When camping in the wilderness, a good night’s sleep is crucial to maximizing your energy for optimal survival. While there are many aspects to help you improve your sleep, the best sleeping bag can make the difference between a broken, mediocre sleep, and a revitalizing one.
Many factors can negatively affect your sleep. That’s why investing in the right sleeping bag will prevent you from not only feeling tired, but also from potentially getting sick and decreasing your overall chances of survival.
However, there are a countless number of sleeping bags on the market, and it can make choosing the right one a difficult task. That’s why we’ve reviewed five choices to help you pick the best sleeping bag for all of your survival needs.
Coleman Big Basin Adult Sleeping Bag
This sleeping bag is designed with big and tall people in mind, as it is wide at the chest, shoulders, and legs.
It could accommodate someone up to 6 ft 6 in tall and would fit a person weighing over 225lbs. If you are concerned about size, then this larger sleeping bag might be the best fit.
Insulation in this sleeping bag is enhanced by Coletherm hollow polyester, with the bag able to keep you warm in temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat retention is also increased by the use of Thermolock draft tubes, which prevent the heat from escaping between gaps in the zipper.
For additional warmth, the sleeping bag also has fleece foot, which simply means there is extra material at the bottom of the bag. This material keeps the feet warm, which will increase the overall body temperature.
However, as is expected with a large sleeping bag, it may be quite bulky when rolled up and stuffed into a backpack. It could potentially be used as a two-person sleeping bag, but it would still take up quite a bit of space in a backpack. It does compress to around 1/3 of its full size if you use a compression sack, but these are sold separately, which is not ideal.
- Great for tall people as it's both insulating and roomy
- Good insulation in low temperatures
- Fleece foot provides extra warmth
- Bulky when rolled up so not ideal for long-term survival expeditions
- Not the most suitable for smaller people
Outdoor Vitals Summit Mummy Sleeping Bag
Made from RDS sourced down, these sleeping bags from Outdoor Vitals are designed to keep you as warm as possible, with each one tested to be within 5 degrees Fahrenheit of its temperature rating. We’ll focus on the 0 degree one as we are looking at the best sleeping bag for survival, but it is also available as a 20- and 30-degree bag.
Weighing an ultra-lightweight 2.15lbs, the 0-degree sleeping bag doesn’t lack in quality despite its compact size. It features 800 fill power down, giving it a high warmth-to-weight ratio, along with compressible insulation. It is easy to pack up and take anywhere, and can fit comfortably in a survival backpack if stored correctly.
Its outer shell is built from tough nylon ripstop material, so it is designed to withstand harsh conditions. This design is ideal for any survival environment, while remaining lightweight with only a 20-denier thickness.
It’s also a roomy sleeping bag, despite being mummy-style, as it is made to be large enough not to press against the sides and reduce any loft.
One notable issue that some customers have highlighted is the zipper quality. It may be prone to getting stuck, which could be a serious issue when you need to preserve heat.
- 800 fill power down provides a high warmth-to-weight ratio
- Lightweight and compact makes it ideal for survival
- Durable outer shell
- Zipper is not the most reliable
Snugpak Tactical Sleeping Bag
Snugpak’s Tactical sleeping bag is all about durability and long-lasting quality.
Inside, the bag is insulated with Softie Premier filling, which is a breathable material, and arguably longer-lasting than down. It is lined with luxury polyester suede, which adds another layer of insulation.
Outside, you can expect a tough and reliable shell. It’s equipped with Paratex Steelplate fabric, which is windproof, antibacterial, water-resistant, and breathable. This makes it an excellent choice for survival, as you may find yourself having to shelter amongst the elements instead of comfortably in a tent. With this bag, you should still be warm and protected regardless of the weather.
The overall shape and size of the bag are also fit for survival, with the mummy-bag design able to be compressed down to a comfortable packing size. It rolls up easily, with straps to help you tighten everything into place. It packs to around the size of a volleyball, meaning you should be able to fit it comfortably into a survival backpack if you pack efficiently.
- Well-insulated to keep you warm as low as 23 degrees F
- Durable outer shell makes it suitable for most weather conditions
- Lightweight and easy to pack
- Not budget-friendly
Hyke & Byke SnowmassDown Sleeping Bag
As a 0-degree mummy sleeping bag, the Snowmass from Hyke & Byke is a great option for survivalists. It is designed to keep you warm down to 0 degrees, which is ideal for use all-year-round.
It is made with hydrophobic duck down, and features a ClusterLoft base. This base is designed to work better than usual down, and is durable even against moisture and compression.
The size of this bag is particularly impressive, at 64″ wide, and suitable for someone as tall as 6’6″. However, there are smaller sizes available, so if you are shorter you won’t need to carry around a sleeping bag that is much too large for you. The ‘long’ size weighs 3.56lbs, so it’s a lightweight choice that could easily be transported without issue. It is arguably one of the best lightweight sleeping bags on the market.
As it is a mummy-style sleeping bag, it is ideal for environments where you need to utilize everything to survive. However, although it does wrap around your face for warmth, the bag doesn’t include a draft collar, which does mean you might not be completely covered.
- Suitable for various weather conditions
- Comes in three different sizes
- Hydrophobic down insulation for increased heat retention
- Lightweight even at the larger size
- No draft collar
TETON Sports Fahrenheit Sleeping Bag
Teton’s sleeping bag offers a range of temperature ratings to suit your needs, with the lightest rating at 20 degrees, increasing to a rating of -25-degree Fahrenheit.
This is a standout feature against competitor sleeping bags, as it will be suitable for extremely cold climates and prevent you from freezing.
The bag also comes in different sizes, but particularly in the XXL version, it is significantly spacious. Around the shoulder area is particularly roomy, meaning it would be suitable for a variety of body types and heights.
The inside of the bag is cotton-lined, making it a comfortable choice as well as a durable one. Cotton is far less slippery than synthetic materials, and will give you that cozy feeling when you lay your head down to sleep.
For extra convenience when out in the wilderness, this sleeping bag comes with a compression sack. You can use this to easily pack your sleeping bag, instead of struggling to roll it up as tight as possible.
Filled with super loft elite hollow fiber, and with built-in draft tubes to keep the warmth in, this bag is built to withstand cold weather, so you can expect a warm night’s sleep with this choice.
However, this sleeping bag is notably heavier than other options on this list, which is worth bearing in mind if you are planning on being in the outdoors for long periods.
Its design also means you can’t use it as a blanket as well, due to the zipper only opening up down the length of the bag.
- Works well in freezing cold climates
- Filled with super loft elite hollow fiber
- Built-in draft tubes to increase heat retention
- Cotton-lined for enhanced comfort
- Weighs more than competitor models
- Only unzips down one side so can't double as a blanket
While choosing an expensive sleeping bag can seem like a smart choice, there are budget-friendly options that can work just as well. However, it is likely that your sleeping bag will be one of the pricier items in your survival backpack.
It is worth considering how much you are willing to spend on a sleeping bag, but also not to discount budget options as lacking in quality. A good combination of high-quality and value is something to look out for.
Size and Weight
As you will need to take your sleeping bag in your survival backpack, it’s important to make sure it doesn’t weigh you down. You should make sure to check the size and weight of the bag when it’s packed, to get a good idea of what it will be like to carry around.
Some people might argue that a lightweight bag won’t provide as much warmth or comfort. However, there are many sleeping bags available that use special insulation technology, which allows them to compromise on the amount of material.
Size and shape are also important factors to consider when it comes to choosing a sleeping bag for survival. A classic sleeping bag shape is rectangular, featuring a zip that goes around both sides.
While this style of bag gives you plenty of room and can double as a blanket when opened up, they are not the best for keeping you warm.
Instead, ‘mummy’ bags are an efficient alternative, built to retain heat by tapering towards the feet. They come with a hood for extra warmth, and are typically more lightweight than rectangular bags.
Length and Width
As with any aspect of survival shelter, it is essential to consider your height and size before purchasing gear. Your sleeping bag will need to fit your whole body comfortably, without you feeling restricted.
However, if you choose a rectangular ‘quilt’ sleeping bag, then you could potentially go a size bigger than necessary in order to pull it over your head when it gets especially cold.
In terms of width, a slimmer bag will not only save space in your backpack but also keep you warmer. Remember though, you don’t want to feel restricted, so a little bit of excess width allows you to move around comfortably in your sleep.
Arguably the most critical component of a sleeping bag is how warm it will keep you. While it is your body that produces warmth, not the sleeping bag, a good sleeping bag will trap your body heat well and keep you as warm as possible.
One way in which manufacturers have made finding a well-insulated sleeping bag more accessible is through Temperature Ratings. The most suitable temperature rating for you will differ based on a variety of factors, such as your clothing, nutrition, and whether you sleep ‘hot’ or ‘cold.’
Temperature ratings are often shown as ‘comfort’ and ‘extreme’ ratings. ‘Comfort’ ratings refer to a temperature that is ideal for comfort and to keep you above feeling cold.
However, ‘extreme’ ratings are more suited for cold climates in which survival is paramount. The rating is the limit that the bag will keep you alive at, without you getting any illnesses such as hypothermia.
You can also take steps to increase your own temperature rating. Clothing is the first step to keeping yourself warm, but you should also consider eating a meal before bedtime, using a hot water bottle if possible, and keeping yourself hydrated.
Durable and Breathable Materials
There are two kinds of material that sleeping bags are typically made of – down and synthetic. It is useful to know how each material can alter your sleeping bag’s performance.
Down insulated sleeping bags will typically be more expensive, but this is because they can compress more and retain heat more effectively. However, when wet, they lose heat insulation and take a long time to dry.
Synthetic sleeping bags are more budget-friendly, but they are also heavier and more cumbersome than down bags. This is especially important when looking for a survival sleeping bag, as a bulkier option will be inconvenient when carrying a backpack and trying to save space.
Once you have decided on the type of material that works for you, you should ensure that your sleeping bag has a durable water repellent (DWR) finish. This finish coats the exterior, and prevents moisture from saturating the material.
This is an essential feature for survival situations, as humid or wet conditions are a sleeping bag’s worst enemy.
The shell of your sleeping bag will ideally be made from ripstop nylon or polyester, for increased durability against the elements.
If you do opt for a down bag, it is important to consider the fill power, often stylized as ‘fp.’ This feature measures the quality of the insulation. For example, a higher fill power means the bag is lighter and traps heat more than a lower fill power down.
Unsurprisingly, higher fill power will cost more, but may be worth investing in if you want a high quality and long-lasting sleeping bag. The usual rule is that 800 fill power and above is high quality, with a good warmth-to-weight ratio.
Quilts vs. Mummy Bags
If saving space when you need to survive is especially important to you, it may be worth considering a quilt instead of a mummy bag.
Down quilts in particular are known for their excellent warmth-to-weight ratio, as they remove the material and insulation that you would find underneath your body in a mummy bag.
They’re a lightweight choice, but mummy bags are more suited for very cold and windy conditions, as they let out less of a draft. This makes them the ideal choice for when the temperature is below freezing.
As an essential for outdoor survival, choosing the best sleeping bag is not an easy decision. However, my personal pick would be the Outdoor Vitals Summit 0 Degree Mummy Sleeping Bag.
It is an excellent all-round sleeping bag, which would work well in almost all survival scenarios. Its durable design combined with its powerful insulation is perfect for harsh conditions, and will give you a comfortable night’s sleep despite the weather.
However, as highlighted by the variety on our list, there is no one-size-fits-all sleeping bag. Whether you are looking for an ultralight sleeping bag, or the best budget sleeping bag, there will be an option out there for you.
We hope this review has given you an insight into choosing the best sleeping bag. Please let us know your feedback in the comment section below, and if you have any suggestions for topics, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!
Good Luck and Happy Survival Prepping!
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