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Best sleeping bag 2023: Stay cosy and sleep tight whatever the weather, from £5

It doesn't matter whether you're in a tent in your back garden or half-way up Everest, the right sleeping bag will make all the difference

Whether you’re backpacking in the Himalayas or caravanning in the UK, you’ll need a good sleeping bag if you want to get a good night’s kip. Perhaps you only need one for occasional use at this year’s festivals – or maybe you want a stand-out double one to share with your significant other in the great outdoors.

There are lots of things to consider, so here we’ll run you through everything you need to know. Should you buy down or synthetic? Right or left-hand zip? Rectangular or mummy shape? And then there’s the price tag, which can range from under £50 up to well over a grand.

Whatever your needs, we’ve got it covered – so read on and we’ll explain which features to look out for, explain what’s best for you and list our top recommendations.

Best sleeping bag: At a glance

How to buy the best sleeping bag for you

How do I choose the right season and temperature ratings?

Sleeping bags are roughly classified by season ratings one to four. One season bags are made for summer camping, when the weather is mild, as well as for indoor use. Two season bags are ideal for late spring to early autumn temperatures. Three-season bags are made for autumn and winter weather but not frost or temperatures under zero. And four-season bags are designed to keep you toasty on cold, frosty and even snowy winter nights. As a rough rule of thumb, the more seasons a bag is rated to work for the more expensive it is.

Meanwhile, temperature ratings are split into the “comfort” rating and the “extreme” temperature. The former is the optimum temperature at which you’ll feel warm and comfortable – meaning that if the bag is used in temperatures below that rating, you’ll probably get cold. The “extreme” temperature rating (on more technical bags) refers to survival conditions – in other words, the limit at which the bag will keep you alive without frostbite and suchlike.

But don’t just think about the air temperature. Also consider how much you personally feel the cold, what clothing you intend to sleep in and what will be underneath you. In particular, remember the inner bag – not only does it add about half a season to the rating (if you’re too hot in summer, you can simply use the inner bag on its own), but it also keeps your sleeping bag clean and easier to wash, thereby increasing your bag’s lifespan and hygiene. If in doubt, go for a warmer sleeping bag than you think you’ll need – and that goes particularly for women, who tend to feel the cold more than men.

What about size, weight and shape?

If you’re only ever going to transport your sleeping bag in the spacious boot of your 4×4, you may not mind if your sleeping bag is on the bulkier, heavier side. But if you’ve got to backpack around the mountains with it, a tiny, lightweight option may be more tempting. In this case, be sure to check the packed size and weight.

In terms of shape, traditional sleeping bags are rectangular, with a zip that goes around two sides. The benefits of these are that they’re spacious and can be opened up to use as a blanket. But on the downside, they don’t tend to retain the heat all that well-meaning that they’re best suited to caravanning, summer camping and indoor use, while mummy-shaped ones are better for more serious camping and people who feel the cold. Mummy-shaped ones also tend to weigh less.

How about the materials?

Down is the best filling for warmth-to-weight ratio, heat retention and temperature range – meaning that you can use it in both warm and cold conditions. Sleeping bags made from down also tend to last longer and are easier to pack up in small bags. The downside is that you can’t get them wet: down loses its insulating properties once water gets involved.

While synthetically insulated sleeping bags are usually heavier and bulkier, they’re generally better at keeping you warmer when it’s wet or humid, as well as drying out quicker. They’re also easier to clean and generally a good deal cheaper. And for people who are allergic to down, synthetic will be their only choice.

What do I need to consider about the zip?

Is the zip in the most practical place and does it work smoothly without sticking? Do you want it to be left or right-hand opening (if you’re right-handed, choose a left-hand bag and vice versa – and if you’re buying two that may need to connect together, buy one of each)? Do you need a two-way zip (good for easy opening when you need ventilation)? And do you want the zip to be full-length or only go halfway? Some bags have an insulated zip baffle behind the zip, which will stop the cold getting in, while others have a zip cover to stop it coming undone while you’re asleep.

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The best sleeping bags you can buy in 2023

1. Snugpak Softie 9: The best all-round sleeping bag

Price: £102 | Buy now from Amazon

This is the most versatile but affordable sleeping bag we have yet come across. While officially three-season, you can easily transform it into a four-season one by adding a Snugpak liner (available separately) and you can also make it bigger by buying Snugpak expander panels. It’s got a reinforced foot that means you can sleep with your boots on – good for nights when you need to be on guard or get up at a moment’s notice. The hood with drawstring works wonders for warmth and Snugpak throws in a free pillow (only with the lime-green version, though) if the hood doesn’t suffice for supporting your head. We were also impressed with the quality of the stitching – a problem with many sleeping bags at this price.

Key specs – Type: 3 season; Comfort temperature: -5°C; Extreme temperature: -10°C; Filling: 100% polyester; Weight: 1.5kg; Pack size: 19 x 21cm; Warranty: 1 year

2. Eurohike Snooze 200 Sleeping Bag: The best cheap sleeping bag for festivals

Price: £5 | Buy now from Go Outdoors

If you want a no-frills, budget sleeping bag for under £10 that won’t fall to pieces after just one summer and will keep you cosy but not clammy, this gets a big thumbs-up from us. The Eurohike Snooze is light and portable at just 880g, and the roomy rectangular design makes it comfortable and airy even on swelteringly hot nights. The bag’s inner is a soft brushed polycotton, which makes a nice change from plasticky sleeping bag materials. This simple bag may only be suited to warm weather, but at under £10 it’s an absolute steal for festivals or casual weekenders, or as a spare bag if you already own a more technical winter model.

Key specs – Type: 2 Season; Comfort temperature: Not stated; Filling: Polyester; Weight: 0.88kg; Pack size: 40 x 18cm, Sleeping size: 190 x 75cm; Warranty: Not stated

Buy now from Go Outdoors

3. Vango Nevis 300: The best budget expedition sleeping bag

Price: £35 | Buy now from Outdoor World Direct

Designed with Duke of Edinburgh and Scout Group trips in mind, the Vango Nevis 300 is an effective and striking three-season sleeping bag that won’t break the bank. It’ll keep you warm at lows of -7°C, and its lightweight design makes it easy to stuff down into a rucksack. There aren’t heaps of fancy features here but everything feels of great quality, from the inner lining to the zippers and drawstring hood. If you just want a basic yet dependable sleeping bag for outdoor adventures, you can’t go wrong with the Vango Nevis 300.

Key specs – Type: 3 season; Comfort temperature: -7°C; Filling: Single-hollow fibre insulation; Weight: 1.7kg; Pack size: 39 x 24 x 36cm; Sleeping size: 220 x 80 x 50cm; Warranty: Not stated

4. Rab Neutrino 400: The best sleeping bag for lightweight warmth

Price: £400 | Buy now from RabIf you love adventures in the wild, but get cold at night even in the warmer months, the Rab Neutrino 400 could be the ideal investment. This classic tapered mummy shaped sleeping bag offers an impressive warmth to weight ratio, with a comfort rating of -7°C from the 800 fill hydrophobic down.

Ideal for fast and light mountain fun, the bag’s shell is made from 100%-recycled wind- and water-resistant Pertex Quantum, and also boasts one of the best zips in the business. This thing refuses to snag, which is a blessed relief at the end of a long day’s hiking.

Hand-filled in Derbyshire UK, it doesn’t pack as small as the Therm-a-rest Ohm, but the extra warmth is instantly noticeable – it was hugely appreciated in the Lake District in soggy and chilly April. That said, it still packs down impressively into the supplied waterproof dry bag style stuff sack. It hid perfectly well in the bottom of a 24 litre backpack without issue.

It is an expensive sleeping bag, but in our experience Rab is a brand worth trusting. In the event of any show-stopping issues, Rab’s Keep Moving Guarantee means that a replacement will be sent out as soon as possible wherever you are in the world, no matter how remote.

Key specs – Type: 3 season; Comfort temperature: -7°C; Filling: Nikwax hydrophobic goose down; Weight: 775g; Pack size: 35x23cm; Sleeping size: 185 cm full length Warranty: Keep Moving Guarantee

Buy now from Rab

5. Outwell Contour Lux Double: The best double sleeping bag

Price: £70 | Buy now from Outdoor World Direct

In days gone by, a double sleeping bag usually meant zipping together two single ones, often fumbling about in the dark cursing the snagging zips that would never seem to marry up. Today, there’s all manner of genuinely double options that feel almost as roomy as your double duvet back at home, and the Contour Lux Double from Outwell is one of the most versatile. It’s roomy enough for two large adult sleepers, has sewn-in pillows for added comfort and be separated and zipped into two separate sleeping bags.

With a comfort temperature of -5°C, it’s suitable for use from spring right up until late autumn, and it also happens to be reversible; in hotter weather, you can remove the headrest, flip the Contour over onto its thinner side and then reattach the hood. It even opens up fully as a duvet, so you can wrap it around yourself and stay extra cosy while relaxing by the fire.

Key specs – Type: 3 season; Comfort temperature: -5°C; Extreme temperature: -22°C; Filling: Isofill (100% polyester); Weight: 3.25kg; Pack size: 55 x 31.4 x 26cm; Warranty: Not stated

6. Therm-a-rest Ohm: The best sleeping bag for people who hate sleeping bags

Price: £350 | Buy now from AlpinetrekIt is eye-wateringly expensive, but this is an exceptional sleeping bag. The Ohm’s balance of comfort, warmth and packability makes for the finest all-round bag we’ve ever slept in, and, unlike the vast majority of designs, it doesn’t leave you feeling like a mummy in a burial chamber.

Rated 20F/-6C, but packing down to a super compact 17 x 20cm, this open ended design is roomy, comfortable and super warm thanks to the high-loft 900-fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down. This insulation is next-level, and goes a long way to justifying the price, but for us, the real deal here is the fact it offers all-encompassing warmth and is more like a duvet. In the winter months zip it up, but come spring and summer the Ohm opens up like a duvet, allowing you to stay cool without getting cold. You can even zip two together for what might be the most luxurious double sleeping bag configuration available.

Nikwax Hydrophobic Down is something of a wonder product too, being PFC-free and having the ability to absorb 90% less water and dry 3x faster than untreated down. The down used is also Responsible Down Standard Certified, which ensures the waterfowl in the supply chain are treated humanely.

Key specs – Type: 3 season; Comfort temperature: -0°C (-6°C max); Filling: Nikwax hydrophobic goose down; Weight: 640g; Pack size: 17 x 20cm; Sleeping size: 180cm full length Warranty: Lifetime

Buy now from Alpinetrek

7. Robens IceFall Pro 900: The best sleeping bag for wild camping

Price: £180 | Buy from RobensFeaturing an all-new synthetic insulation called MicroThermo Ball, this cleverly engineered sleeping bag feels like down, works like down, but doesn’t suffer like down in damp conditions, making it ideal for bivvy sleeping and less-than-perfect conditions. It’s also great for allergy sufferers.

It’s available in three fills (300/600/900) for warm, cold and coldest conditions and, thanks to the profiled shape and innovative 3D hood profile that hugs the wearer like an oversized parka, essential body heat is trapped. It also features a roomy “shark fin” boot box so you don’t feel too restricted.

Ideal for cold evenings off the beaten track, Robens has also included a high waisted pull cord that keeps your sleeping bag in place even when you’re sitting up. The centre zip is also a welcome touch that’s easier to find in the dark, and quicker to get out of in confined backpacking tents.

Key specs – Type: 3 season; Comfort temperature: -5°C; Filling: Polyester; Weight: 1.395kg; Pack size: 42 x 18cm, Sleeping size: 220 x 80 x 51 cm

Buy now from Robens

8. Alpkit ArcticDream 1400 Hydrophobic: The best sleeping bag for ultra-low temperatures

Price: £475 | Buy now from Alpkit

This sleeping bag really means business. It’s rated for some of the harshest mountain environments in the world, so if you need a bag you can rely on in extreme conditions then this is the model to splash your cash on. Rated to a whopping -48°C (Alpkit reckon it’s suitable even down to a terrifying -79°C, but recommend stopping at -48°C to keep things safe) and filled with hydrophobic down, the Arctic Dream is ready for anything, with an insulated hood and foot box to further protect your head and extremities. For relaxed camping, this is overkill, but if you regularly camp in the depths of winter, it’s your perfect companion.

Key specs – Type: 4 season; Extreme temperature: -48°C; Filling: Nikwax hydrophobic down; Outer Fabric: Rip-stop nylon; Weight: 1.9kg; Warranty: Not stated

Buy now from Alpkit

9. Mountain Equipment Nova II: The best sleeping bag for women

Price: £150 | Buy now from Mountain Equipment

When the temperature drops, a sleeping bag with too much spare material will leave you shivering at 2am, which is why if you’re serious about camping it’s worth choosing a model that fits your frame.

The Nova II is a hugely respected lineup from Mountain Equipment that’s available in a variety of temperature ranges – from four season freeze to summer weight – and in female specific-sizing to ensure a better night’s rest.

Choose left or right-hand zip in regular (170cm max height) and long lengths (185max height). It uses Polarloft Synthetic insulation, which offers an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio, packing down small and offering true three-season performance with no cold spots.

We really like the clever collar lock that uses magnets to draw the locking mechanism together, ensuring that once the magnets are connected it won’t burst open and let in the chill in the middle of the night.

Each Mountain Equipment sleeping bag comes with A Good Night’s Sleep Guaranteed, which means, if you decide that the sleeping bag isn’t as warm as you’d expected, it will upgrade it for you.

Key specs – Type: 3 season; Comfort temperature: -3°C; Filling: Polyester; Weight: 1.2kg; Pack size: 22 x 17 x 28cm; Sleeping size: 180 x 78cm; Warranty: Not stated

Buy now from Mountain Equipment

10. Forclaz Kid’s 0/5°C: The best sleeping bag for kids

Price: £30 | Buy from DecathlonSo many “kids” sleeping bags are just basic quilts with zips that can leave the children too cold or sweaty and stuck to the material. Decathlon, however, has engineered a proper mummy-style sleeping bag for young adventurers that will keep them snug and warm in temperatures between 0°C and 5°C. It’ll even handle temperatures down to -5°C, should you want to be more adventurous out of the summer season.

It looks like a serious grown-up sleeping bag because, well, it is, just shorter and designed for children up to 140cm in height. The two-way zip makes getting in and out of it easy, and the whole thing is simple to pack away in its own stuff sack. With synthetic fibre fill, it’s also
machine washable, which is essential, given how grubby kids get while camping.

Key specs – Type: 3 season; Comfort temperature: 0°C to 5°C; Filling: Polyester; Weight: 1.2kg; Pack size: N/A, Sleeping size: 165 x 65cm; Warranty: Not state

Buy now from Decathlon

11. Therm-a-rest Hyperion 20: The best lightweight sleeping bag

Price: £415 | Buy from Amazon Weighing a ridiculous 594g and stuffing down to a pack no longer than a water bottle, this premium sleeping bag has true three-season warmth and durability, making it perfect for those fast hikers and bike tourers for whom every gram counts.

Despite the low weight, it has 345g of 900 fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down – a natural down insulation treated to maintain performance even in damp conditions – which will keep you comfortably warm at temperatures down to -6°C. The fill is spread into zones, with 70% on the top section and 30% on the back. This helps save weight without reducing warmth.

You can find lighter and more packable sleeping bags, but not one with the same level of all-year insulation. Added warmth is generated by having a half-zip, although if you have a tendency to overheat and kick your feet out this might be an issue in the summer.

The Hyperion 20 also has mat straps for securing your sleeping mat to it, which is a neat touch that helps the cushioning stay where you need it most.

Key specs – Type: 3 season; Comfort temperature: -6°C; Filling: Hydrophobic down; Weight: 594g; Pack size: 15 x 20cm; Sleeping size: 145cm at shoulder, 109cm at foot; Warranty: Not stated

Buy now from Amazon

12. Voited Ripstop Outdoor Camping Blanket: The best sleeping bag for summer glamping

Price: £102 | Buy now from VoitedThis multi-talented insulated blanket ticks all the boxes for a summer camping trip. When the temperature drops it becomes the perfect blanket for snuggling around the fire, and it can stuff down into a separate sack to create a luxurious 36x36cm pillow or popper together to form a weather-defying poncho or quilt style sleeping bag.

We love the Campvibes design, but there are 13 stylish options to choose from and occasional collaborations that might be your thing. Given the high price of many designer blankets available, these are solid value given the extra versatility and supreme comfort.

Made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, the Voited has a tough Teflon EcoLite coated 50D ripstop outer with waterproof coating, and the whole thing can be popped into the washing machine after the weekend’s glamping.

It’s too bulky for hiking or lightweight technical adventures, but the Voited blanket is perfect for relaxing, looking good and staying warm. It doesn’t pack down especially small (36x16cm), but the 203cm length sleeping bag is more than long enough for most glampers and is both versatile and stylish enough to be used around the house when you get home.

Key specs – Type: 1 season; Comfort temperature: 13°C; Filling: Synthetic Featherlight Fibre insulation; Weight: 1,100g; Pack size: 36x16cm; Sleeping size: 185 cm full length; Warranty: Lifetime

Buy now from Voited

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