Most higher end sleeping bags tend to be filled with down, rather than synthetic insulation, but there are some definite advantages to synthetic sleeping bags that should not be overlooked. One is that synthetic insulation performs better when wet, so if you foresee your sleeping bag getting wet a lot while you’re using it, a synthetic sleeping bag might be a better choice. And of course synthetic sleeping bags tend to cost less than the down sleeping bags, which is never a bad thing.
Synthetic Sleeping BagsWhat to look for when you're shopping for synthetic sleeping bags.
- Shape – Once you’ve decided on an insulation type for your sleeping bag you need to decide on a shape as well. A rectangular sleeping bag will weigh more than a mummy shaped sleeping bag, and if you’re going to be carrying your sleeping bag in a backpack, you will want a mummy shaped one, both for the weight savings and also the reduced bulk.
- Temperature Rating – You also need to decide on a temperature rating for your synthetic sleeping bag. Synthetic insulation is better suited for wet conditions, so if you’re looking for a sleeping bag for fall, winter or spring you will want to be looking on the lower end of the scale, and maybe even in to the negative temperatures.
Best Synthetic Sleeping BagsSome of the best synthetic sleeping bags, at a few different temperatures.
- Mont Bell Super Spiral Burrow Bag #5 - First up, a synthetic sleeping bag for those warm nights. With a minimum temperature rating of 40 degrees those warm nights is about all it's good for, but then you get to carry less weight too, which is a nice bonus. The insulation, specifically, is Exceloft, and the whole thing weighs 1 pound 15 ounces, or 878 grams. So a fantastic warm weather synthetic sleeping bag.
- Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina - With a minimum temperature rating of 32 degrees this is a solid, and very popular three season sleeping bag. It has a close fitting mummy cut, to help save on weight, and at 1 pound 15 ounces, or 878 grams, it's approximately the same weight as the Mont Bell bag above, but significantly warmer. The specific insulation is Thermic Microfill. A great three season synthetic sleeping bag.
- The North Face Cat's Meow (Women's) - One more synthetic sleeping bag, this one ideal for winter in many parts of the world with a minimum temperature rating of 20 degrees. It uses Climashield insulation, and has a water resistant exterior shell, so that the insulation wont get wet when the weather turns ugly. The extra warmth does come at a price, however, which is a weight of 2 pounds 12 ounces, or 1.24 kilograms. But compared to other 20 degree synthetic sleeping bags, it's a great choice.