Best budget sleeping bags
Let’s say you plan to do a simple, easy summer vacation with your friends, or to make some trip around the world and need light, budget sleeping bags to sleep with. Or to make some brief hiking in a backcountry zone. Your focus is to have a basic gear to get along and want to save money. That’s perfectly possible and reasonable. There are bargains and opportunities to find in the sleeping bag domain.
In this review we chose some of the best budget sleeping bags, coming at a good price, and yet performing well. The majority of them are for two or three seasons use, for they are very basic models. Four season bags will be a little more expensive, because of the need of more filling to insure the lining. Our main focus in this analysis is performance and cost: we’ll go through camping, backpacking, summer and double sleeping bags.
Budget sleeping bags
Kelty Mistral 40
Weight: 2 lbs. 14 oz – 3 lbs. 1 oz.
Dimensions: length 6′ – 6’6″ ; shoulder girth: 62 – 64 inches; hip girth: 58-60 inches
Temperature rating: 40°F
Cons: not fit for freezing winter time
Pros: big hood, footbox, anti-snag zipper
A synthetic bag with taffeta shell and liner in polyester, this model unites the lightness of mummy bags with the comfort of a footbox. The footbox is a space to position the feet before sleeping, and allows them to rest comfortably. It’s light, and we use it for backpacking on long trips: however the polyester doesn’t stand the rain or moisture. It happened to me to receive a storm while camping and the bag was wet in two minutes.
It took after an entire day to dry it up. The Kelty Mistral 40 fulfils fully its promise of keeping warmth at 40°F: we slept with it without getting awake. Sometimes even slept well at 20°F. It’s a good bag to save money and use from mid -April to mid-September. The hood and collar avoid the drafts from entering, but to save space in the backpack you have to really compress it: normally it takes 16.68 liters, and we arrived to 14.
REDCAMP Cotton Flannel
Weight: 3 lbs, 15.8 oz – 5.7lbs
Dimensions: 86 x 39 x 1 inches
Temperature rating: 50-32°F
Cons: the zippers are to handle with care
Pros: very affordable, soft lining
This is a very affordable bag, coming in different variations, less or more warm. We tested three different models and found them more than satisfying for resting in a summer camp at 50°F. The interior flannel fabric is great for sensible skins and with its rectangular form, we could move largely during night time. The zippers allow to connect with another identical bag and create a double one, just they must be handled gently.
Being 75″x33″ long and wide, it’s reasonably spacey, and is 360-day guaranteed. However the model for 32°F is a little cold at the freezing range and we had trouble getting asleep. There is no hood, nor warm collar, and the drawstring closure cannot replace them properly. This bag is more than alright for backpacking in the good season, when just good weather is expected. Not for complicate situations in the countryside.
Weight: 3 lbs
Dimensions: 31.5 x 86.6 in.
Temperature rating: 30°F /10-20°C
Cons: cannot be zipped with another one, zipper to handle cautiously
Pros: mild waterproofness, packs in reduced dimensions
Thankfully there is a three-season bag like this: very simple, but effective. With an outer cover in anti-tearing polyester fabric and a lining of polyester pongee, the Oaskys 3-Season is perfect for mid-spring to mid-autumn use. 10 Celsius is really its due limit: better not to go down this figure, for the sleep will be uncomfortable, even impossible. But in case of light rain or humidity, the exterior fabric stops for real the droplets.
There is a hood to cover the head for sure, adjustable with a draw string, but without an adaptable collar (someone will think, what do you expect for twenty bucks…). Also, the internal fabric is in nylon: if you are used to sleep with cotton sheet, you should take a cotton liner to be in contact with a tissue you really like. The nylon is acceptable, but at touch is definitely not as agreeable as a natural tissue. Final words: handle gently the zippers, for they work, but they don’t seem either the most resistant ones in the field.
Weight: 5.3 Pounds
Dimensions: 72 x 33 in.
Temperature rating: 20°F
Cons: lacks a hood, heavy
Pros: can turn into a quilt, keeps the
The Coleman Brazos has an external fabric and filling in polyester, weighs 5.3 pounds and comes with a size of 75 x 33 inches. Also, be aware that people who make more than 5 feet and 11 inches won’t fit in this bag. The Brazos can open completely to form a quilt, and has a peculiar mechanism of working with body warmth. By sleeping inside without a pyjama, it keeps the personal temperature better than wearing one.
We used this bag for three years and saw its robustness: never broke, and the insulation remains the same after quite frequent machine washing. Despite its qualities, it has no hood, and the temperature rating is very optimistic. We suggest to consider 35°F as a more realistic comfort figure. On the other side, with its weight, it can be a little overwhelming if you are backpacking on long trips. Consider the load of your packsack.
Coleman 0°F Mummy Sleeping Bag
Weight: 6.5 Pounds
Dimensions: 32″ x 82″
Temperature rating: 0°F
Cons: zipper to handle carefully, bulky
Pros: cheap for freezing temperatures
The Coleman 0°F is very good, considering the price tag. A winter sleeping bag, insulating enough for freezing temperatures, for less than 100 dollars. Also made in polyester, it’s a mummy model, quite big at sight. Careful because it comes in one size only, and fits for people who are less than 6.1 feet tall. Like a little bonus, there is also a limited warranty of ten years, and an insulated footbox to increase comfort while resting.
The hood is abundant, with a large collar, and has insulating power. But is it a 0°F sleeping bag? For us it’s more a 20°F one, and for normal people. Those sensitive to the cold (for the perception of cold is personal) might feel comfortable at 30-35°F in this Coleman. Also, it’s quite hefty, and backpacking with it will be felt on your shoulders: better to transport it by car. However the zipper looks delicate, and must not be handled violently.
Those who weight more than 220 lbs. may have problems to enter in the bag: it’s better for them to look for some bigger-size model. In conclusion it’s definitely a valid winter bag, best if used at no less than 20°F. For lower temperatures we suggest some more expensive and warmer model, also for a matter of personal security. Don’t put yourself at risk (we saw people doing that) in cold climates for saving a few dollars on your gear.
Coleman Sun Ridge
Weight: 4.3 lbs
Dimensions: 33″ x 75″
Temperature rating: 40°F
Cons: not for tall people, no hood
Pros: no-snag zipper
The Coleman Sun Ridge is a rectangular, basic model who fits well in the good season. With a polyester shell and a tricot fibre blend liner, we find it comfortable at the mild temperatures of May, to the beginning of September. There is a baffle called Thermolock, preventing heat loss through the zipper, and a zipper guide piece prevents snags, plowing the fabric away from the zipper. Anyway the lack of hood influences the global insulation.
With a size of 75 x 33 inches, it’s not the biggest bag on the horizon, and not enough for people taller than 5 feet and 10 inches: they will have to look for something else. It can be carried in a pack, but it’s a little hefty: also, it must be rolled very tight to enter its sack. Honestly, the liner isn’t as soft as cotton, but for sleeping outside in some summer camp with very temperate days, it’s more than enough. On the side of waterproofness, there is no one.
Marmot Voyager 55 Mummy – Budget sleeping bag
Dimensions: 90 x 62 x 3 inches
Temperature rating: 55°F
Cons: a little tight, not for low temperatures
Pros: light, ideal for backpacking
The Marmot Voyager 55 is perfect for warm-weather situations, ideally in summer time. Entirely in polyester, it has the compact style of backpacking sleeping bags. It packs tiny (around the size of a football) and adds very little charge in a packsack, so it’s very suitable for long hiking travels. Yet we wouldn’t suggest using at less than 50°F, because the filling has no down, and insulation not enough for icy situations.
Speaking of comfort, as for all mummy bags, you cannot move very much inside it: it’s tight. If you turn on the side, the bag will move with you. Nonetheless this Marmot has a generous collar to cover the skull and neck, so that no breezes sneak in. Lastly, we consider it a valid bag for ordinary sunny season use and for one user only. The zippers don’t allow to combine it with another one and form a double sleeping bag.
Sleepingo Double Sleeping Bag
Dimensions: 87 X 59 inches
Temperature rating: 50°F
Cons: not for wintry nights, without hood
Pros: large enough for two people, divisible in two individual bags, two pillows included
We add to this review a slender double bag with two pillows included. It has no hood, but there isn’t need while sleeping in warm ranges. The Sleepingo Double can be separated in two individual bags via the zippers, allowing to split the burden in the packsacks. The experience of the two separated parts is identical. It’s also quite waterproof: when camping with moist grounds, remained well dry (but always used tent and pad).
Howbeit, in terms of insulation, this sleeping bag has its limits clearly at 50°F. Already at 40°F we started to feel uneasy, and needed thermal underwear. At 32°F it’s really impossible to rest properly. Just keep it for the good seasons: there is no down in the filling, and humidity increases the perception of cold too. Speaking of its load, it’s more than acceptable for backpacking, considered that two people can rest inside.
Kelty Cosmic 0 – Budget sleeping bag
Weight: 4 lbs. 9 oz. – 4 lbs. 13 oz.
Dimensions: fits up to 72 inches for the regular size, 78 for the long. Check the shoulder girth with the seller
Temperature rating: 4°F
Cons: a little heavy
Pros: excellent warmth, resistance to moisture
With the Kelty Cosmic 0 we enter in the domain of the winter budget sleeping bags. It has a polyester lining and a 550-fill-power duck down: you may think it’s not a cheap bag, at more than 300 dollars. But in reality it is, considering its temperature rating at 4°F. Generally, similar models cost one hundred more at least. And this rating is for real: we slept in it at 4°F with thermals and had a very good time, not needing any blanket.
On some occasions (we didn’t foresee), when the temperature lowered to 0°F, we felt some cold in the toes, and remained just half asleep. But surely is great for winter nights, for its collar and hood are effective and warm, while the ripstop shell stops moisture. Beware of water however, because it’s not waterproof, and a strong rain can wet it in minutes. All this said, it’s a four season bag of good quality, for freezing conditions.
Hyke & Byke Eolus
Weight: 3.2 lbs.
Dimensions: length 5’6″ – 6′ – 6’6″
Temperature rating: 0°F
Cons: the zippers snag easily on fabric
Pros: the zippers snag easily on fabric
Also the Hyke & Bike Eolus is a bag for winter time, with a 800 goose down. For the whole product, the price of 200 dollars is really acceptable. Other, more famous brands have similar models at greater prices. The zipper has two sliders, so it’s possible to open the bag from the bottom to allow some air in. The three major points of interest of this bag are its price, lightness and warmth. And let’s not forget the waterproofness.
The 0°F rating is real, provided that you have a good sleeping pad, isolating your body from the soil. We slept in it at 0°, 1° and -1° F with wool socks (just in case) and rested toasty. This model comes with a great hood and a decent footbox, but, being a mummy, it’s impossible to sleep on the stomach. When first we opened the box, the Eolus came with a smell that’s hard to describe, and disappeared after washing it in the machine.
There is one thing to note: it’s better to take out the Eolus from its pack sack and let it “breathe”, or self-inflate for one hour before going to sleep. If this is not done, the down of the filling is too compressed and the insulation properties are less than optimal. To put it easy: you may feel more cold than expected. To conclude, it’s also a very portable for a winter bag with such rating and backpacking for days with it is easy.
Conclusion on budget sleeping bags
In this review we have shown some affordable, budget sleeping bags, with basic features to insure a cozy stay in some friend’s house or in some camping site. Note also that sometimes the zippers of a part of these cheap models break and give trouble. In our experience, if the bag is valid and the zipper fails, we replace the last. It’s a simple operation, and doesn’t take a lot of time. Some tailors can do it for you for a small fee.
And repairing the zipper is normally so low-cost that the bag will be a bargain anyway. These models are excellent for easy camping and hiking. Or for some Boy Scout summer initiative. In any case, if you plan to do some serious mountaineering or long trip, we suggest to get first some education from a qualified instructor. There are also good budget sleeping bags for winter, but sleeping with freezing temperatures can be risky.
If you intend to have more performing gear, with more advanced features you should look beyond budget sleeping bags. You may have professional or recreational reasons to stay outside, and desire really the best. And yet, the say: “You get what you pay for” is real. Normally, the more you pay, the more benefits and quality you get. And with higher cost come ultralight, cold weather, winter performing models.