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A good night’s sleep is vital to a good camping experience, so here we’re looking at some of the best lightweight summer sleeping bags on the market.
There are a few key things to consider when looking for season-specific camping gear, so we’ll also talk a little bit about how to buy the right sleeping bag for you, and what some of the technical specifications mean relevant to your needs.
Sleeping Bag Technical Specs
It can sometimes appear confusing when it comes to understanding the technical specifications of all the different types of sleeping bags out there.
You will find that almost all sleeping bags have technical ratings. These tend to be temperature figures that determine how the bag performs under certain conditions. There are season ratings that run from 1-4, and temperature ratings that define the upper and lower limits of the bag.
A one-season sleeping bag, for example, is only really suitable for the warmest of summer nights. A four-season sleeping bag, on the other end of the spectrum, will protect you when camping in the colder, winter months.
Best summer sleeping bags at a glance
- Best for comfort: Rab Solar 1 Summer Sleeping Bag
- Best all-round summer sleeping bag: Marmot Always Summer Long Sleeping Bag
- Best budget option: Vango Evolve Superwarm Single Sleeping Bag
- Best for hotter holidays: Coleman Trinidad Warm Weather Sleeping Bag
- Best for couples: Outwell Contour Lux
- Best for packing down small: Basecamp 250 Summer Sleeping Bag
- Best for breathability: Robens Icefall Pro 300
What do temperature limits on a sleeping bag mean?
Temperature limits are rated as the upper limit (which is the highest comfortable temperature in the bag), a comfort limit (an average of the most comfortable temperature in the bag) and a lower limit (which is probably the lowest temperature you’d want to sleep in and still get an OK night’s sleep).
There is also an ‘extreme’ temperature limit, but this tends to be a safety score that is the lowest temperature the bag can withstand to prevent you from getting hypothermia.
What kind of sleeping bag do I need?
Obviously, as suggested by the title of this article, it somewhat depends on what season you’ll be camping. Thinner, lighter sleeping bags are excellent for the warmer summer months, but be aware of each bag’s ‘packed weight’ too if you’re thinking of heading to the hills on a wild camp and carrying your equipment with you.
If you are packing a car for a family or group trip, it clearly makes sense to make the most of the ability not to have to carry your gear - so larger double bags or heavier, thicker bags become the best bet.
Have a look at the material and stuffing of the bags you’re using too - down is expensive, but lightweight and extremely warm (often with comfort levels below minus), whereas nylon, polyester and taffeta, found in less durable, thinner, cheaper sleeping bags are often not as robust or durable.
There are, however, far lower in cost and we’d recommend them for basic, infrequent, warmer camping excursions.
Key Specs: Comfort Rating: 7C, Season Rating: 2, Fabric: Durable Ripstop, Lining: Stratus Polyester Lining
The ‘Stratus’ insulation in the Solar 1 summer sleeping bag is synthetic polyester, coated with a durable ripstop outer fabric.
It’s a comfortable bag - and neatly stuffs into its own compression sack so it’s light and portable too. We liked the internal pocket and the comfortable hood draw-cord too.
Key Specs: Comfort Rating: 6C, Season Rating: 2, Fabric: Polyester, Lining: 600FP RDS Duck Down
Slightly more expensive this one, but we like Marmot’s outdoor gear and this sleeping bag option is a very reliable companion for those warmer weather adventures.
We liked the full-length zip, and the multi-baffle hood which wraps around you to reduce heat loss during the night.
The well-designed foot box at the bottom also allows you to keep comfortable - the longer design would definitely suit taller individuals.
Key Specs: Comfort Rating: 7C, Season Rating: 3, Fabric: Polyester, Lining: 100% Polyester Fill
New from Vango’s ‘Earth’ collection, this Evolve sleeping bag is made from 100% recycled single-use plastics.
The cosy lining is also 100% recycled, and the ‘duraflex’ components such as seams are made out of plant fibres.
It’s a cosy bag too - a rectangle shape which offers plenty of wiggle room and a padded, soft feel.
Good value for money, too.
Key Specs: Comfort Rating: 15C, Season Rating: 1, Fabric: Polyester, Lining: Soft Tricot Polyester Blend Liner
A straight-forward, thinner sleeping bag from Coleman. We liked its soft polyester outer, covering ‘ThermoTech’ insulation which is pliable and nicely padded.
A good everyday sleeping bag for warmer-weather adventures - we thought it was a good option for zipping open and turning into a blanket to sit on outside the tent during the sunnier days.
Key Specs: Comfort Rating: 3C, Season Rating: 3, Fabric: Polyester 230T Microfibre, Lining: 190T Brushed 100% Polyester
We liked the in-built pillow that comes with the Outwell Contour, which makes getting comfortable a fairly easy process.
It can also fold out to make a duvet, which is excellent if you’re sharing sleeping arrangements or find it too hot overnight to be fully immersed in a sleeping bag.
A flexible choice and we think good value for money for an established camping brand, too.
Key Specs: Comfort Rating: 5C, Season Rating: 2, Fabric: Polyester, Lining: Polyester with Hollow Fibre Stuffing
A mummy sleeping bag which hugs your body and keeps in warmth, the Basecamp 250 is a warmer weather sleeping bag insulated with a hollow fibre stuffing.
It’s lightweight, and like most of Mountain Warehouse’s products, suitable for casual or family outdoor activities and camping in benign conditions.
Stuffs into a pretty small bag too, so it’s nice and portable.
Key Specs: Comfort Rating: 5C, Season Rating: 2, Fabric: Nylon Ripstop, Lining: 600FP Polyester
Using synthetic 600 fill, this sleeping bag is a good option for less testing camping conditions, but we still found it warm enough during colder evenings during the springtime to make it a worthwhile addition to this list.
We liked the centre zip configuration and found it to be comfortable and easy to get warm in, whilst still allowing plenty of space to make it easier to move around in.