Best Sleeping Bag – Expert Review

Updated: February 12, 2024

If you're on a tight budget, then the North Face Cat's Meow is the 'cat's whiskers' at half the price. Made entirely from recyclable materials, it's lightweight, water-resistant and so comfortable, you'll want to sleep in late during your camping trip!

If you want a sleeping bag that's compact and easy to set up and pack up, then the Marmot Ironwood 20 is a safe bet. The mummy-style design and anatomically shaped footbox give you optimum warmth and comfort for cold nights in the great outdoors. 

Below are more of my top picks for the best sleeping bags on the market. 

Best Sleeping Bag (Top Picks)

The North Face Cat's Meow 20F / -7C Backpacking Sleeping Bag, Blue Wing Teal/Zinc Grey, REG - LH

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Best Compact

Marmot Ironwood 20

Marmot Ironwood Mummy Sleeping Bag | Down-Filled, Lightweight, 20-Degree Rating, Denim/Steel Onyx, Regular

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Top Sleeping Bags (Detailed Reviews)

Here are my top sleeping bags:

  1. Western Mountaineering MegaLite 30 - Best Overall
  2. North Face Cat's Meow - Best Value
  3. Kelty Cosmic 20 
  4. Marmot Ironwood 20 - Best Compact
  5. Rab Neutrino Lightweight
  6. Western Mountaineering UltraLight 20
  7. Sierra Design Cloud 20

Read our complete buyers guide for sleeping bags.

Best Overall Sleeping Bags

1. Western Mountaineering MegaLite 30

Western Mountaineering Megalite LZ Mummy Sleeping Bag - 6'6'

5/5 Overall Rating

Scoring 5 out of 5, Western Mountaineering MegaLite 30 takes the cake for best overall sleeping bag due to its high-quality materials, spaciousness/comfort, and versatility.

This made in the USA bag contains a lightweight shell fabric called “extremelight”. It is lightweight yet remains strong and durable.  Not only is the fabric strong, it will compact to a very small size. The MegaLite also has buttery smooth internal fabric in addition to the fluffy goose down. There is stiff fabric along the zipper for reinforcement to prevent catching and tearing.

With dimensions of 64” for shoulders, 56” for waist, and 39” for feet, you will be able to sleep in any position desired. Those who toss and turn while sleeping, this is the bag for you. If you aren’t a mummy bag person, you will most likely enjoy the MegaLite for its generous dimensions. High-quality nylon fabric and 13 ounces of European goose down will make you feel as cozy as you would be in your own bed at home.

Although this bag comes with a hefty price tag, the MegaLite performs the best in most climates and has an exceptional balance of weight and internal dimensions. At 1.5lbs, this sleeping bag will fit perfectly into your sleeping system. The MegaLite is roomy enough for camping but also compressible for long backpacking and mountaineering trips. With a temperature rating of 30°F, you will sleep comfortably in most cold conditions.

Main Features
  • Spacious internal dimensions
  • High-quality materials
  • Lightweight and compressible
  • Made in the USA
What We Like
  • Top scorer in comfort and versatility
  • Lightweight
  • Great size
What We Dislike
  • High price tag
Key Takeaway

If you could buy one bag, the Western Mountaineering MegaLite 30 does it all. The quality is superb and it is light, packable, spacious, and warm.

2. North Face Cat's Meow

The North Face Cat's Meow 20F / -7C Backpacking Sleeping Bag, Blue Wing Teal/Zinc Grey, REG - LH

4.5/5 Overall Rating

The North Face Cat's Meow is another budget bag in addition to the Kelty Tuck 20 (see below). The Cats Meow at $169, is also synthetic but lighter than the Kelty Tuck.

This is a staple North Face bag that has been around since the 1970’s. Needless to say, North Face has had plenty of time to perfect the Cat's Meow. It is lighter than most synthetic bags, outstandingly versatile, and durable against wet weather.

As a 20°F bag, tests have shown that it is warmer than the Kelty Tuck due to North Face’s Heatseeker Pro synthetic insulation. This insulation is quicker at drying than some water resistant down materials. At 2.69lbs, it is heavier but not as heavy as some other synthetic bags.

The bag has features like a full-length glow in the dark zipper, hood, internal pocket, and compression sack. The Cat’s Meow is a top contender for a budget and general-purpose sleeping bag.

Due to its weight, this bag is not recommended for extended trips but best for short-term adventures like camping or kayaking.

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Main Features
  • Quick drying Heatseeker Pro synthetic insulation
  • OK warmth to weight ratio
  • Handy features like glow in the dark zipper and compressible bag
What We Like
  • All purpose bag at a great price point
  • Warm
  • Perfect for short-term adventures
What We Dislike
  • Does not compress well
Key Takeaway

The North Face Cat's Meow is a fantastic price-conscious sleeping bag that you could take on almost any adventure. The Cat’s Meow will you keep you warm and dry, and you’ll never be stuck looking for the zipper at night.

3. Kelty Cosmic 20

Kelty Cosmic 20 Degree Down Sleeping Bag - Ultralight Backpacking Camping Sleeping Bag with Stuff Sack, Blue, Long

4.7/5 Overall Rating

The Kelty Cosmic 20 is a wonderful sleeping bag for its value, design, and price. At $89, you will experience some exceptional features. This bag turns into a wearable cocoon with the opening of the foot box. You are also able to fully unzip the bag to lay flat as a blanket.

This bag has fantastic ventilation and temperature regulation. When too hot, you are able to unzip the foot box completely to allow your feet to ventilate, while your body remains covered.

The temperature rating is at a consistent 20°F as it is insulated with Thermapro Synthetic, designed to retain heat and compress. The Tuck includes many other features like a hood, internal pocket, and anti-snag zippers.

The Tuck is fairly roomy, yet there are no cold spots due to the effective quilt construction. At 3 lbs, the bag is on the heavier side, but not unmanageable.

Synthetic bags generally weight more than down. The Tuck can be compressed but still remains quite bulky. If you are looking for a basic sleeping bag that is inexpensive and will handle warm climates and mild winter conditions, the Tuck is for you.

Main Features
  • Good temperature regulation and ventilation
  • Hood, internal pocket, anti-snag zippers
  • Thermapro Synthetic
What We Like
  • Can be used as a sleeping bag or blanket
  • Under $100 and does everything you need it to do
What We Dislike
  • Heavy and bulky
Key Takeaway

The Kelty Cosmic 20 is a great bag at a great price point. Ideal for beginners in camping/hiking or those who need a simple bag and don’t mind the weight and bulk.

4. Marmot Ironwood 20

Marmot Ironwood Mummy Sleeping Bag | Down-Filled, Lightweight, 20-Degree Rating, Denim/Steel Onyx, Regular

4/5 Overall Rating

The Marmot Ironwood 20 is comparable to the MegaLite and Swallow Nano 20. It earns gold stars for its weight, packability, and warmth. At 1.44lbs, with a temperature rating of 20°F, and 850+ fill power goose down, you will not be disappointed with the Phase 20. It contains all the inner makings of a fantastic sleeping bag.

The Phase 20 has an excellent balance between weight and warmth. It is filled with 14.1 ounces of down to keep you warm and the down is treated with DWR to be weather resistant. The hood is exceptionally cozy and contains heat. The internal fabric is soft and silky and includes a pocket for your belongings. The full-length zipper allows you to open the bag for ventilation when hot.

The Phase 20 is one of the most lightweight 20°F bags on the market. This is because of its ultralight shell fabric, high quality fill, and low-gauge zipper. It is by no means a “wide” bag but does have adequate room in the shoulders and hip. All of this and it still compacts like a dream. It is lightweight enough to take on extended trips but also insulated to stay at its temperature rating. 

The Marmot phase is designed for three season use. It is just as pricey as the MegaLite or Swallow Nano 20 but it is lighter in weight.

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Main Features
  • Lightweight 20°F bag
  • High-grade materials and down treated with DWR
  • Extremely compressible
What We Like
  • 3 season use
  • Usable in various weather conditions yet still compact and compressible
What We Dislike
  • Not a four-season bag
Key Takeaway

The Marmot Ironwood 20 is a great value for money 20°F bag, making it superb for its lightweight and compression.

5. Rab Neutrino Lightweight

Rab Neutrino 400 Down Insulated Lightweight Mummy Sleeping Bag for Climbing and Mountaineering - Nightfall Blue - 20 Degree, Regular, Left Zip

4/5 Overall Rating

If you are a woman in the market for a new sleeping bag, the Rab Neutrino Lightweight is an amazing lightweight bag that will fit perfectly to your shape. At 28oz, the Neutrino Leightweight nails the warmth to weight ratio.

You can expect a shorter bag than a typical men’s one, which allows for more down per square inch. This means a warmer bag and less dead space.

Rab has specifically created a down for their Neutrino line that is hydrophobic. Meaning that it will not absorb water, dry faster, and retain its shape for longer. 

All of Rab’s down is ethically sourced and traceable under the European and Feather Association Codex.

The Neutrino Lightweight has 800 soft interior fabric with an internal pocket and a cozy hood. It is a mummy bag that isn’t too constricting and still remains comfortable.

This bag has an ergonomically shaped foot box allowing for your feet to feel perfectly covered and cozy. It compresses to a small size and remains super light at 28oz.

At $349, this is the best of the best sleeping bags for a backpacking or mountaineering trip. It is perfectly contoured to a women’s figure, warm, lightweight, water-resistant, and compressible. Pair it with a sleeping pad and you have a 3 season backpacking bag.

Main Features
  • Temperature Rating / Rab Sleep Limit is 10°F (-12°C) 
  • Three season bag
  • Made from recyclable and lightweight Pertex Quantum shell fabric
What We Like
  • Lightweight and packs to a small size
  • Great zipper closure to seal in warmth
  • Ethically sourced hydrophobic down
What We Dislike
  • Pricey
Key Takeaway

The Rab Neutrino Lightweight is a versatile sleeping bag, designed for fit and comfort. It is excellent for long backpacking trips due to its lightweight and packability.  

6. Western Mountaineering UltraLight 20

Western Mountaineering Ultralite Sleeping Bag: 20 Degree Down One Color, 6ft 6in/Right Zip

4/5 Overall Rating

This is one of the warmest sleeping bags out of the other 20°F tested. It is even warmer than the MegaLite, which is rated the best overall. It weighs 1.81lbs and has 850+ of goose down.

Western Mountaineering UltraLight 20 is lighter than the Swallow Nano 20. As a mummy bag, it will be narrow. This is great for temperature regulation and preventing cold spots. This may cause tummy and side sleepers a bit of restriction. This bag also has features like a draft collar and hood.

The shell is made of the signature Western Mountaineering “extremelite” fabric, which is awesome for its lightweight and compression. In fact, it packs down smaller than the MegaLite.

Western Mountaineering does a fantastic job at using the highest quality fabrics, rewarding you with an extra soft interior.

The UltraLite is wonderful for cold sleepers and those who plan on camping in higher elevations. You will not be sacrificing weight and bulk with this bag. It will retain heat perfectly and last you years.

Main Features
  • Durable and lightweight shell and interior
  • Draft collar and hood
  • Extremely compressible
What We Like
  • Luxury bag
  • Delivers warmth and is compact
What We Dislike
  • Pricey
  • Narrower than the average mummy bag
Key Takeaway

Western Mountaineering UltraLight 20 is top of the line 3 season bag that will last you years if you take care of it. The UltraLite is worth the money if you are an avid hiker and camper and prefer an extremely warm bag.

7. Sierra Design Cloud 20

Sierra Designs Cloud 20 Degree DriDown Sleeping Bag Ultralight Zipperless Down Sleeping Bag for Backpacking and Camping - Long

4.4/5 Overall Rating

The Sierra Designs Cloud 20 is an excellent backpacking bag and is more affordable as opposed to the MegaLite and Swallow Nano 20.

At $250, it weighs 1.13lbs, has 800 fill power, and a temperature rating of 15/26°F. Not only is the bag super comfortable, it offers a roomy interior unlike most narrow mummy bags.

To enhance the roomy interior, the Cloud 20 has a unique design. There are no zippers or elastic cords, you simply slip in and pull the center flap over you like a blanket. This bag is great for tummy and side sleepers.

The Cloud 20 is best known for its comfort. The rectangular shape and open flap will provide you a good nights rest. You are also able to put your feet through the bottom opening to allow for ventilation.

The Cloud 20 regulates temperature well and the down insulated is treated for weather resistance. This bag compresses reasonably well, better than the synthetic North Face Cats Meow at $158.

At a reasonable price, the Cloud 20 a brilliant backpacking bag. It’s warm enough for cold nights, extremely comfortable and cozy, and but lightweight for long-term expeditions. The design is also different amongst other bags with a flap over blanket.

Main Features
  • A more spacious rectangular shaped mummy bag
  • No zippers or closures, just a unique blanket flap
  • Warm yet compact
What We Like
  • A great price
  • A quality, non-restrictive 
  • Comfortable
What We Dislike
  • Not cheap
Key Takeaway

It’s all in the name. The Sierra Designs Cloud 20 is a great alternative for wanting a quality backpacking bag without paying $500.

Sleeping Bag Buyers Guide (Key Features) 

A sleeping bag is one the most expensive things in your pack. A bag should be warm, lightweight, comfortable, versatile, and have helpful features. Read this guide and you will make the right decision.

Today’s market offers some of the best technology to date: the warmest of sleeping bags at the lightest of weight. Sleeping bags range drastically in price, quality, and versatility. It is difficult to know where to start and how to choose the perfect one.

Once upon a time, most hikers would hit the road with a 1-2 season sleeping bag and hope for the best. Now, sleeping bags are designed for 3-4 seasons. This way we can predict exactly which sleeping bag we will need depending on which temperatures we face.

Sleeping bags come in several shapes and sizes. For example, the shapes of bags include mummy, rectangular, semi-rectangular, and age/gender specific. The mummy shape is ideal for maximizing warmth while remaining lightweight. The rectangular shape is most “bed like” and offers roominess and comfort. Semirectangular is the in-between of mummy and rectangular. Age and gender are specifically designed to fit children, men, or women.

There are several ways brands categorize temperature ratings in sleeping bags. They are labeled with comfort, limit, and extreme (average comfortable sleeping temperatures) or seasonal ratings. The seasonal ratings are: one season: 40°F, two seasons: 32° to 40°F, three seasons: 23° to 32°F, and three+ seasons: 14° to 23°F.

There are two types of sleeping bag insulation: down or synthetic. Down compacts effectively and is pricier, while synthetic is bulkier and cheaper.

Here are the key features you should look at when buying a sleeping bag.


Your body heat is what keeps you warm in a sleeping bag. Choosing a bag with high-quality insulation will retain that heat and give you a good nights rest.

Sleeping bags insulated with down are the most popular as they are lighter and compact easier. Down bags are fluffier and retain heat, but will absorb moisture in a wet climate. Purchasing a bag with water-resistant down insulation can prevent this issue. Fill power is also something to look for when purchasing a down bag. Anything over 800 fill power is considered high quality down and this is where down sleeping bags become pricey.

Synthetic, a popular campers choice, is a less expensive and more ethical option, as it uses no animal products. Synthetic does not compact well and will be bulky in your pack. Although, it does a better job when it comes to retaining heat when wet.

Choose a sleeping bag that will withstand lower temperatures than what you predict. When expecting near-freezing temperatures, purchase a 20°F bag, not the 35°F. If it becomes too hot, you will always be able to open the bag for circulation.

Weight/Packed Size

Your sleeping bag will be one of the heaviest items you will carry. It’s important you find a bag that gives you the perfect balance of warmth, comfort, and weight. It is recommended that you use a sleeping pad in conjunction with your bag for ultimate comfort.

It is important that you are aware of the weight of your pack so you will be able to carry it comfortably. A rule of thumb is to keep your “sleep system” (sleeping bag and pad) under three pounds. You can achieve this with a sleeping bag under two pounds and pad under one pound.

The packed size is how compressed you sleeping bag can be. This depends on the down fill power or synthetic insulation, inner/outer fabric, and other features (zippers, velcro, etc.). When the fabrics are lighter and the insulation is higher quality you will have an outstanding compressible bag.

If you are going to spend more time carrying the bag rather than sleeping inside of it, place higher importance on the weight/bulk of the bag.

Comfort and Fit

The comfort of a sleeping bag relies heavily on your personal sleeping style. If you are a warm/cold sleeper, side, tummy, or fetal position sleeper, you will want extra space to move around or a warmer bag. However, remember you don’t want too much space as this creates cold spots. Down insulation tends to provide more cushion and comfort then synthetic. Add a sleeping pad to make your sleep even more comfortable.

It is a best to physically try out sleeping bags before purchasing to make sure it is the shape and size that you want.


When purchasing a sleeping bag, especially an expensive one, you want to make sure you are getting the value you paid for. The bag needs to be versatile in that it can handle various conditions, environments, temperatures, and elevations.

For example, a sleeping bag which has horizontal baffles (the seams running across the bag, keeping the insulations in-tact on the inside), allows one to move upwards if it is too warm, and downwards if too cold. A longer zipper prevents you from feeling constricted and allows your body to vent in warmer months.

Features and Design

A sleeping bag can have many features of design, including shell fabric, draft tubes, zippers, neck baffles, and stash pockets. A simple design element, such as the zipper can really make or break a sleeping bag. If the zipper is poor quality, it can get caught or break, making your sleep uncomfortable and cold. The Marmot Phase 20 and Western Mountaineering Ultralite have excellent quality zippers.

Other features include a hood, pillow pocket, and an internal pocket for your belongings. A hood is crucial in the colder months for warmth and coziness. A pillow pocket is a great addition where you can put clothing for a makeshift pillow. An interior pocket is helpful to keep your phone and other belongings safe. These are all the features that a sleeping bag should have. The more design elements, the heavier the bag.

Stuff sacks come with most bags but they usually aren’t effective. It’s best to purchase one separately so your bag can actually be compressed to the fullest capacity. A sleeping bag liner is also a smart measure to keeping your bag new and clean, it will also add warmth.

About the author 

Mark Whitman

Mark has trekked extensively in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. He founded Mountain IQ in 2014 with the sole aim to be the best online information portal to some of the most popular mountain destinations around the world. When not writing for Mountain IQ, Mark is out exploring the outdoors with his wife!

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