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My Ultralight Sleeping Bag


A One Pound Sleeping Bag!

Mine is definitely an ultralight sleeping bag, but it actually weighs 19 ounces with the stuff sack. Stuff sacks aren't always necessary, however. I can just stuff it directly into my pack or put it in a half-ounce bread bag. It is a down sleeping bag, the Western Mountaineering Highlite. (You can see it in the video further down the page.)

It appears to be very fragile, and I have babied it over the years, but it may be tougher than I thought. I have used it from sea-level to 16,000 feet in all types of weather (I camp under a tarp much of the time), and it still has all of its loft and appears new. The zipper only goes half-way down (to save weight),and it is a mummy bag, but it has always been comfortable for me (I'm 6'3", 165 pounds). There is a full description at the bottom of the page. At the time I bought it I couldn't find any lighter bags. Now I see that there are some other options out there.

A Synthetic Ultralight Sleeping Bag

If you aren't sure you can keep your bag dry (important with down), a good lightweight sleeping bag to try is the North Face Propel 40 Degree Polarguard, which weighs only 16 ounces. That's an amazingly low weight for a synthetic sleeping bag. There is a complete description at the bottom of the page. Any good synthetic bag is probably better than down if you are regularly getting it wet.

A Down Ultralight Sleeping Bag

The Marmot Lithium 0 Degree Down Bag weighs only 2 pounds, 11 ounces. That's fantastic for a true winter bag! I don't recall ever seeing another 0 degree bag under three pounds. The other big advantage of any down sleeping bag is it's compressibility. Nothing packs smaller than down.

Using an Ultralight Sleeping Bag

A note about using an ultralight sleeping bag: Treat it gently. Usually the lighter bags are more fragile. I have used mine in snow and rain for years, from Ecuador to California and Michigan, and it shows no wear. Obviously, if you baby these things, they can last a long time, and it's worth it. Reducing the weight of the big three (pack, tent and bag) is what makes ultralight backpacking possible.

Note: There is a 2011 update on the lightest backpacking gear here:
Lightweight Backpacking Equipment


The Ultralight Backpacking Site | My Ultralight Sleeping Bag