Owning the right sleeping bag as you decide to pack for your outdoors trip is essential. I know you landed on this page in your search for a good waterproof sleeping bag, but first, we should teach you about what makes a good sleeping bag in the first place. Some of you may probably be thinking “What on Earth could be so complicated about buying a sleeping bag?!” Well, there are so many things to take into consideration, you’d be surprised about how many different features a sleeping bag can have.
However, even with all those different features, that are 3 main things that you need to look out for as you’re looking for a good sleeping bag.
Temperature rating – You need to choose a sleeping bag rated for the average temperature that you’ll be sleeping in. If necessary, you can add a liner for extra-warmth or just unzip the bag if you feel it’s too warm.
Insulation type – You can choose from synthetic, down, or a combination between these 2. We’ll get to the pros and cons of each later in this article.
Weight vs. interior space – As we’ve discussed in the past when you’re backpacking, you want to travel as light as possible. To others, it’s more important to have a roomy sleeping bag, so they will sacrifice the light-weight traveling.
This chapter is super-important because choosing a sleeping bag with the right temperature rating is what can provide you with a good night sleep. We will provide you with some general guidelines, but you alone know about the summer temps in the region where you live.
|Bag type||Temperature rating|
|Summer||+32 degrees and higher|
|3-season||+10 degrees to +32 degrees|
|Winter||+10 degrees and lower|
In order for the table above to make more sense, you should know how sleeping bags are rated. You may notice an “EN tested” tag on many 3-season backpacking sleeping bags. This stands for the European Norm (EN) 13537 testing protocol. The EN rating is internationally accepted as the most objective and dependable standard available, though not all bags use EN testing.
In EN testing, a bag is assigned two temperature ratings:
- Comfort rating is the lowest temperature at which the bag will keep the average woman or “cold sleeper” comfortable.
- Lower-limit rating is the lowest temperature at which the bag will keep a man or “warm sleeper” comfortable.
Contrary to popular belief, insulation does not provide any extra-warmth, but rather prevents heat from leaving the sleeping bag. When your body gets warm at night, insulation helps it stay warm. As we’ve mentioned before, there are 2 main types of insulation used in sleeping bags: down and synthetic (or combinations between the 2).
Down insulation is known for being light and soft. It’s also breathable and durable. It’s a great choice for people camping out in the cold. It also comes in handy when you want to travel light. Compared to synthetic insulation, down is more expensive, but being more durable, it’s definitely worth the money in the long run. If you come across the terms “fill power”, know that it’s used to measure the down’s ability to trap heat. It’s calculated by how many cubic inches 1 ounce of down can fill in a testing device.
Animal lovers, you may want to skip this paragraph. For a long time, goose down was considered to be the best of all down, because it achieved high fill-power ratings. However, duck down has become increasingly more popular. The explanation behind that is the fact that most down comes from the meat industry and there are more ducks being eaten than geese. That makes duck down less expensive and more abundant. Some sleeping manufacturers are always looking to use down which has been ethically obtained, and not through the forceful feeding and live plucking of these birds.
Water-resistant down is quite common in today’s sleeping bags. Once it gets wet, down no longer has the ability to retain heat. In order to gain water-resistant features, down is treated at a microscopic level with a water-resistant application. Compared to regular down, water-resistant down will dry out faster.
Synthetic insulation is the cheaper alternative to down but does, however, dry a lot faster. The best part of synthetic insulation is that it’s non-allergenic and retains its insulating capabilities even when wet. They make a very good choice in damp climates. However, there are a few downsides to choosing synthetic insulation over down. First of all, synthetic bags take up a lot more space even when compressed. They also provide less warmth than what you’d expected judging by their weight. Even more, they love insulating power each time they are stuffed into a stuff sack.
Combinations of down and synthetic fill are now a thing. Some sleeping bags will contain a mixture of these 2 types of insulation, while other will have a synthetic fill on the bottom and down at the top.
Types of sleeping bags
There are 4 main types of sleeping bags:
1. Rectangular – This type of sleeping bag provides the most comfort and room for you to turn around. If you buy 2 rectangular bags with matching zippers, you can combine them to create an even bigger sleeping bag.
2. Barrel-shaped – This type of sleeping bag is used for backpacking and camping. Even if it doesn’t provide the same amount of room as a rectangular sleeping bag, it does provide great warmth.
3. Mummy – Being the most popular type of sleeping bag, this is the best choice for lightweight travelers. It is a restrictive bag, so it won’t provide the same level of comfort as the 2 types we mentioned above, but it does maximize warmth, since it has narrow shoulder and hip width.
4. Double-wide – This model is designed to fit 2 people and it can easily be combined with an air-mattress in order to provide the best night’s sleep, even when you’re far away from your bed.
Sleeping bag length
The first thing I have to mention is that there are adult sleeping bags, but also ones particularly designed for the woman’s body. Even more, there are sleeping bags designed particularly for kids.
As far as adult sleeping bags are concerned, the typical sizing is regular or long. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find short or XL sleeping bags as well. However, the best way to choose a bag that’s the right length for you is to check out the product specs each time you make a purchase and make sure it lists the person’s height that the bag fits up to.
Women’s bags are shorter in length compared to men’s bags. They are also narrower at the shoulders and wider at the hips.
Additional sleeping bag features
Aside from insulation, length and other basic features that you should look for in a good sleeping bag, there is also a number of additional features which are really useful at certain times.
Hood – If you cinch the hood with a cord, it will prevent heat from “slipping” away. Certain hoods can also come with a pillow pocket which can easily be stuffed (even with your own clothes) to create a comfortable pillow. Some hoods will lie flat as you unzip the bag and they can be used as a quilt.
Zippers – As I mentioned above, if the zippers of 2 bags are compatible, you can combine them to create a larger bag, that can easily fit 2 people. However, zipping 2 bags together will create gaps that allow heat to disperse.
Stash pockets – Certain manufacturers have added extra pockets to their sleeping bags. These are ideal for storing small items, such as keys, your phone, or even your MP3 player, so you can listen to some sweet tunes before you go to sleep. Depending on the model, the placement of these pockets is different.
Draft collars – These are a very popular feature amongst sleeping bags designed for extreme cold. They are insulated baffles that go around your head and your neck and are designed to prevent heat leaks and air from sliding inside the bag.
Pad loops – Pad loops are sewn-in straps that allow you to secure the pad to your sleeping bag, so you don’t roll off.
Footboxes – They will add extra space in the foot area so that your feet will stay in a comfortable position while you’re sleeping. They are extremely useful for people who sleep on their back so that the bag won’t apply pressure to your feet.
Abco Tech waterproof sleeping bag
Designed for extreme weather, this Abco Tech waterproof sleeping bag is going to keep you prepared for the ruthless cold to come. You will be warm even at 20 degrees Fahrenheit. However, actual buyers don’t quite agree with this statement. People that have used this bag at 30 degrees have actually felt uncomfortably cold.
Thanks to the double-filled technology and S-shaped quilted design, this bag is waterproof and dampproof, making sure you’re dry even when humidity is at its peak. It has 100% polyester lining which is skin-friendly and uses high-quality 210T polyester on the outer side to offer durability to the sleeping bag. The high-quality precisely done stitches enhance the durability even further.
The zippers don’t match, so you won’t be able to zip 2 of these bags together. You can purchase the double sleeping bag, made by the same manufacturer. This sleeping bag is not that easy to roll up either. There is no strap to keep it together once you get the bag itself rolled, so it’s a constant struggle having it stay together while you pull the sack over it. It’s almost a two person job.
While the manufacturer recommends washing it in a regular washing machine, the stitch work is poor, so you may need to restitch it back together after you’re done washing it. Also note that the carrying bag is not waterproof, even if the sleeping bag is. The size is (75+12) X 30 inches, with a total weight of 4.3 pounds.
Farland Waterproof Sleeping Bag
With a 100% polyester lining, this is a good choice for people with sensitive skin. The 300T nylon used on the outer cover will make sure the sleeping bag is durable and waterproof. It’s a mummy type sleeping bag that measures 83 x 33 inches when expanded. It’s suitable for people up to 6’10”.
It has a lot of cool features that will provide very useful when you’re out. For example, the storage pocket is ideal for placing small items that you want to keep close even as you’re sleeping: your phone, your keys, your money, your MP3 player and even your glasses. The left and right zip go together so that you can benefit from windproof features that provide extra insulation. All the fabrics and materials are washing machine friendly.
Some customers reported the inability to make the bag fit back into its carrying bag, so there’s a bit of a question mark to whether you need to use force to do so or anyone can do it. The combination of polyester and nylon make this a lightweight waterproof sleeping bag, which is ideal for backpacking trips when you can’t afford to carry around too much weight.
Ohuhu Waterproof Sleeping Bag
Being one of the most comfortable waterproof sleeping bags on the market, the Ohuhu was one of our top choices for this article. It’s a mummy type sleeping bag that measures 6 x 12 inches when folded, making it super-easy to carry it around when backpacking. The 33 x 87 inch measurements of the decompressed bag tell me it can fit most people. With its 320 D Nylon outer and 100% polyester inner filling, this waterproof sleeping bag will keep you protected from humidity while keeping body warmth inside and the cold air outside.
The temperature limitation is 32 degrees, but it would be most comfortable if you didn’t use it below 41 degrees. People are often fooled by the product’s Amazon title, which advertises a bag you can use at 0 degrees. Be aware that the 0 degree temperature it’s referring to is in Celsius, and not Fahrenheit. Even if the sleeping bag is waterproof, the carrying bag is not. Should you expose the carrying bag to rain or other forms of humidity, the water will penetrate the material and reach the sleeping bag itself.
Tough Outdoors Waterproof Sleeping Bag
The Tough Outdoor sleeping bag meets all the requirement to be at the top of the list for your next purchase. It can withstand temperatures as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes up for the cold weather outside. Even if the camp fire went out, this sleeping bag will make sure you don’t miss it too much. It comes with a ripstop waterproof shell that will keep water out and heat inside. The high-loft insulation is what reassures us that the sleeping bag will preserve your body heat, making you feel comfortable even on cold summer nights.
It’s a long sleeping bag, good for anyone up to 6’6. It measures 88 x 34 inches when decompressed, so you should have plenty of space to get a good night rest. Thanks to its decompression sack, you can fold the sleeping bag to 15 x 8 x 8 inches, thus being able to transport it in your backpack. The beauty of this sleeping bag is that if you unzip it, you have yourself a very comfortable and useful blanket. Always a good thing to have a spare one of these laying around the house.
The storage pocket is ideal for having your valuables by your side at all times. Imagine admiring the starry night sky, while you tuck your MP3 player in the storage pocket and you listen to your favorite tunes. What could possibly be more relaxing? The liner or inside of the bag has a nice feel to it.
Having a hood has a couple of advantages. You can use the drawstring to cinch it up around your head, to help with warmth if needed. It also does a great job of holding your pillow under your head.
Sleepingo Waterproof Sleeping Bag
If you’re looking for a double size waterproof sleeping bag, we may just have what you’re looking for. Suitable for 2 adults, the Sleepingo waterproof sleeping bag measures 87 x 59 inches and guarantees a warm and good night sleep, even if you’re in the great outdoors. It can provide comfort even in temperatures as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit, so you don’t have to worry about waking up freezing.
We loved the dual modes of usage: you can either use it as one large queen size sleeping bag or as 2 individual sleeping bags. The outer shell is made of polyester, very well known for its waterproofing capabilities. The inner lining is made of a textile combination of Tetron and Cotton, so it can provide the cozy feeling that you long for when it’s cold outside. The pillows included are not that much of a perk since they are about the size of airplane pillows. They do come in handy, however, if you tuck some clothes underneath them, to raise their height.
The label on the bag says not to use it in a top-load washer if you can’t disable the agitator. Even if it’s super comfortable, the sleeping bag is pretty thin. That does not affect its capacity to provide insulation and keep you warm, but if you place it directly on the ground, you might wake up with a sore back.
The Ohuhu waterproof sleeping bag was our top choice and we recommend it to anyone who is looking for a mummy type/individual sleeping bag. However, for larger sleeping bag shopper, the Sleepingo does a great job, especially since it can be separated to create 2 individual sleeping bags. Even more, the current Amazon sale allows you to purchase it for less than $60.