8 Best Summer Sleeping Bags for Warm Weather Camping


One of the best parts of heading out on a summer backpacking trip or snagging a rare July night at your favorite campground is how comfortable sleeping outside can be during the warmer months. Even in the Northeast. Hot days capped with cool evening and early morning temps makes for perfect sleeping weather—so long as you’re not trying to catch some Zs in your usual cold weather sleeping bag. For summer camping, you need a seperate sleeping bag specifically rated for warm weather.

To help point you in the right direction, we’ve put together the following guide of tried and true, test and approved summer sleeping bags (no cut rate Amazon specials here). Read on for some helpful info, or just scroll past the nitty gritty to get to our top 8 picks for the best summer weight sleeping bags.

Why do you need a summer sleeping bag?

Having a lightweight sleeping bag that’s less insulated is key to sleeping well without overheating. Not only will using a bag that’s too warm make it difficult to sleep, you’ll also generate a lot more perspiration—and if the temperature does drop just before dawn, that perspiration will make you unusually cold. Plus, a damp sleeping bag will need to be naturally dried before being packed away in a compression sack. Now, some winter weight bags can work for summer camping, especially if you expect low nightime temps and your bag can be fully unzipped and used as a blanket—though a proper outdoor blanket will do the job even better.

What temperature rating do I want?

It depends on the climate where you live, but you don’t want anything rated any colder than 30 degrees. Often 40 or so is a good benchmark. Remember that sleeping bag ratings are based on the minimum temperature the insulation can keep you warm—but not necessarily comfortable. In fact, many sleeping bags have multiple ratings: a base rating (the primary rating), a comfort rating, and a warm rating. So a sleeping bag rated to 30 degrees may actually be more comfortable in 38 or 40-degree weather unless you’re wearing long underwear underneath.

Also remember that sleeping bag temperature ratings are generally based on men’s temperatures, and men tend to run cooler. So women buying a men’s bag may want to add five to 10 degrees to the degree rating to accurately gauge how warm they’ll be.

Anything else to look for in a summer bag?

A good perk reduced insulation (be it goose down or equivalent synthetic insulation) of summer bags is that they’re lighter and smaller, which means they usually take up less space in your bag, but are still plenty roomy inside. This even goes for cheaper bags. Nearly all the sleeping bags on the list weigh in at below two pounds and pack up much smaller than typical three-season bags, which should help you dip your toes into ultralight backpacking (or at least save some space in the trunk of your car).

The 8 Best Summer Sleeping Bags


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