Need a new sleeping bag? We've tested six of the best, to help you find the perfect one
Snugpak Travelpak 3, £50 The test:
This bag is the heaviest on test (1.61kg in its stuff sack) and also the largest when packed up. Part of the reason for this is that it’s stuffed full of synthetic fibres, which don’t compress as much as down. This does mean it’s toasty, though – with a Comfort rating of -3°C, this bag is the warmest here.
There’s a two-way zip so you can cool down in hotter weather, a baffle behind the zip to stop draughts (though this is smaller and less filled than on more expensive models) and an internal zipped mesh pocket. There’s also a mosquito net that you can roll away when not needed or zip over your head for protection – though you’d have to find a way to suspend it somehow to make it properly effective.
The outer fabric is robust and features antibacterial and antimicrobial treatment to minimise odours without the need for frequent washing. However, it is only available in one size and, as it’s less tapered in shape, it may not retain heat as efficiently as others. The verdict:
A good budget option with some nice extras although lacking the great warmth-to-weight ratio of pricier bags.
Warmth to weight: ★★★✩✩
Overall: ★★★★✩ www.snugpak.com
Vango Planet 150, £55 The test:
Like Snugpak’s offering – filled with 100% synthetic fibres, has a mosquito net, retails at a good price – the Planet 150 has also been designed with travellers in mind. It has an anti-bacterial treatment to help stop odours and an insect-repellent finish to keep away mossies and midges. The stuff sack is fleece-lined so, if reversed and packed with clothes, can double up as a pillow. The two-way zip opens completely so the bag can be used duvet-like if needed.
There is an internal Velcro pocket but no real neck baffle; there is one behind the zip, which is smaller than others here but well filled. The result of all the extras and the synthetic fill is that this is the second-heaviest on test (1.29kg in stuff sack) and second largest when packed. It has a comfort rating of 4°C though the less tapered shape and one-size-fits-all sizing means that heat retention may be an issue. The verdict:
Some great extra features make this a versatile bag at a good price; however, it’s not the warmest option and its heavy weight may be a turn off.
Warmth to weight: ★★★✩✩
Overall: ★★★★✩ www.vango.co.uk
Raidlight Combi-Duvet - Ultralight, £190 The test:
A big price jump leads into more technical territory, and sleeping bags that offer quirky options – such as the Combi-Duvet. Filled with 95% goose down, it is noticeably thinner than all the others here. However, with a fill power of 725 and a comfort rating of 5°C, it offers a reasonable amount of warmth for the weight – this is the lightest on test (658g in stuff sack) and packs down second-smallest.
The slightly odd shape is due to the fact that it converts into a gilet/jacket (via two zipable arm holes). As a sleeping bag it has a two-way zip down the front, which is not full length. It has no real neck baffle but it does have a small one behind the zip. It’s more mummy-shaped but quite boxy at the top.
Due to the conversion method, as a jacket it is quite heavy at the back, which causes it to pull down a bit. This is a one-size-fits-all model, which is quite apparent both when worn as a jacket and used as a sleeping bag. The verdict:
A quirky, superlight sleeping bag that is also a sleeveless jacket, but it’s not as warm as others, and sizing may be an issue.
Warmth to weight: ★★★★✩
Overall: ★★★✩✩ www.firstascentoutdoordistribution.co.uk
The North Face Kazoo Gold, £200 The test:
Pay a little more and you get a more traditional sleeping bag with some nice design touches. Stuffed with 650+ fill goose down, and with a water-resistant outer fabric, this bag is a good all-rounder for most temperatures. It also has thermal pads in key areas to help with insulation.
Weighing 1.03kg (in stuff sack), it’s the fourth-lightest here and packs down to a similar size as the Snugpak bag. It has a comfort rating of 2°C, with a good-sized, well-filled neck and behind-zip baffle to help keep draughts to a minimum. It is mummy-shaped for good heat retention, has a well-filled hood and is also available in a women’s specific fit. There is a two-way zip for ventilation if needed; a nice touch is a glow-in-the-dark zip pull.
It may have a higher price tag, but for a decent bag that works for trips to both warmer and cooler climes, it’s a good option. The verdict:
Well-designed at a reasonable weight, though its bigger pack size and lower fill power may cause some to opt for a slightly more expensive model.
Warmth to weight: ★★★★✩
Overall: ★★★★✩ www.thenorthface.co.uk
Salewa Fusion-2, £260 The test:
Throw in another £60 and you can buy a sleeping bag that blends water-repellent duck down and synthetic Primaloft together in what Salewa calls its Silver Insulation blend. Equivalent to 650 fill power, it combines the light weight you get from down (937g in stuff sack, third-lightest here), with the high-performance-even-when-wet quality expected from synthetic fill. It has a comfort rating of 2°C – quite impressive, given its pack-size is the smallest on test.
Inside there is a zipable pocket and a small but well-filled baffle at the zip. It would have benefited from a neck baffle, which it sadly lacks. There is a two-way zip for ease of venting and the zip pull is nice and chunky so easy to find even when fumbling about in the dark.
There’s no women’s specific fit, just a one-size-fits-all model; however, its tapered mummy shape is good for heat retention. The verdict:
A good balance of warmth to weight, with a good packsize – it’s just a shame it is missing a neck baffle and is only available in unisex sizing.
Warmth to weight: ★★★★✩
Overall: ★★★★✩ www.salewa.com
Rab Neutrino 400, £350 The test:
If money is no object then you really can’t go wrong with this option from Rab. It is packed full of 800-fill hydrophobic goose down – all of the down and feathers have a waterproof Nikwax coating so will still keep you warm even when wet. The down is also ethically sourced, and bags hand-filled by Rab’s experts in England.
With a tapered mummy shape, it has excellent heat retention; a generous neck and behind-the-zip baffle help keep out draughts. A two-way zip allows ventilation. There is also an internal zip-up pocket.
Thanks to a superlight but breathable Pertex Quantum outer fabric, it weighs an impressive 883g (in stuff sack, second-lightest here) and has the third-smallest pack size, making it travel friendly. The comfort rating is 2°C and it comes in both a men’s and women’s specific fit. The only drawback is the price, but then, you do get what you pay for. The verdict:
A high-quality waterproof down sleeping bag that’s superlight, extremely packable and warm. The perfect package – if you can afford it.
Warmth to weight: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★★ www.rab.uk.com Main image: Trekking and overnight with sleeping bag (Shutterstock)