In their recently updated review of twenty seven of the industry's top backpacking sleeping bags, OutdoorGearLab, the world's finest outdoor gear review website, shares their findings after a several year long testing process. Reviewers included the outdoors enthusiast type typical of OutdoorGearLab testers, but this time around they also sought the input of National Park Service scientists and neighboring Sierra
guides. Testing occurred mainly in the Sierra Nevada peaks of California. Conditions were especially cold and moist and the many products were expertly evaluated in the areas of warmth, weight, comfort, packed size, features and versatility. Once the extended reviewing process was complete, scores were tallied and Best Buy, Top Pick and Editors’ Choice honors were granted. A buying advice guide accompanies this review as well and both are free resources designed to help educate consumers and steer them through the purchasing process.
The winners are:
Editors’ Choice – Western Mountaineering Alpinlite
Designed by a small manufacturing company based in California, Western Mountaineering has established a reputation for constructing products of extremely exceptional quality that are made right here in the U.S., and they have over thirty different down products to choose from in order to insure the right amount of fill, the proper length and cut for each of their unique customers. Gear Editor, Mike Phillips explains some of the great features of this particular product, “The Alpinlite has a nice wide cut and those with broad shoulders will appreciate the extra room. It has a neat feature of stiffening tape on the inside of the zipper that provides snag-free sliding. An excellent five inches of loft make it warm and comfortable, yet it still remains lightweight and compressible due to the exceptional quality down it is constructed from. This product is a great choice for packers who are not going extremely ultra-light and are looking for a durable high quality bag.”
Best Buy – Kelty Cosmic Down 20
This product wins the Best Buy award for the second time for being the best lightweight, affordable option for packing and camping. According to Phillips, “The Cosmic Down 20 is not the most compressible or the lightest product that we tested, but it is a great product for the price. The Cosmic Down 20 is warm, has a nice spacious cut and is much lighter than most options in the same price range. Our testers really liked its differential pull cords that were easy to operate when dark.”
This review has three different Top Pick award winners; The Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 15, the Sea To Summit Spark Sp II and the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 800 3-Season. Each product was chosen because it excels at a specific application.
Top Pick – Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 15
The synthetic bag with OutdoorGearLab’
Top Pick – Sea To Summit Spark Sp II
This Top Pick award winner was a favorite among reviewers for being exceptionally light and compressible. Phillips reports, “The Spark was great for those that spend more time packing their bag than laying in it. It packs down easy and is extremely light. We liked it for being the best option for those that want to hike fast while carrying fewer pounds."
Top Pick – Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 800 3-Season
The Backcountry Bed 800 won its Top Pick award for being the most comfortable product tested. Phillips mentions that the Backcountry Bed is not very light but it is extremely comfortable and has an interesting bed design that includes an attached quilt with pockets! Testers that liked to sleep on their stomachs really liked this bag a lot because it kept them exceptionally warm while doing so.
OutdoorGearLab, LLC produces the world’s best outdoor gear reviews by comparing popular products in the outdoor and fitness industries. Based in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the website, OutdoorGearLab, is a free resource for enthusiasts who engage in activities and sports such as hiking, backpacking, camping, climbing, and skiing. The review team performs rugged side-by-side tests of gear, publishing the results in comprehensive comparison reviews that are illustrated with photos. Each product is evaluated and scored across a range of weighted metrics relevant to that category, competing products are ranked, and awards are given to top performing models.
OutdoorGearLab by press release