over time.
Manufacturers usually offer clear specifications when it comes to length and width. You may encounter some missing information when shopping for mummy-style sleeping bags. You may not always get width ratings around the hips and feet.
When it comes to sizing sleeping bags, most people just compare compressed or packed sizes. That determines how easy or convenient is to carry a particular sleeping bag. Also, remember that not all sleeping bags come with compressed sacks.
Some will have a stuff sack as a carry bag which will have more volume and may make packing more difficult. Remember that winter sleeping bags tend to be larger even when compressed. You may be able to cut down on the height but you’ll only end up with a fatter carry bag.
You should also consider the insulation when sizing up sleeping bags. As previously mentioned, down sleeping bags have a better insulation/weight ratio which makes them lighter and smaller overall. Last but not least, don’t worry about not being able to reach the footbox. Having a slightly longer sleeping bag is not a big deal.
Sleeping Bag FAQ
How to wash a sleeping bag?
Not all sleeping bags can be washed in the washing machine. And, depending on the different shell and lining fabrics used, you can’t use the same detergents or water temperatures.
Always check the label for clear guidelines. There isn’t a standard washing guide that you can follow unless you’re willing to risk tearing the fabric.
One thing to note is that you should always wash the sleeping bag fully zipped. It minimizes the risk of snagging onto other clothes or gear and ripping apart your stuff.
How to fold a sleeping bag?
Before folding a sleeping bag, you should remove all the air from inside. Position yourself on top of the bottom end and push the air out in the opposite direction. Once you’re satisfied, proceed to roll the sleeping bag as you would a newspaper.
Keep in mind that not all sleeping bags come with side assistance features. So, you should be careful to roll in a straight line. Once you’ve reached the neck area or the hood, look for a locking system. Not all sleeping bags will have a manual system, some of them simply lock in place when properly rolled.
After that, insert the sleeping bag into your compression sack. Use the instructions on the sack to reduce the sleeping bag’s footprint even further.
How to store sleeping bags?
Sleeping bags are best stored in their carry bags. Most compression sacks or stuff sacks are made from rugged materials which will protect the sleeping bag during transportation and from accidental tearing and molding in your garage.
But, it’s worth noting that keeping sleeping bags compressed over a long period of time may not be ideal. As long as you’re not desperate for a few inches of extra storage space, store your sleeping bag in its natural rolled-up size.
How to choose a sleeping bag?
When choosing a sleeping bag, you should consider multiple factors. First and foremost, the temperature ratings are highly important. After that you should look at the waterproofing properties.
Size is also an important consideration packed or unfolded. Lastly, consider which sleeping bag shape best suits your needs. Remember that mummy-style sleeping bags tend to have better heat retention properties but they may feel too tight for some people.
Pricing is also important. However, the majority of sleeping bags are made with synthetic insulation. Unless you’re looking at down sleeping bags for extreme weather, the prices should be fairly close from one brand to another.
How to attach a sleeping bag to a backpack?
If you’re into summer camping, chances are that your sleeping bag can easily fit inside the backpack or strapped to your belt. In the event that you’re using a larger one, it’s usually easy to snap a sleeping bag carry sack to the top or bottom of your backpack.
The carry bags will have one or two straps with just enough give to put something between them and the outer shell. Simply find a matching location on your backpack and use the straps on your backpack to secure the carry bag.
As you can tell from our selection, the best sleeping bags come in various shapes, sizes, and levels of comfort. Since there’s no such thing as an all-weather sleeping bag, it comes down to knowing the construction of a sleeping bag before making an appropriate decision.
Each sleeping bag on this list is great for specific camping scenarios and weather conditions. Are you ready to make your long-term investment? Which sleeping bag do you think you’ll feel most comfortable and protected in?