The Best 3-Season Lightweight Sleeping Bags with Down Insulation


Kelty Cosmic Down 20

Kelty Cosmic Down 20

When it comes to spending a night outdoor during hiking and mountaineering trips, you will need high-quality sleeping equipment so you can stay comfortable and warm during the night. A sleeping bag is one of the most important pieces of sleeping equipment as it is in direct contact with your body and responsible for reducing convective heat loss by trapping the body-warmed air. Not every sleeping bag is suitable for all conditions; for example if you are doing an overnight hiking trip at high temperatures in summer you need a much thinner and less insulated sleeping bag as you would in cold winter conditions. Packing a sleeping bag according to expected conditions allows you to reduce the weight that you will be carrying (less insulated sleeping bags are usually lighter but depends on the insulation type) as well as ensures that you will not be too warm or too cold during the night.

In this review we selected and reviewed the best 3-season lightweight sleeping bags with down insulation. These sleeping bags offer the best versatility as they can be used all year round, expect on the most cold winter nights  as they usually provide enough warmth for temperatures as low as -10° C (14° F). They are also very light with regards to the warmth they provide due to superb characteristics of down insulation.

If you need a less warm sleeping bag, check out our review of the Best Summer Lightweight Sleeping Bags which includes (inexpensive) sleeping bags with synthetic insulation.

This selection was updated on the 12th of April 2016.

1. Buying a Lightweight 3-Season Sleeping Bag – What is important?

Insulation:

We deliberately only chose sleeping bags that use down insulation as these sleeping bags provide the best warmth to weight ratio. There are two types of down; regular (untreated) down and hydrophobic (treated) down. Regular down loses loft when wet and thus its heat-retaining performance drastically decreases. Therefore, it is essential to keep sleeping bags that use regular down for insulation away from any moisture. Hydrophobic down, on the other hand, resists water for longer thus retaining the loft and warmth. However, even hydrophobic down loses some percentage of insulation when exposed to moisture. Down also differs by its fill power index; the higher the down fill power is, the better the warmth to weight ratio will be. For more information about insulation materials, read our article Comparison of Mid-layer Materials.

Weight:

Sleeping bags are not among the lightest pieces of hiking equipment and therefore it makes a big difference for the weight that you will carry with a lightweight sleeping bag . Sleeping bags which have down insulation are perfect for lightweight hiking and mountaineering as they provide great warmth for the weight. The higher the down fill power, the lighter the sleeping bag is for the warmth provided.

Outer Material:

The outer material of a sleeping bag has to be breathable, abrasion-resistant and water-repelling. Breathability prevents condensation from building up on the inside, while water-repelling properties ensure that potential moisture does not get to the down insulation quickly. Some abrasion-resistance is required in order to prolong the lifetime of the sleeping bag.

Size:

A sleeping bag has to fit the user and therefore manufacturers usually offer sleeping bags in two sizes that differ by length (regular and long). A sleeping bag should also be well-compressible so that it does not take too much space in a backpack. Down is known for having better compressibility than competitive synthetic insulations.

Temperature Rating:

Manufacturers often list temperature ratings by the EN 13537 standard. This standard includes 4 different ratings; extreme temperature, lower limit, comfort temperature and maximum temperature. Extreme temperature tells us the lowest temperature at which an average woman will survive with the possibility of getting hypothermia. The lower limit rating defines temperature at which an average adult male will be comfortable and the comfort temperature states at which temperature an average woman will stay comfortable. The maximum temperature rating is the limit before the sleeping bag would cause overheating of its user.

Style:

There are several different styles of sleeping bags available; mummy, quilt, wearable and envelope. Each of these styles has advantages and disadvantages. In this review we only included mummy style sleeping bags as they offer good performance in various conditions.

2. The Best 3-Season Sleeping Bags with Down Insulation Review

Best 3 Season Sleeping Bags with Down Insulation

Best 3 Season Sleeping Bags with Down Insulation

  1. Mountain Hardwear Ratio 32
  2. Kelty Cosmic Down 20
  3. Marmot Helium Down
  4. Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 600
  5. The North Face Furnace Down 20

Comparison:

Feature/Product Mountain Hardwear Ratio 32Kelty Cosmic Down 20Marmot Helium DownSierra Designs Backcountry Bed 600The North Face Furnace Down Sleeping Bag 20
Average Weight1 lb. 13 oz. (Regular Size)2 lbs. 6 oz. (Regular Size)2 lbs. 1 oz. (Regular Size)3 lbs. 1 oz. (Regular Size)2 lbs. 10 oz. (Regular Size)
Average Weight (Metric) 829 g (Regular Size)1077 g (Regular Size)935 g (Regular Size)1390 g (Regular Size)1203 g (Regular Size)
Fill Power650 600800600 550
Type of DownQ.Shield DriDown Down DefenderDriDownProDown
Outer Material30D Nylon DWR 50D Ripstop Polyester Pertex Microlight30D RIpstop Polyester Nylon
Width when packed 7.09 in.7.87 in.7.09 in.8.66 in.9.06 in.
Width when packed (Metric) 18 cm 20 cm 18 cm 22 cm 23 cm
EN Lower Limit Rating26° F19° F14° F18° F23° F
EN Lower Limit Rating (Metric)- 3° C- 7° C - 10° C- 8° C- 5° C
EN Comfort Temperature 37° F30° F25° F28° F34° F
EN Comfort Temperature (Metric)3° C - 1° C - 3.8° C- 2° C1° C
Mountain Hardwear Ratio 32

Mountain Hardwear Ratio 32

1. Mountain Hardwear Ratio 32

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Backpacking
  • Climbing
  • Camping

The Mountain Hardwear Ratio 32 sleeping bag is extremely light and thus perfect for those who prefer lightweight hiking and mountaineering. It features an insulation layer made of 650 Q.Shield down which offers great warmth while being very light. The Q.Shield down loses very little loft if exposed to moisture as each down plume is treated with DWR (Durable Water Repellant) and thus absorbs less moisture than plumes of regular down do. The sleeping bag also uses Thermo Trap Baffle technology which locks the down into smaller chambers thus minimizing its migration and ensuring equal warmth all over the sleeping bag. The outer layer is made of durable but lightweight DWR treated nylon that offers basic abrasion-resistance and repels water. In addition to that, the Mountain Hardwear Ratio 32 has a full length zipper with double sliders and a drawcord for hood adjustment. The zipper allows you to easily regulate the ventilation and is easy to zip/unzip as it is equipped with cord loops. Along the zipper is also an insulated draft tube that efficiently eliminates the cold spots. The Mountain Hardwear Ratio 32 sleeping bag offers great functionality in a lightweight format and is therefore highly appreciated among hikers and mountaineers.

 

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Hydrophobic down
  • Small when packed
  • Comfortable

Cons:

  • /

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

 

 

Kelty Cosmic Down 20

Kelty Cosmic Down 20

2. Kelty Cosmic Down 20

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Backpacking
  • Climbing
  • Camping

The Kelty Cosmic Down 20 sleeping bag is a little heavier than the Mountain Hardwear Ratio 32 sleeping bag (it weighs approximately 200 grams more) but on the other hand it also offers better warmth and a more durable outer shell. The Kelty Cosmic Down 20 uses 600-fill DriDown for insulation. Like the Q.Shield down, the DriDown is hydrophobic; each of the down plumes is treated with a molecular level polymer thus making it water-repelling. Therefore it stays dry longer when exposed to moisture than regular down (up to 10 times longer) and provides decent warmth in moist conditions. In addition to that, it also dries up to 33% faster than regular down. The outer shell of the sleeping bag is made of 50D ripstop polyester that offers good breathability and tearing resistance. The Kelty Cosmic Down 20 has a natural fit footbox, thermal comfort hood, and a zipper that reaches to the foot box. The zipper is equipped with a draft tube that has an antisnag design which prevents the zipper from getting stuck. The Kelty Cosmic Down 20 sleeping bag is a great choice for recreational hikers and mountaineers as it provides great warmth for a low price.

 

Pros:

  • Price
  • Warmth
  • Durability

Cons:

  • /

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

Video

Marmot Helium Down

Marmot Helium Down

3. Marmot Helium Down

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Backpacking
  • Climbing
  • Camping

The Marmot Helium Down sleeping bag is very light and provides incredible warmth (it has EN Lower Limit at -10° C). It differs from the other sleeping bags in this review by having insulation of a better quality – it uses 800-fill down and thus provides superb warmth to weight performance. Like the sleeping bags listed above, the down is treated with DWR in order to provide warmth even when exposed to moisture.  The outer shell is made of Pertex Microlight material which is known for being durable, abrasion-resistant and windproof. In addition to that, it is treated with DWR (Durable Water Repellant) so that it provides some basic protection against water. The Marmot Helium Down sleeping bag uses curved baffles that reduce down migration and any potential cold spots. Additionally it is equipped with a 6-baffle hood, draft collar, anatomical footbox and durable two-way zipper which allows good ventilation.  The Marmot Helium Down is best for those who need a top-quality sleeping bag for all-year-round hiking and mountaineering and are willing to spend a little more money.

 

Pros:

  • Warmth
  • Compressibility
  • Durability
  • Functionality

Cons:

  • Price

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

Video

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 600

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 600

4. Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 600

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Camping

The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 600 sleeping bag offers several innovative features that might come in handy in various situations. The sleeping bag has a big opening on the front side and is not equipped with a zipper like most other sleeping bags. The big front opening is covered with a sewn-in insulated panel (sewn at the bottom of the opening) which can be lifted so that you can enter into the sleeping bag. When you are in, you just cover yourself with the insulated panel. This construction gives you great venting options – you can for example easily remove the insulated panel from yourself when the temperatures are high. In addition to that the sleeping bag is equipped with a ventilated footbox that allows you to easily put your lower legs out of it. On the backside of the sleeping bag, there is also a sleeve for a sleeping pad. This allows you to attach your sleeping pad to the sleeping bag so that you do not roll off the pad in the night. The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 600 sleeping bag uses the same insulation as the Kelty Cosmic Down 20 sleeping bag above. The outer shell of the sleeping bag is made of 30D polyester ripstop. This sleeping bag is best for hikers and backpackers who are not afraid to try something new. The innovative features, however, come for a price – it is the heaviest sleeping bag in this review.

 

Pros:

  • Innovative features
  • Venting options
  • Comfortable

Cons:

  • Weight
  • Price

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

Video

The North Face Furnace Down Sleeping Bag

The North Face Furnace Down Sleeping Bag

5. The North Face Furnace Down 20

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Camping

The North Face Furnace Down 20 is a budget sleeping bag that all in all offers good performance. The sleeping bag uses 550-fill ProDown that has hydrophobic properties. Therefore, it provides decent warmth even when exposed to water or moisture. At the bottom, the sleeping bag is equipped with an anti-compression layer of synthetic insulation for increased loft. Heat loss at the bottom of  down sleeping bags is quite common as the down is eventually smashed under the weight of the user and thus not offering the desired loft. The Heatseeker synthetic insulation provides warmth even when smashed under the weight and thus partially eliminates this problem. In addition to that, the sleeping bag features an interior pocket, anatomically designed footbox, tightly fitting hood and a draft collar. The North Face Furnace Down 20 is a great sleeping bag for those who don’t want to spend too much money and don’t mind carrying a couple grams more.

 

Pros:

  • Price
  • Warmth

Cons:

  • Weight
  • Compressibility

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

Video

3. The most attractive product in the review

Which product do you prefer?
Cast your vote to see the results of this poll!

 

You may also like…

Did you find this post interesting?


Follow us on social media...


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One thought on “The Best 3-Season Lightweight Sleeping Bags with Down Insulation