I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that most hikers do most of their camping and backpacking during the warmer, summer months. So, what is the best summer sleeping bag? Spoiler alert, this is not one size fits all, but I will share some top sleeping bag recommendations as well as tips on how to choose the best summer sleeping bag for you and the types of camping trips you go on.
What Sleeping Bag Do You Need For Summer?
First you’ll need to decide whether you want a down or synthetic sleeping bag. I highly recommend a down bag if you’re looking for something warm, compact and lightweight. Here’s the full article comparing the pros and cons of both synthetic and down sleeping bags.
Next, you’ll want to choose a temperature rating. Ratings on sleeping bags can be deceiving because they’re determined by the temperature you can survive at in the sleeping bag, not necessarily the temperature you will be warm or comfortable at. I recommend getting a sleeping bag that’s rated for a (slightly) colder temperature than what you think you’ll actually be camping in.
This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience, see my full disclosure for more info.
This also varies a little bit based on whether you sleep warm or cold. If you know you’re always cold when you sleep and you need lots of blankets even when others say it’s “warm” you might also consider getting a bag that’s rated for a colder temperature than you plan on camping in. Or if you know you always sleep hot and often sweat no matter how many fans you have blowing and how high you crank the AC, you might be able to get away with a slightly higher rated sleeping bag.
Also consider the shape or style of sleeping bag. A mummy style bag will hold in your body heat better than a plain, old rectangle-shaped sleeping bag. The rectangle bag will probably be heavier and bulkier than you need, won’t fit as snugly and will allow for cold air pockets to form.
Or if you’re a little claustrophobic, a backpacking quilt or puffy synthetic blanket might be better for you so you’re not totally zipped in place. While some backpacking quilts are rated for colder climates, these really shine on hot summer nights when they can be easily flung off or only used to cover up a small part of you.
Best Lightweight Summer Sleeping Bags For Backpacking
These down sleeping bags aren’t the cheapest, but they are ultralight and compact enough to carry while backpacking or overnight hiking.
This mummy style sleeping bag offers one of the best warmth-to-weight ratios coming in at 1 lb and 6 ounces and rated for 29 degrees. The REI Magma 30 is great for spring, summer or fall nights in most moderate climates. We love that it is designed specifically for women’s bodies, with increased hip room and decreased shoulder room for improved thermal efficiency. Or, this sleeping bag is also available for men here.
This ultralight sleeping bag weighs in at 1 lb and 2 ounces and is rated at 35 degrees, making it perfect cool summer nights in most mild or moderate climates. We love how compact it is at just under 3 liters when it’s all packed up and compressed.
Best Summer Sleeping Bags For Camping
These synthetic sleeping bags will keep you warm like any other, but they are significantly heavier and bulkier than ultralight down bags made for backpacking. That’s not always a bad thing, these sleeping bags are great for family camping trips, road trips or car camping this summer.
This big, fluffy, synthetic sleeping bag is perfect for car camping and is rated for 35 degrees. We love that it is made from fully recycled fabrics.
This two person sleeping bag is perfect for car camping with a loved one! It’s rather heft (and warm) at 8 lbs and 13 ounces but is made of interchangeable layers. Use all the layers on cold nights, or leave a layer off when it warms up.
Best Budget Sleeping Bags For Summer
If you’re just dipping your toes into backpacking or camping for the first time, or just can’t invest a ton of money on new gear right now, there are some budget friendly options out there for you. Here are our top finds for budget friendly sleeping bags for both backpackers and car campers.
Going for less than $200 and coming at just over 2 lbs, this sleeping bag will keep you warm on summer hiking trips and is perfect for backpackers on a budget. Sure, you can probably find even cheaper sleeping bags, but my conscience wouldn’t let me recommend a sleeping bag that weighs more than 3 lbs to any backpacker. You’ll thank me later.
This is best for car camping, where weight and space aren’t necessarily high priorities. This synthetic sleeping bag will keep you warm and cozy for well under $100 and weighs 3 lbs and 7 ounces.
Best Backpacking Quilts and Underquilts For Summer
Backpacking quilts are typically even lighter and even more compact than traditional mummy sleeping bags. Underquilts are a specific type of backpacking quilt that hangs around the outside of a hammock to insulate you from the passing breeze and surrounding air. An overquilt is a term that can be used to describe a quilt that’s used over top of your body while sleeping inside of a hammock.
This is a great quilt for summer backpacking, with a comfort rating of 41 degrees. It’s ultralight at just over 1 lb and includes connectors to help keep it in place over your sleeping pad. We love that it’s made of hydrophobic down which absorbs 90% less water and dries 3 times faster than regular down.
This versatile trail quilt can be used as an underquilt or overquilt for hammock campers, or can be used as a plain old rectangular quilt in the backcountry.
This down underquilt is made to keep hammock campers warm on nights as cold as 32 degrees, when also paired with an overquilt. We love that has a specialized coating providing even more wind and weather resistance, making it perfect to go on the outside of a hammock.
Now you know where to look for the best summer sleeping bags for backpacking and camping this season. Whether you’re looking for something ultralight, budget friendly or synthetic sleeping bag to keep in your camper, save this post so you can compare different sleeping bags while you’re shopping around.
For more backpacking and camping gear recommendations, check out:
- Best Backpacking Pillows
- Best Sleeping Pads For Backpackers
- How To Wash Your Down Sleeping Bags and Jackets
- Make Your Own Pot Cozy