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6 Best Women’s Sleeping Bags of 2018

6 Best Sleeping Bags for Women

Sleeping bags are still the most popular nighttime insulation option with backpackers because they’re warmer in cold, damp, or drafty weather, especially below freezing. While mummy sleeping bag designs still prevail, there’s a lot more variety in the types of sleeping bags that have become available in the past five years, including women’s specific sleeping bags. Is it worth buying a women’s specific bag? You betcha, but they’re not as widely available as sleeping bags for men.

Women require more insulation than men because they have less body mass to generate body heat. Add another 10 degrees if you’re female and decide to buy a “unisex” sleeping bag instead of a women’s specific bag. Women also tend to have colder extremities, like feet, hands, and heads, and require more insulation in those areas. They also have narrower shoulders and are predominantly shorter, requiring sleeping bags that are cut differently than their male counterparts.

When choosing a sleeping bag for backpacking, you want one that’s warm, lightweight, and highly compressible since you’re going to have to haul it in a backpack. Sleeping bags insulated with 800, 850, 900, and 950 goose or duck down are the best in terms of warmth by weight, but you’ll pay a premium at the top end. Fit is also important, both width and length, especially if you’re a short women or have a smaller build. If a bag is too large, it will feel colder than one that fits closely, since your body needs to work harder to fill the extra space with hot air.

Here are our top 6 sleeping bag picks for 2018 made especially for women.

1. Feathered Friends Egret UL 20 – Women’s

Feathered Friends Egret UL 20
The Feathered Friends Egret UL 20 is top-shelf technical sleeping bag tailored for the female form that features extra fill in the footbox and around the chest. It also provides more room in the elbows including space to draw your knees up in the bag if you like to sleep that way. The contoured hood opens wide in warmer weather and makes it easy for side sleepers to use, while a two-way zipper makes the bag easy to vent. The Egret has a draft collar to help seal in the heat around your shoulders, with a trapezoidal footbox allows your feet to fall in a natural pose without compressing the sides.

Available in two lengths: 5′ 3″ and 5′ 9″, the Egret UL 20 is insulated with 950+ fill power goose down and weighs just 27 oz.

Check out the latest price at:
Feathered Friends

2. REI Magma 17 – Women’s

REI Magma 17
The REI Magma 17 is a women’s-specific sleeping bag designed around the female form with increased knee and foot space that deliver a high warmth-to-weight ration. An insulated draft collar fills the neck and shoulder gap to seal in the heat and prevent heat loss when you move around at night, while an a hybrid zipper path provides easy access along shoulders and torso. The hood has space for a low-profile pillow and includes two different hood drawcords for a finely tuned fit.

The Magma 17 is insulated with 850+ fill power, water- resistant, goose down with a 15 denier Pertex lining to provide a super soft  feel. Variable baffling keeps the down from shifting, while reducing weight. The Magma is available in a 72 or 66 inch length weighing 36 or 38 oz.

Check out the latest price at:
REI

3. Marmot Phase 20 – Women’s

Marmot Phase 20 Women's
The Marmot Phase 20 (Women’s) is a female sleeping bag with more insulation in key areas where women experience heat loss. A tapered cut provides a narrower fit at the shoulders and a wider flare at the hips to insure a comfortable fit and maximum thermal efficiency. A shorter 5′ 6″ length helps to avoid cold spots and make certain that your body isn’t working unnecessarily to heat uninhabited areas of the bag.

The Phase 20 is insulated with 850+ fill power goose down that’s been treated with a water-repellant coating. Weighing 29 oz, the Phase 20 is ideal for women who want to slash pack weight without compromising on sleeping comfort.

Check out the latest price at:
Campsaver | Amazon 

4. REI Joule 21 – Women’s

The REI Joule 21 is designed to fit a woman’s body, with increased room at hips, decreased room at shoulders, and extra insulation in critical heat-loss areas such as the feet and hood. It features a double-protection design that combines treated, water-resistant down with waterproof/breathable fabric at the hood, sides and footbox, all areas that are likely to touch a damp tent wall. A contoured hood, insulated face muffler, and full-length draft tube all work to seal in the warmth so it doesn’t escape when you move around in the bag at night.

The Joule is insulated with 700 fill power duck down. It weighs 35 ounces and is available in 5′ 6″ and 6′ lengths. A wider size is also available.

Check out the latest price at:
REI

5. NEMO Jam 30 – Women’s

Nemo Jam 30 womens
The NEMO Jam 30 is a spoon-shaped women’s sleeping bag with extra insulation in the feet and torso to keep you warm. Ideal for side sleepers, the Jam has front vents, called Thermo-Gills, that let you vent excess heat in warmer weather. A full-length double-slider zipper with snag guard helps to further regulate warmth. A blanket fold at the base of the hood tucks around you neck and helps seal in the heat in colder temperatures, while the hood is large enough to hold a pillow in place when you don’t need to pull it closed in cold weather.

Weighing 35 oz, the Jam 30 is available in two lengths, 5′ 6″ and 6′. It is insulated with 800+ fill power Nikwax water-resistant down.

Check out the latest price at:
REI | Moosejaw

6. Marmot Xenon 15 – Women’s

Marmot Xenon 15
The Marmot Xenon 15 is made specifically for women with increased room at the hips, decreased room at the shoulders, and extra insulation in female heat-loss areas. An anatomically shaped footbox with wraparound construction eliminates seams and has extra insulation to keep your feet toasty. The ergonomic hood has extra baffles to reduce heat loss and keep your head warm and comfortable. A “fold down” second zipper lets you to fold down the front of the bag to vent excess heat and makes it easier to get in and out of the bag.

The Xenon 15 is insulated with 800 fill power, water-resistant goose down. It weighs 38 ounces and comes in a 5′ 6″ length.

Check out the latest price at:
REI | Amazon

How to ChooseWomen’s Sleeping Bags

Here is a list of the most important factor to consider when purchasing a sleeping bag for backpacking, so it fits your needs and preferences.

TEMPERATURE RATINGS: The introduction of standardized sleeping bag temperature ratings by the outdoor industry substantially improved their reliability. Bags tested with the European Norm (EN) 13537 get two ratings: a Comfort rating and Lower limit rating. The Comfort rating is the lowest temperature at which the bag will keep the average woman (or “cold sleeper”) comfortable, and the Lower Limit rating is the lowest temperature at which the bag will keep an average man (or “warm sleeper”) comfortable. The difference in the Comfort and Lower Limit ratings is usually about 10 degrees, since women feel colder than men when sleeping. If you’re a woman and decide to buy a men’s or unisex bag, get one that’s 10 degrees warmer than you need so you’re comfortable at night.

SIZING: The fit of a sleeping bag is usually measured in terms of length and girth. Girth measures the maximum internal circumference of the bag, usually at the shoulders, hips, and feet. Measure yourself at these points and compare them to the girth to see if the bag will fit tightly or loosely. People with bigger shoulders or sides sleepers tend to feel more comfortable in bags with higher shoulder girths, while women typically need a shorter length bag and a smaller shoulder girth because they have narrower shoulders than men. It’s important to get a bag that minimizes the amount of unoccupied interior space relative to your measurements, so your body has less air to heat up to stay warm.

INSULATION and COMPRESSIBILITY: High quality goose and duck down with fill powers of 800, 850, 900, and 950 provide excellent insulation by weight and are widely preferred by backpackers and base campers because they’re so lightweight. Some manufacturers only offer down that’s been treated with a water-repellent coating, while others prefer to offer it unadulterated. Down is naturally water-resistant so the jury is still out on whether “treated” down makes a difference in the long-term, since it’s easy to keep your sleeping bag dry with a little care.

WEIGHT: While gear weight is important, be careful not to sacrifice your comfort by selecting a sleeping bag that won’t keep you warm or dry in the conditions you need it to.  When choosing between bags with different outer shell fabrics, consider their breathability, so they will vent perspiration that can degrade your insulation, and whether they have a DWR coating, which can be important if the foot of your quilt gets wet regularly.

FEATURES: Most sleeping bags are pretty similar when it comes right down to it, but there are some features that set premium sleeping bags better than non premium bags. These include draft collars, continuous baffles, very high fill-power goose down, non-snagging zippers, draft tubes positioned behind zippers to seal out the cold, ventable foot boxes, and full length zippers that help extend the range of a bag in warmer weather.

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Written 2018.

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8 comments

  1. I think I always leave this comment when you specifically call out women’s gear, but thanks!

    I’ve switched to a quilt for 3 season use, but I’ve never felt like my winter bag was truly warm enough. I may have to look at selling it and investing in something different.

  2. Thank you for posting this review. I have an older (~5 years) Marmot women’s down bag that I am happy with EXCEPT for its snaggable zipper. So I think that it is good that you mention zipper features.

  3. I have a unisex bag (WM Ultralite) but it works for me. The FF bag looks great, but I have no reason to change what I have.

    IMHO, the draft collar (around the neck, allowing the hood opening to be a bit larger to prevent condensation around the hood) is worth at least another 5* of rating!

  4. I see the REI Magna 17 has a 15 denier Pertex lining, which I imagine would feel pretty nice. What are your thoughts with regards to some bag/quilt offerings that use 10 denier for the outer fabric? Should a person have concerns with it being to thin or not robust enough?

    • It’s hard to say actually. While denier is somewhat correlated with durability, it not always the case that thinner thread diameters mean less durability.
      Regardless, I wouldn’t really worry about it too much. Most people don’t use a sleeping bag often enough for it to matter that much or in conditions where wear and tear are that significant.

  5. Montbelle down hugger is by far my favorite. No more feeling like I sleep in a mummy. It has spiral stretch thread that stretched with you. Especially if you like to sleep on your side or sit up in your bag with your legs crossed and enjoy your coffee in bed!

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