10 Best Sleeping Bag Stuff Sacks

10 Best Sleeping Bag Stuff Sacks

Sleeping bag stuff sacks are an essential piece of backpacking, camping, and outdoor gear that serve three important roles:  (1) to prevent your sleeping bag or backings quilt from getting wet when packed, (2) to minimize the space it takes up in your backpack, and (3) to help organize your packed gear to make it easier to access in a backpack. However most of the manufacturer’s stuff sacks that come with sleeping bags are designed for storage, not field use, and it’s often necessary to purchase a separate compression sack, roll-top stuff sack, or waterproof dry sack to serve these functions.

Here are the 10 best sleeping bag stuff sacks that we recommend and rely on to protect our backpacking quilts and sleeping bags. Why the variety? Different types of sleeping bags and quilts require different size sleeping bag stuff sacks. Be sure to read our sleeping bag stuff sack selection guide below.

1. Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Drysack

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Drysack
The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Drysack is the most popular roll-top stuff sacks sold today and with good reason. They’re available in a wide range of sizes, multiple colors, and they’re made with PU-coated, siliconized 30-denier Cordura nylon which is lightweight and durable. The buckle on the roll-top is also removable with a multi-tool (screwdriver) and can be used to repair a backpack buckle if you break one on the trail, which is a nice extra. I’ve been using this model of stuff sack to pack my summer sleeping bags and quilts for close to a decade.

Check for the latest price at:
Amazon| Sea to Summit | REI 

2. Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Sack

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Sack
The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Sack is a surprisingly lightweight compression sack good for compressing larger sleeping bags or quilts. Its made with 30D diamond rip-stop siliconized Cordura nylon with a slippery exterior finish that makes it easy to pack. The interior bag closes with a drawstring, while four webbing straps provide the added mechanical advantage necessary to compress large synthetic insulation sleeping bags or down-filled winter bags. This stuff sack is also available in a wide range of sizes. This is the compression sack I use for my winter sleeping bags because it is so lightweight.

Check for the latest price at:
Amazon| Sea to Summit | REI 

3. Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Dry Sack

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Dry Sack
The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Dry Sack is a roll-top and a compression sack, combining added water-resistance with compression. It also has an air purge panel made with an eVent fabric base, so air can be forced out but can’t get back in. This is the stuff sack to get for longer trips where you want added moisture protection, but still want a compression capability to shrink a bulkier sleeping bag.

Check for the latest price at:
Amazon| Sea to Summit | REI 

4. Hyperlite Mountain Gear Roll-Top Stuff Sacks

Hyperlite Mountain Gear roll-top stuff sack
Hyperlite Roll-Top Stuff Sacks are made with an ultralight material called Dyneema DCF that’s very strong and lightweight. While DCF is waterproof and these stuff sacks are highly water-resistant, they’re not intended for full immersion. As a company, Hyperlite overbuilds most of their gear, trading off weight for added durability. If you’re in the market for DCF stuff sacks you’ll find that they use heavier materials than most of their competitors and that their stuff sacks last far longer as a result. That’s certainly been my experience using them. These stuff sacks are available in multiple sizes but are all silver in color.

Check for the latest price at:
Hyperlite Mountain Gear

5. REI Lightweight Compression Sack

REI Lightweight Compression Sack
The REI Lightweight Compression Sack is a good value and gets the job done, but it’s not as lightweight, water-resistant, durable, or as compressible as the Sea-to-Summit Compression Sacks above. This REI compression sack is made with ripstop nylon finished with a DWR coating, which will help repel moisture when the still sack is new but will rub off with use. The inside bag closes with a drawstring, while three webbing straps are provided to compress the stuff sack. This compression sack in available in multiple sizes and two colors. It’s a good choice compressing high volume synthetic sleeping bags and less frequent use.

Check for the latest price at:
REI

6. Outdoor Products 3-Pack All Purpose Dry Sacks

Outdoor Products All Purpose Dry Sacks
Sold as a set of three (8L, 4L, and 2L), these roll-top dry sacks are economical and high quality, but inexpensive. The 8L size is ideal for a 20 degree down sleeping bag, while the smaller sizes are good for toiletries and first aid kits. PU coated for water resistance, mine are over 10 years old and are still in top condition. Read our review.

Check for the latest price at:
Walmart | Amazon

7. Sealine BlockerLite Dry Sack

Sealine Blocker Drysack
SealLine is the brand to buy if you need a roll dry sack or compressing sack that is fully waterproof and can withstand immersion. Their BlockerLite roll-top dry sacks are made with lightweight 20D silicone and polyurethane-coated nylon and have fully welded seams that are both stronger and more durable than sewn-and-taped seams. While the BlockerLite is available in multiple sizes, it’s only available in one color – green. This roll-top dry-sack is good for compressing down-filled sleeping bags and quilts, where the light weight is more important than abrasion resistance when the stuff sack is packed inside a backpack.

Check for the latest price at:
SealLine | Amazon

8. Hyperlight Mountain Gear Packing Pods

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Packing Pods
Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s Packing Pods are kidney-shaped stuff sacks designed to use all of the space in a backpack and eliminate the voids that are leftover if you pack with conventional cylindrical-shaped stuff sacks. They’re made with an ultralight waterproof fabric called Dyneema DCF and have an attached top flap that lets you view their contents but zippers closed for moisture protection.  All of Hyperlite’s Packing Pods are silver-colored. Read our review.

Check for the latest price at:
Hyperlite Mountain Gear

9. Six Moon Designs Packing Pods

Six Moon Designs Packing Pods
Six Moon Designs (SMD) also sells packing pods, but theirs are significantly less expensive than Hyperlite’s Packing Pods because they’re made with siliconized nylon and not Dyneema DCF. They’re also available in multiple colors making them useful for color-coding your gear. SMD’s Packing Pods are sold in economical 3-packs. With 7L of capacity, they’re large enough to hold most summer weight down sleeping bags or backpacking quilts. Read our Review.

Check for the latest price at:
Six Moon Designs

10. SealLine Discovery View Dry Bag

Sealline Discover Dry Bag
The SealLine Discovery View Dry Bag is the stuff sack you want for extremely wet trips like packrafting, canyoneering, canoeing, or kayaking. While it is almost twice as heavy as regular backpacking and camping stuff sacks, it has fully welded seams which are much stronger and more waterproof than those that are seam-taped like the stuff sacks listed above. The Discovery is a roll-top stuff sack with a purge valve, so you can vacate all the air inside. Its translucent sides also make it easy to see what’s inside.

Check for the latest price at:
SealLine | Amazon | REI

Sleeping Bag Stuff Sack Guide

There are all kinds of tradeoffs to be made when choosing a sleeping bag stuff sack, which we detail below.

Types of Stuff Sacks

There are basically three kinds of stuff sacks appropriate for packing sleeping bags and backpacking quilts.

  1. Roll-top Dry Bags
  2. Compression Sacks
  3. Purgeable Stuff Sacks, either roll-top or compression

Roll-top Dry Bags are best for lightweight sleeping bags and quilts, usually, down-insulated, that are easy to compress with little effort. A roll-top closure is more durable than a zipper and the rolling process makes it very difficult for water to pass through the top of the stuff sack.

Compression Sacks are best for larger and bigger sleeping bags and quilts, such as winter sleeping bags or sleeping bags and quilts insulated with synthetic insulation which is harder to compress. Compression sacks have buckles and webbing straps that help you make the size of the stuff sack smaller, so it takes up less room in your backpack. Compression sacks with four webbing straps are easier to use and compress better than those with three webbing straps.

Purgeable Stuff Sacks have purge values or breathable fabric panels that vent air from the stuff sack when it is compressed, but don’t let it back in. They can be roll-tops or compression sacks. They’re useful when you feed to get the maximum compression possible by forcing all of the air our of your sleeping bag and preventing its return.

How to Size a Sleeping Bag Stuff Sack

What is the best size stuff sack for a sleeping bag or quilt? Sleeping bags and quilts that have synthetic insulation usually require large stuff sacks than those insulated with down, which compresses more easily. The volumes required for quilts will be at the lower end of the range because they don’t come with a hood and take up slightly less volume than sleeping bags.

Insulation TypeTemperature RatingRecommended Stuff Sack Volume
Down40 F / 4 C6-8 liters
Down20 F / -7 C8-12 liters
Down0 F / -18 C14-20 liters
Down20 Below F / 29 Below C20-30 liters
Synthetic40 F / 4 C9-13 liters
Synthetic20 F / -7 C16-20 liters
Synthetic0 F / -18 C25-35 liters

In most cases, you’ll want to get a sleeping bag stuff sack that is just large enough to close easily, but not capture too much excess air, which will increase the packing space it requires. If the stuff sack has a roll-top closure, you’ll also want enough slack fabric on top so you can roll the stuff sack three times to close it. This is the ideal number of turns to prevent water from leaking through the top opening.

Water Resistance Vs Waterproofness

Most backpacking and camping stuff sacks are water-resistant and not fully waterproof for immersion underwater. If they have zippers or seam-taped seams, water can leak through them. They will still protect your sleeping bag from moisture, but your best bet is to pack them inside a backpack that is lined with a plastic bag or covered with a rain cover to prevent rain from reaching them. Fully waterproof stuff sacks intended for rafting, kayaking, or canoeing have welded seams that don’t leak when immersed and are usually made with tougher materials.

Color Coding

Multi-colored stuff sacks can make it much easier to organize your gear and find it inside a backpack. Transparent fabrics or panels can serve a similar function, allowing you to see the contents so you know what they contain.

Stuff Sack Weight

While stuff sacks can make it much easier to organize and locate your gear in a backpack, they can add significant extra weight to your gear list if you go overboard with them. Be sure to compare the weights of different options. For example, Dyneema DCF stuff sacks vs those made with PU-coated nylon. In some instances, there’s less of a weight difference than you might expect, but there is a huge price difference!

Durability vs Weight

There’s usually a tradeoff between durability and weight when it comes to stuff sacks that’s worth considering when selecting a sleeping bag stuff sack or dry bag. If you plan to store your sleeping bag inside another bag like a backpack, there’s often less of a need for a heavy-duty, abrasion-resistant, or waterproof sleeping bag stuff sack when a lighter weight one will function just as well.

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18 comments

  1. Great article, Philip. I was especially interested to read about the Outdoor Products 3-pack.

    My husband and I still use the stuff sacks that came with our sleeping bags and quilt, or a typical REI stuff sack not designed for sleeping bags. We’ve never had a problem, but if I can get a little more water resistance at no significant cost in weight, it would be worth it.

    I have fallen down on stream crossings and gotten the outside of my pack completely wet. It happens!

    I’m enjoying my Hammock Gear Economy Burrow 20 quilt, but the stuff sack that came with it is on the small side. It will hold the quilt, but you have to stuff it hard. I’d prefer something with just a bit more volume for it and another one for my underquilt.

    Do you find that 4L is enough volume for a down quilt?

    • From the table above, it looks like an 8-12L would be recommended, although sleeping bags are usually bigger than equivalent rated quilts – Philip, do those numbers skew towards sleeping bags or quilts?

      I usually figure out sizes by finding a bag which will hold it and then measuring volume either directly (tape measure) or indirectly (fill with water and measure the L).

      Good luck!

    • 4L is probably not going to be enough for a 20 degree quilt. I’d guess 6L is probably better. You can always add items to it like your sleeping clothes, etc.

      • You are right. I just stuffed the Economy Burrow 20 degree down top and underquilts for my upcoming trip, and each one just barely fits into one of the 8L Outdoors Products sacks. (One 8L sack per quilt.) Any smaller sack would be impossible for these quilts.

        I think getting a synthetic bag into one of these would be a non-starter. Maybe a 40 or 50 degree bag would work.

        However, these Outdoor Products sacks are well worth the price, and I expect they will see a lot of use in my kit.

  2. Great tip about the sea to summit buckles! Been using them for years and never knew that.

    • I’m not sure how long they’ve been doing that. I have a new set that’s about 9 months old that has it, but I have to check my old ones. It’s on all the new ones.

  3. I have compression stuff socks for both my WM Megalite 20 F. down bag and LL Bean -20 F. down bag. both are “water resistant but not water proof.

    For next summer’s Boundary Waters canoe trip I’ll get a waterproof compression stuff sack for the WM bag. With two teenage grandsons a capsize would not be out of the question!

  4. I am in a warmer climate and am interested in any solutions for sleeping bags/gear.

  5. El Diablo Amarillo

    Great article. Ill throw this out there since I used a couple of the ones you mentioned for years. The main issue I always had ( and why I stopped using them) was the dead space inside a pack from all the different size stuff sacks not really stacking nicely in a pack. My solution was a full pack size dry bag I use as a pack liner from EXO Mountain. They can be used with or without their brand of pack and the weight of 1 generally works out to the same as if you had 3 normal stuff sacks. They were a solid game changer for backpack hunting trips and just backpack trips in general.

    • I always pack certain gear loose in the trash compactor bag I line my pack with like my rain jacket, rain pants, and various odds and ends. Drawstring stuff sacks are also better for certain types of gear than roll tops because they don’t trap air when shoved into the pack.

  6. Short of full submersion, is there any advantage other than organization/compartmentalization to using individual dry bags for gear like sleeping bags vs lining the whole pack with a trash compactor bag?

    Are compression sacks potentially damaging to the down or synthetic fibers?

  7. The major benefit of stuff sacks is besides organization is compression – making stuff smaller in the backpack. Compression sacks by themselves don’t harm down or synthetic insulation. It’s the repeated stuffing that will eventually affect down’s ability to loft (spring back and expand). Most synthetic insulations are far less affected by this. With down, you’ll have to do it a lot to have a significant impact.

    Personally, I line my packs with trash compactor bags and then put a mixture of compression sacks and drawstring sacks and loose clothing mainly into them. Most packs leak moisture and the trash bag prevents the stuff sacks from getting wet. They’re also a good hedge against a burst or leaking water bladder, which happened to me once, before I stopped using one on backpacking trips.

  8. I have switch from compression sack to the HMG Large Pods. Its fairly easy to get a 30 deg Quilt in one large pod and it takes up all the space in my pack and they protect the down from any moisture that get in the pack. I also have a set of the Six Moon pods that I use when needed but I dont use them as stuff sacks. One is my cook kit and I use another one for my Day Hike bag.

    • Thanks for that comment. I’ve been debating getting the pods but I was wondering how well they do with compression. I’ve been using a HMG rolltop bag for each of my quilts (I use a hammock). They work, but I’d like to use the space within my pack more efficiently. I tried the “shove everything in a pack liner & squish it down” approach but it doesn’t compress my quilts enough.

      • Exactly. The squish it down technique only works when you have extra space in your pack.

      • I bought a three pack of Six Moon Designs packing pods because they are reasonably priced and I wanted to try them out. I found with some effort I could stuff my Wooki underquilt into one and put it at the bottom of my backpack inside my pack liner. It compressed quite a bit while stuffing it into the pod. The pods helped me dispense with some of the other organizational bags I had been using. I still had my sleeping bag in a Sea-to-Summit compression dry sack. I’ll see if I can stuff it into a pod… beware of the attack of the pod people!

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