Family with sleeping bags

Best Budget Sleeping Bags for Camping 2022 (Lightweight, Backpacking)

The choice of which sleeping bag to take can really make or break the outdoor adventure. We’ve been there – long sleepless nights just waiting for the sweet sunrise to thaw out the frosty air and our weary bones.

We always felt that a sleeping bag is an important component when it comes to determining our quality of sleep. If we are cold or uncomfortable, we may not get proper rest, which can, in turn, affect our energy levels the following day. Being tired and grumpy when we want to be out adventuring is a sure-fire way to bum us out, and put a downer on our explorations.

On the other hand, a bulky sleeping bag can cause discomfort if it has to be carried around long distances on a backpacking trip or mountaineering adventure.

Ultimately, our choice of which sleeping bag, therefore, will be heavily affected by the type of trip we aim to use it for. A weekend camping trip in the middle of summer will require a very different bag to an icy fortnight in the shadows of the Alps unless we brought our sleeping bag liner with us.

Choosing the right sleeping bag isn’t easy, especially when restricted to a tight budget. So we’ve put together a list of the best budget sleeping bags and provided some useful tips and information to help you with your decision.

TLDR

TLDR: The Kelty Catena 30 Sleeping Bag is the best budget sleeping bag overall. It suits a wide range of uses and conditions all within a simple design. It chooses practicality over style with its relatively light weight and warmth in low temperatures, all for a reasonable price.

Best Budget Sleeping Bags

  1. Coleman Palmetto Cool Weather Adult Sleeping Bag
  2. Kelty Cosmic 40 Down Sleeping Bag
  3. TETON Sports Celsius XXL Sleeping Bag
  4. Kelty Catena 30 Sleeping Bag
  5. MalloMe Camping Sleeping Bag

Best Cheap Sleeping Bag for Casual Campers

After we tested them all, we think that the Kelty Catena 30 is the best sleeping bag for casual campers. It is incredibly simple yet versatile at the same time. Another sleeping bag that gets a mention is the:

 

Best Sleeping Bag Under $100 USD

Without a doubt for us, we loved the Kelty Cosmic 40 sleeping bag. It was its extremely lightweight construction with a down filling that won us over. It is not only one of the best in this price range but we think it ranks among sleeping bags that are in a much higher price category. Another amazing sleeping bag under $100 is the:

 

Best Camping Car Sleeping Bag

Our favorite and one of the more cool sleeping bags is the Coleman Palmetto Cool Sleeping Bag. It is a versatile bag with a competitive price that is better suited to car camping. It is super easy to throw in the car and get comfortable. There was another sleeping bag though that is almost as good:

 

Best Budget Backpacking Sleeping Bag

We need lightweight and warmth when it comes to backpacking to our campsite so the Kelty Cosmic 40 sleeping bag is our winner for this. The compact design meant that we never had to wish for more space and the weight was a lifesaver.

 

 

Best Value Sleeping Bag for All-Round Use

When it came to choosing the best all-rounder, we had to choose the Kelty Catena 30 Sleeping Bag. It performed amazingly in every aspect that we tested and we couldn’t really fault it for the most part.

 

Bag on a mountain near a lake

Budget Sleeping Bags Comparison Table

The following table will give you a general idea of the sleeping bags we tested before we dive into the detailed review section for each of the camping sleeping bags we experimented with.

Sleeping BagBest ForImageShapeRatingPrice
Coleman Palmetto Cool Weather Adult Sleeping BagCasual CampersRectangular7.5 Check Price
Kelty Cosmic 40 Down Sleeping BagCasual CampersMummy Bag9 Check Price
TETON Sports Celsius XXL Sleeping BagCar CampingSemi-Rectanglur8.5 Check Price
Kelty Catena 30 Sleeping BagBackpackersRectangular8 Check Price
MalloMe Camping Sleeping BagAll-Round UseSemi-Rectanglur7.5 Check Price

 

5 Best Budget Sleeping Bags Reviewed

Sleeping bags can be very expensive, but there are some really great affordable options out there too. We want to help you find the best sleeping bags possible, for a reasonable price. That’s why we’ve decided to review a few, to find the best affordable sleeping bag so that you can choose the best option from the ones that we tested.

Coleman Palmetto Sleeping Bag Review

Coleman sleeping bag

Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Snag-free zip
Cons
  • Difficult to roll back up
  • The inner lining can be uncomfortable on rough, dry skin
  • It may be too small for larger campers
  • Bulky for backpacking
  • Anything below 50°F and you will need a liner or extra layers to keep warm
  • Filling: 100% Polyester
  • Temperature Rating: 40°F to 60°F (4°C – 15°C)
  • Shape: Rectangle
  • Weight: 4.3 lb
  • Perfect for: Casual campers and warmer climates.

We tested the Coleman Palmetto sleeping bag and were pleasantly surprised by its performance as we experimented with it in a range of environments. We think that it is an amazing option when it comes to a late summer sleeping bag when the temperatures start to drop.

It’s advertised as a cool-weather sleeping bag that will keep you comfortable down to temperatures between 40°F to 60°F (4°C and 15°C). We tried it out on an average camping trip and found that it was comfortable and kept us warm when it was around 50°F. The temperature did drop to the 35°F range and that’s when we started to feel the cold a bit while inside our inflatable tent.

Although it’s not the biggest bag, we found that it can comfortably accommodate individuals up to 5’11” tall. It has a brushed polyester liner which is rough at first but we gave it a wash before using it which did soften it a little. We discovered that it can snag on the skin, especially if you have dry or rough skin like I do. Also, I am pretty tall (6Ft) and my head and top of my shoulders stuck out so it would suit anyone who is 5.10” and under.

It comes with ‘Roll Control’ to aid in the pack away procedure. We tried it out and this really didn’t make too much of a difference when it came to packing the bag away. The storage bag it comes with is probably too small for the bag so investing in a slightly larger storage bag would make packing easier. What we really liked is that if you have two of them, you can unzip each one and then zip them together to create a giant sleeping bag for an entire family.

Overall, we think that this is a great camping sleeping bag for casual campers that aren’t planning any extreme weather trips, and for anyone who doesn’t want to break the bank.

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Kelty Cosmic 40 Down Sleeping Bag Review

Cosmic sleeping bag

Pros
  • We liked that it is water-repellent
  • Stash pocket to keep a small torch
  • Warm and comfortable
  • Down filling
Cons
  • Not ideal for those who get claustrophobic
  • One of the more expensive options we tested
  • It is pretty narrow so if you are a side sleeper like me, you can’t roll over inside of it
  • Filling: 550-Fill duck down
  • Temperature Rating: Down to 40°F (4°C)
  • Shape: Mummy bag
  • Weight: 1.14 pounds
  • Perfect for: The casual to the intermediate camper who likes a snug sleeping bag

We tested the Kelty Cosmic 40 Down sleeping bag and discovered that it is a lightweight and warm camping sleeping bag that is perfect for a range of purposes. It’s a pricier option but still sits within the bracket of budget sleeping bags.

We liked that this sleeping bag has a down filling, which is rare when we compare it to similar cheap sleeping bags. The outer shell is made of a nylon fabric which is somewhat water repellent so we didn’t wake up to our bag being covered in any water droplets or dew. We think this is by far the lightest and easiest-to-pack sleeping bag we tested.

Although it is down, we found that it was still breathable and didn’t get too hot when we slept. If you’re looking for the best budget down sleeping bag, this one is the ideal choice.

It’s a mummy bag, which we think further contributes to the warmth, lightness, and compactness. The built-in hood also helped to keep our heads warm and minimized the amount of exposure. However, due to their tight-fitting nature, we discovered that mummy bags like this one can feel restrictive and uncomfortable for some. This sleeping bag, therefore, isn’t ideal for those who get claustrophobic easily.

We tested out another useful little feature which is the anti-snag zip and it has to be said that after we climbed in and out plenty of times, the zip never did catch on the lining. Everyone has been there, struggling to remove the liner out of the zipper at some point, so we loved this aspect. An interesting discovery as well was that the little “foot box” with added room for your feet at the bottom really did work and our feet were not so cramped together or in awkward positions.

If we had to choose, we would say that this is a perfect sleeping bag for campers who are looking to go camping in relatively cold weather, but don’t want to have to carry a heavy bag around. It is also a really good bag and one of the more comfortable sleeping bags that any backpacker would love to have.

We liked that the bag also comes in two length variations, a regular and long. The long version is a full 6 inches longer than the regular, which when we tested it with our taller friends, worked perfectly. The best thing we found is that both of these sizes are almost identical in weight and packing size so there are no penalties for those of us who are taller.

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TETON Sports Celsius XXL Sleeping Bag Review

Budget sleeping bag Teton

Pros
  • It was big, warm, and comfortable
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Can fit two people snuggly
  • Internal storage pocket for personal items
  • Snag-free zipper
Cons
  • A heavy sleeping bag weighing 7 lb
  • Not ideal for backpacking due to size and weight
  • Filling: Innovative hollow fiber
  • Temperature Rating: 30°F (-1°C)
  • Shape: Rectangle with mummy-style hood
  • Weight: 7 lb
  • Perfect for: Casual campers to add some extra comfort to their camping experience

While we tested the TETON Sports Celsius XXL, we discovered that it is a big, warm and comfortable sleeping bag that made us feel right at home. It’s great for larger campers, couples, or anyone who likes a bit more room. We think that this bag is ideal for those who value comfort and warmth over lightness and compactness.

We first noticed that the bag has a soft poly-flannel lining which is exceptionally comfortable, and an adjustable mummy-style hood that keeps our pillow clean and our head warm. We loved how the foot area does not unzip so there was no worry about the zipper opening up and making our feet cold.

Another handy feature that we discovered was the built-in internal pocket, that we used to keep our phone and keys in while we slept. But, the thing that we loved the most was that we were able to zip two of these sleeping bags together, which made for a comfortable double sleeping bag experience.

The bag comes with a free compression sack that we found helped to reduce the size once we packed the bag away. It is, however, a larger bag, so the compressed size still isn’t small and didn’t really fit into our backpack. It’s also pretty heavy, weighing in at 7 pounds, which we found makes any long trek with it quite cumbersome.

With these factors taken into account, we think that this sleeping bag isn’t ideal for anyone who needs to carry the bag over long distances. It’s more suited to brief camping trips where the walking distances are shorter or you’re driving all the way to the campsite.

If that’s your camping style, then this bag is a winner. We think it’s the most comfortable sleeping bag on this list, and the best sleeping bag for camping if you plan on taking a car.

It kept us comfortable down to 30°F (-1°C) but it is rated to keep us safe at 0°F (-18°C), so surprise cold fronts should be manageable but we went nowhere near those temperatures. Its size, warmth, and comfort make it arguably the best rectangular sleeping bag we could get on a budget.

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Kelty Catena 30 Sleeping Bag Review

Kelty sleeping bag

Pros
  • Kept us warm to lower temperatures
  • Lightweight for the price
  • Compactable down to a small package
Cons
  • No elastic to keep it rolled up when packing
  • Any movement makes this kind of fabric quite loud, crunchy
  • Filling: Synthetic insulation
  • Temperature Rating: 30°F (-1°C)
  • Shape: Rectangle
  • Weight: 3.15 pounds
  • Perfect for: Casual/basic camper looking for one of the best-rated camping sleeping bags

We searched for a basic and relatively lightweight sleeping bag that won’t break the bank and found that the Kelty Catena 30 is a great option.

It’s one of the most affordable bags on our list that we tested, but it’s also one of the lightest, weighing just 3.15 pounds. This is definitely tailored to those of us who like to have a more basic camping setup.

We are a fan of the traditional rectangle shape, especially with this sleeping bag. It was so roomy inside that those starfish sleepers among us loved it. This, combined with the bag’s relatively lightweight nature, makes it the perfect sleeping bag for car camping.

This sleeping bag will keep you comfortable down to temperatures 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1°C), but we didn’t venture into that cold of a camping experience. It’s one of the warmer sleeping bags that we tested, with its pretty dense polyester lining giving immense warmth and comfort to us.

When it comes to good sleeping bags for camping, we tested quite a few and this was the favorite. Its simplicity and ease of use are what made it amazing but, it also offers an incredible value with being able to keep warm in some pretty cold conditions, ones that one or two other sleeping bags we reviewed might have struggled with.

The only thing that was a little annoying that we found was the lack of an elastic band to keep the bag rolled up once we had gone through all the effort to get it ready to pack. This made it a little harder for us to get it back into the bag but we don’t think this is so big of an issue as to ignore this bag. The fabric is also pretty loud as we discovered when moving around. It crinkles quite a bit which can get annoying for some.

One of the party tricks of this bag is the ability to zip two separate ones together to create one giant sleeping bag. Yes, another sleeping bag that we reviewed can do the same but this is still something we think is amazing for families or couples. Overall, we loved this bag and think it’s one of the more cool sleeping bags with its basic design with immense practicality.

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MalloMe Sleeping Bag Review

Mallome sleeping bag

Pros
  • A great multi-purpose sleeping bag
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Waterproof
Cons
  • It is not the warmest sleeping bag even though it is rated for extreme cold
  • Not the best option for any single purpose
  • Filling: 100% polyester
  • Temperature Rating: Rated for an extreme of 20°F (-6°C), but comfortable at around 50°F (10°C)
  • Shape: Rectangle with mummy-style hood
  • Weight: 4.5 lb
  • Perfect for: A camper who needs an affordable all-rounder that can be used for a variety of purposes

We think that the MalloMe Camping Sleeping Bag is an excellent all-rounder for those looking to camp on a budget. This sleeping bag combines affordability with a relatively light weight, reasonable warmth, and comfort.

At 4.5 lb it’s not particularly heavy nor particularly light. However, despite the included compression sack, this bag is a little bulky if we compare it to other bags that we reviewed. Nonetheless, it’s a pretty easy bag to carry around on backpacking adventures or longer hiking trips.

During testing, we noticed that it is a comfortable sleeping bag and allows for a decent amount of wiggle room. This is good for those that move around a lot while they sleep. This makes it a good bag for short camping trips where comfort is a higher priority. It’s not the warmest sleeping bag, even though it is rated for extreme cold. So it’s best suited to camping trips during mild weather.

The waterproof shell did help to protect us from any dew and rain. A neat little feature is that the sleeping bag has a foot zip at the bottom that aids with ventilation during summer. This isn’t that ideal in much in the colder temperatures as it allows the colder air to seep in and make your feet cold.

We did like that MalloMe ensures excellent customer service and a 100% quality guarantee, so we were pretty relaxed and rough with it knowing that any malfunctions will be addressed by a staff member within 24 hours.

When our tests were all done with, as an all-rounder, this sleeping bag is great for those who will be using it for a variety of purposes. However, we did find that it isn’t that great at fulfilling any specific purpose. It is neither a car camping bag nor a backpacking sleeping bag, it fills this weird space between the two.

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Sleeping Bag Buyers Guide

As we mentioned, choosing the right sleeping bag is a complicated process, with multiple considerations that need to be taken into account. We’ve broken down the technical sleeping bag aspects and terminology to understand and consider before choosing a sleeping bag.

It’s important that you understand the following aspects before making a decision so that you have the best chance of choosing the budget sleeping bag that’s right for you. If you’re wondering how to choose the perfect sleeping bag, you’ve come to the right place as we are here to help.

Temperature Rating

The temperature rating is an indication of the temperature at which a certain sleeping bag will keep you comfortable. 30°Fto 50°F degree bags (-1°C to 10°C) are generally best for warmer weather camping while sleeping bags for very cold weather and mountaineering can be rated as low as -40°Fto 0°F(-40°C to -18°C).

The temperature rating is mainly used as a metric for comparing bags, and a range of other factors can affect how warm we are when it is actually used. The type and thickness of the sleeping mat, wind chill, body type, what we wear, and even our gender.

It’s better to choose a sleeping bag that is rated for lower temperatures than anyone would expect to encounter. The sleeping bag can always be thrown off if it gets a little too hot, but if the sleeping bag is too cold, there won’t be many options. Besides, even if the next adventure doesn’t involve very cold temperatures, the one afterwards might.

For any colder expeditions that are on the agenda for the future be sure to check out our guide to the best winter sleeping bags.

Fill Type

The filling of a sleeping bag determines its warmth, weight, durability, and compressibility. The type of filling can be broken down into two main categories: natural and synthetic.

Natural fills are generally made from duck or goose down. Down is more durable and compressible, but is also more expensive than synthetic alternatives.

Down ‘fill power’ is a metric on a scale of 550 to 1000,  which measures how lofty the down in your sleeping bag is. A sleeping bag with a higher fill power will keep us warmer than a lower fill power sleeping bag of the same weight. Basically, higher fill power bags offer a better warmth to weight ratio.

Synthetic fillings also have their own benefits. They’re cheaper and they stay warmer than down when they’re wet. They also dry out quicker than down, so they can be a better choice for camping trips where we expect very damp conditions. That being said, down sleeping bags offer superior quality, so if we can afford one, it’s worth biting the bullet.

Shell Type

The shell is the outer layer of the sleeping bag. It’s generally made from DWR-treated nylon ripstop and is responsible for protecting us and the bag’s filling. The shell is often made using waterproof or water-resistant materials.

Sleeping bag in the woods

Shape Type

The shape and size of a sleeping bag affect how quickly we warm up. Sleeping bags work by creating a layer of air around our bodies. Your body heat warms this layer of air, and the sleeping bag itself helps to keep this heat inside.

The bigger the sleeping bag, the larger the layer of air, and the longer it takes to warm the air up. Tight-fitting sleeping bags allow us to heat up faster and keep you warmer, while looser rectangular sleeping bags favor general comfort instead.

  • Rectangular Sleeping Bags

Rectangular bags are comfortable, with room to move around in. They take longer to heat up and tend to not keep us as warm as tighter fitting bags. They’re also bulkier, so they’re the best sleeping bags for camping if we are driving to our campsite, but aren’t ideal for backpacking or mountaineering.

  • Mummy Sleeping Bags

Mummy bags tend to be used by more technical campers and mountaineers, but they’re also great for backpackers due to their lighter weight and smaller size. They’re narrow around every point of your body to help maximize heat. Mummy bags also have hoods that can help keep us much warmer.

Mummy bags can be uncomfortable for some campers, as they’re very restrictive and don’t allow us to move around a lot. They’re not ideal for anyone who tends to feel claustrophobic and may not be suitable for larger campers.

  • Semi-rectangular Sleeping Bags

Semi-rectangular bags offer a compromise between rectangular and mummy bags. They can come with a number of varying features borrowed from either type, and they tend to be a good halfway point between the two. So a semi-rectangular bag may be a good choice if we are struggling to decide on a shape.

  • Double Sleeping Bags

These are ideal for couples, not only from a cuddling perspective but from a heat conservation perspective. Sharing body heat with someone else can dramatically increase how warm we feel throughout the night.

Weight

The weight of the sleeping bag is an important consideration. Heavy bags tend to be warmer and more comfortable for the same price tag as a lightweight bag. They’re fine for car camping, or any trip where we don’t have to carry the sleeping bag around loads.

Lightweight bags are much better for long hiking or climbing trips, mountaineering, and backpacking, or any trip where we will need to carry the bag around a lot. Having to carry a heavy bag around can really put a dampener on the adventure.

Sleeping bags in a tent at night

Backpacking Sleeping Bags vs Camping Sleeping Bags

While some camping expeditions may involve a lot of lugging gear around and walking long distances, most standard camping trips don’t, especially if they’re car camping trips. This means that camping sleeping bags are generally more spacious and comfortable as the weight and size are less of a concern.

Backpacking sleeping bags, on the other hand, tend to be lightweight and tight-fitting so that they’re easy to carry around.

Lighter sleeping bags are also used for adventure activities such as mountaineering and alpine climbing, where gear is carried on long expeditions. But sleeping bags tailored for these purposes are generally rated for very low temperatures.

If we are going to be using the sleeping bag mostly for short camping trips, we will probably value comfort over how lightweight and compact the bag is. Especially since we likely won’t have to drag the sleeping bag very far.

Final Thoughts on the Best Sleeping Bags for Camping

Each of these cheap sleeping bags has its own benefits and style. We’ve done our best to review a broad range of bags, so no matter your intended purpose, you’ll be able to find the best inexpensive sleeping bag for you.

These top-rated sleeping bags all offer exceptional value for money, so you can be sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. We hope you find an affordable sleeping bag that meets your needs, and, most importantly, that you enjoy your adventures.

 

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