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Ultralight Sleeping Bags under 2 Pounds

Updated on April 19, 2011

How To Decide What Ultralight Sleeping Bag to Buy

An "ultralight" sleeping bag is a bag for backpackers who are extremely weight conscious about their gear. Once you have hauled a pack that was a bit too heavy through the backcountry, you will think very seriously about every ounce of gear that you put into your bag the next time you pack for a trip. When trekking a long distance over various types of terrain, climates and conditions there is an important balance you must strike between bringing gear that is lightweight versus versatile and appropriate for the conditions you will potentially face. Sleeping bags are a necessary part of your backpacking kit and average bags weigh in at 5 lbs. Ultralight bags are bags that weigh less than 3 pounds, typically the best weigh around 2lbs (give or take a few ounces).

The main factors to consider when choosing an ultralight sleeping bag are price, weight, and warmth. Other secondary factors to consider are zipper length, bag length (if you are tall), waterproofness and durability.

Here are a list of my favorite picks for 3-season bags based on all of these factors. They all weigh less than 2 lbs, have 800+ down fill and cost on average about $350.  Yep, that's right. They are super light, super warm and pricey. That pretty much defines a superlight sleeping bag. These bags are also on the warmer side...true 3-season bags that can be used in many climates.

GoLite Adrenaline 20

With 800-fill goose down, this warm bag has a baffled hood with drawcord design. Some folks love or hate its zipper design - on the top and 1/3 zip length. Its Pertex material is durable and waterproof enough where tent condensation won't impact you at all.

The Details That Matter:
Insulation: 800 Goose Down
Temperature: 20º
Weight: 1 lb 13 oz
Material: Pertex Endurance
Market Price: $325

Marmot Helium 15

This bag packs down to a very small size - Marmot bills it as, "packs smaller than a loaf of bread, weighs less than two pounds and keeps you warm down to 15°." It also has a full length zipper with snag guards.

The Details That Matter:
Insulation: 850 Goose Down
Temperature: 15º
Weight: 1 lb 15 oz
Material: LightForce 1.2 oz 100% Nylon Ripstop DWR (Durable Water Repellent finish)
Length: 6'
Market Price: $350

Western Mountaineering Ultralite 20

An all around winner - really lightweight, costs the same as the rest and made of a 20x20 denier material to prevent the feathers from floating out...

The Details That Matter:
Insulation: 850 Down
Temperature: 20º
Weight: 1 lb 10 oz
Material:20X20-denier ripstop nylon
Length: 6'
Market Price: $370

Marmot Hydrogen 30

So if you want to save a few bucks and a couple of ounces and you can sacrifice a bit of warmth on a very chilly night, Marmot's Hydrogen is a good choice. It is a 30 degree bag, and with a sleeping bag liner, will likely be as warm as the others (but then again, a liner weighs a few ounces and costs a few bucks so...)

The Details That Matter:
Insulation: 850 Down
Temperature: 30º
Weight: 1 lb 9 ozs
Material: 100% Nylon Ripstop DWR
Length: 6'
Market Price: $310

Considering Your Purchase

All of these light weight sleeping bags have down feathers for sleeping bag insulation and the mummy sleeping bag design. Also, unlike your typical sleeping bags like that Coleman sleeping bag you bought for $75 that you just love to car camp with, these weigh less than 2 pounds...but they cost about $350. ouch. Then again, when you are 15 miles in on the trail you will be glad that you spent the extra money to reduce the 2-3 pounds from your pack weight. And when the sun goes down at high altitude in your tent, you will be totally stoked you are in a warm, comfortable bag.

If the prices of these ultralight bags really are too steep, you can still get a compact sleeping bag that weighs just a pound more for significantly less money ($100 - $150 less). There are a lot of ultralight synthetic sleeping bags on the market that weigh a bit more, are cheaper and are more durable. The other route to go to save some money is buying a summer slepping bag...not as warm, but just as light and cheaper.


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    • intelpages profile image

      intelpages 4 years ago from Cebu City

      If you want to enjoy your trip, lightpacking & going ultralight is a necessity. Thank you for this hub!

    • marimccants profile image

      marimccants 6 years ago

      Informative and interesting hub! Thanks for sharing.

    • rb11 profile image

      rb11 8 years ago from Las Vegas

      I didn't realize how intricate sleeping bags have become. In the old days you just zip and sleep.


    • pauldeeds profile image

      Paul Deeds 8 years ago from Berkeley

      Feathered Friends makes some really nice ultra light bags, including the Vimeo which weighs in at 1 pound. They can adjust the fill to your needs, and if you're willing to drop some cash they can also build a bag to your specifications.

    • camedmondson profile image

      camedmondson 8 years ago from Hollywood

      How much does a typical dode bag weigh? I've found that my current dode bag just weighs down my dode entirely too much. I would also like a price list as to what you offer.


      A Dode Enthusiast