CAMPING & HIKING

Best Synthetic Sleeping Bag: Making the Outdoors Feel Like the Indoors

Happy girl waking in a sleeping bag
Jerry Mueller
Written by Jerry Mueller

The days of sleeping outside, foraging for food and relaxing by a campfire are ever present; but the discomfort of trying to sleep through cold or hot nights are ever changing. But, not in a bad way. Some people go out camping during a hot day, but find at night they are cold and uncomfortable because they only brought a tent or the wrong type of sleeping bag.

If you have ever looked into it, you know there are many different kinds of sleeping bags out there, including the best synthetic sleeping bag. They are overlooked by down sleeping bags, only because people don’t know much about them.

The sleeping bag is the most crucial part of your gear for any trip that involves the outdoors. You need your safety, comfort and warmth to help your body get the rest it needs. It is also the heaviest, but synthetic sleeping bags are slowly becoming more weight friendly.

small compressed sleeping bag

Comfort and Design

Synthetic sleeping bags are designed by a variety of companies that each make their own fill.  There are also different types of sleeping bags that each reap their own benefits, style, and comfort. Most commonly, though, are two kinds of fill:

  • Short staple fibers: similar to 3D plume structures and are easy to compress. However, its longevity is not as good. This fill tends to wear down after many uses and re-stuffings.
  • Continuous filaments: weave at a longer length with many different diameters so that it is durable and better insulated, though it does make it less compressible. The shorter compressibility just means it does not pack as well, but this is not an issue that is too hard to get around.

Synthetic sleeping bags vary from down sleeping bags’ lofting and updates. Synthetic fill has not yet matched their longevity and compressibility. This is simply because synthetic fibers cannot loft as well as high-quality down.

carrying heavy sleeping bag

However, this should not stray you from synthetic sleeping bags. With the proper information, you can start to understand why so many are now buying them instead of down bags:

  • Buyers are attracted to synthetic fabric because of its ability to maintain warmth even when it is wet. Yes, it makes more sense to keep sleeping bags dry but life happens, so synthetic insulation is ideal for keeping the owner comfortable even when they are wet, or the fabric is wet. Camping trips in humid weather can happen more often now that synthetic fabric is better for it. Also, unexpected inclement weather will not put such a damper on your trip because you know that your sleeping bag is safe.
  • Synthetic insulation dries faster, insulates even when wet, is non-allergenic, and less expensive. This fabric is kinder to those with different allergies that down contains. It is also better for younger campers as it is easier to care for and has better warmth insulation.
  • Synthetic fabric does not compress as well as down fabric. It has a lower weight-to-warmth ratio, meaning it will be heavier than down. Sleeping bags are typically heavier if they keep you warmer because of how much fill is needed to retain warmth. Synthetic fabric and fill retains warmth better because it weighs a little more than down.

Sleeping Bag Selection

With all this information, you may now be wondering what the best choice is. Imagine: it is the end of a long camping day, out in the sun or even the cold. One is probably wishing they could crawl into their soft, warm bed; but they’re outside! Synthetic sleeping bags are the closest thing to that.

Gril in sleeping bag at sunset

When buying any sleeping bag, you should look at a few things:

  • Price: The sleeping bag is always the most expensive out of all camping materials, but synthetic sleeping bags are more cost-efficient. Sleeping bags can be as low as $150, but the higher end sleeping bags can get up to $500. This is why most people weigh the costs the most when choosing a sleeping bag.
  • Weight: The sleeping bag is also the heaviest, and will account for most of the weight in your bag.
  • Warmth: You may not know this, but it is your body that creates the warmth and not the sleeping bag—the bag just insulates it and traps it around you. The more insulation, the better. Synthetic sleeping bags pack more insulation with less weight.
  • Temperature: All sleeping bags come with a temperature rating that will help you choose the best bag for what you plan to do. The best bag is between 15 degrees F and 35 degrees F. The best thing is to consider that, and the temperature that you plan to be active in.
  • Bag length and width: The manufacturer will disclose the correct length and you should match it to your height. The longer is usually the better. If a bag is too slim, you should choose a different model with a greater width. More width can be beneficial especially when there are drafts at night and heavy winds. If it is very cold and you have to sleep in thicker clothes, it is more comfortable as well.

A girl sleeping in a sleeping bag

If you are sharing a tent with many people, it is best if the bags do not take up too much space. This is why compressibility is important as well as the width and length.

Storing Your Bag

It is not advised to keep any sleeping bag compressed. You should always remove its stuff sack and keep it in a dry location. It is also good to keep it where you have room to spread it out and hang it up. If you do store a bag while compressed, even synthetic, it damages the insulation.

Sleeping bags cost more than any other outdoor equipment and that is because it is expected to last longer. Help your bag last as long as it can by following simple care rules. If your sleeping bag is machine washable, make sure the setting does not have an agitator, as that may tear the fabric.

Before packing your bag up, it needs to air dry for at least 24 hours. You should also avoid storing your bag for long periods of time. The tight compression on the insulation can cause it to lose its loft and warmth trapping capabilities.

sleeping bag gets damaged

After you wash your sleeping bag, which should not be done very often, you can dry them in the dryer on a low setting. Synthetic fabric is also easier to care for in this way as it does not have as many restrictions as down. To help restore the insulation’s loft, put a clean tennis ball or two into the dryer halfway through the cycle. It is a little noisy, but it is effective so it is worth it.

Where to Find My Bag

To make it easier for you, a few places are listed here where you can find the best synthetic sleeping bags. some reviews have been included to help you make your decision as well. Choosing the right bag is definitely intimidating, but it has just been made that much easier!

Big Agnes Encampment 15 Sleeping Bag

Big Agnes Encampment 15 Sleeping Bag

Size: 20 x 13 x 10 inches

Weight: 3.6 pounds

Features: Increased insulation performance, free range hood, one-hand cinch cord lock, integrated full pad sleeve, nylon taffeta lining, liner loops, Instotect Hotstream insulation (which is 100% recycled and has a high loft)

Best use: Sports and outdoors.

The Big Agnes Encampment 15 Sleeping Bag features a new design that improves the pad sleeve and bag connection, giving you more room to sleep without adding bulk. There is a new contour that allows the bag to drape around you, which increases the insulation capabilities.

For extra insulation, there is a free range hood with enough room for you to still move around. This bag also has a vaulted foot box, which gives your feet more wiggle room. Lastly, there is a one hand cinch cord lock that is simple and easier to use.

And if you’re sharing a tent with a loved one, it can be paired with similar bags on either the right or left side, so you can experience improved heat with another person. This is improved even further with the no-draft collar, wedge and zipper, so that precious heat won’t escape and turn you into a frozen popsicle in the middle of the night.

Check the price on Amazon

Coleman North Rim Extreme Weather Sleeping Bag

Coleman North Rim Extreme Weather Sleeping Bag

Size: 32 x 82 inches

Weight: 0.09 pounds

Features: Synthetic material, box foot silhouette, insulated draft tube, 2-way zipper.

Best use: Camping and Hiking

The Coleman North Rim Extreme Weather Sleeping Bag is ideal for people of all body types; it can fit most people up to 6’2.” The design features a diamond rip stop polyester cover and a polyester liner. Their unique Coleman’s ComfortSoft Technology guarantees a durable, high quality and comfortable sleeping bag.

It also has stuff stack storage and performs in weather conditions from 0-10 degrees F. If you are using it in a warmer climate, the bottom can be unzipped for ventilation so you won’t get overheated. Don’t worry about cleaning this bag either; it’s machine washable, so you can just toss it in on its own and follow the wash instructions on the bag.

Check the price on Amazon

TETON Sports LEEF Ultralight Mummy Sleeping Bag

TETON Sports LEEF Ultralight Mummy Sleeping Bag

Size: 3 x 34 x 87 inches

Weight: 4.2 pounds

Features: Warmer foot box, compression box, interior pocket, 3-piece hood, increased shoulder and leg room, water-resistant, ripstop fabric,

Best use: Camping and Hiking.

If you’re looking to camp during the winter months, the TETON Sports LEEF Ultralight Mummy Sleeping Bag is for you. Capable of keeping you warm in temperatures as low as -18 degrees F, this is the ultimate sleeping bag for any winter camper. Its light weight makes it easy to pack away and carry into its own compression sack, which is surprising, given how much room this sleeping bag provides when you crawl inside.

This is achieved through the use of PolarLite microfiber insulation, which provides a lot of warmth without adding weighty bulk. There’s also an interior pocket to keep your smaller personal belongings, such as a flashlight or a cellphone, so you won’t have to scramble around in your backpack for them when you need them the most.

Check the price on Amazon

Slumberjack Latitude 40 Degree Synthetic Sleeping Bag

Slumberjack Latitude 40 Degree Synthetic Sleeping Bag

Size: 34 x 86 x 34 inches

Weight: 2 lbs. 11 oz.

Features: Slumberloft insulation, anti-snag zipper protection, draft tube along the zipper, stuff sack included.

Best use: Cold weather camping and hiking.

The Slumberjack Latitude 40 Degree Synthetic Sleeping Bag is great for being active. It only weighs about two pounds so it does not take up too much space and weight in your bag. The insulation type is Slumberloft synthetic so it is breathable, comfortable and lighter to carry. The design features a two-layer, off-set construction and the differential cuts prevent cold spots. The flip over hood makes it easy to flip the hood inside out if you want either a flat or contoured hood.

However, the temperature rating for this sleeping bag is only about 40 degrees F, so it’s not the best thing to take with you if you’re going to be camping at high elevations or during the winter season. Many customers who have bought this product have recommended that you add an extra blanket on top of this bag to improve the warmth.

Check the price on Amazon

Suisse Sport Everest Sleeping Bag

Suisse Sport Everest Sleeping Bag

Size: 84 x 24 x 33 inches

Weight: 5 pounds.

Features: Long-lasting polyester exterior and liner, a full-length self-repairing dual slide zipper, an exterior zippered utility pocket, and a stuff sack.

Best use: Cold weather camping and hiking.

The Suisse Sport Everest Sleeping Bag is typically a cold weather sleeping bag with a Of temperature rating/ it is three and a half pounds of Hollowblend MicroTekk Z1 synthetic fill, so it has all the easier features of a synthetic sleeping bag. The double layer offset quilt construction gets rid of any cold spots for added comfort. The design also features a full chest baffle that will prevent drafts, as does the drawstring hood and draft tube.

Although affordable, keep in mind that you’re getting what you pay for. Although it does provide a lot of warmth, even at 0 degrees F, it is bulky, which makes it difficult to pack down. The thick insulation also adds a lot of weight, so expect to take a lot of breaks if you’re hiking far, or find a strong camping friend to carry it for you.

Check the price on Amazon

Ledge Sports FeatherLite +20F Ultra Compact Sleeping Bag

ledge Sports FeatherLite

Size: 84 x 32 inches x 20 inches

Weight: 3.4 pounds

Features: Premium fill, synthetic material.

Best use: Heavy duty camping and hiking.

The Ledge Sports FeatherLite is on the lighter side, weighing only 3.4 pounds, with the fill weight at 1.5 pounds. The design features a Dobby Diamond 250T rip stop shell, Softech II 210T liner and YKK zippers. This bag has hibernate extreme, micro denier and continuous filament fiber fill; so it is a synthetic sleeping bag with features as such. It comes with a T-8 compression sack of synthetic fill as well.

This mummy-style bag is still roomy enough for those who like to turn over onto their sides at night without feeling too confined. However, it’s still not the best sleeping bag for those who are exceptionally tall. Otherwise, it’s a great bag to have for those colder climates, and isn’t too heavy for you to carry by yourself. if you really want to up the ante on insulation, you can add a sleeping bag liner to the inside.

Check the price on Amazon

Nemo Symphony Synthetic Sleeping Bag 25F

Nemo Symphony Synthetic Sleeping Bag 25F

Size: N/A

Weight: 7.6 pounds

Features: Soft sheet and synthetic comforter that peels back on both sides for added comfort, 40D Nylon Ripstop w/ DWR, retains warmth even with increased internal volume, temperature rating of 25 degrees F, fitted sleeve for adding sleeping pads.

Best use: Camping and outdoor activities.

The Nemo Symphony Synthetic Sleeping Bag 25F  is a nylon bag of grab-and-go style, meaning the sleeping pad can stay inside for easier departure and packing. The design is of a roomy rectangular cut with stretch construction which retains warmth while offering the most internal volume.

This bag can fit anyone up to 6’4” and weighs a little over five pounds, which might make it a bit too heavy for some people to carry long distances. The attractive yellow also makes it easy to spot your bag, especially if you’re sharing tent space with other people.

Check the price on Amazon

Slumberjack Latitude 20 Degree Synthetic Sleeping Bag

Slumberjack Latitude 20 Degree Synthetic Sleeping Bag

Size: 82 x 32 inches

Weight: 3 lbs. 14 oz.

Features: Anti-snag zipper protection, Slumberloft insulation, draft tube along the zipper, stuff sack included for easy carry.

Best use: Cold weather camping and hiking.

The Slumberjack Latitude 20 Degree Synthetic Sleeping Bag has a temperature rating of 20C to -7C. The design features Slumbersoft synthetic fill and weighs three pounds and fourteen ounces. The two layer, off set construction with differential cut eliminates cold spots for added comfort. The bag also has a flip over hood so you can choose a flat hood or contoured hood.

Many customers have stated that this bag is quite durable, and the fabric feels great on the skin. However, the bag does have some draft spots that can minimize one’s comfort during the night. Some have even said that the temperature rating isn’t as low as stated, and should not be used during extremely cold temperatures.

Check the price on Amazon

Rovor Tabei 23-52 Degree Mummy Backpacking Sleeping Bag

Rovor Tabei 23-52 Degree Mummy Backpacking Sleeping Bag

Size: 90 x 32 inches

Weight: 2.4 pounds

Features: Ultra-soft microfiber lining, machine washable, stuff sack included, ripstop polyester, 3-season camping, light and warm polyester filling, machine washable.

Best use: All seasons camping and hiking.

Named after the first woman to successfully climb Mount Everest, the Rovor Tabei 23-52 Degree Mummy Backpacking Sleeping Bag features a reinforced mini-diamond rip stop polyester design, making it extremely durable. The bag fits all adults and teens and is the perfect sleeping bag for boys, girls and adults. It has the tallest height capacity on the market—7 feet.

The bag has a 23F extreme rating and 52F comfort rating which makes it the best three season sleeping bag for spring, fall and summer. It is light weight but this does not affect its durability. The ultra-soft liner also feels great on the skin, so you can feel like you’re sleeping in a luxury bed, even when you’re out in the middle of the woods.

Check the price on Amazon

In Conclusion

Now that you have all the information on synthetic sleeping bags, where to find them, how to find them, and how to choose the right one, you can plan your next camping or outdoor trip without worrying about more expensive sleeping arrangements. If you find one you liked best, either from this list or a product you’ve found on your own, please let us know in the comments!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Mueller
Jerry Mueller

Jerry ‘Boy Scout’ Mueller spends 99% of his time camping or teaching others how to live in the wild. He became an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division when he was 17 and after that he still lives the scout life. Jerry always plans neatly every trip, takes leadership very seriously and if you listen to his tips and stories, you can learn tons of useful things.

  • Josh Barnes

    My personal pick is the Coleman North Rim Extreme Weather Sleeping Bag. I live in Colorado and our family do a lot of camping excursions so this is a must have. It is a great bag because it really keeps you warm especially during the cooler months. It is durable and the material used is high quality.

  • Jamie Howard

    I purchased Slumberjack Latitude 20 Degree Synthetic Sleeping Bag for an exciting backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon and it did not disappoint. It is really durable. I also like how the fabric feels on the skin. It helped me to have great sleeping nights during that trip. It is a great buy!

  • Jerry Mueller

    The fabric is nice, isn’t it? Great choice, friend!

  • Jerry Mueller

    Thanks for confirming the great things about this bag!