For quite some time now, I’ve been looking at a new sleeping bag that is more in line with my current leanings towards sporty bikepacking.
The requirements: Lightweight, warm, small or compact, down (RDS certified), insensitive to moisture (condensation), no quilt.
The areas of use: 3 seasons, light minus degrees possible, in the tent and in the bivy bag, in domestic climes, various regions worldwide and especially in the high mountains of Kyrgyzstan.
By light I mean around 500-600g. Currently I have a Cumulus Panyam 450, which weighs 900g (individualized). I had it with me at the Atlas Mountain Race, but I would like it to be lighter and more compact, also so that it fits better in the handlebar roll.
By warm I mean that it keeps me warm with a Term A Rest NeoAir, a silk inlet, in the tent to an outside temperature of -10 degrees, in the bivy sack to 0 degrees. Of course, the individual cold feeling always depends on other factors, such as physical condition, effort, diet, fatigue, etc..
With relatively insensitive to moisture I mean: The arguments that in wet conditions down is no longer usable, are outdated, because with Pertex outer material and hydrophobic down and impregnation, you are very well prepared even in humid conditions today and do not have to resort to synthetic (and therefore heavier) bags.
Why not a quilt? I like to have a hood to wrap myself in. And when bivouacking, a sleeping bag that warms me completely, has a zipper that also allows me to regulate the heat, and I don’t have to rely on extra clothing on my upper body.
32 Sleeping bags for 3 seasons
So I looked around and found quite a few sleeping bags that more or less meet my requirements. And so that you also get something out of it and this list is possibly a help for your research, I have expanded the selection and sorted “my” sleeping bags into three weight classes: 0-600g, 600-800g and 800 to 1,000g.
Note: You can find a link to the complete table on Google Docs at the bottom of the post.
Sleeping bags weight class up to 600g
Eight sleeping bags I have collected in this category, even if the RAB Mythic Ultra 360 with 606g actually is not one of them. But at 6 grams I’m not so, because for this weight there is heat performance full: Whole -2 to -8 degrees offers the RAB in the comfort to limit range. Only the PHD can do more, although I have not found the limit and maximum temperature here. The PHD has with 1,000 cuin also the highest value in this list. Price-wise, both are similar at around 600 euros, with the PHD weighing in at almost 150g less. For this I do not know the pack size of the RAB.
Equally interesting, of course, is the Western Mountaineering HighLite, which offers a very good weight (480g) at a very good price (340 euros). I would also like to highlight the X-Lite 300 from the Polish company Cumulus. This model I have individualized, that is, still made adjustments to the standard model (amount of down, zipper, fabric and color). The X-Lite has a sufficient comfort temperature of 2 degrees and with 514g weight at just under 400 euros also a good weight/price ratio.
Based on a recommendation, I also looked at the Sea to Summit Spark SP II: This is a sleeping bag weighing only 560g (in size up to 198) with a comfort temperature of 4 degrees. He is rather close-fitting cut, however, in the new / current version, the space has been improved somewhat. Weight saving is also its ½ zipper. With a comfort temperature of 4 degrees, it is quite suitable for cooler nights, but I would like to see a little more heat performance here. In the smaller size up to 1.85m it weighs just over 500g and even with a size up to 1.98m only 560g come together.
I was really surprised by the sleeping bags from Term A Rest. With the Hyperion, they have a whole line of ultra-light sleeping bags on offer that I find really interesting. I have in my list the Hyperion 32 UL, but also check out the Hyperion 0C UL, which weighs only 520g in size L, but is “only” recommended down to 0 degrees.
If I had to make a choice among sleeping bags in this weight class, I would probably choose between the Term a Rest, ME Firefly, the Cumulus X-Lite and the Western Mountaineering HighLite. From this category will then probably also come my new sleeping bag.
Sleeping bags weight class 600 to 800g
This is the category with the largest selection. Besides the well-known RAB, PHD and Cumulus, other brands are also represented in this category: Carinthia, Millet, Robens and Mountain Hardware.
Carinthia is a domestic company that mainly builds equipment for special forces, and here has some experience in the manufacture and development of fabrics and insulating clothing. The D 400 is a down sleeping bag that weighs 735g and offers a very good amount of warmth while having a very small pack size (compressed) at 17×16. And for those who value it: The D 400 is made in Europe.
Millet is certainly known on the mountaineering scene. They also make sleeping bags and I had looked at the Trilogy Edge some time ago. At 670g, it’s one of the lighter ones in this category and suitable for sleepers up to 1.95m tall.
The Robens Couloir 350 is at the upper weight class limit at 795g, but it is designed for sleepers up to 1.95m tall at this weight. It also has a center zipper, which is definitely an interesting solution. As one of the few sleeping bags in my list, it has a 95/5 down distribution, but again works with 700+ cuin down. For that, women should be comfortable in the sleeping bag down to 2 degrees and men down to -4 degrees.
The Mountain Hardware Phantom 30F looks like an expedition mummy that keeps warm very well. 2 to -4 degrees in the comfort and limit range is perfectly ok and 741g for sleepers up to 1.98m is a good weight/performance offering.
“Check out Big Agnes too!” – A good tip, because so far I have perceived the Americans rather as a tent manufacturer. But they also have some sleeping bags on offer: with the Flume and the Torchlight UL 30 they have two models that made it into my selection. Interestingly, the Flume is not only 100g lighter than the Torchlight, but also warmer with a comfort temperature of -1 degrees. Both models rely on 850 cuin down and are also priced similarly at 300 to 340 euros.
If you want it to be really warm, you can’t go past the Sea to Summit Spark SP III and the Cumulus X-Lite 400 in this selection. The S2S has a comfort temperature of -2 degrees, the Cumulus of -1 degrees. In terms of weight, the Cumulus (individualized) does better than the S2S with 624g, also because the Cumulus is already designed for a body height of up to 1.96m and the S2S only goes up to 1.83m (and the larger version would then also be heavier). In addition, the Polish use down with 900 cuin and the Australians 850 cuin. The X-Lite 400 is virtually the next stage of development of the X-Lite 300 with more heat power, which plays in the weight class up to 600g.
In this weight class I would take either the Cumulus X-Lite 400 or the Big Agnes Flume.
Sleeping bags weight class 800 to 1,000g
If there may be a little more weight: On classic bike trips, I do not care about the gram hunt, which is why it can weigh a little more and maybe even give a little more comfort. These sleeping bags I had partly already in the shortlist when I bought my current Cumulus a few years ago. At that time, the Panyam 450 (customized) narrowly won the race against the Yeti V.I.B. 400. On the one hand, because I wanted to try out the Cumulus brand, which was still young at the time, and on the other hand, because the Panyam had a very attractive price.
And so, of course, the Panyam 450 is back in my list today, as are two other models from the Polish company: the Panyam 600 and the Mysterious Traveller 500. Both, however, are rather “heavyweights” at 970 and 885g, but with -6 degrees comfort temperature on the Panyam 600, they bring more warmth than is absolutely necessary. This is rather a sleeping bag for cycling frostbites, which is why he has its justification here.
Alpkit is a brand that I got to know mainly through bikepacking. They offer a lot of equipment and also bikes (special bikes). And so they also have with the SkyeHigh 500 and the PipeDream 400 sleeping bags on offer, which are well worth a look. Especially the PipeDream offers space for 1.95m tall sleepers and that at a comfort temperature of -4 degrees and a weight of 865g. The SkyeHigh isn’t quite as warm and is a bit heavier at 970g (also only uses 650+ cuin down), but it’s a real bargain at 180 euros.
A classic, though a bit too heavy for me, is the Mountain Equipment Helium 400 sleeping bag. But he offers a reasonable temperature range, costs with 300 euros not so much and is with its 830g with a sleeper size of up to 1.85m also not sooo heavy.
The sleeping bag with the highest thermal performance in this list is the Western Mountaineering UltraLite, which entices with a comfort temperature of -4 degrees. And all this at only 880g weight and for sleepers up to 2m height. However, it costs with 550 euros also relatively much.
Those who value sustainability should take a look at the Vaude Rotstein 450. He is slightly heavier with 900g weight, but has an interesting feature: the sleeping bag can be continuously adjusted in length by 25-30m. However, its pack size of 36×22 is yet rather what for the classic bike traveler with plenty of space in the bag.
If I had to choose one in this weight class, I would actually take the Panyam 450 again.
Summary: My selection
I hope I can also help you with these collected data and models, should you be looking for a sleeping bag for bike travel or bikepacking. As I said, there are many other brands and models. So this is my personal and subjective selection – please understand it as such.
Among all the sleeping bags I would currently (probably) opt for the Cumulus X-Lite 300 or the Term A Rest Hyperion or the Western Mountaneering HighLite. All three would bring me well (in the tent) in Kyrgyzstan through the mountains (riding the Silk Road Mountain Race 2021 there) and at the same time also be a good protection in the bivy sack in more temperate climates. Let’s see, it’s still some time away….
The whole selection at a glance
Here you can find all sleeping bags and their data on Google Docs (click on the image):