Summer sleeping bags
Summer sleeping bags are specific gear with a design for resting in the best conditions in the good season. Normally the temperatures are high, the weather is good, and is also possible to rest on a sleeping pad with a pair of trousers and a tee-shirt. Yet you may also want to cover yourself, if the night starts to get a little colder or there is dust in the air. Then a sleeping bag creates a layer of protection from the whims of the environment.
The interest of choosing summer sleeping bags lies in their reduced insulation, blocking drafts and preventing overheating. These bags don’t keep you too warm, allow venting and avoid excessive sweating. The problem of sweat lies in that a bag can get damp quite rapidly, even in a night, when you sweat a lot (we have made the experience :/). If such event occur, the bag should be left to dry naturally before stuffing it in its sack.
Otherwise the bag will remain damp and resting again in it will be quite uneasy. However also three-seasons and winter bags can serve well in summer. And if the temperatures go too low there are models that can fully unzip. If you want to go backpacking or camping with your car, through this page you will see a few among the best summer sleeping bags you can find. We chose these models for the temperature rating, their comfort and features.
NEMO Forte 35 Sleeping Bag – Men’s
Weight: 2 lbs. 2 oz.
Dimensions: fits to 72 – 78 in.; shoulder girth: 64 – 68 inches; hip girth: 59 – 60 inches
Temperature rating: 35°F
Cons: small internal pocket, cannot transform into a quilt
Pros: lifetime warranty, accessible price.
The Nemo Forte 35 is a summer model with a synthetic filling in PrimaLoft RISE fibers and an outer shell in 30D ripstop polyester. It catches our attention for having a “spoon” shape, with extra room around the shoulders, hips and knees. It allows a good deal of movement. It’s somewhere between a mummy and a rectangular bag, and adapts to side sleepers who like some freedom of movement in the night. Or to people with a strong build.
While it has a realistic temperature rating of 35°F, the Nemo Forte 35 can open and vent easy in very hot nights. First, the zipper is almost full-length, and maniable even with one hand. Second, two pockets (thermal gills) to open with zips are present on the shell, and can dump heat as well. Then the hood has an inside pillow pocket to insert a jacket to remain under your head, and is very abundant, with a draft tube around the face opening.
A big draft collar
The draft collar is also thick and wide, like a little blanket, and is to wrap around the neck if the temperature goes too down. Otherwise it can remain to hang out. Another positive point is the presence of DWR on the outer fabric, giving a little water resistance, more than appreciable during the short summer rains. This bag is also versatile, for the male model can zip with a female one (the zippers are on opposite sides) and form a double, for the delight of couples.
The Nemo Forte 35 has value as an affordable, though bag with a lifetime warranty, and able to vent a lot. Side sleepers should consider it, for it allows to move reasonably inside. With a pack size of 12 liters, thankfully it doesn’t take too much space inside a backpack, and leaves decent deal of room for different gear. The only remark we can possibly do is that with some more waterproofness, the model would be even better.
Therm-a-Rest Space Cowboy
Weight: 1 lbs 12 oz
Dimensions: length 73 – 80 – 85 in.; shoulder girth: 57 – 62 -65 inches; hip girth: 56 – 57 -58 inches
Temperature rating: 45°F
Cons: to use just in summer, not waterproof, doesn’t open Ito a quilt
Pros: limited lifetime warranty, affordable, durable, with hood
This synthetic bag is comparable by weight and size to the most lightweight down models, and can be a boon for cyclists or backpackers. With a shell and lining fabric in recycled nylon ripstop and a filling in eraLoft polyester, the Space Cowboy is a definitely a summer bag, to use in warm atmospheric conditions. It’s better not to use it at more than 4500 feet, for the nights could be too fresh at such height.
Its design is really basic, with little features. We can mention the ability to connect with a sleeping pad, and a filling able to retain loft and warmth even when wet. Anyway, with a weight of 1 lbs 12 oz and a stuff size of 8 x 10 in, this bag is really tiny, and becomes almost invisible in a generous backpack. It can be interesting for hikers or campers who want to travel light in summer, and not choose more expensive down bags.
While sleep is comfortable in this bag, there isn’t a great amount of space to move inside, nor waterproofness. The fabric and filling aren’t treated to resist water, and this bag has to kept away from rain. The three-quarters zipper allows venting, but not down to the feet, so in very hot night one can sweat inside. The hood and draft collar add to the general snugness. Finally, it’s a bag appropriate for summery activities, but not for spring or autumn.
Marmot NanoWave 55
Weight: 1.81 lbs.
Dimensions: length 60 in.; shoulder girth: 60 inches; hip girth: 57 inches
Temperature rating: 55°F
Cons: it sheds moisture, not rain
Pros: full length zipper, can vent a lot
The NanoWave 55 is a synthetic bag with many qualities, and coming at a low price. It’s very light, packable and affordable. Newbies in outdoor activities can profit of a model for summer jaunts, costing less than 100$. With an outer shell in nylon and a polyester liner, the NanoWave takes a stuff volume of 3.9 liters, almost the same a water bottle. While being without down, it’s actually light like many down sleeping bags.
The SpiraFil insulation filling consists of a melange of small polyester fibers and large spiral . That’s very good, but the bag is just to use in a warm season: under 55°F you start to feel uncomfortable, not to speak of early spring temperatures. On one side there is DWR treatment on the outer shell, shedding moisture, but not moderate quantities of water. This bag must not remain exposed to rain, for even with good temperatures needs hours to dry.
The NanoWave 55 is an ultralight synthetic bag, keeping a minimum of weight and size (3,9 liters when stuff). On the other side of the coin it’s not very waterproof, cannot cope with autumn temperatures and isn’t very big, to move a lot inside. For us it’s a model to use in the warmest months of the year and wash and store in a closet at the very beginning of September. Its insulation is very thin and cannot withstand autumn situations.
Big Agnes Lost Dog 45
Weight: 1lb 12oz
Dimensions: fits to 5’10” – 6’6″; shoulder girth: 69 -72 – 80 inches; hip girth: 60 – 63 – 71 inches
Temperature rating: 45°F
Cons: need a sized sleeping pad to adapt to the sleeve, cannot open into a blanket, low impermeability
Pros: spacey enough to turn and move inside, comfortable, flex pad sleeve
The Lost Dog 45 emphasizes portability and comfort, in a summer sleeping bag to sleep snug. While being under 1.5lbs, it has enough space to move and toss abundantly inside. The bag is entirely synthetic, with a DWR nylon ripstop shell fabric and a FireLine™ polyester filling. Also, we note the absence of a hood, and the presence of a pillow barn to block a pillow from slipping around during the night.
This model suits well for summer camps in warm conditions, and allows to block the underneath sleeping pad through a sleeve. However the pad must have more or less the dimension of the bag, or it won’t fit. The zipper is long and goes down to the feet, but doesn’t open the bag as a quilt. On one side it allows to vent well and you won’t sweat too much in the bag, but it cannot open the bag as a quilt. And that would be great in summer.
In sum, the Lost Dog 45 is a more-than-decent sleeping bag for summer nights either in a tent or under the stars. It is comparable with ultralight models for its weight and stuff size (7.5″ x 15″), and for sure very easy to place even in a little backpack. But on the other side it has little impermeability, cannot zip with a twin model to create a double bag and cannot fully serve as a quilt. Despite these limits, we consider it valuable.
Marmot Always Summer 40 – Summer sleeping bags
Weight: 1 lb 11 oz
Dimensions: fits to 5’10” – 6’6″; shoulder girth: 62 inches; hip girth: 57 inches
Temperature rating: 40°F
Pros: water resistant down filling, can open on both sides to vent, very light
The Marmot Always Summer 40 has a the minimum filling for warm temperatures, and a size to accommodate strong build people. While generally very light bags are quite tight, this model is roomy enough to move and turn freely enough inside. This model has a ripstop nylon outer shell and a 650 duck down filling. Furthermore the down is water repellent, and apports a decent impermeability. Even after five years after the purchase, it works well.
This model has a big hood to cover the head, sizeable by a draw cord. There are two zippers, the left one going to the feet and the right one shorter. If you feel too hot in the night, you can open both and fold the upper part of the upper side to vent. Also, you can take a morning coffee while in your bag with the arms and torso free. While the experience of sleeping in it is very positive, the Always Summer 40 sheds just moisture, but not rain.
The down filling resides in stretch tricot baffles, with more concentration on the front side of the bag and a less on the back side. In fact, this optimises the insulation, as well as the draft tubes behind the zippers. While it’s spacious when open, becomes very tiny in its stuff sack. Besides being a summer bag, very light and packable, the Always Summer 40 can open widely in warmer nights and avoids waking up for the heat.
Sea to Summit Traveller Tr I – Summer sleeping bags
Dimensions: length 6′- 6’6″; shoulder girth: 58 – 66 inches; hip girth: 53 – 61 inches
Temperature rating: 50°F
Cons: no hood
Pros: can unite to another bag to create a double, ultralight, opens into a blanket
This hoodless, down sleeping bag enters is extremely light, portable and comfortable. Basically it has a rectangular shape, narrower at the feet. But, thanks to cinch cords, it can become quickly a mummy, and gain some warmth. It adapts quickly to the warmest nights by opening and becoming a blanket. Thanks to this versatility, the Traveller Tr I is a good choice for summer music festivals in the desert or jaunts in the countryside.
The outer shell is in ripstop nylon, and the filling in 750-fill-power down, treated with water-repellent polymers. That helps retaining loft and shedding humidity, though in very humid weather the bag starts to take water. If you’re comfortable with a nylon liner, this model can serve even as a liner for another, warmer bag for winter. It’s so thin to enter easily in another model, and add insulation and warmth, like a blanket.
For sure this bag is versatile and can even zip with another twin model (the zipper must be on the opposite side). For all these features, the Traveller Tr I bends itself to many uses and can be a companion for a whole summer. With its lightness campers who like to bivouac or use hammocks will appreciate its thin design. The sole limitation we see is that in mountain ranges, where the temperatures can plummet even in summer, this bag can be not warm enough.
Big Agnes Sidewinder SL 35 – Summer sleeping bags
Dimensions: length 6′- 6’6″; shoulder girth: 61 – 65 inches; hip girth: 55 – 59 inches
Temperature rating: 35°F
Cons: no cinch cord or collar around the hood
Pros: adapts to side sleepers, comfortable, medium waterproofness
The Sidewinder SL 35 adapts very well to side sleepers, and those who like to move a lot and roll over in the night. With an uncommon design, it unites synthetic and down filling (rare to see) to accommodate to a side position. More filling is present around the hips and feet to protect the pressure points while resting on one side. The hood is like that of a jacket, and allows to turn the head right or left while moving around.
Also, it’s deep enough to host an inflatable pillow, and keep it in the specific pocket. The bag is valid and warm at 35°F, but there is no draft collar, nor cinch cord around the hood, so a little bit of drafts always enters inside. In summer time this isn’t noticed, however, and you don’t need every possible feature to prevent cold air for sneaking in. The outer shell, in nylon ripstop, presents a PFC-free water repellent finish. Thankfully it’s hydrophobic to some degree.
The zipper is frontal, and goes down to the feet, so the venting is insured when the nights are too hot.The filling is quite interesting, for it’s partly in 650 fill DownTek water-repellent down and partly in polyester ECO Synthetic Insulation. The synthetic is present around the footbox and the hips to better adapt to a lateral position. In conclusion, this bag is interesting for the summer camper or hiker, for sleeping on a hammock, while enjoying to move around.
Kelty Rambler 50 Degree – Summer sleeping Bag
Weight: 2 lb 2 oz
Dimensions: length 6′; shoulder width: 29 inches
Temperature rating: 50°F
Cons: no hood, no pillow pocket, cannot zip to another bag, not waterproof
Pros: unzips entirely to use almost as a blanket, lifetime warranty
For a very affordable price, the Kelty Rambler 50 is a good bag to rest in a hostel, a summer camp or in an airport. It’s a rectangular design, hoodless, with a synthetic filling in Cloudloft insulation, comfortable for resting. At the same time it has limited insulating power, and it’s better to use it just in May, July and August. In April and September it’s not warm enough. If temperatures drop below 50°F, the bag doesn’t provide such warmth to rest properly.
There is no hood neither. This saves some space in the backpack, but leaves the head uncovered. It’s a very light bag, and makes 2 lb 2 oz for the synthetic filling, not as light as down. It’s very affordable and functional for summer, but the great thing it lacks is some kind of impermeability. Nor the polyester shell nor the inside present some kind of moisture-shedding property. The bag can open completely with a wide zipper, and prevent heavy sweating inside.
While it’s worthy buying it for the price, this bag finds its use just in summer, and at low and mid-altitudes. Hikers, cyclers and campers can enjoy it in good days. If however there is the possibility of having bad weather conditions it would be better to choose another, warmer model with some hydrophobic power. And eventually with a big hood and collar draft, to insure the protection of the neck and head.
Rab Neutrino 200 – Summer sleeping bags
Dimensions: length 86 – 90 in.; shoulder girth: 63 inches; hip girth: 52 inches
Temperature rating: 39°F
Cons: not warm enough for 39°F, not waterproof
Pros: very light, very durable outer fabric
The Rab Neutrino 200 is an ultralight one, among summer sleeping bags, in a winter-like mummy shape. This bag is meant to reduce weight and size as much as possible, while giving a superior comfort in good conditions. For sure it’s very easy to place in a packsack. To start, the shell fabric is in Pertex, wind but not waterproof. The interior filling is on the other hand in 800 goose down, with an hydrophobic finish, conferring a moderate water resistance.
The bag is great for light activities like camping, cycling or hiking, and the baffle design with trapezoidal baffle chambers tries to minimise the quantity of filling. While this should be convenient, at the end the bag is cooler than we expected. We rested comfortably in it at the temperature of 46°F, but not below. Under this level we started to chill. This model filling is simply too thin, and it should be a little thicker to insure a three-season insulation.
Despite not having a great impermeability, the Rab Neutrino 200 is breathable, and avoids excessive sweating. The zipper is only half-length, and allows to vent abundantly in warm nights. Honestly, it’s a great bag for its portability, and the zipper has good anti-snag properties. Thankfully the compression sack is impermeable, and repels water. Lastly, it’s a pity it cannot open as a quilt, for in summer it would be a good additional feature.
Nemo Disco 30 Degree – Summer sleeping bags
Weight: 1 lb , 15 oz
Dimensions: fits to 6′ – 6’6″; shoulder girth: 64 – 66 inches; hip girth: 59 – 60 inches
Temperature rating: 30°F
Cons: larger volume than the average summer bag
Pros: spacious and comfortable, for side and tummy sleepers,
The Nemo Disco 30 is a three-seasons bag, capable to keep an average adult warm from early spring to late autumn. And yet it has a few features that make it very good for summer. First, it has a “spoon” shape, with more space around the hip and feet than the common bags. So it’s possible to move inside, turn a lot and sleep on the side or the tummy. The backpackers who like spacious, abundant bags will surely like this model.
Second, it can vent a lot. While it’s pretty warm, thanks to a 650 power down filling, also hydrophobic, It can open a lot with a long zipper. Furthermore, two Thermo Gills, controllable with zippers, allow fresh air to sneak in, independently from the zipper. For all the space it offers, and for a 30D outer shell, this bag is slightly heavier and bulkier than the common summer bag. With a stuff size of 7.9 liters, it takes some (not too much) space in a backpack.
The Nemo Disco 30 is versatile, for it serves in cool spring and hot summer nights. The zone of the footbox is particularly breathable, allowing moisture to exit the bag. There is one model for men and one for women: the two have opposite zippers, and can zip together for family camping. To conclude, this bag is for hikers or campers who want to have some room in the night and use it in different seasons with no need for a liner.
Summer is possibly the best moment of the year for activities like camping, hiking, kayaking and sitting around a campfire. But despite the good general conditions, it’s better to sleep always with some good equipment to be sure to have the best rest possible. On one side you can use summer sleeping bags just for a few months of the year. After all, they are lightweight, sometimes ultralight, easily packable and avoid excessive sweating.
But on another side, these bags won’t keep you too warm and make you sweat. They are optimised for this particular season. By the way, if you want to have a really light bag, easy to carry, check our page on ultralight sleeping bags, for there are some interesting ones. These bags are the lightest, and favour packability and versatility above all. However they’re not as affordable or roomy as budget, basic models, and sleeping in them can be tight.
Finally, in an ideal situation you should have two or three bags in the closet for different seasons, in order to adapt to different conditions. One for summer, one for three-seasons and the last for cold weather or winter. Besides in our personal experience it’s better to hike and travel with gear appropriate for the season. Bags for winter or cold weather are often too warm for summer, and don’t vent enough. If they don’t open completely as quilts, sleeping becomes awkward.