We all know the importance of a good night’s sleep. But this is particularly important when camping, as lying awake and shivering in your tent can dampen your holiday. That’s why finding a suitable sleeping bag for your summer excursions is important. During summertime, temperatures soar during the day but can quickly drop in the evening. Consequently, you need to check temperature ratings when choosing a sleeping bag.
3Each bag has a ‘limit’ and ‘extreme’ temperature – but “extreme means extreme,” warns Pete Copp, a specialist from Snow + Rock. “You are probably fighting off hypothermia at this stage.” Instead, you should pay attention to the ‘comfort’ temperature “as this tells you how cool it can be before you start to feel cold,” explains travel writer Phoebe Smith. “The lower the temperature, the better.” A comfort rating of zero degrees is suitable for camping in the UK, adds Copp.
Fill material is equally important when choosing the best sleeping bag. There are two main types of insulation: down (typical feathers from eider, goose, or duck) or synthetic (a mixture of human-made fibers). Down is often softer and compacts to smaller sizes, but synthetic bags work even when wet. Considering factors like material, comfort, warmth, weight, and cost, we trialed a selection of market-leading sleeping bags. The following are the best sleeping bags for summer camping – starting with our favorite. Most of these models are thinner than standard sleeping bags, so we recommend investing in a sleeping mat for extra comfort.
1. Jack Wolfskin Smoozip -7
Why we like it: A thick, comfortable sleeping bag with a unique zip design to regulate your temperature
This sleeping bag stands out from its competitors because it is designed to retain body heat so you won’t wake up at 4 a.m. feeling chilly. This is due to its tapered ‘mummy’ shape, close-fitting collar, and additional synthetic filling in the torso and footbox. Due to all of these features, the Smoozip -7 can protect against the coldest nights, with a comfort rating of -1 degrees, making it particularly useful for UK camping trips.
You can stay cool for warmer summer nights due to the S-shaped zip across your torso and the second zip across your feet. This means you can open up large sections of the sleeping bag, allowing your body to cool down. If your tent is particularly stuffy, you can even undo both zips and open the bag into a square duvet.
The Smoozip +7 sleeping bag is comfortable to lie in, even though it has a synthetic filling. The thickness of the bag cushions both your head and body from the hard ground – unlike the other sleeping packs in our round-up, which required a sleeping mat. However, I found that the synthetic material made it harder to compress, and the bag is not suitable for serious hiking trips because it weighs 1.94kg and is too large to fit inside a rucksack. Nonetheless, this sleeping bag is great for insulation, good value for money, and particularly suitable for UK camping trips – provided you have a car to transport it.