The Best Summer Lightweight Sleeping Bags with Synthetic Insulation


Millet Baikal 750

Millet Baikal 750

High-quality sleeping equipment is very important on multi-day hiking and mountaineering trips as it keeps you warm and comfortable during the night. A sleeping bag is the most important piece of sleeping equipment; if you use a bad-performing sleeping bag, your night outdoor will not be comfortable even if you otherwise use other sleeping equipment (pad, tent etc.) of the highest quality. However, in summer when the temperatures are high, you can use a relatively thin (little insulated) sleeping bag as it will provide sufficient warmth for the season.  The main advantage of such sleeping bags is that they are usually lighter and less expensive than sleeping bags designed for 3-season use.

In this review we selected the best summer lightweight sleeping bags in order to make your buying decision easier. Please note that these sleeping bags are only intended for use on summer trips at low or mid altitudes (they provide enough warmth for temperatures down to 5° C (41° F).  We deliberately only chose sleeping bags that use synthetic insulation as they are less expensive than sleeping bags with down insulation.

If you are looking for warmer sleeping bag with down insulation please check out our review of the Best 3-Season Sleeping Bags with Down Insulation.

This selection was updated on the 14th of April 2016.

1. Buying a Summer Lightweight Sleeping Bag  – What is important?

Insulation:

Sleeping bags use either synthetic or down insulation. Down insulation is considered as superior to synthetic insulation because it provides better warmth for its weight as well as offers better compressibility. The biggest downside of down is that it loses its insulating properties when wet or exposed to moisture. This problem is partially solved by treating down plumes with DWR (Durable Water Repellant) so that they repel water but even treated down loses up to 30% of its insulation performance if exposed to moisture. Synthetic insulation is usually made of polyester fibers that mimic down clusters. Polyester absorbs very little moisture in its own weight (up to 0.4%) and therefore synthetic insulation retains warmth even when wet. In addition to that, sleeping bags with synthetic insulation are a lot cheaper than those which use down insulation. In this review we only selected sleeping bags that use synthetic insulation as summer sleeping bags are in general relatively light (they use less insulation than for example 3-season sleeping bags). Therefore, it does not make a big difference whether they use down or synthetic insulation. Plus, we wanted to present inexpensive products that come in handy for those who only hike or backpack in summer. For more information about insulation materials read our article Comparison of Mid-layer Materials.

Weight:

Summer sleeping bags are in general relatively light as they use less insulation than sleeping bags designed for lower temperatures. The weight of the sleeping bag basically depends on the quality of the insulation (warmth to weight ratio) and the amount of it. If a poorly-performing insulation is used, more of it is required for the same warmth.

Outer Material:

The outer layer of the sleeping bag should provide some protection against abrasion as well as repel water, so the sleeping bag does not get wet if exposed to moisture/rain. The outer layer also has to be breathable in order to prevent condensation from building-up on the inside.

Size:

Sleeping bags usually come in a regular and a long size, so that they can fit the majority of people. A sleeping bag should be well-compressible so that it does not take too much space in a backpack. Synthetic insulation is not as compressible as down insulation but as summer sleeping bags use relatively little insulation, they are still fairly small when packed.

Temperature Rating:

Sleeping bag manufacturers usually list temperature ratings by EN 13537 standard which means that their products went through a standard (and independent) laboratory test where it is determined which temperature range they are suitable for. If products are not subject to this standard test, manufacturers usually assign their own temperature rating to the product (lowest temperature at which it can be used). However, manufacturers rarely explain how they determined their temperature rating. Therefore, the EN 13537 standard is the only reliable method for temperature ratings. It consists of extreme temperature (average women will survive), lower limit (average men will be comfortable), comfort temperature (average women will be comfortable) and maximum temperature (overheating limit).

Style:

We know mummy, quilt, wearable and envelope sleeping bags. In this review we only included mummy style sleeping bags as they offer the best versatility.

2. The Best Summer Lightweight Sleeping Bags with Synthetic Insulation Review

Best Summer Lightweight Sleeping Bags

Best Summer Lightweight Sleeping Bags

  1. Mountain Hardwear Lamina 45
  2. Millet Baikal 750
  3. Marmot NanoWave 50
  4. Rab Ignition 41
  5. The North Face Aleutian 35

Comparison:

Feature/Product Mountain Hardwear Lamina 45Millet Baikal 750Marmot NanoWave 50Rab Ignition 41The North Face Aleutian 35
Weight710 g (Regular Size)770 g (Regular Size)850 g (Regular Size)1050 g (Regular Size)1062 g (Regular Size)
InsulationThermal.QSuperMix FiberSpiraFil 60PyrotecHeatseeker Eco
Outer Material40D Ripstop Nylon 40D Ripstop Nylon Nylon Ripstop Nylon Nylon
EN Lower Limit Rating5° C6° C10° C0° C3° C
EN Comfort Temperature Rating 9° C10° C13° C5° C8° C
Mountain Hardwear Lamina 45

Mountain Hardwear Lamina 45

1. Mountain Hardwear Lamina 45

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering (low and mid altitudes)
  • Backpacking
  • Camping
  • Cycling

The Mountain Hardwear Lamina 45 sleeping bag offers incredible performance while being super light – it weighs merely 710 g. The sleeping bag uses Thermal.Q synthetic insulation which is known for its great performance. The fibers of this insulation mimic down clusters; the insulation consists of thick fibers – between which multi-density thinner fibers are inserted. This allows the insulation to maintain loft and efficiently trap body-warmed air in tiny pockets, thus retaining more warmth. In addition to that Thermal.Q fibers do not absorb any water, which allow them tos provide warmth in basically any conditions. The sleeping bag uses a laminate construction; the insulation is welded into place unlike at other sleeping bags where it is stitched. This method drastically reduces the cold spots. The outer shell of the sleeping bag is made of durable 40D Ripstop Naylon that offers some basic rain- and abrasion-resistance. Additionally, the sleeping bag is equipped with a full length two way zipper, anatomically shaped footbox and internal zippered pocket for storing essentials like for example a headlamp or valuables. The Mountain Hardwear Lamina 45 sleeping bag is a great choice for hikers and mountaineers who need a lightweight sleeping bag for summer use. However as the sleeping bag really can retain warmth, it can also be used in mild fall or spring.

 

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Compressible
  • Warmth to weight ratio

Cons:

  • /

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Millet Baikal 750

Millet Baikal 750

2. Millet Baikal 750

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering (low and mid altitudes)
  • Backpacking
  • Camping
  • Cycling

The Millet Baikal 750 is another extremely light sleeping bag which weighs only 770 grams – but still provides great warmth. The sleeping bag uses a synthetic insulation made of SuperMix silicone coated fibers. These fibers efficiently repel water and thus the sleeping bag provides good warmth even when exposed to moisture. The outer layer of the sleeping bag is, like the Mountain Hardwear Lamina 45, made of 40D Nylon for abrasion resistance and water protection. The sleeping bag is equipped with a full-length side zipper, zipper anti-cold flap, shoulder collar, anatomically shaped hood with dual drawcord and an inner pocket. The Millet Baikal 750 sleeping bag, all in all, offers a similar performance to the Mountain Hardwear Lamina 45 but is slightly less expensive. It is highly recommended for outdoor enthusiasts who need a warm but light and well-compressible sleeping bag for summer adventures.

 

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Compressible
  • Comfortable

Cons:

  • Narrow cut

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Marmot NanoWave 50

Marmot NanoWave 50

3. Marmot NanoWave 50

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering (low and mid altitudes)
  • Backpacking
  • Camping
  • Cycling

The Marmot NanoWave 50 is the least expensive product in this review and thus perfect for those who need a decent sleeping bag for the occasional adventure, as it is a little heavier than the sleeping bags reviewed above. The Marmot NanoWave 50 features an outer layer made of 100% Nylon and an inner layer made of comfortable Taffeta polyester. Between those two layers is the SpiraFil insulation. SpiraFil is Marmot’s patent which uses a blend of large spiral hollow fibers and small polyester fibers. This creates good loft and thus efficiently retains warmth. However, unlike at the Mountain Hardwear Lamina 45, the Marmot’s sleeping bag has stitched insulation which creates cold spots. This is the main reason why the sleeping bag provides inferior insulation to the Lamina 45 for example. The sleeping bag is also equipped with a full-length two way zipper, hood drawcord and two hang loops for drying. The Marmot NanoWave 50 is best for those who want a budget sleeping bag for occasional outdoor adventures.

 

Pros:

  • Price
  • Comfort

Cons:

  • Weight
  • Warmth

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Rab Ignition 41

Rab Ignition 41

4. Rab Ignition 41

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering (low and mid altitudes)
  • Backpacking
  • Camping
  • Cycling

The Rab Ignition 41 sleeping bag differs from the sleeping bags reviewed above by using better insulation. Therefore, this sleeping bag is also suitable for spring and fall, if the temperatures are not too low (suitable for temperatures down to 0° C). The Rab Ignition 41 features an outer layer made of lightweight but durable 30D ripstop nylon that offers decent weather protection. The insulation layer uses Pyrotec fibers (polyester) which are known for providing great loft and for being hydrophobic and well-compressible.  In addition to that, the sleeping bag is equipped with a durable half-length YKK zipper, anti-snag zipper tape, internal collar, hood drawcord and an angled footbox. The Rab Ignition 41 is a great sleeping bag as it provides great warmth for its weight. It is highly recommended for hikers, mountaineers and backpackers who need a versatile sleeping bag for their adventures.

 

Pros:

  • Warmth to weight ratio
  • Functionality
  • Comfort

Cons:

  • /

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The North Face Aleutian 35

The North Face Aleutian 35

5. The North Face Aleutian 35

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering (low and mid altitudes)
  • Backpacking
  • Camping
  • Cycling

The The North Face Aleutian 35 sleeping bag weighs approximately the same as the Rab Ignition 41, but offers inferior insulation. However, it is also very inexpensive and thus best for outdoor enthusiasts who don’t want to spend too much money on sleeping equipment. The North Face Aleutian sleeping bag features Heatseeker Eco insulation which is well-compressible and offers decent warmth. In addition to that, this insulation is composed of 30% post-consumer recycled material. The North Face Aleutian sleeping bag is equipped with a full-length zipper on one side and a short zipper on the other side. This gives you great venting options. In addition to that, the sleeping bag features an anatomically shaped footbox and a draft collar for comfort and increased insulation. The North Face Aleutian is a great sleeping bag for the price.

 

Pros:

  • Price
  • Venting options

Cons:

  • Warmth to weight ratio

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