The best sleeping bags for camping outdoorgearlab electricity diagram flow

Somewhat difficult to roll upHats off to the Wenzel Grande for taking the cake for the second year in a row! One of the biggest models we tested (and by far the coziest), the Grande is the warmest bag we reviewed and the most comfortable… kind of like being rolled up in a heated cinnamon roll. What it may lack in fancy features, it makes up with its hardcore warmth and comfort capabilities. When it came down to it, we felt warmth and comfort were by far the most important features of any bag. After all, you’re not going to care too much about an interior pocket or an over-sized, industrial zipper when you’re snuggling down for a long night in the mountains and the temps are starting to plummet.

With its large size comes difficulty of storing it and cleaning it. If you want to wash this bag, you’ll most likely be making your way to a laundromat with a large front loader. If you’re tight on space on your camping trip, this is not the ideal bag. Even if you have plenty of space, it is still a massive bag that takes time to roll and store. That said, when you combine its incredible warmth and absolute comfort with its price tag, the Wenzel wins.

Not warm below 40 degreesWe bought this bag with some skepticism: how could two sleeping bags cost $50 and come with two pillows? But after many car camping trips, we well it’s the top value for two people. Did you get into a fight over who forgot camp fuel for the trip? No problem, the bags zip apart into two single bags for more personal space. In some sense, it’s one of the top deals for a one person bag (each one only costs $25). Most two-person bags overwhelm standard washers. You have to use a giant front-loader at a laundry mat. With this bag, you can wash each one individually in most standard home washing machines.

This bag is not that warm. Even with two people in the bag, most will be cold when the temp drops below 40. The miserable quality stuff sack is thin and tears easily. It’s cumbersome to get the bag back in the stuff sack. We recommend using a big long pillowcase or a duffel bag. This bag is cozy, but nearly as snug as the Wenzel Grande or the Country Squire. Other than those little gripes, this is a beautiful value.

In Bryce Canyon National Park, we left the bags stacked outside on a picnic table for several hours until the outer temperature of the bags were below freezing. Then, we conducted an extensive warmth test. We used this laser thermometer in several of our warmth tests to help us determine if our subjective feeling of warmth corresponded to the bag’s actual ability to insulate.

To get our results, we ran the bags through several tests to determine their ability to retain temperature, and then we compared these results to what our guts told us. In one specific test, we left the bags outside to cool down to 19 degrees and then got inside each one for 10 minutes. During this test, we rated based on how warm they felt to us and compared that to the actual interior temperature of the bags that we obtained with our laser thermometer. Then we combined our results for an overall warmth score. Our warmth scores accounted for 35 percent of each bag’s total rating. For more on this test, check out our How We Test section.

We felt that packed sized was important, but we also took it a step further and found out which bags actually fit into their stuff sacks with ease. The REI Siesta 30, pictured here, almost fell into its sack! The Northface Dolomite 20 and the Slumberjack Country Squire 0 were also very easy to stow.

The REI Siesta 30 and the The North Face Dolomite 20 pack up tight enough that they both can comfortably fit into the bag compartment of nearly any backpack (we stuffed them into several, all the way down to a 58-liter pack). Of course, the one thing you will sacrifice with these smaller, lighter bags is warmth. However, for most late Spring and Summer camping and backpacking, a 20 to 30-degree bag will suffice.

Throughout our review, we didn’t give these bags any leeway. Regardless of price or prestige, we held all of the bags to high standards, and we were not afraid to score them according to their performance. We researched everything we would want to know if we were buying these bags for ourselves. In the end, we hope our efforts will benefit you in your decision making.