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The Best Ultralight Backpacking Winter Sleeping Bags Under 2 lbs

by | Nov 17, 2021 | Sleeping Bags, Pads & Sleeping Systems, SNOW / WINTER — General, TIPS & TRICKS, Ultralight | 0 comments

Winter backpacking offers an entirely different hiking experience. You get to witness nature in a different season, often without the crowds. But there is a crucial feature of winter backpacking that people can come up short on: warmth.

But how can you keep to ultralight backpacking with winter gear? The good news is that there are ultralight sleeping bags under 2 lbs that do the job. Like other winter gear essentials such as crampons, and tents, you need a winter sleeping bag.  

Do not stick with summer lightweight sleeping bags and think you will be okay. When the temperatures drop once the sun sets, you do not want to find yourself shivering in your sleeping bag or backpacking quilt. It results in a poor night’s sleep and can lead to serious health complications such as hypothermia.  We offer tips on how to stay warm in a tent in case you need advice.

Read on for the best ultralight winter sleeping bags under 2 lbs!


Top Recommendations

Below is a detailed breakdown of eleven top ultralight winter sleeping bags under 2 lbs. But if you are short on time, do not worry; we have you covered. Here is a quick breakdown of the lightweight sleeping bags below:

All the lightweight sleeping bags offer high-quality performance for ultralight backpacking in winter. However, specific details, such as comfort rating, shape, and fill power, are down to personal needs. It is also essential to have a high-quality tent, sleeping pad, and other gear for winter backpacking. 


Ultralight Sleeping Bags Under 2 Lbs

Feathered Friends Hummingbird YF20

Best Overall Lightweight Winter Sleeping Bag

  • Comfort temperature rating: 20°F
  • Fill power: 900+ Goose Down
  • Weight: 1 lb. 10 oz
  • Pros: Great fill power, light, size options
  • Cons: Expensive and can sell out

Overall: The Seattle-based Feathered Friends makes premium down products, including lightweight sleeping bags. The Hummingbird YF20 is one of them, with great warmth to weight ratio. It is warmer than many ultralight sleeping bags of similar weights, and you can go even lighter with the Hummingbird Ultralight, which has a temperature of 30°F.

It also retains packability thanks to its fill power, without sacrificing warmth. There is also a draft tube, passive collar, and foot box to add comfort. You can choose from four sizes also increases the chance you will get a good night’s sleep to tackle any hikes.

There are no extra features such as zippered pockets, but you can choose from several colors. The focus is on the quality and comfort of the bag, which is an investment. Unfortunately, you can only purchase it from Feathered Friends, which means there can be a wait time.


2.Best Comfort For The Price REI Co-op Magma 15

  • Comfort rating: 28°F
  • Down Fill power: 850 
  • Weight: 1 lb. 12.2 oz-1 lb. 14.6 oz 
  • Pros: Meets Responsible Down Standard (RDS), compact  
  • Cons: Can run colder than listed

Overall: REI Co-op Magma bags have men and women versions. They still fall into the ultralight winter sleeping bags category but at a slighter lower price point if you are looking to save money. Performance-wise, they are compact, lightweight, and offer solid warmth to weight ratio.

The comfort rating is above average, but some reviewers report they ran colder than expected. However, REI does use the EN/ISO testing method. There is also an internal pocket and two-way zipper if you need to ventilate.

While it is at a cheaper price point, it is still over $300. If you are willing to invest in one of the ultralight mummy sleeping bags, consider spending more money for more fill power. However, this sleeping bag fairs well in cold weather, so this bag is worth considering, especially if there is a sale or an REI member.


3.Best Unisex BagWestern Mountaineering Alpinlite 20

Western Mountaineering Alpinlite Sleeping Bag: 20F Down Cranberry, 5ft...
  • Comfort temperature rating: 20°F 
  • Down Fill power: 850
  • Pros: Spacious dimensions, comfortable, unisex 
  • Cons: Expensive, quality of snag-proof zipper 

Overall: The Alpinlite offers a broader alternative to the traditional mummy bag. 

It offers a simple, compressible design with a high-quality draft tube to maintain warmth and avoid any cold spots. The baffles allow you to shift all of the warmth down to your top half without losing efficiency due to it being compressed. With a quality sleeping pad, this is a great way to maintain warmth. 

The wider dimensions and hood make it a comfortable choice that will serve you well in the mountains and during winter backpacking expeditions. It does have a snag-proof zipper, but still, take care when using it. The bag’s high quality is also reflected in the price, making it a costly but worthwhile investment that will last you years with the proper care. 


4. Best Sustainable Sleeping BagMarmot Hydrogen 30

MARMOT Hydrogen
  • Price: $270.00
  • Comfort temperature rating: 33.6°F
  • Down Fill power: 800  
  • Weight: 1 lb. 7.3 oz
  • Pros: Comfortable, uses 100% recycled fabrics, lightweight
  • Cons: Less warmth, narrow dimensions

Overall: Marmot’s Hydrogen 30 packs down impressively well and can work as a quilt, too, thanks to the double zippers. There is also a multi-baffle hood, draft tube, hang loops, and an internal stash pocket. It is also EN tested and uses a down defender, improving water resistance in wet conditions. 

It offers a good comfort rating for the price point, but it might not be warm enough for some backpacking trips. 


5. Best Budget Down OptionMountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 30

  • Comfort temperature rating: 40°F
  • Fill power: 650 80% down, 20% feather
  • Weight:  1 lb. 12.6 oz
  • Pros: RDS approved, bargain, unique features
  • Cons: Less warmth

Overall: If you want to get outside during winter without hurting your wallet too much, then try the Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass. It is one of the best budget sleeping bags, offering fill power at a lower price and good warmth to weight ratio. The long version also weighs around 2 lbs, or you can opt for the 26°F option, which is just over 2lbs. 

Its EN tested lower limit is 30°F, so it can still be an option for warm weather. There are also some interesting features, such as a glow-in-the-dark zipper and the ability to zip to another Mountain Hardwear sleeping bag if you want to double up.

There is no baffle on the hood, which can mean some warmth is lost. It will also not fare well in wet conditions, as the feathers can lose their insulative power. However, overall it is a great budget sleeping bag for those looking for ultralight mummy bags that are still warm.


6. Best Extreme Ultralight Sleeping BagFeathered Friends Tanager 20

 

  • Comfort temperature rating: 20°F
  • Down Fill power: 950
  • Weight: 1 lb. 2.6 oz
  • Pros: Ultralight, pared down 
  • Cons: Hoodless, zipperless can be challenging on warmer nights, thin fabric

Overall: The Tanager is one of the most lightweight sleeping bags on the market, hence why the ‘CFL’ stands for ‘crazy freaking light.’ It compresses well thanks to its lofty 950 goose down while still maintaining warmth on colder winter nights. It is an option that is a cross between a mummy sleeping bag and a quilt.

The hoodless, pocketless, and zipperless design will appeal to some and not so much to others. Hoodless means you need a warm hat and a great sleeping pad. The bag’s drawstring also helps you keep in the body heat. 

The fabric is extremely thin, so its long-standing durability is unclear. However, Feathered Friends is a great brand that makes quality products in general.


7. REI Co-op Magma Trail Quilt 30

Best Ultralight Winter Backpacking Quilt 

  • Comfort temperature rating: 30°F
  • Down Fill power: 850 
  • Weight: 1 lb. 1.5 oz-1 lb. 4 oz
  • Pros: RDS approved, sleeping bag alternative, neck draft collar
  • Cons: Design can be improved

Overall: For those who want to use quilts instead of lightweight sleeping bags, then the Magma 30 is a good option. Its design means little warmth can escape, but you cannot turn it into a complete blanket due to the foot box design.

With the right gear, such as a sleeping pad, it fairs well for winter nights. The Magma Trail Quilt has 15D Pertex ripstop nylon too, and waterproof protected down. One of the best features is its neck draft collar, which adds more comfort and warmth. It’s an ultralight backpacking sleeping bag that would lighten your load so you can pack that extra dessert for your weekend backcountry adventure.


8. Best Sleeping Bag for PackabilityTherm-a-Rest Hyperion 20

Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 20-Degree Ultralight Down Mummy Sleeping Bag, Regular
  • Price: $499.95
  • Comfort rating: 32°F
  • Fill power: 900 
  • Weight: 1 lb. 4 oz
  • Pros: RDS approved, zoned insulation, hydrophobic down  
  • Cons: Narrow dimensions, short length zippers

Overall: Its a great value down sleeping bag under 2 lbs, the Hyperion 20 offers excellent compatibility. It utilizes lightweight technologies for a warm performance. The zoned insulation means most of the down is on top of the bag, for example.  

For some, it will be too narrow, but it has won awards for a reason. First, it offers one of the best packable options on the market, taking up around the same amount of space as a Nalgene water bottle.

Sizes come in Small, Regular, Long


9. Best Women’s Sleeping BagFeathered Friends Egret 20

  • Comfort rating: 32°F
  • Fill power: 950 
  • Weight:  1 lb. 11 oz
  • Pros: High-quality, lightweight, RDS certified 
  • Cons: Expensive, not for all

Overall: Women tend to run colder than men, which makes their sleeping bag fit essential. Feathered Friends has designed the Egret specifically for women, but if the sizing fits, anyone can try it. There is also the Swallow UL 20 bag for men.

The Egret still weighs in at less than 2 lbs but offers some of the best quality, thanks to the ethically harvested 950+ goose down. 


10. Best For Easy Access Sierra Designs Nitro 20?

Sierra Designs Nitro 20 Degree DriDown Sleeping Bag Ultralight Down...
  • Price: $319.95
  • Comfort temperature rating: 28°F
  • Fill power: 800 
  • Weight: 1 lb 15 oz
  • Pros: Dridown technology, compressible, foot vent
  • Cons: Foot vent

The Nitro is an ultralight winter sleeping bag with similar features to more expensive competitors. However, the water-repellent technology ensures the bag will dry faster, stays drier for longer, and has better thermal efficiency. 

The foot vent will be a positive for some and a con for others. It is unnecessary for winter sleeping bags, but it can appeal if you are a hot or cold sleeper and want easy foot access, or have more wiggle room. However, it also allows cold drafts to sneak in. 

Like some other bags on the list, the compression sack is not included. However, it packs down well. 


11.  Best Synthetic Fill BagMarmot Ultra Elite 20

MARMOT Ultra Elite 20
  • Price: $218.95-$222.95
  • Comfort rating: 32.9°F
  • Fill power: Synthetic insulation of 3 fibers
  • Weight: 1 lb 15.5 oz
  • Pros: Synthetic fill option, has won awards, highly compressible
  • Cons: Heavier than ultralight down bags

If you are looking for synthetic insulation under 2 lbs, then choose the Marmot Ultra Elite 20. Unfortunately, not many manufacturers have maintained the warmth to weight ratio with a comfort rating for winter, but Marmot has managed. 

It is one of the lightest bags on the market, and its compressible stuff sack helps it pack down well for a synthetic bag. 


Key Features of Ultralight Winter Sleeping Bags

There is plenty of choices when it comes to the best ultralight winter sleeping bags. But there are some critical features of a quality sleeping bag you should consider, in order to help make the right choice for your needs. 

Woman holding Winter Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Bag Temperature Ratings

Choosing the correct sleeping bag temperature rating will make or break your trip. Get it wrong, and you will still have a night shivering, even if it is a winter sleeping bag.

Winter sleeping bags, which are also perfect for mountain backpacking, usually range from -40 degrees Fahrenheit to 0 or above. Some two or three-season bags ranging from 5 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit can work depending on the winter season where you plan to backpack. 

Some sleeping bags use the standardized EN (European Norm) or the newer  ISO (International Organization for Standardization). Both have requirements, such as the ISO’s, that sleeping bags have to meet. It provides a standard testing protocol to improve the accuracy of temperature ratings, with four points of reference:

  • Upper limit
  • Comfort
  • Lower limit
  • Extreme

The upper limit is how warm it can get on average before you feel hot, which is not a concern in winter. Comfort is the temperature you can sleep comfortably, and the lower limit is when the temperature drops, how long you can sleep without being disturbed. Finally, the extreme temperature is the lowest temperature a human can survive the night.

When you pick a lightweight sleeping bag, consider factors such as your age, gender, and your tent choice. It depends on what type of winter backpacking trip you are doing, such as a recreational or expedition trip. 

It is best to use the comfort and lower limit temperatures as your primary guide because extreme is a last resort option. Always check temperatures before begin your thru hiking adventure, and pick a warmer sleeping bag to be on the safe side.

Some companies, such as Feathered Friends, do not submit their bags for EN/ISO testing. However, reputable companies have their own temperature testing process you can inquire about. Generally, their estimations are on the conservative side.

Insulation Types

To use down or not to use down, that is the backpacking gear question. Both down and synthetic insulation types offer benefits if they come from a reputable brand. The dream goal for any backpacker is for all gear to be featherweight, and save weight. Especially for the bulkiest items as in an ultralight backpacking sleeping bag that is under 6 oz.

winter camping with sleeping bags

Down refers to the natural fill of duck or goose plumage, which looks like feathers but sits just below their feathers. The air the plumage traps gets heated by your body. Therefore, it is easy to pack, lasts a while, and is warm. 

If you pick down, you should look at the fill power. The number refers to the warmth because of how much loft or fluffiness the bag has.

The higher the fill power, the more expensive the best ultralight bag is generally. Look for a fill of 550 or over, with high fill power being over 800. If you are a cold sleeper, then adding a sleeping bag liner will give you extra warmth on cold nights.

Synthetic insulation is man-made and works similarly to down. It has a cheaper price point, is non-allergenic, has better water resistance, and is more breathable. However, synthetic insulation usually has a short lifespan, is cooler, and is heavier.

Price Point

Price is also important. A cheap, unbranded sleeping bag will not go far in winter. However, once you compare the costs of the best ultralight sleeping bags under 2 lbs, you can consider what’s in your price range.

Indeed, a well-made sleeping bag can last for years with the proper care. The main price difference is whether the bag has down or synthetic insulation. Basically, synthetic insulation is cheaper.

Water Resistance and Durability

Sleeping bags have a denier rating (D) for their outer shell fabric of polyester or nylon, which refers to the thickness of the thread. The higher the number, the higher durability. However, a quality bag is seldom likely to rip or break if you take care. 

As mentioned, a down bag will tend to have a longer lifespan. However, synthetic sleeping bags have more water resistance. Therefore, down loses its ability to insulate when it is wet. 

In heavy wet conditions, a synthetic sleeping bag is a better choice. Synthetic bags dry faster and maintain their waterproof ability. 

However, down water repellent technology continues to advance. You can find down that it is hydrophobic, which means it has built-in protection from moisture. Some down sleeping bags also have water-resistant shell fabrics.

Sleeping Bag Shapes

Sleeping bags can come in different shapes, and it is a personal choice as to what works for you.

A mummy bag is commonly used for lightweight sleeping bags, as it cuts down the weight and boosts warmth. Generally, they are on the cozier side, and as the name suggests, keeps a pretty close fit.

Rectangular sleeping bags and quilts allow you to stretch out and move around more. You can sometimes also use them like a sleeping bag quilt if you can fully open the zipper.

Semi-rectangular sleeping bags are a cross between a mummy and rectangular design. It allows more space than a mummy bag while still keeping to a lower weight.  

You can also buy spoon shape bags, quilts, and double sleeping bags. Spoon backpacking sleeping bags have more space around your knees and elbows to sleep comfortably. 

ust monarch sleeping bag with temp control, heavy duty construction, pillow...
ust Monarch Ultra Light Sleeping Bag with wings
$244.38
Semi-rectangular ultralight sleeping bag
Weight: 1.0 lb
The North Face Cat's Meow 20F / -7C Backpacking Sleeping Bag, Blue Wing...
The North Face Cat's Meow Ultralight Sleeping Bag 20F / -7C
$141.71
Mummy Shape Backpacking Sleeping Bag
Weight: 6 oz
Sierra Designs Cloud 20 Degree DriDown Sleeping Bag Ultralight Zipperless...
Sierra Designs Ultralight 800 Down Zipperless Sleeping Bag
$339.00
Mummy Zipperless Ultra light sleeping bag
Weight: 2 lbs
Nemo Riff Mens 15 Reg (Ember Red/Deep Water)
Nemo Riff Ultralight 800 Down Sleeping Bag
$399.95
Spoon Shape lightweight sleeping bag
Weight: 2lb 6 oz
Zone Tech Double Camping Sleeping Bag with 2 Pillows – 3-4 Season...
Zone Tech Double Sleeping Bag
$50.99
Doublewide sleeping bag
Weight: 6.5 lbs
Naturehike Ultralight Goose Down Sleeping Bag 750/550 Fill Power Compact...
Naturehike Ultralight Goose Down Sleeping Bag 750/550 Fill Power
$134.00
Rectangular Ultra light sleeping bag
Weight 1.95 lbs
Sleeping Bags come in a variety of shapes: Rectangle, Spoon, Mummy and Hybrids

Quilts are an excellent ultralight backpacking option for those who run warm and want to stay as light as possible during the winter months. If you have a quality sleeping pad, they can maintain enough insulation. 

Double bags are for people who want to sleep together. If you pick rectangular brands with zips on opposite sides, you can sometimes zip them together too. 

Weight and Packability

It is essential not to sacrifice warmth to shave weight, in cold weather. Often your lightweight sleeping bag can be the heaviest item you have to pack, which is why ultralight winter sleeping bags continue to be sought after. 

Down will be your lightest option, but there are other synthetic fill options available too. Most are over 2 lbs. 

A down sleeping bag tends to pack smaller and easier too, but you can use a compression stuff sack to improve the packability of any sleeping bag you use. Be sure to let your down bag breathe out of the sack when not on a backpacking trip.

Packable sleeping bags are best for backpackers
Ultralight sleeping bags will fit into stuff sacks

Other Ultralight Sleeping Bag Features

Check out the sleeping bag’s zipper features, such as the length of the zippers. Even zipperless bags can add to the bag’s lifespan and how lightweight it is. 

Most lightweight sleeping bags have short zippers. First, check there is snag protection and consider which side you would prefer the zipper. Some bags have zippers on both sides for more ventilation, but it is better to have a one-sided zipper or go zipperless for winter.

If you want a zipper, look out for ultralight winter sleeping bags with a draft tube too. The draft tube helps stay warm, as it usually runs the entire length of the zipper. 

Conclusion

Ultralight backpacking can feel like a challenge in winter. But as you can see from these ultralight sleeping bags under 2 lbs, there are plenty of lightweight winter gear options out there!

As long as you have your hiking essentials, a lightweight pack is never a bad idea. You will be able to hike faster and longer without injury. And as anyone who has had a cold night in a tent knows, a warm sleeping bag is essential! 

Most ultralight backpacking sleeping bags are high-quality. The key is to pick one that suits your needs, such as the right comfort rating.

Do you want more hiking information? We have plenty of hiking guides and gear posts for you. Also, check out our other gear posts here. 

Do you have any favorite camp sites that might be off the beaten track and worth checking out for experienced hikers looking for serenity in nature? Trail tales like Camping with My Brother and Weekend in Cederberg are what we want to see!

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