Top 7 Sleeping Bags for Side Sleepers

If you’re in a rush and want to find out what the best sleeping bag for side sleepers is, we recommend the Sierra Designs Cloud 20 sleeping bag.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I might be a camping enthusiast, but I have to admit, sometimes it’s hard to get good sleep while roughing it. Part of the problem is the hard ground, but even more aggravating is how constricting a sleeping bag can be.

Like most people, I’m a side sleeper and occasionally a stomach sleeper. Sleeping bags tend to favor back sleepers, which makes it extremely difficult for an insomniac like me to even fall asleep in the first place. Sound familiar? If you can relate, perhaps you’ll appreciate reading through this review on sleeping bags for side sleepers. It’s a list of designs that I’ve found helpful, and I hope that you’ll agree with me.

Sleeping Bags At A Glance

If you’re in a hurry, check out this quick list of our favorite sleeping bags for side sleepers – otherwise, keep on scrolling to get to the full reviews!

Important Features

Fill

white and black feathers in the light

The “fill” of your sleeping bag is the insulative material that you find inside of it. At the end of the day, you only have two options to pick from – down and synthetic – but these materials are very different, and have their own unique set of pros and cons.

To sum it up briefly, down (bird feathers) is what I consider to be the superior option 90% of the time. It’s very lightweight, and it has more insulating power by size when compared to synthetics. That means that you need less of it to keep you warm, cutting back on weight and compressed size in the process. So not only will you shave off a few pounds, but you’ll also have an easier time fitting it inside your hiking backpack, because it can be packed down smaller. Unfortunately, down is the more expensive option, and it loses its insulating properties when wet. But even so, I find it to be the ideal fill for camping and backpacking, unless you find yourself in a very wet and humid environment.

Synthetics, on the other hand, can be manufactured quickly and cheaply. That means that a sleeping bag with this type of fill is going to be more affordable than one made using down. Synthetics will also continue to insulate even after getting wet, which makes them ideal for locations where down will struggle.

However, as opposed to down, synthetics are heavy and don’t compress well. Since you need a lot more fill in order to create the same amount of warmth as down, synthetic bags are heavier and a lot bulkier. Not a deal breaker for those of you who don’t plan to carry your sleeping bag long distances, but I still find it frustrating either way.

Temperature Rating

All sleeping bags have a temperature rating, and some name brand products have two – one to denote the lowest temperature a person will be comfortable, and another to indicate the beginning of a dangerous temperature range. For example, the Nemo Jazz has a tested comfort rating of 32 degrees, and a tested lower limit of 30 degrees. Normally there’s a wider spread between those two numbers, but you get the idea.

As a rule of thumb, I only like to use a certain sleeping bag if the temperature stays 5-10 degrees above the tested comfort level. This provides a little wiggle room, so you don’t accidentally drop below the comfort rating if the weather takes a turn for the worse. Of course, you can use the sleeping bag in dramatically warmer temperatures as well, but then you run the risk of overheating.

Mummy vs Rectangular

nemo sleeping bag on the floor

Ultimately, the point of this article is to look at sleeping bags for side sleepers. With that in mind, we can’t skip over the age-old debate on sleeping bag shape: mummy or rectangular? There are certainly pros and cons to each, but let’s take a look at them from the perspective of a side sleeper.

Mummy bags, by nature, are more constrictive. It helps them pack down smaller, weigh less, and stay warmer in chilly temperatures. It’s the only style of bag that a backpacker should be using, but at the same time, they’ll be pretty limited in their movement. On the other hand, rectangular bags provide much more room for the user to spread out, which means they’re also more ideal for side sleeping.

Does that mean you should avoid mummy bags as a side sleeper? Not at all, especially for backpackers who don’t really have a choice. We’ve listed some of our favorite mummy and rectangular bags below, and all of them provide more than enough room for anyone to sleep comfortably during the night.

Stuff Sack

The stuff sack, also called the compression sack, is what your sleeping bag will be stored in. Generally speaking, smaller is better, since you want to take up as little space inside your backpack as possible. For this, you’ll want to note the compressed volume of the sleeping bag, which is measured in liters. Many of the smallest sleeping bags when packed have a compressed volume under 10 liters, but it’s okay if it’s bigger than that too. I like sleeping bags that have a volume of 16 liters or less, but everyone has their own preferences.

Durability and Waterproofing

woman sleeping inside of a sleeping bag and tent

All camping gear is going to take a beating one way or another. Sleeping bags might have it better than tents and backpacks, but even they’ll start to pull apart at the seams after enough time. Purchasing a sleeping bag with good durability is one way to save money in the long run, since you won’t have to dish out more cash for a new one every couple of years.

Then there’s the matter of waterproofing. It might not sound like something you need to worry about with a sleeping bag, but there are a couple of reasons why it’s a valuable feature. First of all, your sleeping bag will have to contend with condensation buildup on the ceiling of your tent. The moisture will eventually fall onto you and your bag, and it may seep into the insulation in extreme cases. If your sleeping bag uses down, that water will nullify any insulation you receive from it.

Then there’s the matter of sleeping without a tent. Whether you like to cowboy camp or use nothing but a tarp for protection, your sleeping bag is bound to get wet when it starts to rain. Especially in scenarios like these, having a waterproof sleeping bag is crucial.

Weight

Weight is an important factor for any camping gear, especially for backpackers who will be carrying all of their possessions countless miles for several consecutive days. Sleeping bags are one of the heaviest, single items that a camper will take with them, which is why it’s one area that people try to target for weight loss. A bag that’s 4 pounds or less would be considered a win for most campers.

Still, sleeping bags for side sleepers are going to be larger than average, and rectangular bags often lean toward the heavier end of the spectrum anyway. That being said, some of the products in our review weigh more than that 4 pound marker, making them suitable only for car camping.

Sleeping Bags for Side Sleepers Comparison Table

Sleeping Bags Comparison
Sleeping BagsWeight (lbs)Temperature RatingMaterialInsulation
REI Co-op HunkerDown 20 Sleeping Bag3.7520°FPolyesterDown
Coleman Kompact 20 Rectangle Sleeping Bag5.820°FPolyesterSynthetic
NEMO Jazz 30 Sleeping Bag632°FPolyesterSynthetic
The North Face Eco Trail Bed 20 Sleeping Bag520°FPolyesterSynthetic
Sierra Designs Cloud 20 Sleeping Bag1.926°FNylonDown
NEMO Women’s Forte 20 Sleeping Bag3.520°FPolyesterSynthetic
Big Agnes Men’s Torchlight 20 Sleeping Bag327°FNylonDown

Top Sleeping Bags for Side Sleepers – Reviewed

REI Co-op HunkerDown 20 Sleeping Bag

Weight: 3.75 Pounds

Insulation: Down

Temperature Rating: 20°F

Compressed Vol.: 9.1 L

If you’ve been exposed to the world of camping, you’re probably familiar with the REI Co-op. They’re one of the most popular outfitters for this type of gear, but what some people might not realize is that they also sell their own brand. And as someone who has relied heavily on their products, I have to say that they rarely disappoint.

And that’s why we’re starting this list off with the REI HunkerDown 20 sleeping bag. It’s a powerful bag that takes advantage of all the benefits that come from using a down fill. Lightweight and easy to compress, it’s also very warm, boasting a temperature rating of 20 degrees. It’s a bit surprising to find a rectangular sleeping bag that can rival a mummy bag in terms of weight, warmth, and compressibility. To top it all off, it’s not even as expensive as you might expect.

All of the materials used in the construction of the HunkerDown were recycled, making this an eco-friendly option. Likewise, all of the down used for insulation is certified to the Responsible Down Standard. If that wasn’t enough, REI went above and beyond by adding a hood to their sleeping bag as well. I know it might not sound like a big deal, but hoods are something that you almost exclusively find on mummy bags. Putting it on a rectangular sleeping bag was a bold move, but it’s a handy feature to have for trapping heat and keeping your pillow secure.

Reasons For

Comes with a hood

Made from recycled materials

Warm and comfortable

Follows animal welfare standards

Roomy

Pretty lightweight

Reasons Against

Somewhat bulky

Coleman Kompact 20 Rectangle Sleeping Bag

Weight: 5.8 Pounds

Insulation: Synthetic

Temperature Rating: 20°F

Compressed Vol.: 19.9 L

Coleman has been a household brand for decades, making good quality outdoor gear for a relatively affordable price. Still, when given the choice, I usually opt for a brand like Nemo or Marmot because of the additional features and refinements that have gone into their products. Coleman works well for the occasional car camper, but it’s not normally something I would recommend for a hardcore camping enthusiast.

That being said, the Kompact 20 got me to change my mind. In typical Coleman fashion, you can get the sleeping bag for under $100, but you really aren’t compromising on quality in other areas of the design. The zippers don’t snag, it traps heat well, and there’s a comfortable cuff that wraps around your face. It’s also light enough where some people would be willing to backpack with it, despite sporting a synthetic fill. That being said, the synthetic will make it difficult to pack away, so personally, I wouldn’t recommend carrying it long distances.

As an aside, it’s also worth noting that the Kompact lives up to its name. It’s fairly compact in the sense that large adults might feel a little cramped, though it works great for women, children, and smaller men. Regardless, since it is a rectangular bag, it will still work better for side sleeping than your average mummy bag, despite the smaller size.

Reasons For

Reasonable price

Good insulation

Sleek design

Snag free zippers

Comfortable

Reasons Against

A little small

Hard to pack back up again

NEMO Jazz 30 Sleeping Bag

Weight: 6 Pounds

Insulation: Synthetic

Temperature Rating: 32°F

Compressed Vol.: 16.1 L

With a name like “Jazz,” how could you possibly resist taking a closer look at this sleeping bag by Nemo? My wife and I love to use Nemo sleeping bags because of how feature-rich they are, and the superior quality that you get in general. I mean, how many sleeping bags do you know of that come with their own bedsheets? Aside from the Jazz, I’m not sure if I could name any.

Nemo really wanted to include all of the comforts of home with this bag, which means they packed a lot into it. With that in mind, you may have already guessed it, but the Jazz is not the lightest or most compressible product in our review. It’s not something I would bring on a backpacking trip, but car campers will be able to make the most of the comfort without worrying too much about bulk or weight.

With a temperature rating of 30 degrees, it’s an incredibly cozy setup that will be difficult to leave in the morning. The draft collar and hood keep the warm air inside the sleeping bag, while providing a secure place for your pillow to rest during the night. I also like how the shell is water resistant, so any condensation won’t be able to seep through. Not that you’d need to worry too much about that anyway, since the insulation is made from synthetics, but even so, why get soaked when you don’t have to? In my opinion, the Jazz goes down as one of the most comfortable sleeping bags out there, providing more than enough room for side sleepers to enter their favorite position.

Reasons For

Extremely comfortable

Comes with removable bed sheets
– Good temperature rating

Comes with draft collar and hood

Oversized carry bag make storage easy

Reasons Against

The footbox does get quite warm

The North Face Eco Trail Bed 20 Sleeping Bag

Weight: 5 Pounds

Insulation: Synthetic

Temperature Rating: 20°F

Compressed Vol.: 35.6 L

For the price, it’s really hard to find anything bad to say about The North Face Eco Trail sleeping bag. Does it have its flaws? Absolutely. But again, when you’re talking about a bag that costs less than $100, that’s to be expected.

So, let’s start with what it does well, and then we can dive into the shortcomings later. First of all, it’s a very cozy bag to spend the night in, providing a great deal of softness and comfort. Made from 50 denier recycled polyester, it’s also one of the more durable options in our review, rivaling the toughness of some tents. Easy to get in and out of, the zipper is even long enough to give you space needed to sit up without ever leaving the sleeping bag.

The Eco Trail was given a temperature rating of 20 degrees, but I’d say this is the first flaw worth mentioning. If you use the Eco Trail with a standard sleep system at 20 degrees, you’re going to be an ice block in the morning, I’m sorry to say. Anything above 40 degrees shouldn’t be a problem, but I wouldn’t try using it in temperatures colder than that. The zipper is also a bit sticky, and the bag has an awful compressed volume. But I’ll say it again, this is the cheapest product in our review. If you’re on a tight budget, you really aren’t going to do better than the Eco Flow.

Reasons For

Affordable

Durable

Cozy

Big enough to spread out in

Made from recycled materials

Reasons Against

Terrible compressed volume

Sticky zipper

Sierra Designs Cloud 20 Sleeping Bag – Long

Weight: 1.9 Pounds

Insulation: Down

Temperature Rating: 26°F

Compressed Vol.: N/A

I took one look at the Sierra Designs Cloud 20 and instantly fell in love. The uniqueness of a zipperless design really sets this bag apart from the rest, creating a product that’s really easy to get in and out of. As someone who tends to get pretty wrapped up in my sleeping bag, there have been some nights where it’s been hard to unzip myself for a bathroom break.

Instead, the Cloud just wraps into itself like a robe. As a result, I would say that it’s not as good at trapping heat as a zippered design, but even so, it’s a very warm bag to spend the night in. The 800 fill power down makes sure of that, pushing a tested lower limit of 15 degrees. On top of the warmth, you get the high loft from the down which provides a nice amount of cushion underneath you as well.

Coming in just shy of 2 pounds, the Cloud is also the lightest sleeping bag in our review, coming out on top yet again. For all of the features that you get, I’m honestly surprised that this bag doesn’t cost more than many of the other products in this review. Considering the zipperless design gives you significantly more wiggle room, it’s not hard to see why this is one of the best sleeping bags for side sleepers. If you have the budget for it, I definitely recommend giving the Cloud a try.

Reasons For

Lightweight

Zipperless

Comfortable

Very warm

High loft

Adjustable foot vent

Reasons Against

The down likes to shift around a bit

NEMO Women’s Forte 20 Sleeping Bag

Weight: 3.5 Pounds

Insulation: Synthetic

Temperature Rating: 20°F

Compressed Vol.: 11.7 L

If you hadn’t guessed by now, Nemo holds a special place in my heart. In particular, I feel pretty confident recommending the Forte, since it’s the sleeping bag that my wife swears by. Though not as big as the Jazz mentioned above, it’s still a very spacious sleeping bag with extra room in the shoulders and knees than your average mummy bag. This gives the user more than enough room to stretch out and sleep comfortably on their side, even when the bag is fully zipped.

The footbox is both wind resistant and breathable, protecting your feet from getting cold and wet. On top of that, the entire sleeping bag is covered in a durable water repellent (DWR), which protects it from condensation that will fall during the night.

In terms of heat management, you’ll probably notice to light blue, vertical slits in the bag. They’re called Thermo-Gills and can be zipped or unzipped, depending on how warm or cold you are. The openings don’t penetrate all the way through to the inside of the bag, but they open up enough to let some heat escape if you’re starting to get too hot. It’s a useful feature that allows you to stay fully enclosed in the Forte on warmer night without feeling too stuffy or hot. Considering the excessive amount of insulation (Nemo recognizes that women run colder than men), having the versatility makes this a usable product during almost all seasons of the year.

Reasons For

Highly insulated and cozy

Thermo Gills allow customized heat retention

Extra room in the elbows and knees for side sleepers

Waterproof material to withstand tent condensation

Integrated pillow pocket

Reasons Against

Because it’s so big, it’s hard to stuff back into the compression sack

Getting the right size can be tricky

Big Agnes Men’s Torchlight 20 Sleeping Bag

Weight: 3 Pounds

Insulation: Down

Temperature Rating: 27°F

Compressed Vol.: 7 L

Time to top off the list with the Big Agnes Torchlight 20 sleeping bag. Now, looking at the image, you might be curious as to why they’re showing two different views of the bag. Well, if you look closely at the side profile, you’ll notice that there’s a zipper keeping the sleeping bag compressed. When it’s released, you’ll gain an additional 10 inches to the circumference of the bag. Which is to say, if you didn’t have enough room to sleep comfortably on your side before, you certainly will after you release the panel.

But that’s not where the fancy features end. The Torchlight is one of the few mummy bags out there that can be combined with another sleeping bag to create a double sleeping bag. At the moment, I believe Big Agnes only makes the Torchlight with a zipper on the left side of the bag, which means you’d need to get a sleeping bag with the zipper on the right side if you wanted to combine them. Still, it’s pretty nice to have the option to combine multiple sleeping bags, especially if you want to share a sleeping space with your significant other.

The down fill is warm and provides a good amount of padding to help you stay comfortable during the night. I also like how it’s the most compressible sleeping bag in this review as well, coming in at a shocking 7 liters for the “long” size. Paired with the 3 pound weight, it’s the perfect sleeping bag to take on backpacking trips, whether you end up camping in a hammock or in a tent.

Reasons For

Highly compressible

Lightweight

Multiple sleeping configurations

Can be combined with another sleeping bag

Very warm

Reasons Against

Somewhat narrow footbox

Why Trust US

At Untamed Space, we’re passionate about helping you have the best camping experience possible. Our team of experts have experience camping and backpacking all over the world, allowing them to provide insightful and relevant content to guide you in your outdoor pursuits.

All of our reviews are based on a combination of firsthand experience, extensive research, and an analysis of customer feedback. We are an independent website and do not receive payments or incentives from manufacturers to promote their products, and we continuously update our content to provide new information based on product availability. Wherever you are in your journey, whatever gear you’re searching for, you can be sure to find unbiased and up-to-date reviews for all of your needs.

FAQ

What Should You Look for in a Good Sleeping Bag?

Sleeping bags are supposed to keep you warm and provide a little extra comfort against the hard ground. That being said, one of the first things you should look at with any sleeping bag is the temperature rating. Afterwards, the way it fits, the weight, and the packability are all important things to consider.

What are the Best Brands of Sleeping Bags?

Final Thoughts

Sleeping bags are a vital component of any camping setup, whether you’re car camping or backpacking. However, if you’re like the majority of the population, your standard mummy bag is going to feel very restrictive. Even though certain sleeping bags are supposed to hug you rather tightly, they can end up feeling like straightjackets that prevent you from shifting into a comfortable position.

Sleeping bags for side sleepers will help alleviate this problem, but you don’t want to give up warmth, weight, and packability in the process. That being said, we believe that the Sierra Designs Cloud 20 sleeping bag is going to be your best bet overall. Sporting a unique zipperless design, it gives you the flexibility you need to stay comfortable without cutting back on warmth or weight.

Meet the Author!

By the age of 20, Spencer had already tackled some of the most famed mountain ranges in Europe, Asia, and North America. His mission is to help others accomplish their own outdoor-related goals, even within the time constraints of a 9-5 job and a busy life schedule.

1 thought on “Top 7 Sleeping Bags for Side Sleepers”

  1. This article was great! I really appreciate it. As a side sleeper and someone who doesn’t like to feel restricted, it was great to come across options for rectangular bags that still hit the mark. Thank you, thank you!

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