Purchasing Compact Sleeping Bags

Compact sleeping bags are designed to take up as little space as possible in your backpack, allowing you to carry additional essentials, such as food, utensils, additional socks, hiking clothes etc.

Whether you are exploring Glacier National Park’s backcountry or planning an adventure across Asia, your life will be made easier with a compact sleeping bag neatly tucked away in a side pocket of your backpack.

Yes, you can purchase a cheap sleeping bag from Wal-Mart, but these bulky, heavy blankets will weigh you down, provide you with little warmth, and consume half of your pack.

Down or Synthetic Sleeping Bag

When choosing between compact sleeping bags, the first question you must ask yourself is whether you want a synthetic or down sleeping bag. In my opinion, you have no choice: down fill is the best material for compact sleeping bags.

This is for three reasons:

sleeping bag reviews
  1. Compact Performance – Down sleeping bags compress easier and can withstand being pressed into a tiny space better than synthetic
  2. Weight – If you are investing in a compressible sleeping bag, you must be considering weight. Down sleeping bags almost always weigh less than synthetic
  3. Warmth & Comfort – A down filled sleeping bag is more comfortable than synthetic

Best Compact Sleeping Bags

sea to summit trek sleeping bag

When deciding between compressible sleeping bags, you are bombarded with options. Some are cheaper in price, but weigh more than others; while some bags may be incredibly steep in price but offer no additional benefits.

I’ve scoured the internet, read reviews, and have brought you my opinion in the best compact sleeping bags on the market to help aid you in your purchasing decisions.

Sea to Summit Trek TKL

Up first, we have the Sea to Summit Trek TKL Sleeping Bag. This bag is the ultimate in ultralight weight sleeping bags, compactability and price. No other bag offers these amazing features at such a cheap price.

Advantages of this bag include:

  • Lightweight – At a mere 2 pounds, 2 ounces, this bag won’t weigh you down on your adventures
  • 2D PermaShell with durable Water Repellent Finish – What this means is extreme comfort, while keeping you dry and safe from the elements.

However, there are a few drawbacks that you should be aware of:

  1. The sleeping bag is only 650 down fill. This means that you can only use it in 32 degree weather for and 41 degree weather for woman (Disclaimer: I’ve never seen a sleeping bag specify temperature rating by gender.
  2. It is a semirectangular shape so it won’t keep you as warm as a mummy styled sleeping bag

For those tradeoffs, you get a much more compact, lightweight sleeping bag. I still think it’s a good investment, but you gotta make sure that it meets your needs. If you enjoy backpacking at the very end of Fall or beginning of Spring, this likely isn’t the bag for you. I’d recommend moving onto the next choice…

If you’d like to learn more about the Sea to Summit Trek TKL, you can find out more at one of the following stores:

Sierra Designs Zissou DriDown

sierra designs zissou sleeping bag

Talk about an EPIC, compactable, lightweight sleeping bag. This baby rocks! Now, at the time of writing this, there aren’t many review of it on REI.reviews of it on REI. That’s OK! I got my hands on a demo and I gotta tell you, this is one sick bag.

First, Sierra Designs uses a proprietary DriDown process. This makes every single duck completely resistant to water and enables it to stay dry 7 times longer than your average sleeping bag.

Next, it weighs a total of 2 pounds, 1 ounce. Talk about lightweight!

Up next is its fill: 700 down. You can use it in temperatures of 27 degrees F or higher.

Finally, it has full-length, 2 way double sliding zippers. This allows you to mitigate the airflow with ease and precision, optimizing your temperature and comfort level. Sure, that adds extra weight, but this isn’t a contest on ultralight sleeping bags (although it should rank in the top for that, too). This is about sleeping bags that are designed to take up a tiny amount of space in your backpack.

If you’d like to learn more about the Sierra Designs Zissou DriDown, I’d appreciate if you used one of our links to these merchants:

REI Halo

In terms of a middle of the road sleeping bag, I now introduce you to the REI Halo +25. This compact sleeping bag is, in my opinion, better than the Sea to Summit described above and may be more advantageous to some than the Marmot described below.

I recommend this bag for numerous reasons:

rei halo 25 sleeping bag
  • Bag Length – This bag is great for those tall adventurers, as it can come in either a regular size or, for those over 6 feet, a long size
  • Weight – At 2 pounds the REI (in regular length) is the same weight as the Northface but longer for tall campers
  • 750 Down Fill – Can you say extreme comfort?
  • External Chest Pocket – Allows you to access essentials, such as a headlamp, in the middle of the night

Learn more about the REI Halo

marmot arroyo sleeping bag review

Another highly recommended item is the Marmot Arroyo +30 Degree Down Sleeping Bag. While this bag is more expensive, many thruhikers of the Appalachian Trail have raved about it and who wouldn’t? With a 800+ fill goose down, this bag provides immense comfortableness.

The biggest advantage of the Marmot over other compact sleeping bags is its tight mummy build. You can zipper this baby up and not feel a thing when inside.

Additionally, it is water repellent. While water will ruin any other down, compact bag, the Marmot Arroyo will fight on for a comfortable night of sleep.

Learn more about the Marmot Arroyo +30 Degree Down Sleeping Bag

Making the Most of Your Compact Sleeping Bag

Every serious backpacker will agree that down fill is the best material for compact sleeping bags. However, down sleeping bags have a major disadvantage to synthetic: they become useless when wet.

In order to counteract this, you need a waterproof, compressible stuff sack for your sleeping bag. This will offer three advantages:

  1. Keep Your Sleeping Bag Dry – A dry sleeping bag makes for a happy camper
  2. Additional Compression – Stuff sacks make a compact sleeping bag even more compact
  3. Barely Any Additional Weight – Compressible stuff sacks rarely weigh more than a handful of ounces

Unquestionably, the best compressible stuff sack on the market is the Sea-to-Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack.

This stuff sack weighs only a mere 5.7 ounces, comes in a variety of sizes, and is the first waterproof compression bag. In 2007, it was Backpacker Magazine Editor’s Choice for stuff sacks.

Learn more about the Sea-to-Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack

More Sleeping Bag Information

Best Sleeping Bag: Don’t let cold weather or wet nights ruin your vacation — learn how to pick the Best Sleeping Bag for you

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