Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags under 3 Pounds

Looking for a new backpacking sleeping bag? There’s nothing worse than waking up cold in the early morning shivering. From experience, poor sleep reduces the enjoyment of backpacking.

Having a warm, comfortable, lightweight sleeping bag is crucial to enjoying backpacking adventures.

The market for sleeping bags is crowded with many different types, sizes and brands to choose from.

For the sake of backpacking enjoyment its important to take your time to make the right choice.

To help make a choice have reviewed the best backpacking sleeping bags under 3 pounds.

There might be other great backpacking sleeping bags on the market, but I thought these were great. 

Summary of the Best Backing Sleeping Bags under 3 pounds

Below is a summary of the best backing sleeping bags under 3 pounds

Sleeping BagPriceTemperature
Rating
Weight
Western Mountaineering MegaLite$45035°F1 lb. 8 oz.
Kelty Cosmic 20$17020°F2.9 oz
Western Mountaineering UltraLite$52020°F1 lbs. 13 oz.
NEMO Kyan 35$17020°F1 lb , 11 oz
Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700$21035°F1.94 lbs

I have written another article on what to look for when choosing a sleeping bag for trekking/hiking.

Critical Considerations

Want to know what to look for when choosing a sleeping bag? What does temperature mean? What is synthetic versus downfill? And what is downfall? Is comfort the most important factor?

Scroll to the bottom of the post to our Critical Consideration section we have these items listed for you.

Our Review

For this article, poke with seasoned campers, read many reviews and testimonials.

From there narrowed down to 5 best backpacking sleeping bags under 3 pounds

So what is a backpacking sleeping bag?

A backpacking (trekking or hiking) sleeping bag is generally

  • Lighter than a camping sleeping bag
  • Pack down smaller than a camping sleeping bag
  • Higher cost because of the requirement to provide warmth, reduced size, and weight

5 Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags under 3 pounds

Western Mountaineering MegaLite

Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags

Price $450
at Amazon

Temperature Rating; 35°F

Weight: 1 lb. 8 oz.

Our Verdict

Western Mountain produces high quality, high-end sleeping bags. The Megalite which we reviewed is no different.

Rated at 35°F the Megalite mummy sleeping bag has a wider design with a bit more room and space compared to most standard mummy bags.

Overall, the Megalite made with quality materials, provides plenty of room, can be used across seasons, is easily compressed for hiking, and comes at a reasonable price point of $450.

For these reasons, the Western Mountain Megalite is our Editor’s choice. The Megalite won’t disappoint, a sleeping bag you can comfortably recommend to your friends.

Kelty Cosmic 20

Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags

Price $170
at Amazon

Temperature Rating; 20°F

Weight: 2.9 oz

Our Verdict

The Kelty Cosmic 20 is a comfortable sleeping bag that provides reasonable warmth for most of the year-round (maybe not winter).

This sleeping bag is insulated with 600-fill DriDown.

Renowned for efficiency in retaining heat and compressible properties, down has an incredibly soft, comfortable feel, and continues to provide the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any insulation.

The construction of the sleeping pad felt right, including the zipper.

When choosing a sleeping bag to purchase, the Kelty Cosmic 20 needs to be a consideration at a low price of $170

Western Mountaineering UltraLite

Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags

Price $520
at Amazon

Temperature Rating; 20°F

Weight: 1 lbs. 13 oz.

Our Verdict

With a temperature rating of 20°F the Western Mountaineering UltraLite is Ideal for wintry conditions.

However, the Western Mountaineering UltraLite can still provide comfort and warmth all year round.

Made with very breathable and weather-resistant 20 denier shell fabric and filled with 16 ounces of 850 plus fill power goose down

Overall, this mummy-style sleeping bag is very comfortable, with high-quality material used to build this sleeping bag.

We found the outer shell to be very soft compared with other bags.

The downside to this sleeping bag is the hefty price tag. Otherwise a very good sleeping bag for all seasons.

NEMO Kyan 35

Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags

Price $220
at Amazon

Temperature 35°F

Weight; 1 lb , 11 oz

Our Verdict

Made from synthetic material the NEMO Kyan 35 punches above its weight. With its Synthetic fill, we found the sleeping bag to be super comfortable and warm.

NEMO products including this one carry a lifetime warranty against defects in workmanship and materials to the original owner, with proof of purchase.

When packed up the NEMO Kyan 35 packs into tiny weight and size. Enough to impress any backpacker.

It’s hard not to go past the NEMO Kyan 35 at the price point of $220.

For these reasons, the NEMO Kyan 35 is chosen as our Editors Choice.

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700

Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags

Price $210
at Amazon

Temperature 35°F

Weight; 1.94 lbs

Our Verdict

The zipperless Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700 is designed for maximum comfort. And it does achieve this goal. Reminiscent of high-quality silk, the bag is super soft and comfortable to touch and feel.

The insulation of 700FP PFC-Free Dridown will keep you toasty all night.

It does feel strange not having a zipper which may take some getting used to.

It also makes it difficult to vent by letting out hot air from the bag.

Otherwise, the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700 is a very comfortable well made sleeping bag at a very reasonable price of $210.

Considerations

Kinds of insulation

A sleeping bag traps air and keeps it from circulating. This “dead air” around your body is warmed by the heat created by your body’s metabolism.

Remembering the bag forms a barrier between this air and the colder ground or outside air. Smaller spaces warm up faster and retain heat more efficiently.

DownFill

When choosing a sleeping bag for trekking or hiking there are two different types of fill, Synthetic and Down Fill. Down Fill are feathers from geese and ducks.

Downfill insulation is more expensive than Synthetic, its lighter and more compressible. It is also more durable and provides greater warmth.

Typically the high level of Downfill in a bag the more expensive the bag (visa versa).

A note about ethical down: Most brands take steps to monitor the treatment of ducks and geese that provide down.

You can identify a bag from one of those manufacturers when you see it labeled as either RDS (Responsible Down Standard) or TDS (global Traceable Down Standard).

To learn about what goes into those standards, read Animal Welfare and Outdoor Gear.

enjoy the outdoors by choosing the best camping sleeping bags for you
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Synthetic

Synthetic insulation offers solid performance at an affordable price. Unlike down, it continues to insulate when wet, so it’s the bag of choice for damp climates. 

Downfill versus Synthetic

Insulation TypeKey Benefit
DownLightweight
Easy to compress
Excels in cold, dry conditions
Durable
SyntheticQuick-drying
Insulates when wet
Non-allergenic
Affordable

Temperature Rating

Because waking up shivering is a terrible experience, it is best to have a sleeping bag that will keep you warm. If you have a reasonable idea of what temperature you will be sleeping in, you can pick a bag based temperature ratings.

How are they rated?

In the past manufacturers test their own sleeping bags using a variety of methods. The sleeping bag industry solved this by agreeing to industry standards, however not all manufacturers use or rate their bags.

The EN (European Norm), was the original standard adopted by the sleeping bag industry.

Today, a new entity, the ISO (International Standards Organization), oversees bag testing, but the method is almost identical to the EN bag test. (Because ISO testing is so similar to EN testing, you can compare your old EN-rated bag to a newer bag that sports an ISO temperature rating when you shop.)

best-camping-sleeping-bags-2020
Image supplied by Sea to Summit

The standard measures 3 temperature ratings:

Comfort – the temperature at which a standard woman can expect to sleep comfortably, without feeling cold and in a relaxed position.

Lower Limit – the temperature at which a standard man inside the bag sleeping in a curled position is starting to feel cold but not shivering, this is the limit of performance for the sleeping bag.

Extreme – at this temperature anyone can expect to feel particularly cold and there is a risk of hypothermia. You should only use the sleeping bag in this range when it’s an emergency.

If you want to read more about the EN 13537 rating standards and validity, there is a paper from the Outdoor Industry which discusses in detail.

Final Thoughts

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a sleeping bag for trekking or hiking. Enough to make your head spin.

However, taking the time to choose the right sleeping bag for you is time well worth spent.

We hope our article on choosing the best backpacking sleeping bags under 3 pounds.

In conclusion, if you are after a lightweight, well-constructed backpacking sleeping bag that will keep you warm in across the seasons, we recommend the Megalite light sleeping bag.

Further Information

If you have enjoyed this review, you will enjoy our other reviews. Below are some of our other gear reviews and popular resources;

Best Backpacking Sleeping Pads

How to choose Backpacking Sleeping Bag

How to choose Trekking Poles (with tutorials)

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