If you’ve gone camping before, then you know how annoying it can be to roll up your sleeping bag and then have nowhere to store it. Sure, you can tie it with string or elastic bands, but that doesn’t keep your sleeping bag safe from the elements. To do that, you need the best compression sack for sleeping bags.
Many people forget the importance of a proper compression sack, however, in actuality, it’s one of the most important pieces of gear you can purchase. Compression sacks help in making your sleeping bag smaller in size. Though you may not think of this as something important, it actually helps create more space for you whether that be in your backpack, canoe, or kayak.
Compression sacks are perfect if you want to protect your sleeping bag from the elements. The last thing you want is to unroll your sleeping bag and find it damp, dirty and smelling foul. This means it will also keep the sleeping bag from premature aging.
If you’re buying a standard sleeping bag, it’ll usually come with a compression sack. However, most of the compression sacks that come with sleeping bags are of low quality and are simply used to store the sleeping bag. In order to help you find a compression sack that will not only make space for other stuff in your backpack but will also protect anything you put inside it, we’ve put together a summary of today’s top products.
Our Top Picks
|Product name||Weight||Dimensions||Defining Feature||Price|
|Sea to Summit eVent||6.4 ounces||11 x 5 x 3 inches||Unique air compression||Check price on Amazon|
|ALPS Mountaineering||8 ounces||Small: 7 x 16 inches|
Medium: 9 x 20 inches
Large: 11 x 23 inches
XL: 12 x 25 inches
|Bartacked stress points||Check price on Amazon|
|Osprey StraightJacket||2.1 ounces||6 x 15 x 8 inches||Horizontal compression||Check price on Amazon|
|Granite Gear||13 ounces||8 x 5 x 2 inches||New Lineloc lightweight technology||Check price on Amazon|
|Outdoor Research Dry Ditty||5.6 ounces||11 x 4 x 2 inches||3-in-1 Sack||Check price on Amazon|
|Lowe Alpine Mesh||13 ounces||12 x 4 x 3 inches||See-through polyester||Check price on Amazon|
|Mammut Ambient||12.8 ounces||10 x 3 x 2 inches||Ambient light source||Check price on Amazon|
Things to consider before buying
If you’re looking for a compression sack that’ll help preserve your sleeping bag, there are some features you need to look for. So, here are the in’s and out’s of find the best compression sack for sleeping bag:
Compression Sack vs Stuff Sack
You’ve probably heard these two terms, however, they’re not the same thing. Not sure which one to choose? We understand. Here are the difference between a stuff sack and compression sack.
A stuff sack is similar in appearance to a compression sack. It’s a drawstring bag which allows you to store your personal belongings or camping equipment, however, it’s typically used for sleeping bags. They’re known to be bulky in size and build. In addition, they’re usually not waterproof, but rather are just used for storing items.
Compression sacks are specifically designed for storing sleeping bags in backpacks. It can be designed with or without waterproof features. It has a clothed lid that comes with adjustable straps that can be tightened to compress the size of the bag.
The best compression sacks ensure that your sleeping bag is kept dry. You’ll be able to backpack, camp, canoe–whatever activity it is–and your sleeping gear will be kept dry. Waterproof compression sacks achieve this with sealed seams and a dry bag closure.
Try to avoid purchasing a compression sack that is made of polyurethane-coated fabrics, as these are cheaply made and will not last long. For a proper waterproof compression sack, you’ll need to invest in it and that means paying a bit more.
Since they come in waterproof versions, canoers and kayakers will be able to secure their items while on open bodies of water. However, even if you’re not into the outdoors, business travelers can also use compression sacks as they can easily fit their clothes into the small compartment.
You don’t need a compression sack that comes with a bunch of gadgets. You want it to be simple and do its duty. So, make sure your compression sack is made of lightweight material and is minimalistic in design. Sometimes you’ll end up using your compression sack to carry other things, so you will want it to be as light as possible.
There’s no point in buying a compression sack if it won’t last you through one summer. You want a compression sack that’s durable and can withstand the elements, protecting what’s inside. In this case, durability comes with a price, so you do get what you pay for.
If you’re backpacking, you’ll want a compression sack that comes with either carrying or attachment straps. That way, you’ll be able to clip the compression sack onto your backpack.
This can be an essential convenience depending on what you’re using your sack for.
Sleeping Bag Compatibility
Most compression sacks are compatible with any type of sleeping bag, however, there is a difference between synthetic and down sleeping bags.
Down sleeping bags are easier to compress than synthetically filled sleeping bags and typically need smaller sacks. You can use basically any dry sack for a down sleeping bag, however, if you’re in colder conditions, you will be needing a compression sack. In cold weather, you’ll need to reduce the volume of your sleeping bag.
Synthetic sleeping bags are known for being difficult to compress, therefore, they need a sack with higher volume. This mean, they’ll always be needing a compression sack; it’ll shrink the sleeping bag and allow for more space in your backpack.
Best products on today’s market
Now that you’re aware of the various features of a compression sack, it’s time to take a look at which products customers are choosing:
Price: $30 – $85
Weight: 6.4 ounces
Dimensions: 11 x 5 x 3 inches
Specific features: Size runs from 2L – 6L; Hypalon closure lid with 4 durable compression; straps; waterproof; no valve, allows user to push out air to compress
Best use: All-purpose
Sea To Summit is one of the most reputable brands specializing in outdoor equipment. That being said, the Sea To Summit eVent will certainly keep your gear nice and dry with its waterproof fabric.
What’s different about this compression sack is that it doesn’t come with a valve. Instead, air is pushed out to compress and prevents water from entering the sack due to the air permeable eVent fabric base.
It’s also made with waterproof seams that are double-stitched and tape sealed, so you can ensure that none of your belongings will be drenched in water. It’s very simple to use and you just to fold the Hypalon closure and lock is down with the 4 straps evenly. If you’re planning on putting electronics into the bag, it’s recommended that you double bag the items for maximum security and protection. A truly great compression bag manufactured by an exceptional brand.
- Wonderfully waterproof
- The compression straps are tough and can handle abuse
- Durable in general
- Effective compression
- On the expensive side
- Size runs small, so you might want to take precaution
Related: The Sea To Summit company manufactures a couple different types of compression sacks. The eVent has the most updated technological design, however, their Ultra-Sil compression sack is also a great option, as you’ll be transporting your gear in a siliconized Cordura compression sack.
Price: Approximately $20
Weight: 8 ounces
Dimensions: Comes in four sizes: small to extra-large. Small: 7 x 16 inches; Medium: 9 x 20 inches; Large: 11 x 23 inches; XL: 12 x 25 inches
Specific features: Polyester ripstop material; double stitched seams; bartacked stress points; bottom handle with D rings; zippered pockets
Best use: All-purpose
The ALPS Mountaineering produces amazing compression sacks as they specialize in outdoor equipment. Made of polyester ripstop, the ALPS Mountaineering Compression Sack is highly durable and able to withstand the outdoor elements.
The compression sack feature a top lid with zippered pockets, double stitched seams for extra strength, bartacked stress points for support and bottom handle with D rings. In the zippered pocket, you’ll be able to keep your smaller items inside, while the rest of the bag will be easily able to store your gear.
The straps simply connect the bottom and top of the bag and you have control over how compressed you want your bag to be. It’s available in four different sizes, so you’ll be able to choose the size which suits you the most.
- Very affordable price
- Adjustable compression size
- Well-designed bells and whistles such as the D rings
- Tends to run small
- Not very waterproof
Related: ALPS Mountaineering designed a couple other great sacks such as the ALPS Mountaineering Dry Sack and the ALPS Mountaineering Cyclone sack. The dry sack is a waterproof compression sack which is ideal for those that’ll be around water and harsh weather conditions. Whereas the cyclone stuff sack is designed to take on a larger load of gear. Both are great options, it depends on what you’re needing a sack for.
Price: $20 – $45
Weight: 2.1 ounces
Dimensions: 6 x 15 x 8 inches
Specific features: Horizontal compression with long zip opening; 3 straps compression; size runs from 20L – 32L; nylon wings and buckles
Best use: All-purpose
The Osprey StraightJacket compression sacks are minimalistically designed, while still stylish. You’re not usually looking for a fashionable compression sack, but the Osprey StraightJacket looks quite trendy. It’s designed to fit the width of a backpack while providing horizontal compression.
What makes horizontal compression different is that it allows the compression sack to have a long zip opening. You may not think of it now, but it’ll be much easier to access your gear and carry due to the horizontal compression design.
It’s made of compressible nylon wings and buckles with water resistant fabric that’s coated in a waterproof seal–the zippers are not waterproof, though. The Osprey StraightJacket is built for convenience and efficiency, which is what you need when compressing and carrying your gear.
- Stylish and trendy design
- Horizontal compression makes for a unique and ingenious product design
- Very lightweight
- Affordable price
- Zippers are not waterproof so they may rust or break
- Water-resistant but not waterproof
Related: Osprey also makes Osprey Ultralight Drysack, however, it’s not a compression sack. Though if you’re not too concerned about the compression aspect, the dry sack is completely waterproof and rectangular in shape–so you’ll be able to fit it into any backpack.
Price: $20 – $40
Weight: 13 ounces
Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 2 inches
Specific features: Size runs from 8L – 23L; fully-finished seams for better durability; New Lineloc technology for lighter load; see-thru sil-nylon fabric
Best use: All-purpose
This is the newest design from Granite Gear, the Air Compressor Sack. This stuff sack is ideal for those who are trying to reduce the weight as much as possible by compressing their gear for a lighter load.
Granite Gear is very well-known for their compression stuff sacks because they’ve been specializing in them since 1986. The technology used to create the air compressor stuff sack is 30% lighter than traditional webbing compression systems. Though that doesn’t mean that this compression sack won’t be able to carry a full load.
The bloc shape adds more efficiency to packing and allows a more snug and proper fit into your backpack. The shape also eliminates dead air, which means you’ll be able to put more items into the stuff sack, providing load stability and easier packing. It has fully finished seams with a durable lid and arch to support your gear.
- Affordable price
- Compresses small—smaller than a basketball
- Can hold a lot
- On the heavy side despite the 30% lighter technology
- Fabric and straps feel flimsy
Related: You won’t be able to find another compression sack that’s designed in that bloc style, but Granite Gear made a great eVent Sil Compression dry sack. It’s ultra-lightweight and made with Lineloc technology. However, it’s in a rectangular shape, that’s longer than the air compressor stuff sack.
Price: $30 – $40
Weight: 5.6 ounces
Dimensions: 11 x 4 x 2 inches
Specific features: 100% nylon; 3 different sizes in 1 package; waterproof; buckle Lid, D Ring; roll-top closure
Best use: All-purpose
The Outdoor Research Dry Ditty Sack is another great option for storing your gear. It’s made of waterproof material and with taped full seam so your belongings will be kept safe and dry. This is an ideal sack if you’re not wanting to carry a lot of items, as it’s on the smaller side.
Whether you’re doing a day hike or canoeing around the lake, it’ll be able to fit in any backpack. It’s extremely lightweight, which is another nice feature and comes with a roll-top closure and a buckle to lock it.
It’s made of 100% nylon and is simply designed. If you’re not looking for anything special, but rather just a sack that’ll protect your belongings, then this is a great option. It’ll be able to hold a change of clothes and your electronic equipment. It’s not for multiple day uses.
- Waterproof, good for electronics
- 3-in-1 compression sack
- Durable and will protect your things properly
- Not for multiple day uses because it’s small
- On the expensive side
Related: Outdoor Research also has the Outdoor Research Zip Sack for those who prefer zippers rather than roll up openings. It’s completely waterproof, including the zipper, so you’ll be able to store your belongings without worrying about them getting wet. However, it’s smaller than the Dry Ditty sack.
Price: Approximately $30
Weight: 13 ounces
Dimensions: 12 x 4 x 3 inches
Specific features: See-through polyester mesh exterior; available in forest green, navy blue, and deep red; 210D nylon ripstop; 3 sizes, 155 cu in, 245 cu in, and 425 cu in; lifetime warranty
Best use: Recommended for hiking, camping and traveling
Made of mesh and nylon, the Lowe Alpine Mesh Stuff Sack is a good option if you’re hiking, camping or traveling. You’ll be able to keep your gear neatly organized in the stuff sack due to its see-through mesh exterior. So, you’ll know where everything is and will be able to retrieve it easily.
The only thing about this stuff sack is that it’s not waterproof. So, if you’re going canoeing, you may want a waterproof sack instead. However, if you’re going to be using this bag on land, then it’s a great option for keeping your things tidy and in one place. It also comes in three colors: forest green, navy blue, and deep red.
- Many color options
- Simple and minimalistic design
- See-through material makes it easier to take out things
- Not waterproof
Related: The Lowe Alpine Ultralite Dry sack is another option that has the waterproof feature that the mesh sack is missing. If you’re planning on going on open bodies of water or multi-day trips, this is a great option to make sure your things are secure and dry.
Price: Approximately $25
Weight: 12.8 ounces
Dimensions: 10 x 3 x 2 inches
Specific features: High-density EVA back padding with 2 layers; can be used to contain a light source to provide an ambient light; waterproof; air-mesh cover
Best use: All-purpose outdoor activities
The Mammut Ambient Light Dry Bag is very different from your regular dry sack. Actually, Mammut gave this dry bag a great feature that you’ll be happy to use during the evening. Perhaps you’ll be using this sack on a multi-day journey and at night you’ll want to read a book in your tent.
Well, you can actually place a headlamp or really any light source into the Ambient dry bag and have it turn into a soft, pleasing ambient light. It also makes it a great source of light if you’re wanting to remove the harsh headlamp beam from your eyes.
In addition, it’s also waterproof, made with 2-layers of high-density EVA padding, shoulder belts, and an air-mesh cover. It’s very rare that you’ll find a dry sack that’ll be able not only to safely store your gear but also act as a light source. It’s a great option if you’ll be doing a lot of reading in your tent or just want to have the option of having an additional light source with you.
- Can be used as an ambient light source
- Double-layer EVA padding
- Stylish design
- Affordable price
- On the heavy side
Related: To complete your outdoor arsenal, why not consider getting the Mountaintop 40 Liter Hiking Backpack. It is a top-rated pack with six adjustable straps, a computer compartment along with other neat features.
Compression sacks are not limited to just hikers and backpackers. Scuba divers, canoers, kayakers, business travelers; they are all able to use compression sacks to protect their valuables. You can use these sacks for sleeping bags but you can also use it for storing clothes and other gear.
Compression sacks aren’t the first things that come to your mind when you think of the outdoors. However, these sacks can provide you with a better outdoor experience. You now know about the types of sacks, the features of sacks and who should be using sacks.
We’ve given you the in’s and out’s of compression sacks, so, now that you know everything you need to know about compression sacks, try out some of the recommendations we reviewed for you. With our review, you’ll be able to find the best compression sack for your sleeping bag.
Have you tried any of our recommendations? Do you know any other compression sacks that deserve to be in this list? Tell us more about your experience with these compression sacks in the comments section below.