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Along with footwear, choosing the right sleeping bag is perhaps the most important thing you can do to make sure your backpacking trip goes as planned. An ill-fitting pack, a leaky tent, or unappealing food are all problems that are more annoyances than deal-breakers. Shiver through an entire night, though, and you risk crossing into dangerous territory. Thankfully, there are plenty of high-performance sleep systems out there; our seven favorite three-season sleeping bags currently on the market will keep you warm, comfortable, and a happy hiker for the majority of the year.
Lightest: Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 20°F
If you’re ruthless about cutting weight, you’ll like the Hyperion. It’s one of the lightest models in this temp category, thanks to a narrow, heat-saving shape (shoulder circumference is 57 inches), a half-length zipper, and 900-fill goose down. It packs down to the size of a honeydew and kept us warm on an 18°F—past its temp rating—in the Spanish Pyrenees while our hiking partners shivered. $400 Buy Now / Read the Full Review
Best Value: Sierra Designs Get Down 20°F
Sleeping bags have always secured a space as hikers’ most-appreciated gear, responsible for warm nights in the backcountry where hypothermia might otherwise be an issue. Down bags get a special nod for their superior compressibility and instant coziness. But darn it if they aren’t spendy! This is why we constantly scour the market for down bags that perform beyond their price. And after four months of vetting it against every other affordable competitor, we declare the Get Down to be the absolute best 20°F bag (well) under $200 on the market. $180 Buy Now / Read the Full Review
Roomiest: Big Agnes Torchlight UL 20°F
Warm summer nights turn three-season mummies into boil-in-bag situations, while cool fall nights make for shiverfests in summer-weight bags. Who knew that all we needed to bridge the gap between the two was an extra pair of long zippers? Opening the zips on the sides of the Torchlight releases two baffles of down-filled fabric, expanding the typical 60-inch circumference of a mummy bag to 70 inches (a separate head-to-toe zipper opens the bag itself). $420 Buy Now / Read the Full Review
Best Fit For Women: Feathered Friends Egret YF 20°F
We find women tend to run cold in unisex bags; the Egret YF’s female-specific design delivered trustworthy performance every time we slept in it. The Egret YF is dialed for female physiology. We appreciated the warmth provided by extra down stuffed into both the footbox and torso—areas where women typically run colder than men. The women’s-specific sizing also helps nail the perfect fit and reduce dead space. $409 Buy Now / Read the Full Review
Most Versatile: The North Face One Bag
Less than $300 for a bag that you can use year-round? We couldn’t believe it either, until we tested the One Bag’s modular design. It has a synthetic insulated base and two different quilts (one synthetic, one 800-fill down) that create configurations rated to 40°F or 20°F, respectively—or combine them to create a bag that’s warm to 5°F. The 78-inch length and 61-inch shoulder circumference make this bag roomy, and we had plenty of space to stash socks, fuel, electronics, and other layers in our bag overnight. $290 Buy Now / Read the Full Review
Bargain: Mountain Hardwear Bozeman 15°F
At just over $100 for a true three-season bag, the Bozeman is a steal. But the price doesn’t mean it skimps on performance. Designers made it wide around the ribcage but narrower through the lower half, so you can shift a bit while still preserving warmth. The bag’s synthetic fill is designed to mimic the structure of down, and offset quilting means there aren’t any seams for chills to penetrate. $110 Buy Now / Read the Full Review
Most Comfortable: NEMO Forte 20°F
With extra-wide shoulder, hip, and knee girths, this bag’s spoon shape is the perfect match for side-sleepers. Whatever position we slept in—fetal, sprawled on our stomachs, starfish, you name it—the Forte never felt claustrophobic. Two zippers run about 2 feet along the core and, when unzipped, partially expose the bag’s inner lining and release some heat. It’s a simple-yet-effective tool. Although the Forte’s hood is larger than average, it cinches down easily and works well with the external blanket fold that sits underneath the chin. $200 Buy Now / Read the Full Review