Updated April 2017
Backpacking season is upon us, and so we refreshed this review to include several product updates. Many models we feature here recently received minor updates to their design and fill. For example, both Feathered Friends bags increased their down fill-power to 950, and Katabatic Gear made an eco-friendly move by ensuring all their goose down is traceable and ethically sourced. The Enlightened Equipment model increased its fill power and down treatment, too. We detail each product update in the individual review, highlighting the differences between the newer and older models. We also added tables and charts to the performance metrics below for quick and easy comparison in key areas.
The Best Overall Ultralight Sleeping Bag
Katabatic Gear Palisade 30
Exceptional warmth-to-weight ratio
Great for back, tummy, or side sleepers
Large temperature range
Doesn't open into a flat quilt
New Fabric and Down Updates from Katabatic
Katabatic recently informed us that this bag is now constructed with a new fabric in hopes of greater longevity and water repellency. Plus, the down they use is now 100% traceable and ethically sourced. More details in the individual review!
From thru-hiking long trails to lightweight weekend backpacking trips to fast and light climbing, the Katabatic Gear Palisade 30
offers tremendous versatility, comfort, and an exceptional warmth-to-weight ratio. This ultralight sleeping bag weighs 18.8 ounces and kept our testers warm in the mid 30's, and into the low 20's with warm clothing. The Palisade has the best pad attachment system of any quilt tested and is available in 900-fill down or 850-fill hydrophobic down. Every part of the Katabatic quilt system is well designed and offers exceptional performance and comfort. Every single one of our testers would love to have this bag as their own. It's also available in 0, 15, 20, and 40-degree versions!
Read full review: Katabatic Gear Palisade 30
Best Bang for Your Buck
Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20
Opens into flat blanket
Warm and stable baffle system
Many custom options
Pad attachment method isn't as comfortable or warm as the Palisade
Latest Product Updates to the Revelation
Enlightened Equipment just informed us that they increased the fill power to 850. The down employed in this bag is now treated with DownTek, intended to improve its loft when wet. Read more in the individual review!
Want a high-quality, fully-opening quilt with excellent features for almost half the price of other ultralight sleeping bags? The Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20
easily wins our Best Buy Award again this year. It has been completely redesigned and is better than ever. The pad attachment system works well, and was only out-performed by the Katabatic Gear Palisade. A combination of vertical and horizontal baffles keeps the down right where you need it, especially for side sleepers. Many options for temperature rating, and an option to use lighter fabrics, easily make this model our favorite quilt that opens fully into a blanket.
Read full review: Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20
Top Pick for Summer Use
Big Agnes Pitchpine UL 45
Roomy and comfortable
Designed for summer temperatures
Awesome pillow pocket
Poor warmth-to-weight ratio
Requires a liner or LOTS of clothing for three-season use
While many folks, thru-hikers especially, need an ultralight sleeping bag that can span three seasons of temperatures, from near freezing to warmer summer conditions, some folks are seeking a bag suited to warmer conditions only. If you do not expect nights below 40 F, we highly recommend the Big Agnes Pitchpine UL 45
. For most summer nights, it is great on its own with minimal clothing. Plus, if you enjoy "cowboy camping" without a shelter, the Pitchpine provides more protection from creepy crawlies (thanks to its completely enclosed design) compared to an open quilt. Paired up with warm clothing, our testers found it comfortable into the mid 30's. An optional synthetic liner from Big Agnes will extend the Pitchpine's warmth down to just below freezing. Unfortunately, Big Agnes recently discontinued this product. If you can find it at a discount, it could be a steal!
Read full review: Big Agnes Pitchpine UL 45
Top Pick for Alpine Climbing
Feathered Friends Vireo
at Feathered Friends
Compresses very small
Weighs only 14-16 ounces
Must be paired with warm jacket
Feet can get hot in warmer weather
Not as versatile
More (Down) Power!
Feathered Friends increased the fill power of this bag to 950, RDS certified down.
Climbing big technical routes in the mountains often means sleeping in really rough locations, often in a seated position. For these bivouacs, our testers have found that half bags — those that come partway up your body — offer the best performance for fast and light ascents. When paired with a down parka
, the 14-ounce Feathered Friends Vireo
bag provides a toasty set-up for most of the year; we've been comfortable down to a little below 0 F while wearing the Feathered Friends Volant parka along with the Vireo. The Vireo has tapered insulation designed to work with a big parka — high loft from the hips down, and less loft in the torso to layer well with your parka.
Read full review: Feathered Friends Vireo