Choosing the Best Summer Sleeping Bag for 2017

Summer nights around the campfire are what makes the great outdoors so appealing.

When the flames die down and it’s time to sleep you’re going to need a decent sleeping bag if you want a good night’s rest. Daytime temperatures may be warm but chilly nights can make for a pretty miserable sleep if you don’t have one of the best summer sleeping bags.

You’re going to want something light and easy to pack but that still keeps you warm enough when the temperatures dip towards 40 degrees. We’ve put together a list of things to look out for when choosing your next bag as well as some summer sleeping bag reviews.

Our Picks:​

Sleeping Bag

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RAB Neutrino 200

The Best - if money is no object!

Ledge Sports Scorpion

Best for Budget!

Kelty Cosmic Down

Top quality mid-price down bag

Mountain Hardwear Lamina

Best mid-price synthetic bag

*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.

Summer Sleeping Bag Reviews

There are plenty of summer sleeping bag options at both budget and premium price points. Here are our reviews of our top 10 favorites.


Editor's choice if money is no object

If you’re looking for a lightweight sleeping bag for summer but want to cover your bases in case of a chilly night then this is a great choice.

With a 44 degree comfort factor this is ideal for summer but combined with a good sleeping pad will cope in cooler temperatures too.

The tapered design and lightweight materials result in an impressive 1.2 pounds that easily packs down into a compact dry bag compression stuff sack.

The main zip comes down ¾ of the way on the left side and allows for two Neutrinos to be zipped together in case you want to snuggle with your significant other.

Both the liner and the shell materials have a soft feel to them which adds to the already great comfort this sleeping bag affords.

The angled footbox and the proportional cut allow for enough wiggle room so that you don’t feel constricted like you can in some mummy sleeping bags.

What We Like

  • Pertex Quantum outer fabric provides great durability
  • 800FP European goose down results in good weight to warmth ratio
  • Nickwax hydrophobic down ensures good water resistance
  • Very lightweight and great compressibility
  • Internal zippered stash pocket

What We Don't Like

  • Would prefer separate draw cords for hood and internal collar
  • High price tag

Super lightweight for warmer nights.

If you’re looking for one of the lightest sleeping bags for summer activities then at 1.12 pounds the Lamina 45 is the sleeping bag you’re after.

The synthetic fill may not give you the warmth that you get from down but it does result in a very lightweight bag with impressive compressibility.

At 45 degrees or higher this will be plenty warm enough but lower than that and you’ll need to add a layer or two to your PJ’s.

The shell is DWR coated and the soft polyester lining does a good job of wicking away perspiration and condensation.

Being synthetic, both the lining and the outer shell dry pretty quickly.

We really like that the full length zipper has double sliders which allows for easy ventilation of whichever part of your body may be getting a little too toasty.

What We Like

  • Tapered mummy design is wide enough for good comfort
  • Welded baffles enhance loft and eliminates cold spots
  • Synthetic fill gives good loft while allowing for surprisingly good compressibility
  • DWR coated shell exhibits good water repellency
  • Internal zippered pocket big enough to hold flashlight, eyeglasses, etc..
  • Wow, it’s super light!

What We Don't Like

  • Got a little chilly below 45 degrees on a rainy night

Almost a 3-season for autumn & spring hiking

With a comfort level down to 41 degrees this sleeping bag should be plenty warm enough for the odd chilly night during summer.

With a decent sleeping pad you could even count on this as your go to 3-season sleeping bag.

At 2.3 pounds it’s pretty light and the Pyrotec synthetic fill packs down to the size of a loaf of bread so it’ll take up very little space once you’ve got it back into the stuff sack that it comes with.

The three-quarter zipper uses a two-way zip so you can get some venting going if you get a little warm.

The anti-snag zipper tape also makes sure you don’t catch the shell material in the zipper.

If you want something a little warmer then go for the Ignition 3 or 4 but for most summer conditions this one will be just fine.

What We Like

  • Synthetic fill gives good warmth and still compresses well for great packability
  • 30D ripstop outer shell fabric offers good durability
  • Soft touch polyester lining feels really comfy
  • Draft tube along zipper with anti-snag design
  • Comes with nylon compression sack

What We Don't Like

  • Would have been great if the price tag was a little lower

Great price point for a good quality down bag

If you sleep hot then even some of the summer sleeping bags may get a little too warm.

With a quoted comfort level of 48 degrees the Kelty Cosmic 40 will be comfortable in the low to mid 40’s while not cooking you if it gets a little warmer.

The relaxed mummy shape is a good option if you want the space and weight saving without feeling constricted.

We like how the hood is big enough to stuff a sweatshirt or something else into to make an impromptu pillow.

When you break up camp you’ll be really impressed with how compactly it cinches down.

At a respectable weight of 1.75 pounds once you’ve got this bag back into its stuff sack you’ll hardly notice it in your pack.

What We Like

  • Water resistant DriDown down provides great insulation
  • Excellent loft and compressibility
  • Shell breathes well and dries fast
  • Footbox has plenty of room
  • Great value at this price point

What We Don't Like

  • It’s too thin to use comfortably without a sleeping pad

Synthetic bag for restless sleepers

If you’re looking to shave some weight and space from your pack then this is a great summer sleeping bag option.

It only weighs 1.7 pounds but the space saving is where it really shines.

It uses synthetic insulation made from recycled material but only has this on the top side of the bag. The bottom of the sleeping bag has no insulation but rather incorporates a sheath where your full length sleeping pad slides in.

This means you get good insulation on the top, a good connection between the bag and pad (no more sliding off) while also reducing weight and bulk of the bag. It does mean, though, that you can’t use it comfortably without a pad.

It also has an integrated pillow pocket where you could stuff something into if you want some more support for your head.

The more rectangular shape gives you plenty of room while the smart insulation arrangement means you don’t have to sacrifice pack space to get it.

The zippers also allow a left and right zip bag to be mated if you want to cuddle for body warmth.

What We Like

  • Full length 2-way right zipper
  • Vaulted footbox gives good wiggle room for feet
  • Integrated sleeping pad sheath - no more sliding off!
  • Packs down compactly to 8” x 7”

What We Don't Like

  • No padding underneath - Cannot use without a pad
  • No hood

Top pick for a comfort-cut mummy bag

This is a very versatile summer bag.

The wraparound zipper allows you to open it up completely to use it as an insulated blanket. It has a comfort rating of 46 degrees so it will be warm enough even in cooler summer temperatures.

If you get a little too warm the two way zipper means you can get some air in down by your feet.

Lying with your arms out of a sleeping bag can be a little uncomfortable on the side with no zipper. This bag comes with a short zipper on the side opposite the entry zipper.

When it gets too warm you can unzip this and fold the top of the bag down like a blanket.

The synthetic insulation provides good warmth while allowing for a lightweight 2.3 pounds and a 8” x 13” stuffed volume.

What We Like

  • Full length zipper runs through footbox allowing bag to lie flat
  • Zipper baffle prevents cold air entering bag
  • Internal accessories pocket
  • Short side zipper allows for top of bag to fold down like blanket
  • Comfort cut allows for plenty of room

What We Don't Like

  • A little tough to get into a compression bag
  • Doesn't pack down as small as some others

Down bag if you sleep a little "cold"

If you manage to sleep cold even in summer then this is a solid choice without adding extra weight.

The tapered design and duck down will keep you toasty even down to 40 degrees.

The trapezoidal footbox is snug and comfortable and also has a heater pocket if your feet tend to get cold.

The down has been treated with Down Defender to give it good water resistance and the two hang loops make it easy to dry out the next morning.

Even though it has plenty of features and feels really plush it only weighs about 2 pounds and packs down into the stuff sack at 7” x 14”. The weight is slightly more than what Marmot claim but it’s still pretty light.

The stitching is top notch and both the shell and liner materials are soft and quiet

What We Like

  • 650FP hydrophobic duck down offers good insulation and excellent compressibility
  • Dries quickly
  • Full length 2-way zipper allows venting towards bottom of bag
  • Draft tube along length of zipper keeps cold air out
  • Internal zippered pocket for cell phone and other small items
  • Heater pocket in footbox keeps your toes extra toasty!

What We Don't Like

  • Marmot claim 1.7 pounds but it’s closer to just over 2 pounds
  • A little pricey

Only for the warmest of summer nights

If you’re looking for a budget option and only expect temperatures above 60 degrees then this sleeping bag is a great choice.

At about a fifth of the price of the bags above you’re really getting a good deal.

They claim a minimum temperature rating of 50 degrees but the minimal insulation it has will actually leave you shivering once you get to around 60.

If conditions are dry and warmer than 60 it’s plenty warm enough and very comfortable.

The lack of insulation also means that it’s really lightweight (1.5 pounds) and once you get it into the supplied compression bag it compresses down to 14” x 8”.

What We Like

  • Really cheap
  • Comfort cut mummy shape has plenty of room
  • High loft insulation and soft liner offer good warmth and comfort
  • Machine washable
  • Breathes well

What We Don't Like

  • Only good for temperatures around 60 degrees and above
  • Probably won't stand the test of time

Good price for warmer nights

This is a very comfortable bag that performs well in temperatures above 50 degrees at a medium price point.

The synthetic high loft fill is sufficient to achieve the quoted comfort factor of 56 degrees but the sewn through insulation does leave you with some cold spots.

We wouldn’t recommend using this bag in temperatures lower than this.

This bag is really light (1.8 pounds) and packs down easily into the supplied compression sack to about 6” x 11”.

It can be tricky getting the bag out of the compression sack the first time. After that just stuff it in (don’t try to roll it) and it goes in and out with ease.

What We Like

  • Full length 2- way zipper with draft tube and zipper guard to prevent snags
  • Brushed lining in footbox and chest area for added warmth and comfort
  • DWR coated shell offers good water resistance
  • Mummy shape but with good space
  • Really comfortable
  • Easy to get into stuff sack

What We Don't Like

  • No draft collar
  • Zipper can be a little fiddly

Best for Budget!

This is a great budget summer sleeping bag for conditions of 50 degrees and above.

At this price point the level of comfort, features and weight are really impressive.

It weighs less than 2 pounds and packs down to the size of a coffee can.

The shell, liner and insulation are all synthetic and exhibit good water resistance and quick drying properties.

We like that it’s machine washable and instead of clumping like some other cheap bags do, the insulation stays right where it needs to be after washing.

The footbox does a good job of keeping your feet warm and the two way zip allows for venting at your feet if you get too warm.

In warm weather this bag makes it hard to justify buying a more expensive sleeping bag.

What We Like

  • Decent performance at a budget price
  • Handy external side pocket
  • Drawstring hood for added warmth
  • Very light with great compressibility
  • Breathes well

What We Don't Like

  • If you’re over 6 foot it’s too snug
  • Don't expect a lot of features at this price!

Our Favorites

The Rab Neutrino 200 is our favorite summer sleeping bag. But it comes with a hefty price tag.

The great insulation properties you get from the goose down mean you get a warm sleeping bag without a lot of extra weight.

With down you’re always wary of moisture but they did such a great job with Nickwax in making it quick drying and water resistant.

The proportional cut, angled foot box and close fitting neck baffle result in an extremely comfortable sleeping bag.

That said, we spend a lot of time on the trail - if you are only going camping or backpacking a couple of times a year, there's no need to spend quite so much.

The Ledge Sports Scorpion +45 is our best budget sleeping bag for summer.

It costs around 80% less than the higher end sleeping bags but still gives you a comfortable night’s sleep as long as the temperature doesn’t drop below 50 degrees.

It doesn’t have a lot of insulation but that makes it really light and it takes up hardly any space in your pack.

If you’re looking for a cheap sleeping bag for kids or if you’re just an occasional summer hiker then this is a good budget option.

Between the cheapest and the best lie the rest.

For a synthetic sleeping bag - great for wetter trails but slightly bulkier in your pack you would do well with:

North Face Aleutian

Mountain Hardwear Lamina (this is the one I use)​.

If you are committed to a down sleeping bag then you won't go wrong with:

Kelty Cosmic Down

Marmot Always Summer.

Tips for Choosing the Best Summer Sleeping Bag

Temperature Ratings

Most good sleeping bags will be rated according to the European Norm, or EN13537.

The figures that most manufacturers will quote will be a Comfort Rating and a Lower Limit. The Comfort Rating is the temperature at which a cold sleeper, or average woman, would still feel warm.

Image courtesy of Thermarest

The Lower Limit indicates the lower end temperature where a guy, or a warm sleeper, would still feel comfortable.

These ratings are a bit subjective but are a good guide when comparing products. Stick to the comfort factor in making your choice if you want to be sure to avoid a chilly night.

If it gets too warm you can always just open the zipper.​

How much should I spend?

If you’re sure that the temperatures you’re going to experience won’t be going below 50 degrees and if you’re only an occasional outdoors person then buying a cheap summer sleeping bag is fine.

Expect to pay between $40 and $60 for something half decent. If you go out more regularly and you want something durable that will keep you warm even in the spring or fall then be prepared to buy a top rated summer sleeping bag.

Depending on the material, insulation and features be prepared to pay anywhere between $100 and $300.

​Sleeping Bag Zipper: Left or Right?

Sleeping bags come with zipper down either the left or right side of the bag. If you’re right handed then you’ll normally want the zipper on your left.

This will make it easier for you to operate the zipper when you’re lying on your back. It may not sound like a big deal but getting zipped up tight at night is just so much easier when you’ve got that zip on the best side for your dominant hand.

Zippers

To cut down on the overall weight of the bag some manufacturers use ¾ length zippers. For the most part these are fine but they can sometimes make getting in and out a little tricky.

Full length 2-way zippers give you easier access and also allow for venting anywhere along your body and even down at your feet.

Some bags will have the zip wrap around through the footbox so that the sleeping bag can be completely opened up and lie flat.

Zippers can easily snag the shell material so look for a bag with anti-snag tape or protection. A draft tube that runs the length of the zipper is also great for stopping a sneaky breeze from coming in through the zip.

Insulation

The insulation in the sleeping bag will either be down (duck or goose) or a synthetic combination of materials.

Down insulation has excellent insulation properties which results in a really warm sleeping bag without having to stuff it full of insulation. It also compresses really easily. The drawback is that you need to make sure that the down is treated to make it hydrophobic because if it gets wet it takes ages to dry and it won’t keep you warm.

Synthetic insulation does a lot better in wet conditions but you need more of it to make the bag sufficiently warm. This means the bag will weigh a little more and the synthetic fill doesn’t compress as easily.

Down insulation is our favorite but saving a few ounces and some space does push the price up significantly.

Mummy or Rectangular?

Best summer sleeping bag mummy shape

Mummy Shape

To cut down on overall weight and improve warmth most manufacturers seem to be going with the mummy, or tapered shape.

The tapered, close cut shape results in a better thermal efficiency leaving you feeling warmer. If you tend to spread out a bit or if you’re an active sleeper then consider a rectangular sleeping bag or at least a mummy bag with a comfort cut so that you have more space.

Summer sleeping bag rectangle style

Rectangular Sleeping Bag

A comfort or relaxed mummy cut doesn’t taper down quite as steeply towards your feet. Some manufacturers also call this a “semi-mummy” cut.

Sleeping Bag Storage

The three bags you’ll be storing your sleeping bag in will be a stuff sack, compression sack and storage bag.

A stuff sack is a simple bag with a drawstring that allows you to easily pack up your sleeping bag without compressing it too much.

Sleeping bags with down fill compress really well and storing these in a stuff sack is normally sufficient.

A compression sack has clips and straps that are designed to reduce the volume of the sleeping bag even further.

Sleeping bags with synthetic fill don’t compress so easily so if you want to take up less space in your backpack then you’ll need a compression sack.

It’s fine to keep the sleeping bag in a stuff sack or compression sack while you’re outdoors but once you get back home you’ll want to get it uncompressed and into a storage bag.

This allows the insulation to retain its shape and loft so that you get the same thermal performance on your next trip.​

Conclusion

The best summer sleeping bag is one that will keep you comfortable and warm on a chilly evening while fitting easily within your backpack and your budget.

Each of the bags we reviewed above will be well suited to warm weather outdoor activities. If you expect it to get a little colder or if you want more features or something closer to a 3 season sleeping bag then be prepared for a higher price tag.

Spending a little more on getting a quality sleeping bag is an investment worth making. When you’re wrapped up snug and warm and the temperature dips you’ll be glad you did.​

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