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Gear Review: 4 Best Women's Sleeping Bags of 2018

12.10.18

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Gear Review: 4 Best Women's Sleeping Bags of 2018

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  • The REI Joule is an excellent and affordable option that comes in a stunning deep wine color.- Gear Review: 4 Best Women's Sleeping Bags of 2018
  • The Joule was the lightest of all bags tested, coming in at just over 2 pounds.- Gear Review: 4 Best Women's Sleeping Bags of 2018
  • The neck puff on the Joule wasn't quite as lofty, but I loved its "U" shape that really hugs the body nicely.- Gear Review: 4 Best Women's Sleeping Bags of 2018
  • The North Face's Blue Kazoo was the best all-around bag.- Gear Review: 4 Best Women's Sleeping Bags of 2018
  • The Blue Kazoo had a cinching cord around the face to hold in valuable warmth!- Gear Review: 4 Best Women's Sleeping Bags of 2018
  • Easy zipper pulls and 700-fill down made this bag a stand-out in 20-degree temperatures!- Gear Review: 4 Best Women's Sleeping Bags of 2018
  • Of all bags tested, The North Face's Blue Kazoo was the most compressible, fitting into a 10-liter stuff sack, if necessary (pictured here with a larger compression sack it came with).- Gear Review: 4 Best Women's Sleeping Bags of 2018
  • The NEMO Jam 15 had a lofty neck ruff to lock in core heat.- Gear Review: 4 Best Women's Sleeping Bags of 2018
  • The stand-out feature of NEMO's Jam 15 were the vertical vents along the bag's front to shed heat.- Gear Review: 4 Best Women's Sleeping Bags of 2018
  • Loved the neck pocket for a pillow or balled-up down jacket in the Jam as well!- Gear Review: 4 Best Women's Sleeping Bags of 2018
  • The Big Agnes Hazel SL 15 is bright, festive, and girly!- Gear Review: 4 Best Women's Sleeping Bags of 2018
  • The storage sack that turns into a sleeping pad holder was a super unique feature, though a little difficult to clip to the bag itself.- Gear Review: 4 Best Women's Sleeping Bags of 2018
  • The most impressive new feature on the Hazel SL 15 were the "cinching" hooks and loops along the feet and legs. This is a great way to hold in heat for colder sleepers who like a mummy-shaped bag.- Gear Review: 4 Best Women's Sleeping Bags of 2018
  • The Big Agnes Hazel SL 15 was not the lightest or most compressible sleeping bag, but its lofty down and unique features make it a worthy competitor.- Gear Review: 4 Best Women's Sleeping Bags of 2018
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When you're out on the trail pushing big miles day after day, you don't want to have to worry about whether you'll be getting a good night's sleep once the sun sets and you crawl into your tent for the night. You want to make sure your body is well rested and warm enough when night falls so that you can stretch your arms overhead, yawn, and happily hop out of bed the next morning when the sun starts to rise.

A great sleeping bag is one of the top three items I tell new backpackers to buy. It's the most crucial piece of any sleep system, and it can also be a vital safety net if a sudden storm hits or temperatures drop much lower than expected.

When considering which sleeping bag to purchase, you really want to look at three main things: weight, warmth, and how packable it is. Other bells and whistles can be considered later, like shape, ventilation, and pockets.

Pound-for-pound, down is the warmest and most compressible material on the market today. Down is rated by its fill-power, which relates to the loft of the tiny feathers and their ability to trap heat. A 600-fill down sleeping bag means that one ounce of down fills 600 cubic inches of space. High-quality down can be rated at 800 or even 900-fill power, meaning that you get more warmth for less weight and even more compressibility. Though down doesn't insulate well when wet, most companies have begun washing their down with a hydrophobic coating to protect against minor rain and tent condensation.

We recommend these women's sleeping bags for the casual to serious backpacker, and have laid them out side-by-side to make it easier to find the best fit for your needs. The bags below are listed by weight, with the lightest bags first.

 

REI Joule 21 Women's Sleeping Bag

The REI Joule 21. Photo by Emily Pennington.
  • Weight:
    • Regular: 2 lbs 3 oz
    • Long: 2 lbs 5 oz
  • Fits:
    • Regular: Hikers up to 5 ft 6 inches
    • Long: Hikers up to 6 ft
  • Price: $300-$320. Available at REI.

The Joule 21 is a great three-season bag made out of the same, 20D nylon ripstop and taffeta that comprise many similar bags from big-name outdoor retailers. Coming in at just over 2 pounds, it's a lightweight alternative to bulkier bags, making it the optimal choice for those who want to cut back on weight and go ultralight. However, it is also the least warm bag on this list, which is one of the reasons it also weighs in as the lightest. If you're looking for a summer bag that is lightweight enough to haul into the alpine, the REI Joule 21 is a fantastic option. Plus, the deep burgundy color it comes in looks incredible in person.

The North Face Blue Kazoo Women's Sleeping Bag

The North Face Blue Kazoo. Photo by Emily Pennington.

This is a great women-specific take on The North Face's classic Blue Kazoo. At the ultralight weight of just over 2 pounds (for the regular), The North Face's Blue Kazoo sleeping bag delivers a comfortable, toasty night's sleep without breaking the bank. Full of 700-fill ProDown, I found it to be the most compressible bag on the list. It doesn't skimp on important features, and it even comes complete with a compression sack to fit it into your backpack more easily. This bag stayed warm during 20 degree (F) nights in the Himalayas, and it would be an excellent choice for a multi-season adventurer who loves to get after it during frigid shoulder season months.

Big Agnes Hazel SL 15 Women's Sleeping Bag

The Big Agness Hazel SL 15. Photo by Emily Pennington.
  • Weight:
    • Petite: 2 lbs 9 oz
    • Regular: 2 lbs 12 oz
  • Fits up to:
    • Petite: 5 ft 6 inches 
    • Regular: 5 ft 10 inches
  • Price: $300-$310. Available at Big Agnes | Amazon | Moosejaw | Backcountry | REI.

The Big Agnes Hazel SL 15 is a lofty, warm down sleeping bag option for women who don't mind a mummy bag shape (ideal for back sleepers) and who appreciate a wealth of extra features. The customizable hook and loop system to cinch the bag down around the foot and leg areas is the first of its kind and a great addition for women who have issues keeping their feet warm on cold camping nights, and the unique ability to turn the storage sack into a sleeping pad holder was truly original! This bag was a bit heavier and less compressible than its competitors, though, so it's ideal for campers who have at least a 60-liter pack or who frequently car camp.

NEMO Jam 15

The NEMO Jam 15. Photo by Emily Pennington.
  • Weight (regular): 2 lbs 15 oz
  • Fits up to:
    • 66 inches (regular)
    • 72 inches (long)
  • Price: $390-$420. Available at NEMO | Amazon | Backcountry | Moosejaw | REI.

The key things to know about this sleeping bag are that it has features galore, its warmth is truly snuggle-worthy, and the 30-denier nylon taffeta lining will have you feeling like you are sleeping on a cloud, even on arctic nights in the backcountry. Our testers fell in love with the Jam's unique spoon shape, making it the comfiest choice for stomach and side sleepers. The Jam 15's extra features like zippered vents down the bag's front and an included compression sack were noteworthy and useful, justifying its higher price tag. Though it is a bit pricier than other similar options, the Jam's wider spoon shape and its tally of added features make it a must-have sack for side sleepers who have trouble getting Zs in a mummy bag.

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