The sleeping bag is one of the most vital components of a successful camping trip. No matter if you find yourself at the summit base camp of ice- and snow-covered mountain tops or camped upon a mesa in the middle of the desert, a high-quality sleeping bag is crucial in each situation. The type of sleeping bag may vary for the different elements and environments you may encounter on your trip, but the fact remains, a good quality sleeping bag is an absolute necessity.
So how do you know if you have the best sleeping bag for your upcoming camping trip? We have reviewed and tested all the best sleeping bags in Australia to give you the most pertinent information available about the best sleeping bags currently on the market. We have chosen to review sleeping bags for every price range, from more budget-friendly sleeping bags to the most luxurious sleeping bags.
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Sleeping Bag Style Recommendations
Shopping for a new sleeping bag can be a bit overwhelming. So many options to consider. Should it be a lightweight sleeping bag or even an ultralight sleeping bag for camping trips that involve long days of trekking? Should the sleeping bag be heavy to accommodate for sub-zero temperatures? Do I want a down sleeping bag, or should I go with the best synthetic sleeping bag? Will it be warm enough that all I need is a sleeping pad and a camping quilt? Here is a list of six different types of sleeping bags you should consider for your next camping trip depending on your needs.
- The Mummy Sleeping Bag – The mummy sleeping bag is usually more efficient in cold weather camping in contrast to regular rectangular sleeping bags. They are also more lightweight and better for trips that involve lots of trekking. The downside is that mummy sleeping bags are more restrictive and force the user to sleep on his or her back.
- The Rectangular Sleeping Bag – The rectangular sleeping bag is what we know as the more traditional style of a sleeping bag. This is the best budget sleeping bag because rectangular sleeping bags have lower prices than the other styles. Also, the rectangular sleeping bag is ideal for people who prefer lots of room when they sleep, or who sleep in different positions throughout the night.
- The Barrel-shaped Sleeping Bag – The barrel-shaped sleeping bag is almost a perfect hybrid between the mummy sleeping bag and the rectangular sleeping bag. The barrel-shaped sleeping bag has much of the comfort and space that a rectangular sleeping bag has while not giving up the warmth a mummy sleeping bag has to offer. The barrel-shaped sleeping bag sometimes comes with a hood as well.
- Double Sleeping Bag – The double sleeping bag is designed to fit two people comfortably. Perfect for a romantic getaway, the double sleeping bag allows for you to share body heat with your partner and to stay close to one another throughout the night.
- Elephant’s Foot Sleeping Bag – The elephant’s foot sleeping bag is an ultralight sleeping bag designed for minimalist trekkers. This sleeping bag is fitted like the mummy sleeping bag, but it does not contain a hood, and oftentimes, it does not have a zipper. The elephant’s foot sleeping bag is also designed with the idea that the sleeper will be wearing an insulated jacket while they sleep so it is a bit shorter than other types of sleeping bags.
- Camping Quilt or Backpacking Quilt – If you have an excellently insulated sleeping pad, oftentimes you can get by with a backpacking quilt. Perfect for summer camping, the backpacking quilt is a lightweight option that also takes up little room in your backpack and is highly packable. This camping quilt or backpacking quilt is ideal for people who are hammock camping as well.
Synthetic vs Down Sleeping Bags
How do you know if you should be looking for the best down sleeping bag or the best synthetic sleeping bag? Honestly, there are pros and cons for both, and it is up to you which one is best suited for your needs. Let us take a closer look at the pros and cons of each and the main differences between the two.
- Down Sleeping Bags – Down sleeping bags are produced using the plumage beneath the feathers of geese and ducks. Down sleeping bags are breathable, very compressible, lightweight, and insulates by trapping air. They are also long-lasting and durable. Overall, down sleeping bags have a higher warmth-to-weight ratio than synthetic insulation, however, if your down sleeping bag gets wet, you are in for a troubling time. Down sleeping bags become very ineffective once they become wet and they take a long time to dry. When purchasing a down sleeping bag, it is important to consider the down fill power. Down fill power is essentially how many cubic inches of loft that one ounce of down fill produces. The higher the down fill power number, the greater the loft and insulating efficiency.
- Synthetic Sleeping Bags – The best synthetic sleeping bags are usually made from polyester, quick-drying, and often still insulate when they are damp. Another perk to synthetic sleeping bags is they are less expensive in comparison to their down counterparts. Cons include the fact that synthetic sleeping bags are heavier and take up more room in your backpack than down sleeping bags. They also offer a lower warmth-to-weight ratio and their insulating power is reduced each time the sleeping bag is compressed and packed up into a backpack.
As you can see there are pros and cons for both the down sleeping bag and the synthetic sleeping bag. If you want, you can take the best of each of these types of sleeping bags and explore a down and synthetic blend. Whatever you decide, be sure you consider what kind of weather you will encounter, how much money you can afford for a new sleeping bag, and which insulation material is best suited for your needs.
Understanding Sleeping Bag Temperature Rating
The temperature rating of your sleeping bag is the most important factor to consider before you make your purchase. You need to figure out just a few basic factors before deciding which temperature rating you need for your new sleeping bag. How cold will it be where you are camping? Do you expect it to snow, or frost overnight? Are you sleeping outside in a tent or a wooden shelter? Once you determine what your environment will be like, then determine if overall you are a warm or cold sleeper.
The most accurate systems for temperature ratings are the EN (European) standard, and the ISO (international standard). There are three temperature ratings used in the EN/ISO standard. First, you have comfort rating, the temperature the average woman can expect to sleep without waking due to being cold. The lower limit, which is the temperature the average man will begin to feel cold in the sleeping bag. Last, the extreme, which is the temperature where everyone will feel cold and the risk of hypothermia increases.
In general, there are three types of sleeping bags that are categorized into three different categories by temperature. First, you have the summer bag which has a temperature range of 5 to 10 degrees Celsius. For the second option, you will find the 0-degree sleeping bag. The 0-degree sleeping bag is the most versatile and can be used in almost every situation. Last, we have the winter bag which has a temperature range of -5 to -10 degree Celsius.
Top 10 Sleeping Bags in Australia
As we learned, sleeping bags can be manufactured with different materials, come in different styles, have different temperature ratings, and can be better suited for different weather conditions. So, to come up with the top ten best sleeping bags in Australia was a difficult task, however, we have selected a good mix of materials, styles, and temperature ratings to create this list. Also, we have included some of the best women’s sleeping bags and best budget sleeping bags as well to create a well-rounded top ten list. We have left out double sleeping bags for this list and instead have focused in on singles. Here are the top ten best sleeping bags in Australia.
10. The Oztent Rivergum XL Sleeping Bag
- RRP: $199.95
- Warmth Rating: Comfort Rating: -5 degrees Celsius. Lower Limit: -10 degrees Celsius.
- Weight: 4 kg
- Pros: Ultra-durable canvas exterior. Removable fleece liner. 1-year warranty.
- Cons: Heavy, weighing in at 4kg.
Overview: The Oztent Rivergum XL sleeping bag has an ultra-durable cotton canvas exterior with a warm flannelette lining and an extra removable fleece liner. This sleeping bag makes an incredible winter bag and can easily be made into a summer bag with the removable fleece liner.
9. The Caribee Snow Drift Sleeping Bag
- RRP: $99.95
- Warmth Rating: Comfort Rating: -5 degrees Celsius. Lower Limit: -10 degrees Celsius.
- Weight: 2.4 kg
- Pros: Drawcord hood to contain heat. Budget-friendly sleeping bag. Internal security pocket. 1-year warranty.
- Cons: Heavy, weighing in at 2.4kg.
Overview: The Caribee Snow Drift sleeping bag is one of the best value sleeping bags on the market with an RRP of only $99.95. Its jumbo size is perfect for restless sleepers while the drawcord hood combined with the tiny air pockets integrated into the design traps heat and keeps you warm all night.
8. The Coleman Pilbara C0 Sleeping Bag
- RRP: $119.99
- Warmth Rating: Comfort Rating: 0 degrees Celsius.
- Weight: 2.2 kg.
- Pros: Roomy and soft. Breathable. Internal pocket for torches or cell phones.
- Cons: Heavy, weighing in at 2.2kg.
Overview: The Coleman Pilbara C0 Sleeping Bag is the perfect all-around 0-degree sleeping bag for various weather conditions. Machine washable and comes with an anti-snag zipper. Soft and roomy for a comfortable night’s sleep.
7. The Marmot Hydrogen 30 Sleeping Bag
- RRP: $449.99
- Warmth Rating: Comfort Rating: 0.9 degree Celsius. Lower Limit: -4.8 degrees Celsius.
- Weight: 0.65kg.
- Pros: Lightweight.Certified 800+ fill power goose down. Compact and water-resistant.
- Cons: Expensive: RRP of $449.99
Overview: This ultralight sleeping bag is one of the best luxurious sleeping bags on the market. Filled with water-resistant goose down, this bag sleeps comfortably while keeping heat efficiently.
6. The Sea to Summit Spark SP4 Sleeping Bag
- RRP: $799.00
- Warmth Rating: Comfort Rating: -8 degrees Celsius. Lower Limit: -15 degree Celsius.
- Weight: 620g
- Pros: Designed for extreme cold. ULTRA-DRY down water repellent treatment. Lightweight sleeping bag.
- Cons: Expensive. RRP of $799.00
Overview: The Sea to Summit Spark SP4 sleeping bag is excellent for colder conditions while still maintaining an ultralight composition and taking up extraordinarily little room in your backpack. This down sleeping bag is water-resistant and contains a full-box baffle construction to reduce cold spots.
5. The Marmot Always Summer 40 Sleeping Bag
- RRP: $299.99
- Warmth Rating: Comfort Rating: 5.8 degrees Celsius. Lower Limit: 1 degree Celsius.
- Weight: 498g
- Pros: Super lightweight.650 fill power down. Multi-baffle hood.
- Cons: Not for cold weather use.
Overview: The Marmot Always Summer 40 sleeping bag is the ideal summer bag for long treks where you need to travel light. This mummy sleeping bag is comprised of nylon and possesses a full-length locking YKK two-way zipper with an anti-snag slider.
4. Black Wolf Outdoor Blanket (Camping Quilt)
- RRP: $159.99
- Warmth Rating: Comfort Rating: 5 degrees Celsius.
- Weight: 2.3kg
- Pros: Made of ripstop nylon.Sunsilk Plus lining.Limited lifetime warranty.
- Cons: Heavy, weighing in at 2.3kg.
Overview: The Black Wolf Outdoor Blanket(Camping Quilt) is ideal to pair with an excellent sleeping pad or a queen size airbed. Sleep easy knowing this durable, ripstop nylon backpacking quilt comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
3. The Sea to Summit Altitude at I Down -4C Sleeping Bag – Women’s Long
- RRP: $599.00
- Warmth Rating: Comfort Rating: -4 degrees Celsius. Lower Limit: -10 degrees Celsius.
- Weight: 1.1kg.
- Pros: Women’s specific tapered rectangular shape. RDS 750+ Loft Ultra-Dry Down.Large internal security pocket.
- Cons: Expensive. RRP of $599.00
Overview: One of the best women’s sleeping bags currently on the market, the Sea to Summit Altitude at I Down sleeping bag, is worth the sticker price. This sleeping bag is perfect for cooler conditions and comes with a generously sized hood and dual cord adjustments.
2. The BlackWolf Hiker 200 8C Sleeping Bag
- RRP: $319.00
- Warmth Rating: Comfort Rating: 8 degrees Celsius. Lower Limit: 3 degrees Celsius.
- Weight: 0.8kg.
- Pros: Ultralight sleeping bag. Nightglow zip puller. Easy to pack.
- Cons: Not intended for cold conditions.
Overview: The BlackWolf Hiker 200 8C Sleeping Bag is perfect for long treks. Its lightweight design and packability make this sleeping bag ideal for someone concerned about the weight of their backpacks. Comes with draft flaps to trap warm air inside and a hidden chest pocket for your valuables.
1. The Marmot Paiju -5 Sleeping Bag
- RRP: $949.99
- Warmth Rating: Comfort Rating: -12 degrees Celsius. Lower Limit: -20 degrees Celsius.
- Weight: 1.69kg.
- Pros: Water-resistant & breathable Pertex Quantum shell. Down defender moisture protection. Waterproof thread in the seams. 800 fill power goose down.
- Cons: Expensive. RRP of $949.99
Overview: The Marmot Paiju -5 Sleeping Bag Sleeping Bag is the best sleeping bag for high altitude climbs and winter camping. This bag can be used all year long for the outdoor enthusiast who plans and takes treks in all climate conditions in all times of the year. Water-resistant and breathable, this is a professional sleeping bag for the professional trekker.
Most Important Sleeping Bag Features
So, remember, when you are deciding which is the best sleeping bag to meet your needs, you need to consider the environment and weather of where you are camping, what your budget is, what style you prefer, and what temperature rating you will need.
Best Synthetic Sleeping Bags
We discussed earlier the difference between down sleeping bags and synthetic sleeping bags. Here is a quick list of what we consider to be the five best synthetic sleeping bags.
- The Oztent Rivergum XL sleeping bag
- The Caribee Snow Drift sleeping bag
- The Coleman Pilbara C0 sleeping bag
- The Black Wolf Outdoor Blanket (camping quilt)
- The Sea to Summit Quest Qu1 Woman’s sleeping bag
Sleeping Bag 101
Now that we understand what factors we need to consider when purchasing a new sleeping bag, like temperature rating, style, shape, down fill power, and proper length, we need to discuss how to store and properly care for your new purchase. If properly cared for, a quality sleeping bag can last decades.
How to Care for Your Sleeping Bag
- Sleep in clean clothes: Be sure to change your clothes before bed when out on the trail to prevent dirt and other outside elements from getting inside of your sleeping bag.
- Keep your bag off the ground: Use a sleeping pad to prevent punctures from sharp sticks and to keep dirt off of your sleeping bag.
- Keep away from campfires: Campfires can send sparks into the air that could land on your sleeping bag and create burn holes.
- Air out your sleeping bag every day: Every morning you wake up, and if weather permits, turn your sleeping bag inside-out and hang to air dry any moisture that might have accumulated through the night.
- Invest in a stuff sack: After you have properly aired out your sleeping bag, or wash and dried it, store your sleeping bag in a specially designed stuff sack to either properly pack it away in your backpack for the day, or to properly store it in your home until your next trip.
- Follow washing instructions accurately: When you are ready to wash and dry your sleeping bag, consider a professional laundry service for camping gear that you may find at your local outfitter shop. If you want to wash and dry your sleeping bag yourself, make sure to follow all washing instructions printed on the tag. Use gentle non-detergent soap and never use bleach or bleach-alternative products. Always wash on a gentle cycle if machine washing, or consider hand washing for an extra delicate touch.
Ready to Purchase Your Next Sleeping Bag?
Considering everything we have discussed; it would seem that you are ready to take the plunge and invest in a sleeping bag that will provide you with comfort and practicality for years to come. There is nothing more important than choosing the proper sleeping bag for the conditions you expect to encounter on your trips. Happy shopping and happy trekking!