There are two main choices that you have when it comes to the insulation type used in your sleeping bag. Synthetic insulation does have a few advantages, but most people looking for a serious sleeping bag end up going with a goose down sleeping bag. Goose down compresses a lot better than synthetic insulation, so it fits better in a backpack. Goose down also weighs less, relative to warmth, so your backpack ends up being lighter too, which is another good thing.
Goose Down Sleeping BagWhat to look for from a goose down sleeping bag.
- Down Quality – Once you’ve decided on a goose down sleeping bag, you still need to decide on what quality of down to get. Down with a high fill number will provide more warmth for the same amount of weight, but also tends to cost more. So if you’re looking for the best, you want a sleeping bag with a high fill number, likely 800 fill or above.
- Shape – Another important choice to make is the shape of the sleeping bag. If you’re going to be carrying your sleeping bag for any length of time you’re likely going to want a mummy shaped sleeping bag. You wont have as much room to move around at night, but you save on both weight and bulk, which makes for a more enjoyable day with your backpack on.
Best Goose Down Sleeping BagSome of the very best goose down sleeping bags, at a few different minimum temperatures.
- Mountain Hardwear Phantom - First up, a fantastic mummy cut down sleeping bag from Mountain Hardwear. It has a minimum temperature rating of 15 degrees, making it ideal for four season camping or backpacking. The exterior of the sleeping bag is treated with a durable water repellent finish to keep the 800+ fill down inside dry, which in turn keeps you warm. The zipper is a full length, 2 way design that gives you a few ventilation options, and at 1 pound 15 ounces, or 870 grams you'll hardly even notice that you're carrying this sleeping bag.
- Mont Bell U.L. Spiral Down Hugger #3 - The Hugger #3 is a solid three season sleeping bag. It uses 800 fill down, plus a water resistant exterior treatment to keep you and the down dry. This sleeping bag is also an award winner, having snagged the 2009 Gear of the Year award from Outside magazine. And it weighs just 1 pound 3 ounces, or 538 grams, making it a very lightweight choice. So another very solid sleeping bag, with a minimum temperature rating of 30 degrees, which makes it ideal for three season use.
- Western Mountaineering HighLite - With a very cool minimum temperature of 35 degrees, the HighLite is more of a summer sleeping bag, though it might be good for spring and fall use in the warmer parts of the world. What really helps this sleeping bag stand out, however, is a weight of just 1 pound, or 453 grams. Part of the reason for such a low weight is the high quality 850 fill down. So an excellent, lightweight summer down sleeping bag from Mont Bell.