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How We Tested Backpacking Sleeping Bags

By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor
Monday
Our backpacking sleeping bag testing occurred over five years in classic backpacking and climbing areas in the U.S. and internationally, though testing occurred primarily in California's High Sierra. For each round of this review, each bag was weighed on our scales for accurate comparisons.

Bags were tested by outdoorsy friends, local mountain and backpacking guides, and National Park Service scientists on extended trips in summer conditions. Warm nights at middle elevations, uncommon amounts of monsoonal moisture, and cold nights above twelve-thousand feet put the bags to test on quick mountaineering jaunts and on extended backpacking trips.

Throughout these tests, these three-season sleeping bags have been exposed to all types of conditions, terrain, and weather. They have been stuffed, packed, carried, slept in, and lounged in. Close to 30 different people have used and abused these bags and provided feedback in an effort to find the best backpacking bag.

We tested these bags over several years and on trails across the globe. This review has evaluated more than 70 sleeping bags over the years, comparing them in a variety of environments and conditions. The bags were tested in real-world applications by our OutdoorGearLab review team with valuable input from recreational backpackers and local mountain guides.


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