Sleeping under the stars can be a blissful experience when you’re warm and comfortable but if you find yourself cold and wet things can go downhill really quickly. And even if you’re camping in the desert in the summer, there’s a good chance that once the sun sets the temperature will drop! Let’s face it, as nice as it is to sleep outside, it can also be somewhat of a challenge… but you can increase your chances of having an enjoyable night out by purchasing the perfect sleeping bag for your body and environment!
Over the last several years gear manufacturers have finally gotten the message that all campers were not created equal and they have started designing bags to fit everyone’s different needs. And this especially holds true for the ladies! While a unisex sleeping bag can certainly work for women, a women’s specific bag is often a far better option.
Women’s bags may look a lot like men’s bags with prettier colors but they differ in a few key ways. A good women’s bag will be considerably shorter than a unisex bag while also being wider in the hips to accommodate a woman’s curves. This is more important than it sounds. Sleeping bags stay warm because your body heats the air that is trapped in the bag with you. If you have too much air in your bag your body won’t be able to heat it sufficiently and you’ll have a much harder time staying warm. Because women’s feet tend to be colder than men’s, many manufacturers also beef up the insulation in the bottom of the bag to keep those toes nice and toasty.
So what things should you look for when choosing the perfect bag? Read on to find out!
Fill material will probably be the biggest and most important decision you’ll have to make in narrowing down your sleeping bag options. Down bags are warm, lightweight, and extremely packable. Sinking into a down bag at the end of the day feels like being wrapped in the warmest, coziest down comforter you can imagine. It’s not overstating things to say that a comfortable down bag feels like heaven. The downside to all that goodness? Down bags do not hold their warmth when they get wet. If you will be regularly camping in soggy climates, consider one of the excellent synthetic fill options on our list. While synthetic bags aren’t quite as light and packable as their down cousins, they make great options for folks who regularly find themselves camping in persistently wet weather.
Sleeping bags’ temperature ratings are designed to give you an idea of the temperature down to which one can comfortably sleep in the bag. But it’s not that simple. While these ratings can be used as a guide, they are generally fairly arbitrary and not a great indicator of the temperature at which you will be able to sleep in any given bag. The general rule of thumb is to choose a bag that is rated for 10-15 degrees colder than the coldest nighttime temperatures you expect to experience on your adventures. It’s also worth noting that most temperature ratings assume that you will be sleeping on a Thermarest or similar sleeping pad. While these pads do a great job of making the ground a little bit softer to sleep on, their most important mission is to keep your body from losing heat to the ground. So if you’re going to be camping in any sort of chilly climate, we strongly recommend you pick up a pad!
Weight won’t matter much if your plans for your sleeping bag mostly involve setting up camp next to the car but if you plan to take your bag on backpacking adventures, you’ll want to look for something light. A difference of a couple pounds might not seem like much when you read it on paper but as the miles go by your body will appreciate a lighter bag more and more!
So with all that in mind, what sleeping bags do we recommend? Read on to find out!
Best Sleeping Bags for Women
A cute flower graphic running down the top of the bag makes the Kelty Cosmic nice to look at but trust us when we say that this bag is much more than just a pretty face! This 20-degree mummy bag will comfortably sleep women up to 5’8” in height. This bag is filled with heaps of 550-fill duck down, making it lightweight and super cozy. At 2 lbs, 9 oz. this bag is light enough to take backpacking but it will also do really well at the campground. And the best news about this bag may be that you get a high quality sleeping bag at a really great price! While many down bags will run you well north of $200, the Kelty Cosmic is affordable enough that you will sleep in comfort, dreaming of the money you saved and all the awesome outdoor adventures to come! This bag gets our vote for striking the perfect balance between price and performance!
If your camping goals revolve primarily around staying warm and cozy at the campground without spending and arm and a leg to do it, you should take a serious look at the Slumberjack Latitude 20. While this bag isn’t especially light or packable, it is exceptionally warm and cozy. This synthetic filled bag is designed to keep you warm on nights when temperatures dip well below freezing and because it’s not filled with down, it will keep you nice and warm even if it happens to get wet. Weighing in at 3lb, 8 oz, this is probably not a bag that you will want to throw on your back and haul several miles into the woods but for tamer, car camping adventures, it will do its job just fine!
If you are looking for a down bag that is warm and roomy while not being especially heavy, take a look at the Roxy Ann 15 by Big Agnes. This bag is filled with high quality 650-fill goose down to keep you warm in temperatures down to around 15 degrees farenheit. Campers who are tired of rolling off their sleeping pads in the middle of the night will appreciate the built in pad sleeve which will keep you comfortably perched on top of your pad no matter how much you toss and turn. But we’re guessing that in this bag you won’t toss and turn very much! Big Agnes ups the comfort level even more by adding a pillow pocket to accommodate a rolled up fleece or camp pillow! This bag comes in two sizes (regular and petite) so that women of all heights can get a perfect fit!
The Rhapsody 15 by Nemo is an eye-catching bag with all the bells and whistles. This 15-degree down bag is lightweight, roomy, and super warm on even the coldest of nights. With a super soft lining, built in pillow pocket, and waterproof footbox to keep your feet protected from tent wall condensation, this bag will keep you warm and comfortable no matter what the elements throw your way. Weighing in at just 2 lbs, 3 oz, this is one of the lightest bags on our list, making it an excellent option for adventurous women whose idea of a night under the stars involves a long hike deep into the backcountry. But don’t let this bag’s backpacking chops fool you! This baby will keep you just as warm and comfortable at an established campground as it will next to a remote alpine lake. This is definitely not the cheapest bag on our list but for those who demand only the best, it is a more than worthwhile investment!
The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 600 is the perfect sleeping bag for women looking for a lightweight and comfortable 2-season down bag. This bag differs from the others on our list in that it doesn’t use a full zipper to keep you snuggly and warm. Rather, this sleeping bag comes with an integrated comforter that can be used in the various configurations to help dial in your comfortable. Use it as a blanket on the outside of your bag and you will feel like you are laying in your own bed or bring it inside the bag to retain even more heat. This bag features insulated hand and arm pockets to keep those extremities toasty and a sleeping pad sleeve to keep you from rolling off your pad. With a temperature rating of around 35 degrees, this bag isn’t as warm as some of the others on our list, but it excels at being comfortable, lightweight, and exceedingly versatile! If you are looking for something a little different than a traditional mummy bag, take a good hard look at the Backcountry Bed 600!