Nobody enjoys getting too hot at night. It can ruin a perfectly good night’s sleep, right?
Add to that how much of a bummer it is to carry a heavy pack, and it makes so much sense to carry the barest minimum for your sleeping bag in the summer.
I’m going to make your summer hiking trips cooler and easier by introducing you to the best summer sleeping bags for hot weather backpacking.
- TOP 12 Best Summer & Warm Weather Sleeping Bags 2020
- Exped MegaSleep 40 Sleeping Bag
- Big Agnes Buffalo Park 40 Sleeping Bag
- Kelty Rambler 50 Sleeping Bag
- The North Face Dolomite 40 Sleeping Bag
- Marmot Hydrogen Down 30 Sleeping Bag
- Millet Baikal 750 Sleeping Bag
- Marmot Voyager 55 Sleeping Bag
- Sea to Summit Flame Women’s Sleeping Bag
- Rab Neutrino 400 Sleeping Bag
- The North Face Aleutian 55 Sleeping Bag
- Sea to Summit Traveller Down Sleeping Bag
- Teton Sports TrailHead 20 Sleeping Bag
- What to Look for in the Best Summer Sleeping Bag
- Bonus Tips
TOP 12 Best Summer & Warm Weather Sleeping Bags 2020
Exped MegaSleep 40 Sleeping Bag
Review: This lightweight synthetic sleeping bag is one you can feel good about having against your skin with its treatment-free fabrics. It has a rectangular design so that you’ll have more space to spread out in the heat, and it has zippers on both sides.
The synthetic insulation is quick-drying, lightweight and compressible so you’ll easily be able to carry it in your backpack and not worry about a little rain.
- Spacious rectangular design.
- Extremely Lightweight (1 lbs. 1oz.)
- Treatment-free environmentally friendly fabrics.
- Rated to 40 ˚F.
- Can be zipped together with another to create a double.
- Provided you know what you’re getting, there’s little to fault with this bag.
Big Agnes Buffalo Park 40 Sleeping Bag
Review: This is a sleeping bag for larger people or those who want a spacious sleeping environment. It’s wider and longer than most sleeping bags, and while it has a slightly tapered design, it’s still pretty rectangular so there’ll be no chance of getting claustrophobic.
The Buffalo Park is an example of Big Agnes’ more unique design, with the underside of the sleeping bag forming a sleeve for a sleeping pad to be inserted, making it feel more like a quilt and sheet style than a true sleeping bag.
- Rated to 40 ˚F.
- Unzips down both sides for plenty of ventilation on hot nights.
- Pad sleeve saves weight and keeps you positioned on the pad all night.
- Needs to be paired with a good sleeping pad.
- Not as light as many of the bags on this list (2 lbs. 15 oz).
Kelty Rambler 50 Sleeping Bag
Review: This is a true summer sleeping bag, with a temperature rating of just 50 ˚F. But, if you’re a hot sleeper, this is what you’re going to want!
It’s a versatile semi-rectangular design with an almost full-length zipper and is reasonably lightweight (2 lbs. 2oz.).
It uses synthetic Cloudloft insulation which is lightweight and compressible, and the comfort tuck zipper system lets your feet out to breath.
- Rated to 50 ˚F.
- Semi-rectangular shape is spacious and weight saving.
- Unzips completely to convert into a blanket with a little foot pocket.
- Bottom zipper opens up the foot compartment.
- Not spacious enough for people with larger builds.
The North Face Dolomite 40 Sleeping Bag
Review: This summer sleeping bag by North Face provides a spacious rectangular cut and has good quality zippers on both sides so you can open the whole thing up.
You can also feel good about the materials used, with a third of the synthetic insulation coming from recycled materials.
It isn’t water-resistant, but this feature isn’t so important for summer sleeping bags.
- Rated to 40 ˚F.
- Zippers on both sides.
- Lightweight, partially recycled synthetic insulation.
- Spacious rectangular design.
- Not ultralight (2lbs. 9 oz.).
Marmot Hydrogen Down 30 Sleeping Bag
Review: This 3 season sleeping bag will be a little too warm for really hot summers, but it’s very lightweight and easy to unzip with the two-way zipper that means you can ventilate the feet.
It’s filled with water-repellant treated down which could be a bonus if things get sweaty. And, the outer is made of sturdy 20D ripstop nylon.
- 800-fill water repellent down.
- Rated to 30 ˚F.
- Lightweight (1 lbs. 7oz.).
- Mummy design could be too warm for hot weather.
Millet Baikal 750 Sleeping Bag
Review: The Baikal 750 is a lightweight synthetic sleeping bag by well-known brand, Millet.
It weighs just 1 lbs. 11 oz. and has a comfort temperature rating of 50 ˚F or a lower limit of about 40 ˚F. But if you do get chilly, the design comes with a hood and drawcord which makes a big difference in heat retention when compared to the non-hooded rectangular designs.
The synthetic fill also contains eco-friendly materials and is coated with silicone for water repellency.
- You can choose which side it zips up.
- Comes in a women’s specific design.
- Water repellant insulation and polyamide outer material.
- The mummy shape might feel a little restrictive.
Marmot Voyager 55 Sleeping Bag
Review: This a higher temperature rated alternative to the Marmot Hydrogen Down above. It has a lower comfort rating of 55 ˚F which at first glance makes it look like it’s one of the least-cozy bags on this list, but bear in mind that temperature ratings are subjective and some manufacturers will be more realistic than others.
Plus, this is a mummy sleeping bag with a hood which will always be warmer than a non-hooded rectangle.
It uses Spira-Fil high-loft synthetic insulation which is warm, water repellant and very easy to compress, meaning the sleeping bag packs down to a ridiculously small package.
- Very lightweight – 1 lbs. 8 oz.
- Durable, full-length, two-way YKK zipper.
- Very small when packed up.
- Very affordable.
- At this price, there are no cons to this bag.
Sea to Summit Flame Women’s Sleeping Bag
Review: This 2-season ultralight down sleeping bag is ideal for summer conditions. This model is rated to 55˚F but there also 48˚F, 35˚F, 25˚F and 15˚F options available.
It is a women’s specific shape which is slightly wider in the hips and knees, shorter overall and narrow at the shoulders than unisex or men’s models.
Sea to Summit also uses water repellant down, and this design comes with a cozy hood in case things get cooler than you expected.
- Different temperature ratings available.
- 850-fill water resistant down insulation.
- Women’s specific design.
- Very lightweight – 1 lbs. 4 oz.
Rab Neutrino 400 Sleeping Bag
Review: Top UK brand, Rab, describes this sleeping bag as a ‘lightweight, minimalist, down bag’ ideal for summer expeditions.
It’s likely warmer than you’d need for really hot summer temperatures, but in places like the UK where the weather can change quickly in the hills and feel like winter, this bag is perfect.
The insulation is very high-quality water-repellent goose down, and the Pertex Quantum outer material is lightweight, easy to compress and hard-wearing.
- 800 fill-power ethically sourced goose down.
- ¾ length YKK zipper reduces weight.
- Lightweight – 1.7 lbs.
- Hydrophobic down is PFC-free.
- Possibly too warm for hot weather.
The North Face Aleutian 55 Sleeping Bag
Review: This synthetic sleeping bag has a temperature rating of 55 ˚F making it ideal for summer temperatures.
It uses eco-friendly partially recycled synthetic insulation and is designed with roominess and space in mind so that you won’t feel trapped in summer temperatures.
You can choose which side you want the zipper on and there is a long length available.
- Temperature rated to 55 ˚F.
- Weighs just 1 lbs. 10 oz.
- Eco synthetic insulation is 30% recycled.
- Reasonably priced.
- Not as compact as it could be when packed up.
Sea to Summit Traveller Down Sleeping Bag
Review: This summer sleeping bag is rated to 50 ˚F but there is also a 30 ˚F option if you tend to feel the cold.
This is a versatile option for travelers and campers as it can completely unzip and transform into a quilt or blanket.
It’s insulated with water repellant down and incredibly, the regular size weighs less than a pound at just 14.8 oz.
- Very, very lightweight.
- Extremely compact (1.6L when packed).
- Water repellant down insulation.
Teton Sports TrailHead 20 Sleeping Bag
Review: This is a good budget option for beginner backpackers. It’s relatively lightweight and compact and for a good price.
It’s rated to 20 ˚F, but it’s worth remembering that this is lower limit survival rating, meaning you won’t get hypothermia, but you won’t be comfortable either.
If you’re only going to be hanging out in temperatures upwards of 40 ˚F, this is a safe bet for budget backpackers.
- Lightweight for its price (2.9 lbs.).
- Hooded mummy design will make up for what it lacks in insulation.
- 75D diamond ripstop nylon shell.
- Microfiber insulation easily compresses.
- Not spacious enough for larger people.
What to Look for in the Best Summer Sleeping Bag
Summer sleeping bags are designed for use in warmer nighttime temperatures – think 35 ˚F and above as a bare minimum.
They’re definitely not suitable for temperatures below freezing, and even up to 40 ˚F you’ll be wanting to wear thermal base layers and have a well-insulated sleeping mat.
But, they let you save space and weight by not having to carry your 3 season bag with you. Especially if you’re going to end up sleeping with it completely opened out anyway!
But, it’s not quite as simple as just looking at the temperature ratings… there are a few other factors to think about.
This is a no-brainer. Lighter is ALWAYS better when it comes to backpacking gear.
A heavy pack will make your trip miserable very quickly.
But, it’s worth bearing in mind that quality is also important, a well-made lightweight sleeping bag from a reputable company will be much warmer and longer lasting than a cheap lightweight sleeping bag.
Down Versus Synthetic Insulation
The differences between down and synthetic insulation used to be stark enough for people to think you’d be mad to carry a heavy, bulky synthetic sleeping bag on a multiday backpacking trip.
But modern technology has blurred the lines, making it more of a personal than practical choice now.
Synthetic insulation is getting lighter, warmer, easier to compress, and more environmentally friendly as post-consumer recycled waste is being used.
Meanwhile, down is increasingly being treated to repel water, making it, in turn, rival synthetic insulation even more.
Down remains more expensive, but unless you have ethical or allergy-related preferences, if you’re buying from a good brand, the differences may not be significant.
This is definitely a personal preference with practical implications.
The two broad shapes used in sleeping bag designs are rectangular and mummy shaped.
Rectangular bags are popular in summer sleeping bags because they allow room for more air circulation so tend to be cooler, while also allowing you space to spread out so that you don’t feel constricted.
Mummy sleeping bags are great for cold sleepers as they are better keeping you insulated, prevent the formation of cold air pockets, and often come with a hood which can make a big difference in keeping you warm.
If you’re a hot sleeper, or like to spread out, or know that you’re going to be camping in temperatures upwards of 50 ˚F, then a rectangular sleeping bag could be a good choice.
Alternatively, if you want the benefits of a lightweight and compact summer sleeping bag but know that there is a risk you could get a little chilly, a mummy design would be a safer option.
Gender-specific sleeping bags can be more comfortable by generally allowing more or less space in certain areas depending on body shape.
Female-specific sleeping bags tend to be comparatively narrower at the shoulders and wider at the hips than Men’s bags. Some companies also focus more insulation in certain areas.
But, obviously, this only applies to mummy bags and rectangular bags are unisex.
Gender-specific bags won’t suit everyone’s body type but are worth considering, especially if you’re a cold female sleeper.
Tent Choice is Important
Having a summer sleeping bag isn’t a complete solution. You’re still going to overheat unless your tent is also compatible with hot weather.
Some tents are definitely designed with more ventilation in mind than others. If you’re on the lookout, I have a great article on the best hot weather tents to shorten your search.
Sleeping Pad Choice is Important
On the same note, choosing the right sleeping pad will also stop you from getting too hot.
I also have a great article on the best backpacking sleeping pads that will save you a lot of time and research!
Have you Considered a Liner?
Another alternative to sleeping in a sleeping bag could be to sleep in a sleeping bag liner and carry a very lightweight blanket or backpacking quilt with you.
Obviously, this is only recommended if you can 100% guarantee that the weather won’t change on you mid-way through your trip!
But, if you’re backing in a region where the temperatures don’t drop off significantly at night, using a sleeping bag liner could be a good option.
Stay Cool During the Day
But what about during the day?
It’s all well and good being cool at night, but how do you stay cool while you’re walking?
Well, summer hiking boots are a good place to start! Other than that, wearing lightweight cotton clothing, protecting yourself from the sun (think: hat) and drinking plenty of water are all essential measures.
Don’t Skimp in the Cooler Months
If you’re looking for something you can use all year round, then a summer sleeping bag is not going to be enough.
Trust me on this, getting cold at night is just as bad, if not worse, than getting too hot!
You’ll really need a good backpacking sleeping bag for the cooler months.
So, there you have it. The best summer sleeping bags and how to choose one!
It mainly comes down to how much you’re willing to carry (size and weight), and how much you’re willing to compromise on comfort!
Please share your thoughts on your ideal sleeping pad and don’t forget to check out my ebook on solo travel safety before you leave!
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