Admit it. Picking the right sleeping bag isn’t simple.
If you’re a backpacker, picking a lightweight sleeping bag should be the priority. At the same time, you need a bag with excellent packability. One that wouldn’t take up too much space in the backpack.
What’s the smallest sleeping bag when packed?
The Sea to Summit Spark SpI 40 is our top choice in this category. With a low weight of 12 ounces, this bag offers superb comfort and the down filling keeps you toasty when the temperatures drop to 40 degrees. And the best part is, the compressed volume is just 1.5 liters.
Smallest Sleeping Bags When Packed: Top Recommendations
Here’s a quick look at the top recommendations.
Best Overall: Sea to Summit Spark SpI 40– An ultralight sleeping bag that’s a dependable companion for summer camping trips in deserts or mountains. The packed volume is 1.5 liters
Best Sleeping Bag with Synthetic Insulation: TETON Sports TrailHead– A solid combination of comfort and durability that makes it perfect for tough, multiday hikes. The packed size is 14.5″ x 6.5″ x 6.5″.
Best Value: Hyke & Byke Quandry Sleeping Bag– Excellent quality and warmth at a pocket-friendly price that budget buyers will dig. The compressed packed size is 7.5″ x 11″.
Next, we have the other three choices that scored high on our scales.
Western Mountaineering SummerLite– A well-designed sleeping bag that can work great for slightly warm to moderately cold nights. The packed dimensions are 6″x 12″.
Therm-a-Rest Vesper Down Quilt 32– A versatile quilt that’s super comfortable, ultralight, and is a good choice for 3-season use. With packed dimensions of 5”x 6”, it’s super compact.
REI Co-Op Magma 15: A lightweight and minimalist design that works great for users of all sizes. The compressed volume of the regular model is 5.2 liters and the long model 5.7 liters.
We have also included a buyer guide to help you understand the most important factors when getting a sleeping bag.
Sea to Summit Spark SpI 40
Without a doubt, this is one of the lightest sleeping bags we have tested in this category. Every single user testing this bag has been surprised at how insanely lightweight it felt.
The secret is the 850+ fill premium goose ultradry down used in the bag. In addition, the 10D shell and 7D liner materials are extremely lightweight.
By the way, the down filling comes with a Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certification.
It comes in two sizes- long and regular. The long version weighs 13.6 ounces while the regular has a weight of 12 ounces.
With the given Ultra-Sil compression bag the overall packability is excellent. With a compressed volume of 1.5 liters, the Spark can be easily packed in a backpack of 30-liter capacity. Even after adding a mattress, you’ll find your sleep system on the lighter side.
The thing is, the bag comes with a minimalist design. So you won’t find features like a draft tube or baffles.
The good news is the ultralight design doesn’t make it uncomfortable. Users found the overall fit to be comfortable and the fabric delivered the right feel.
This bag is rated for 40°F or warm weather conditions. However, with a sewn-through construction, you will find the cold seeping in if temperatures head below the forties. We wouldn’t recommend it for 3-season use.
Note, there are other versions of the bag that are rated for lower temperatures. Check them out if you need something for colder conditions.
Being ultralight, the Spark SpI 40 offers top-notch versatility. As long as you use it within the temperature limits, it’s a great choice for backpacking, bikepacking, or kayaking trips.
To sum up, if you need an ultralight sleeping bag for summer camping, this one is a real winner.
- A lightweight sleeping bag with excellent packability
- High quality down used
- Smooth and durable zippers
- Multiple models to choose from
- Not for very cold conditions
- Foot box size is small
TETON Sports TrailHead Sleeping Bag
The Trailhead from Teton Sports is a superbly engineered bag that balances warmth and comfort with a lightweight design.
At 2.9 lbs, it’s not as light as some of the other ultralight competitors, but the temperature rating of 20°F works in its favor.
Teton Sports has used synthetic PolarLite insulation here which delivers excellent warmth. Some users mentioned the bag worked well as a part of their sleep system even when the temperatures went slightly below 20°F.
However, if you’re a cold sleeper you might need a high-grade mattress and a liner to add to the warmth factor.
Besides, the outer material is a 75D diamond ripstop. So it can withstand wear and tear with ease.
The other thing users loved is the comfort factor. The double-brushed polyester material used as the inner lining has a silky feel and delivers excellent comfort. Also, the foot box comes with a wider shape and added insulation to prevent cold spots.
There are additional features too. It comes with a full-length draft tube to prevent heat leakage. The zippers are anti-snag and there’s an interior pocket for storing small items.
What about packability?
It comes with a stuff sack and can be packed to a very compact size. The mentioned packed size is 14.5″ x 6.5″ x 6.5″.
Most importantly, the bag comes at an extremely competitive price. If you’re looking for a lightweight bag that will deliver the right performance on cold nights, go for it.
- A spacious and comfortable bag
- Multiple practical features
- Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
- Offers excellent value
- Not for extremely cold conditions
- Some users found it tight around the shoulders
Hyke & Byke Quandry Sleeping Bag
This product from Hyke & Byke stands apart with its excellent price to performance ratio. Admittedly, it isn’t the lightest sleeping bag in this category. But at this price, we feel it’s a steal.
Hyke and Dyke uses premium grade 650-fill water resistant duck down filling to deliver warmth. It’s rated for 15° F. But the comfortable temperature range is between 30 to 50 degrees.
As per the users, the warmth delivered by the bag surpasses products with a higher price tag of the same category.
The bag comes in three sizes, short regular, and long. All the models weigh between 2.5 lbs and 3 lbs.
What’s more, this sleeping bag is super spacious. Even users well above six feet were able to find ample space inside the bag. On the whole, users were satisfied with the comfort levels.
With a 400T 20D nylon fabric, durability is assured. Moreover, the fabric is waterproof.
There are other practical features like anti-snag YKK zippers and velcro, vertical baffles, and a storage pocket.
In addition, you also get great packability. It comes with a compression stuff sack and the compressed packed size is 7.5″ x 11″.
However, users did face some issues with the zipper. There were also a few issues related to stitches coming loose.
Considering the price tag, we have to admit, this is the best value for money product in this category. If you aren’t looking for premium features in a sleeping bag, this is a great pick.
- Durable nylon shell with horizontal baffles
- Great for buyers on a budget
- Available in five colors
- Top-grade compression sack.
- Minor issues with stitching
- The zipper gets caught while using
Western Mountaineering SummerLite
What makes the SummerLite special is the excellent warmth-to-weight ratio it offers. The sleek design also makes it one of the most attractive choices in this category.
Note, with an 850-fill down filling, the bag is rated for a temperature of 32° F. However, users were comfortable in it even on nights when the temperatures dropped to mid-twenties. There were no cold spots in the bag either.
The mummy-style design ensures a snug fit without making the fit uncomfortable. The 20-denier nylon shell offers the right mix of comfort and durability.
That said, larger users found the foot box on the smaller side. If you turn around frequently while sleeping, you might find the fit restrictive.
On the plus side, the zippers and drawcords are well designed and never felt out of place.
With a weight of 1 lb. 3 oz, the SummerLite stays on the lighter side of the scale. But the fill weight of the down is 10 ounces. The higher fill weight to fabric weight ratio also ensures better warmth.
What adds to the warmth factor are the continuous baffle construction and the insulated draft protection with the zipper.
Interestingly, the two-way YKK zippers also allow the bag to vent. This makes it a great choice for slightly warmer nights as well.
The packability of the bag is good and the stuff size is 6″x12″.
Lastly, the SummerLite is pricey.
Now don’t get me wrong here. It delivers the right quality in return. But budget buyers will have to look elsewhere.
Overall, the SummerLite is a great sleeping bag for late autumn or early spring conditions.
- Delivers excellent warmth
- Durable design will last for years
- Attention to the details
- A versatile sleeping bag
- It’s expensive
- Some users found the hood to be shallow
Therm-a-Rest Vesper Down Quilt 32
Looking for something functional and comfortable to keep you warm? This quilt from Thermarest is one of the best options you can pick.
Even though this is a quilt, we couldn’t ignore the excellent functionality and the top-notch quality in a lightweight package.
The best part is the 900-fill-power Nikwax hydrophobic down that provides a temperature limit of 32° F. Users noted the down provides excellent loft.
Also, the down is Responsible Down Standard certified. This means the down is sourced from certified farms that take all the steps to ensure the welfare of the geese and ducks.
Note, the comfort temperature rating is 41° F.
With a hydrophobic coating, the quilt is also moisture-proof. That makes it a good choice for rainy nights.
But that’s not all.
It has some practical features like perimeter side baffles, an insulated foot box, and a snap neck closure. These help to reduce heat loss and prevent cold drafts.
Users also loved the comfy feel of the soft material. The simple design allows you a lot of freedom for movement.
The outer fabric is ripstop nylon and you can expect excellent durability from it. It comes with a water-resistant coating too.
The quilt comes in two sizes- regular and long. The regular version weighs 15 oz and the long version weighs 1 lb 1 oz. The fill weight to fabric weight ratio is also on the higher side.
Besides, if you need something that packs small, the Vesper will keep you happy. The brand mentions the packed dimension as 5”x 6”.
If you can look beyond a traditional sleeping bag, this quilt is an ultralight option that offers good value and versatility.
- High quality water-resistant down
- Very comfortable to use
- Top-notch fit and finish
- Great for ultralight summer expeditions
- The snaps can come loose at times
- Not for winters
REI Co-Op Magma 15
While the REI Co-Op Magma is a lightweight sleeping bag, it’s also one the best in terms of weight to warmth ratio.
The filling used is 850-fill goose down and the temperature rating is 16° F. That brings me to my next point…
The magma 15 doesn’t have a comfort rating of 16° F. Users felt that this should be between 25° F to 30° F. So this sleeping bag is intended for 3-season use and not for the winters.
REI also mentions the down as water-resistant. Combined with a Downproof Pertex shell, using the bag in moist conditions shouldn’t be an issue.
When you use it within the comfort range, the bag delivers top-notch performance. REI has used variable baffle spacing for better thermal efficiency.
The hybrid zipper path works smoothly and also vents well. That makes the bag good enough for the warmer nights.
Users found the bag to be cozy and comfortable. The foot box is well designed and there’s additional insulation around the neck and shoulder areas.
Most users felt that shoulder and hip girth is sufficient for comfort. However, some taller users found the lower part to be narrow.
Note the bag comes in two sizes, regular and long. The weights of the regular and long versions are 1 lb 12.2 oz and 1 lb 14.6 oz respectively.
When combined with the ultralight stuff sack, the overall portability is great. The compressed volume of the regular model is 5.2 liters. However, users could pack it down to much smaller sizes.
Does it offer the right value?
The Magma 15 is priced lower than premium-category sleeping bags but it’s still pricey. If you spend a bit more, you can get bags with top-end features.
- A light and comfortable bag
- Excellent material quality
- Comes with an internal pocket
- Full-length zipper for versatility
- The loft of the down is good but not great
- Not designed for winter
What To Look For When Buying a Sleeping Bag?
There’s a lot to consider while choosing a sleeping bag. Without the right bag, you won’t get that good night’s sleep necessary in any camping trip.
Here are the main factors you need to consider.
Size and Shape
To be honest, choosing a bag that offers the right fit is difficult unless you try it on. Ideally, you should choose a bag that’s around two inches longer than you. That way you won’t have extra empty space inside the bag that will act as a cold air pocket.
On the other hand, a shorter bag will be uncomfortable and will press against your head and foot. This will result in the development of cold spots in these zones.
In general, there are three types of sleeping bag shapes.
Rectangular Bags- This is a simple design that offers sufficient space for the user to stretch out and rollover. Usually, these bags don’t come with many advanced features and are not the best choice for warmth.
Semi rectangular Bags- These bags are slightly tapered at the base and are often called the ”barrel” type. The fit offers a balance between warmth and space.
Mummy Type- These are the most popular sleeping bags that offer a snug fit. The tapered shape offers excellent thermal efficiency and also reduces weight. However, they are more restrictive in terms of roominess.
Apart from these, there are double sleeping bags for couples and children’s sleeping bags of smaller size.
No matter the cut, always check the quality of the bag including the stitching and the zippers. The outer fabric should be made from a water-repellent, ripstop material for added durability. Features like a well-designed hood, anti-snag zippers, and stash pockets add to the overall usability.
We have already covered quite a few aspects of the down vs synthetic debate in the previous section. So here we list down the pros and cons of the two materials.
- Down offers excellent thermal efficiency
- It’s lightweight and highly compressible
- It lasts much longer than synthetic fibers
- It works great for cold and dry conditions
- Down can be recycled more easily
- Down fabric loses insulation when wet and takes a long time to dry.
- Down is more expensive.
- The material is more difficult to maintain
- It’s cheaper than down
- These bags are easier to maintain
- The material offers insulation even when wet and dries faster
- It’s heavier and less compressible than down
- The fabric doesn’t last as long as down
- Not the best choice for very low temperatures
We also have an article on “How Long Do Sleeping Bags Last“, which compares down vs synthetic in terms of durability.
Apart from the technical aspects, there’s also an ethical aspect while choosing down. In general, the down is collected from geese and ducks after they are slaughtered for meat. This is where the personal preferences of buyers come into play.
Most of the top brands support an ethical collection of down. This means the entire down supply chain is free from practices like live-plucking, force-feeding, and other forms of inhumane farming processes.
The type of material you choose will also depend on your budget. Down sleeping bags come with a higher price tag that makes them budget buyers
Weight and Packed Size
When you’re most interested in car camping trips, the size and weight of sleeping bags aren’t an important factor. But it’s important for backpackers heading for trails where every ounce of extra weight matters.
Remember, when comparing weights always compare between bags of the same temperature rating.
As already mentioned, down is the best choice when you are looking for ultralight sleeping bags. In addition, we will also suggest choosing a high-quality stuff sack that will allow you to compress the bag in the best possible manner.
Keep in mind, down with 800 or more fill power will offer the best insulation while keeping the weight and packed size low. That means, both 800-fill down and 550-fill down can keep you warm at the same temperature. However, a sleeping bag made from 550-fill down will be thicker and heavier.
Sleeping bags are rated for temperatures they are most suitable for. However, these ratings aren’t the most accurate at all times. Furthermore, the warmth levels are affected by other factors like the quality of the sleeping pad, wind chill, and body metabolism rate.
Sleeping bags can be broadly classified into three categories. You can choose between these depending on your requirements
- Summer sleeping bags are rated for temperatures of +30°F and higher.
- Three-season sleeping bags are for temperatures between +15°F to +30°F
- Winter sleeping bags are rated for +15°F and lower.
Note, many brands are adopting the EN 13537 rating for sleeping bags, which is also the official European standard. In 2016, this was replaced by the ISO 23537-1 standard. According to this standard, the bags come with three main ratings.
Comfort – This indicates a temperature at which a “standard” woman feels comfortable. This is because women need more insulation than men in general. It is also applicable for male sleepers more sensitive to cold temperatures.
Limit of comfort – This is the temperature at which a standard man will be able to sleep comfortably for eight hours.
Extreme– This is the coldest temperature in which a standard female can survive for six hours, without succumbing to hypothermia. The extreme temperature limit is -4°F.
However, these are just the standards. In reality, there are various other factors that manufacturers use while fixing temperature limits for sleeping bags.