Bikepacking provides an innovative and exciting way to explore the trails that traditional road bicycles can’t handle. Since it’s also exhausting work, you’ll want to invest in a good sleeping bag to ensure that you’re well-rested for your days on the trail.
Whether you’re stocking up for your first trip or looking for some high-tech replacement gear, we’re here to help you find the best sleeping bag for bikepacking.
Things To Look For In A Sleeping Bag For Bikepacking
Shopping for a bikepacking sleeping bag is slightly different from shopping for a basic camping model. Here are some of the key features you should keep an eye out for when shopping.
For bikepacking, look for a sleeping bag that weighs no more than four pounds. An ounce or two over this weight is acceptable, but try not to go too far over. Many bikepackers store their camping gear in the handlebar bag, since this is generally the trickiest bag to get into while riding.
Too much weight on the handlebars will add stress to your load and make it difficult to maintain proper balance over long distances.
Remember that if all of your bikepacking trips take place in warmer weather, you don’t need to spend the extra money on a four-season model. Wearing most of your clothes to bed can help you keep warm in a lighter bag.
Similarly, you want your bag to take up as little space as possible. The sleeping bag should measure no more than about a foot square when fully packed down.
As a rule of thumb, a four-season bag will typically take up more room than a two- or three-season model. That’s another reason to consider sticking to the warmer months when planning your initial excursions.
For tips on how to load your gear for bikepacking, see this YouTube tutorial.
Since you’ll probably be biking through all kinds of weather—including rain—it’s best to select a sleeping bag that’s fully waterproof. That way, you won’t have to invest in extra packaging to keep your gear dry.
Fortunately, there are plenty of waterproof lightweight sleeping bags available. For details on some of the best ones, see our Product Review Guide, below.
It’s preferable for a sleeping bag to come with its own stuff sack. While it’s certainly possible for you to compress the bag and pack it into one of your own gear sacks, there’s no real substitution for a stuff sack that’s designed specifically for the model you’ve purchased.
It will pack down to the smallest possible dimensions, thereby making it easier to carry. Some stuff sacks even come equipped with straps that can be affixed to your bike frame.
When it comes to camping gear, you tend to get what you pay for in terms of longevity. If you’re planning on making bikepacking a regular part of your recreational schedule, you’ll want a sleeping bag that can handle the punishment of the terrain and provide you with warmth and comfort for years to come.
Look for an exterior shell made of rip-stop nylon, which won’t unravel if the fabric becomes torn or punctured. Sturdy zippers are another plus, especially if they’re outfitted with draft tubes to prevent cold air from entering the bag.
The fill can be either down or polyester, but bear in mind that down bags are usually far pricier than their synthetic counterparts.
It’s always important to check the warmth rating when shopping for a sleeping bag. As we mentioned earlier, consider the time of year that you’ll be doing most of your bikepacking.
For spring, summer, and fall excursions, a bag that’s rated at 20 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit should do the trick. However, if you think you might try a winter adventure at some point in the next few years, you should look for a four-season bag with a low temperature rating (below 20 degrees Fahrenheit).
Best Sleeping Bag For Bikepacking: Product Review Guide
1. Winner Outfitters Mummy Sleeping Bag With Compression Sack
This mummy bag features a waterproof rip-stop shell, a compression sack with two straps, and a hollow-fiber fill with a warmth rating of 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Weighing in at just 2.8 pounds, it passes the portability test with flying colors.
2. Norsens Ultralight Hiking Sleeping Bag
This extra-long and wide sleeping bag is a good choice for taller or broader figures. The polyester shell is water-resistant but not fully waterproof, and the cotton fill is rated to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. When packed down, it measures just under eight inches tall by eight inches wide.
3. Hyke & Byke Katahdin Hydrophobic Sleeping Bag
This offering from Hyke & Byke takes its name from Maine’s tallest peak, a distinction that’s reflected in the 0-degree warmth rating. The rip-stop nylon shell is fully waterproof, and the synthetic fill is outfitted with technology that mimics down’s insulating capabilities.
4. Canway Sleeping Bag With Compression Sack
The Canway measures a bit tall when rolled up—just over 16 inches—but it’s an affordable option with many good qualities. With a warmth rating of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, this bag is best suited for summer excursions.
5. Soulout 4 Seasons Sleeping Bag
This four-season bag is lightweight, affordable, and easy to care for. Couples can purchase two bags and zip them together for additional space and maximum warmth.
Of all the products reviewed here, we prefer the Hyke & Byke Katahdin model. Although it’s set at a higher price point than the competition, it’s worth purchasing for the warmth and waterproofing factors alone.
Best of all, the “Regular” bag weighs in at under four pounds and measures 11 inches long and 8 inches in diameter when it’s packed down. In short, the Katahdin fulfills all the criteria for the ideal bikepacking sleeping bag.
Best of luck, and happy trails!