If you’re in a rush and want to find out what the best sleeping bag for a hammock is, we recommend the Therm-A-Rest Vesper down quilt.
Nothing says “relaxation” quite like lying in a hammock while swinging between the trees. It’s my favorite way to enjoy the outdoors, and if you’re able to camp in a location that can accommodate this hanging shelter, I’d strongly suggest you try it out.
Still, it takes more than a hammock to have a comfortable night outdoors. Aside from some other necessary gear, you’re going to need one of the best sleeping bags for a hammock if you want to stay warm and cozy. To get you pointed in the right direction, we’ve laid out some of our favorites in the review below.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing the following best sleeping bags for a hammock:
- ENO Spark Hammock Top Quilt – Most Affordable Sleeping Bag
- Therm-a-Rest Vesper Down Quilt 32 – Best Overall
- Sierra Designs Nitro Quilt 35 – Best Down Sleeping Bag
- Sea to Summit Spark Ultralight 18F Sleeping Bag – Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag
- Big Agnes Men’s Torchlight 20 Sleeping Bag – Best Sleeping Bag for Side Sleepers
- Hyke and Byke Crestone Hammock Sleeping Bag – Best Hammock Compatible Sleeping Bag
- Therm-a-Rest Polar Ranger -20 Sleeping Bag – Best Sleeping Bag for Extreme Cold
- Sea to Summit Ember Ultralight 25F Down Quilt – Editor’s Choice
Before We Dive In…
There’s just a quick point that I’d like to make before we get into the actual buyers guide for the best sleeping bag for a hammock. Namely, which is better for hammock camping? A sleeping bag or a top quilt?
You’ll hear an argument for both sides, but personally, I believe that top quilts are better for hammocking. They’re easier to get in and out of, which is something you have to pay a lot more attention to when you’re hammocking. In a sleeping bag, you’ll need to unzip it all the way in order to get out, and getting back in again can be a challenge.
Still, sleeping bags are a good “all in one” option. They can be used while hammocking, and they can be used in a tent, in a bivy, or with a pad and no shelter at all. If you’re exclusively a hammock camper, I’d go with a top quilt. If you do other forms of camping, you can make a sleeping bag work. In our review below, we’ve made a point to include plenty of options that are “top quilts” that can be converted into a sleeping bag for optimal versatility.
Alright, let’s talk about the shape of your sleeping bag. Broadly speaking, they can be broken down into two categories: mummy and rectangular. You’ve also got semi-rectangular sleeping bags, but these are far less common, so we won’t touch on them here.
Generally speaking, mummy bags are what you want to pick for backpacking. They’re lighter, they pack down smaller, and they retain heat better than their rectangular counterparts. True to its name, the mummy shape hugs your body tightly, almost to the point of discomfort, depending on the size and brand. Some people don’t like how claustrophobic it feels, but it truly is the most efficient and versatile design.
On the other hand, rectangular bags are more luxurious, and provide more space for you to stretch out and get comfortable. That being said, the extra space does increase the overall weight and bulk of the item as well, so most people only use rectangular bags for car camping. The extra space inside of the bag also makes it harder to stay warm and well insulated, so you’ll rarely find a rectangular sleeping bag that will keep you comfortable in freezing temperatures.
The fill of a sleeping bag is the insulative material put inside of it. Once again, you only have two options here: down and synthetic.
While both have their pros and cons, I will say that down is going to be the superior option in almost every circumstance. It’s lightweight, packs down smaller, and keeps you much warmer than synthetic. It’s the ideal fill for mummy bags that need to stay small and portable without sacrificing warmth and insulation.
However, down isn’t without its flaws. Since it can’t be manufactured in a factory, it costs a lot more than synthetics. It also loses its insulative properties when wet, making it a bad choice for cowboy campers who run the risk of getting caught in the rain. Any extended period of time in a humid environment can also oversaturate the down, so I’d think twice before taking a down bag into the rainforest or similarly wet location.
On the other hand, a synthetic fill maintains its insulation even when wet, making it a better choice for humid and rainy conditions. Because of how easily it can be manufactured, it’s also a much cheaper options, when compared with down.
Unfortunately, that’s where most of the benefits end. Synthetic fills aren’t as warm, and they don’t pack down very well. Since you need more material to get the same effect as a down bag, it also means that synthetic sleeping bags are heavier.
Every sleeping bag comes with a temperature rating. And most of the higher end bags come with two: a tested comfort rating and a tested lower limit.
Originally, there was only the “tested lower limit,” which is the lowest temperature where a man would be able to survive without needing to hug himself for warmth. However, since women run colder than men, the “tested comfort” rating was developed as an indicator for women to know what temperature they would be “comfortable” down to. Of course, “comfortable” doesn’t actually mean comfortable… As it is for men, the test comfort rating just tells a woman how cold it can be outside before she needs to hug herself for warmth.
Most hammock campers rarely stay in one place for very long. They take the backpacking approach, moving across the terrain with all of their gear safely nestled in their backpack. As such, it’s important to be conscious of weight – which is to say, you should try to cut back on it as much as possible.
Many of the products mentioned in the review below do a good job of this, especially the top quilt/sleeping bags. Some of them are even under 2 pounds, which is exactly what an ultralight backpacker would want. Even if you’re not that serious about cutting back on weight, the versatility, comfort, and warmth of these products will win you over instead.
Sleeping bags might not receive quite as much wear and tear as a backpack, tent, or even a hammock, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on durability. After enough use, a cheap sleeping bag will start to rip apart at the seams, the fill will bunch together or spill out of holes, and other damage will become noticeable.
There’s also the matter of waterproofing. You might not think a sleeping bag would need it, but if you’re camping without a rain tarp or any shelter at all, it’s possible that you’ll get rained on. Not to mention, condensation can be just as bad as rain. Most sleeping bags are at least somewhat water resistant, but it’s still a good idea to look at the details before purchasing one.
Best Sleeping Bag for a Hammock – Reviewed
Is it a quilt or a sleeping bag? You’ll probably ask yourself that question a couple of time throughout the course of this article. And usually, the answer to that is: both.
Such is the case with the ENO Spark hammock top quilt. There are three different modes that you can get out of it: top quilt, camp blanket, and sleeping bag. It makes a rather minimalist sleeping bag, but it’s a sleeping bag nonetheless.
And at 1.5 pounds, it’s lighter than most real sleeping bags that you’ll find on the market. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be quite as warm, since it comes in with a temperature range of 40-60 degrees. Well, 40-60 degrees when paired with a comparable underquilt, which you’ll also want to invest in, if you haven’t already.
It’s a bit tight when you try to button it over your shoulders, and the buttons themselves don’t really seal well. So, would I recommend going with the Spark? Only if you’re on a tight budget, don’t plan on camping in terribly cold weather, and hate the confinement of a mummy bag. Otherwise, I’d check out some of the other options listed below.
– Multiple modes
– Not very warm
– Fits tightly
– The buttons like to come undone
Similar to the Spark, it might be a stretch to call the Therm-A-Rest Vesper a hammock sleeping bag. However, it does have a lot of the same features as a regular sleeping bag, such as a footbox and a snap closure at the neck to help secure it around your body.
The reason why I like the Vesper is because of how easy it is to get in and out of. In a hammock, that’s one of the primary features that you want to look for in a sleeping bag, and usually, it’s hard to come by. Despite being a “quilt,” it still hugs you like a real bag, but can be undone at a moment’s notice.
The other major benefit that the Vesper has going for it is weight. A hammock, underquilt, rain tarp, and bug net can quickly add up in weight, and when you add a sleeping pad and sleeping bag into the mix, it can feel a little overwhelming. However, with the Vesper, that’s not really going to be a problem. Coming in at a pound, you’re going to have a hard time finding something lighter.
On the inside, it’s packed full of down with a 900 fill power. This gives it a great deal of loft, and keeps the quilt better insulated than many of its competitors. The temperature rating is set at 32 degrees, which I’d say is a very fair assessment. Still, to make sure you stay cozy in conditions that get that cold, I’d still recommend pairing the bag with a solid sleeping pad. The Vesper comes with straps to attach itself to a pad anyway, so there’s no reason not to!
– Very comfortable
– Fits bigger guys well
– High loft down
– Connects to a sleeping pad
Best Down Sleeping Bag
Filled with 800 power duck down, the Sierra Designs Nitro provides enough insulation to keep you warm in cold temperatures, despite the backless design.
Even been forced to wear one of those backless gowns in the doctor’s office? As much as I hate comparing it to such a cringy analogy, that’s kind of what it’s like to sleep inside of the Sierra Designs Nitro. There’s a footbox at the bottom for you to slip your feet inside of, but other than that, there’s nothing back there but open air.
Of course, that’s what you’d expect from a camping quilt/sleeping bag. But it does differ from other camping quilts in that it has a couple of hand pockets and a head pocket. These hand pockets are in the corners of the quilt (the parts that flare out), allowing you to keep your hands warm. They also allow you to maneuver the quilt around without taking it off, which is nice for versatility.
Then you’ve got the head pocket, which cradles your head, while opening up around the face. It keeps the quilt secure over your body, and works to trap any heat that might try to escape from your head. All of these features, along with the 800 fill power duck down, will keep you nice and toasty, even when the temperatures start to dip close to freezing.
The downside of the head pocket is that it can be difficult to use the quilt while you’re lying on your side. And I think it’s fairly safe to say that it won’t work at all if you’re a stomach sleeper. Not that you’d be sleeping on your stomach in a hammock, but if you wanted to use it in other places during the year, just keep these limitations in mind.
– Pretty warm
– Head and hand pockets
– Comfortable footbox
– The down doesn’t shift
– Fairly water resistant
– Not terribly wide
Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag
One of the most versatile sleeping bags in our review, the Sea to Summit Spark is both warm and compact, giving you the ability to take it anywhere in the world.
Thinking about backpacking with your hammock? It’s my preferred method of camping, and I think you’ll like it too, but it does require a lot more thought and planning than regular camping. For example, what’s the weight of your gear? Everything is going to be resting on your back for several hours every day, so ideally, your sleeping bag (and everything else you’re packing) will be as light as possible.
That’s why I like the Sea to Summit Spark. At only 1.5 pounds for the regular size, you’re not going to do much better than that, if you decide to go with a “real” sleeping bag. It also packs down very small, so you can save space inside of your pack for other things.
Weight and size reduction are what the Spark does best, and it’s a fairly durable option as well. However, I’d be pretty skeptical of the 18 degree temperature rating. While the baffles do a good job at organizing the fill and trapping heat, I wouldn’t use this sleeping bag in sub-freezing temperatures without a liner. For most places in the US, I’d say this would be a good bag to use between late Spring and early Fall. For alpine hammock camping, you’ve got an even narrower window – between May and August (maybe September), I would say.
– Decent heat retention considering how light it is
– Vertical chest baffles to prevent the insulation from migrating
– Nice mummy contouring for maximum efficiency
– It’s quite tight and the zipper is short, so getting in and out can be a challenge
– A bit on the expensive side
Best Sleeping Bag for Side Sleepers
The Big Agnes Torchlight is already larger than most, but if you need that extra space to spread out, just open up the expandable panel to create an extra 10 inches of circumference.
Big Agnes is a popular outdoor brand for a reason. It seems like they’re always making unique products, whether it’s in the form of a bikepacking tent or an expandable sleeping bag.
The Torchlight falls into the latter category, making use of an expandable panel that can be unzipped to create an extra 10 inches in circumference. Since the majority of the popular prefers to sleep on their side, this additional space is just what you need to shift around inside the sleeping bag. The extra room really does make a big difference, especially in the shoulder area of the bag.
Now you might be thinking, hey, all that extra space comes with extra weight, right? Actually, Big Agnes (ever known for making ultralight products), managed to keep the Torchlight under 3 pounds. For the amount of space and warmth that you get from it, it’s rather shocking that they kept it so lightweight.
But that’s not where the features end. On the left side of the bag, the zipper can be combined with another sleeping bag to a double sleep setup. It’s perfect for couples who want to snuggle up inside one big cocoon, instead of being segregated in their own sleeping arrangements. That way, body heat can be shared more effectively as well, though you may not need it, considering the 27 degree tested comfort rating.
– High quality sleeping bag
– Keeps your comfortable down to 30 degrees
– Pretty small when packed
– Weighs 3 pounds
– Expandable panel
– Can be combined with another sleeping bag
– Somewhat narrow footbox
Best Hammock Compatible Sleeping Bag
With the ability the slide right over your hammock and suspension system, the Hyke and Byke Crestone is perfect for folks who want a sleeping bag that fits securely.
In a lot of ways, I suppose you could call the Hyke and Byke Crestone the first “real” hammock sleeping bag in our review. And I have to say, Hyke and Byke took “hammock sleeping bag” quite literally when they designed the Crestone.
In the truest sense of the term, this is a sleeping bag for your hammock. It doesn’t go inside of the hammock, but rather, it wraps around the entire thing. While you could still use an underquilt if you wanted to, the Crestone makes it an unnecessary addition.
The full length, central zipper eliminates any difficulty that you might have getting in and out of the bag. I also appreciate how the baffles keep the fill from sliding around and creating cold spots, and the water resistant shell does a good job at keeping moisture out. Since the fill is made of down, this is a vital feature, especially if your rain tarp doesn’t fully block out any rain that might blow in from the side.
With a temperature rating of 15 degrees, I’d feel pretty confident that you would stay reasonably comfortable in temperatures that cold. The great thing about the Crestone is that it’s compatible with almost every hammock, but you can also use it inside of a tent. This added versatility makes it well worth the price, in my opinion, especially if you want a bag that’s suitable for a variety of conditions.
– Wraps around the entire hammock
– Very warm
– Can be used as a regular sleeping bag in a tent as well
– Water resistant shell
– A reasonable weight
– The head and foot holes have a tendency to open up
Best Sleeping Bag for Extreme Cold
The Polar Ranger is built to withstand the harshest environments, offering superior insulation, warmth, and comfort for winter campers and alpinists alike.
When you find yourself in extremely cold conditions, the Therm-A-Rest Polar Ranger is what you want to have in your gear kit. It’s a powerful bag with a tested lower limit of -20 degrees (which, as I’ve mentioned before, is essentially the tested comfort for men). The tested comfort for women, on the other hand, is -4 degrees. Quite a big difference, but still very impressive nonetheless!
Despite being loaded with 800 fill power down, the Polar Ranger weighs in at a very reasonable 3.5 pounds. It might be one of the heavier products in our review, but I’m honestly surprised it doesn’t weigh more, considering how powerful it is.
The unique snorkel hood covers up as much of your face as possible, to help trap the maximum amount of heat. If you don’t like things on your face, or you get claustrophobic easily, it might be a little unpleasant for you. However, when paired with the oversized draft tubes and cinchable collar, it works wonders at keeping you well insulated.
While there are some side vents to help regulate internal temperature, I believe it’s worth noting that this is a sleeping bag that you’ll use exclusively in colder temperatures. If it’s even remotely warm outside, you’re going to steam inside of the Polar Ranger. However, for those extra cold expeditions, you’re not going to find something better.
– Very warm
– Central zipper
– Decent weight
– Great draft tube
– Side vents
– Can get a little too warm
With an 850 fill power and the flexibility that comes with camping quilts, the Sea to Summit Ember is my personal favorite option for a comfortable night in a hammock.
The last product in our review, the Sea to Summit Ember is another quilt that works well as a “sleeping bag.” I find that the best way to use it is by wrapping it around your sleeping pad, securing it by using the four adjustable straps that comes with the Ember. Since hammock sleeping pads have a tendency to shift around during the night, the Ember will also help to keep it in place.
You can’t see it from the photo, but on the backside of the quilt, there’s a footbox sewn into it. The footbox comes with a drawstring that allows you to cinch things up when it starts to get cold. Otherwise, you can keep it loose to make it easy to get in and out of on warmer nights. I will say that, since the footbox is sewn on, you won’t be able to accommodate a rectangular sleeping pad. You’ll need a mummy shape, otherwise it won’t fit.
It doesn’t have a head pocket like the Sierra Designs Nitro, but it does come with hand pockets. So at the very least, you’ll be able to keep your hands and feet warm, and the quilt itself is quite cozy. The 850 fill power down is very insulative, so even though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend using it in 25 degree weather, it will still get you close to that.
– Secure footbox
– Can accommodate any mummy sleeping pad
– Comes with compression sack
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What is the Best Sleeping Bag for Hammock Camping?
We believe that the Therm-A-Rest Vesper is the best sleeping bag for a hammock. Not only is it lightweight and comfortable, but it also packs down small, and keeps your sleeping pad from shifting around too much.
How Do I make My Hammock More Comfortable?
Start by finding the right tension. A hammock that’s too loose or too taut can be uncomfortable for different reasons, so make sure it’s locked in at an angle that you’re satisfied with. Also keep your foot end a little bit higher, and try to find a sleeping pad that will push against the hammock walls.
A sleeping bag is a vital piece of gear for any camping setup. Not only will it provide a barrier between you and the outside chill, but it will also add some padding to create a more comfortable sleeping arrangement.
When you’re out looking for the best sleeping bag for a hammock, you want to keep an eye out for warmth, weight, and overall functionality. With those things in mind, we felt that the Therm-A-Rest Vesper did it the best. As a versatile option that can function as both a quilt and a sleeping bag, you’ll have all that you need for a variety of different climates.