Best 3-Season Sleeping Bags for Backpacking

Three-season sleeping bags offer the ultimate in versatility. Unless you need a winter sleeping bag for really cold weather (or camping over 10,000ft), a 3-season sleeping bag will see you through the shoulder-season chills.

We’ve put together a buying guide as well as 3 season sleeping bag reviews to help you make the right choice.

Quick Look – Top Picks:

*Below, you’ll find our detailed reviews and a buyer’s guide, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

3 Season Sleeping Bag Reviews

Each of these come in at different price points depending on their features, and quality of materials and insulation. Here are the reviews of our favorite top rated 3 season sleeping bags.

Mountain Hardwear Ratio 32

Mountain Hardwear Ratio 32 Sleeping Bag - Regular Left Hand
  • Insulation: 650-fill Down – water repellent treated
  • Shape: Mummy
  • Weight: 2.3lbs

If you want a warm but lightweight 3 season bag then this is worth a look. Warm enough for fall and spring but light enough for summer use.

The water-repellent treated down is kept in place with cleverly designed baffles. The result is a bag that will keep you comfortable in the low 30’s (if you’re using a sleeping pad) while only weighing-in at a lightweight 2.3 lbs.

Comfort-cut mummy shape allows for enough wiggle room even if you’re a restless sleeper.

The down packs down very small, but you’ll need to buy a compression sack separately.

What We Like

  • High loft, 650-fill down for an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio
  • Down fibers infused with permanent water repellent
  • Thermo Trap Baffle keeps insulation in place for consistent warmth
  • Insulated draft tube with anti-snag panel along zipper
  • Face gasket blocks drafts at hood opening

What We Don’t Like

  • Compression sack has to be bought separately
VIEW ON AMAZON VIEW AT REI


Big Agnes Boot Jack 25

Big Agnes Boot Jack 25 (600 DownTek) Mummy Sleeping Bag, Regular, Left Zip, Gray/Green
  • Insulation: 600-fill Down
  • Shape: Mummy
  • Weight: 2.37lbs

The baffled construction and snug mummy cut make for a warm and comfortable bag once you get it zipped up. The down fill and outer shell is treated for water-resistance.

The contoured hood was one of the comfiest we’ve used and uses a low-profile cordlock for easy single handed un-cinching. Even if there’s a cold breeze, there’s no way it’s getting past the no-draft collar and zipper.

At 2.37 pounds it’s light and it compresses down to around 8”x8”. You’d be hard pressed to find another bag at this price point that is as light, and performs down to the low 30’s.

What We Like

  • 600-fill down is water repellent and makes for a very warm bag
  • Baffled construction eliminates cold spots
  • Contoured hood follows shape of your head for better fit
  • Left and right zip bags can be mated together
  • Draft blocking collar and zipper

What We Don’t Like

  • Zipper tends to snag
VIEW ON AMAZON VIEW AT REI


Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700 35 Degree (Regular)
  • Insulation: 700-fill Down
  • Shape: Mummy (ish)
  • Weight: 2.3lbs

The design may be a bit unconventional but it works really well.

There are no zippers or velcro and you get into it through an opening on the top of the bag.

As you push outwards the walls of the bag push inwards to seal off against the integrated comforter, blocking any drafts.

The comforter gives you the versatility to sleep on your back, stomach or sides whilst keeping you snugly cocooned.

If you get too warm you simply take the comforter out or open the the flap at your toes to let some air in.

At 2.3 lbs it’s not the lightest, so you won’t be wanting to take this on a thru-hike, but for car camping or a short hike-in, it’s a comfortable option.

What We Like

  • Integrated sleeping pad sleeve means no more slipping off the pad
  • Integrated comforter makes this a really warm bag
  • No zippers or velcro to have to open and close
  • Design is great if you tend to toss and turn at night
  • Comes with compression sack and stuff sack
  • 700-fill DriDown

What We Don’t Like

  • High Price Tag
  • Rather heavy and bulky for lightweight backpacking
VIEW ON AMAZON VIEW AT BACKCOUNTRY


Marmot Helium Down

Marmot Helium Sleeping Bag - Cobalt Blue/Blue Night - LZ
  • Insulation: 800-fill Goose Down
  • Shape: Mummy
  • Weight: 2.1lbs

This sleeping bag offers great warmth while remaining very light. At a shade over 2 lbs, it’ll keep you comfortable when the temperature gets down to 15 degrees.

This great warmth to weight ratio is thanks to the 800-fill goose down – treated with Down Defender for exceptional water resistance.

Extremely comfortable, with plush inner material, the high quality insulation and nautilus hood make it perform well in cold conditions.

For summer use, a handy second fold-down zipper allows you to sleep comfortably with your arms outside the bag if you’re getting a little warm.

The 2-way full-length zipper also lets you vent your feet while keeping your top end zipped up. This bag works great as a 3 season bag and, with a warm sleeping bag liner, it’ll serve you well in winter conditions too.

What We Like

  • Fold-down extra zipper allows comfortable venting
  • Anatomical wrap-around footbox offers great warmth and comfort
  • 800-fill goose down results in great warmth to weight ratio
  • Full length 2-way zipper allows for venting along length of bag
  • Internal stash pocket ideal for phone of flashlight
  • Snagless draft tube

What We Don’t Like

  • Might be a bit too warm for milder temperatures
  • Only comes in a left-zip version. Sorry lefties.
VIEW ON AMAZON VIEW AT REI

Video:


The North Face Blue Kazoo

The North Face Blue Kazoo Sleeping Bag - Ensign Blue/Asphalt Grey Right Hand Regular
  • Insulation: 650-fill Down – water repellent treated
  • Shape: Mummy
  • Weight: 2.7lbs

If you’re expecting some wet conditions but want the warmth / weight performance you get from down, then try this.

With their proprietary ProDown, North Face have combined lightweight warmth of down, with the kind of wet-condition performance you get from synthetics.

This down refuses to get wet and clump. This bag has an EN comfort rating of 25 degrees and a lower limit of 13 degrees.

Combined with its light weight (2.7 pounds), it’s a solid choice for shoulder-season performance. The shaped hood and full-length draft collar do a good job of adding to the already impressive comfort and warmth this bag offers.

It has well-placed synthetic-filled compression pads that increase warmth in areas where you would normally flatten out the down and lose heat.

What We Like

  • RDS certified 650-fill ProDown gives great warmth and outstanding water resistance
  • Great compressibility
  • Hood cinch cord positioned well so it doesn’t cut across your forehead
  • Glow in the dark zipper pull reduces nighttime fumbling
  • Pad loops to keep sleeping pad in place
  • Draft collar and tube to keep cold air out

What We Don’t Like

  • Shell fabric is a little noisy
VIEW ON AMAZON VIEW AT BACKCOUNTRY


Kelty Cosmic 20 Degree

Kelty Cosmic 20 Degree Sleeping Bag, Paradise Blue, Regular
  • Insulation: 600-fill Down
  • Shape: Mummy
  • Weight: 3lbs

This bag offers 600-fill down insulation and great features at a budget-friendly price.

The hood is comfortable, and cinches down easily with cords on the top and bottom for those cold nights where you need to close up as much as possible.

It’s a traditional mummy shape, which tapers quickly down to a natural fit footbox. The full length two-way zipper (with draft tube and anti-snag panel) makes it easy to vent at the bottom of the bag if you get a bit warm.

It comes with a stuff sack and packs to a compact 8”x14”.

Weighing 3 lbs it’s not exactly lightweight, but a down sleeping bag that’s good to 20 degrees, at this price makes it hard to beat.

What We Like

  • Updated version now has 600-fill hydrophobic down for even more warmth
  • Excellent water resistance and dries quickly
  • Thermal comfort hood and top draft collar keep cold air out and warm air in
  • Dual-slider zipper allows for easy venting along length of bag
  • Anti-snag draft tube

What We Don’t Like

  • Only comes in a right zip configuration
VIEW ON AMAZON VIEW AT REI

Video:


Mountain Hardwear Lamina Z Spark 34

Mountain Hardwear Lamina Z Spark 34 Sleeping Bag - Flame Long
  • Insulation: Synthetic
  • Shape: Mummy
  • Weight: 2.2lbs

This is a good mid-range 3 season bag which performs well in mild weather. The welded-seam construction keeps the insulation exactly where it’s needed, with your feet and torso nice and warm and no cold spots.

The head area has a velcro flap and drawstring that cinches the face gasket snugly to keep the warmth in. The comfort cut and roomy foot box are great if you’ve got big feet, or if the regular mummy bags make you feel restricted.

This bag is one of the lightest we’ve reviewed weighing just 2.2 pounds.

While it has features such as a full length draft tube and high-loft synthetic insulation – you don’t want to push it by using it in temperatures lower than the 34 degree comfort factor.

What We Like

  • Welded seams prioritize insulation to where it’s needed most
  • Full-length double slider zipper for ventilation
  • DWR coated shell exhibits excellent water repellency
  • Really lightweight
  • Comes supplied with stuff sack and storage bag
  • Draft tube, tailored hood and face gasket seal in warmth

What We Don’t Like

  • Accessory pocket located on outside of bag and is a little small
VIEW ON AMAZON VIEW AT REI


Outdoor Vitals Atlas 30°F

Outdoor Vitals Atlas 30°F Lightweight Down Sleeping Bag with Compression Sack & (Green (30°F), Regular)
  • Insulation: Down
  • Shape: Mummy
  • Weight: 2.2lbs

Outdoor Vitals haven’t been around very long, but they’ve been producing good-quality down insulated sleeping bags at budget prices.

It’s their novel direct-to-consumer business model, so it’s not down to any compromise on quality or features.

This bag is really warm and the quality of the materials is top-notch.

The cinching shoulder baffle is something you don’t often find on some of the more expensive bags.

It only comes in one size, so if you’re over 6 foot or tend to turn a lot while sleeping, then it’s going to feel a bit restrictive.

The 500-fill down insulation and baffle design make this a warm-enough bag that weighs in at just under 3 pounds.

What We Like

  • Price is competitive for a down insulated sleeping bag
  • Left and right zip bags can be zipped together
  • Comes with a 4-point compression sack
  • 2-way zippers for venting
  • Cinch-able shoulder baffle and draft tube seal in warm air
  • Lifetime warranty

What We Don’t Like

  • It’s a bit snug for bigger builds or active sleepers
VIEW ON AMAZON


Kelty Tuck EX 20 Degree ThermaPro RH

Kelty Tuck 20 Degree Thermapro Ultra Sleeping Bag, Spinach/Castle Rock, Regular
  • Insulation: Synthetic
  • Shape: Mummy
  • Weight: 2.2lbs

If you want the reduced weight and size that a mummy shape provides while still having plenty of room to toss and turn then this is a great option.

The regular Kelty Tuck is a little snug for some but this version is a lot more roomy. ThermaPro synthetic insulation keeps you warm, but it’s a bit bulky.

The Tuck zipper system means you can stick your feet out the bottom of the bag if you get too warm. The hood is comfortable, with a draft collar and anti-snag draft tube along the zipper to seal in the heat.

If you want 20 degree performance from a big bag with a small price, try this one.

What We Like

  • Oversized design is ideal for active sleepers
  • High compressibility
  • Comfort-Tuck zipper allows great venting at feet
  • Internal media storage pocket for cell phone or small gadgets
  • Zipper draft tube

What We Don’t Like

  • No draft collar
VIEW ON AMAZON VIEW AT BACKCOUNTRY


Rovor Buhl 14-45 Degree

If you’re looking for a budget 3 season sleeping bag for mild temperature backpacking then this is a decent option to consider.

You won’t want to be using it in really cold conditions but above 50 degrees it performs well considering the price.

The inner lining is soft and feels great. The shell is DWR coated and handles light water but you don’t want to be caught in the rain with this.

If you’re a beginner camper and you’re not sure yet if you want to commit to a more expensive bag then this bag is a good deal.

What We Like

  • Very light and packs up small
  • Internal stash pocket
  • Inner lining material has soft, plush feel to it
  • Surprisingly good construction considering the price

What We Don’t Like

  • Footbox is a little snug
VIEW ON AMAZON


Our Favorite

The Marmot Helium it’s impressive how a bag this light can still be comfortable down to 15 degrees. They’re being a little modest in calling this a 3 season bag because it’ll perform well in most winter conditions too.

The curved baffle design keeps the 800-fill down in place, with a superior warmth to weight ratio, comfort and smart zipper layout, this is our favorite by some distance. The temperature-rating might be a bit extreme for backpacking in the height of summer, though.

Best for Budget

If you’re on a budget then it would be hard to find a better deal than the Outdoor Vitals 30 degree sleeping bag.

They haven’t cut any corners on the quality of materials, or the hydrophobic treatment of the down. This is a warm bag and their 30 degree comfort rating is pretty accurate.

If you’re a bigger guy, then you might need to give this bag a miss, because it only comes in one fairly snug size.

What is a three-season sleeping bag?

As usual in the hiking community, not everyone can agree. In general, and for the purposes of this article, we’ll use the following temperature ratings:

  • Summer season: +30F and higher
  • 3-Season: +15F to +30F
  • Winter season: +15F and lower.

If you want to, check out our review of the best summer sleeping bags for lightweight, warm-weather backpacking. And our guide to winter sleeping bags, if that’s more what you’re looking for.

Features your 3 Season Sleeping Bag needs

Different sleeping bags will have different features but a really good one will check each of these boxes:

  • Cinchable Hood – You lose a lot of heat through your head, so make sure it’s got a hood that cinches down comfortably.
  • Draft Collar / Face Gasket – the hood will cover the top of your head but, depending on the design, will leave parts of your face and neck exposed. A draft collar or face gasket prevents cold air getting in past your chin.
  • Draft Tubes – A closed zipper will still let a cold draft in. A draft tube along the length of the zipper lies up against the inside of the zipper and blocks cold air.

How Warm is Warm Enough?

If you are heading out in the depths of winter – or camping over 10,000ft – and are worried about being warm enough, then you might like to consider a 4-season winter sleeping bag.

Some people find they get really warm at night regardless of the outside temperature. While others only manage to sleep comfortably if they’re wearing multiple layers and zipped up tight in a well-insulated bag. Men in general will sleep warmer than women.

For further tips & tricks on sleeping comfortably, you might like:

A note on Temperature Ratings

When comparing, you’ll notice they are given a comfort rating and an extreme rating. The comfort temperature rating is defined as the minimum outside temperature at which the sleeping bag will still keep the average women, or cold sleeper, at a comfortable temperature.

The extreme rating is the minimum outside temperature at which a warm sleeper, or average guy, would still feel warm enough to sleep comfortably.

That’s not very helpful though, is it?

Warmth-to-Weight Ratio

When buying a bag that performs well in cooler weather, but is light and compact for a small backpack you need to consider the warmth to weight ratio. It’s easy to make a sleeping bag warmer by adding more insulation but this also adds weight.

Pound for pound, down insulation offers a better warmth to weight ratio than synthetic insulation. If you’re after the lightest, warmest bag then go for a duck- or goose-down option. If you’re looking to save some money then have a look at synthetics.

You’ll be able to find a synthetic insulated bag with comparable temperature ratings, but it’s going to be heavier than a down bag with the same rating.

Down vs Synthetic Insulation

If you can afford the higher price tag then the excellent warmth to weight ratio makes down your best option. Unlike synthetic insulation, down does not deal well with water so make sure that it is treated for water resistance.

If you want minimum space taken up in your pack then the superior compressibility of down also makes it your best bet. If you don’t mind your sleeping bag being a pound or so heavier and taking up a little more space then synthetic insulation will still keep you warm at a reduced price.

Venting

While you want your bag to be warm enough for the cooler shoulder seasons it also needs to be comfortable during summer. It’s a good idea to consider the venting options that the bag offers.

A bag with a 2-way zipper is always useful because it allows you to vent near the bottom of your legs while keeping your torso zipped up. If your feet tend to get warm then it’s a good idea to get one with a foot box that zips open so you can stick your feet out.

Conclusion

Having the best 3 season sleeping bag in your gear collection will mean that you’re covered for whatever nature can throw at you for the majority of the year. A temperature rating of +15F means you’ll be well prepared for shoulder-season chills.

Make sure the bag you choose matches the minimum temperatures you expect while also giving you options to cater for warmer summer nights.

*Product Images credits: © Amazon.com

best hiking gloves
choosing the best hiking boots
how to choose the best sleeping bag liner
how to choose sunglasses for hiking and trekking
mess kits for backpacking wouldn't be this heavy!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.