It’s been a few years since our top 5 sleeping bags for travelling post, so we figured it was about time we updated our list. Our 2018 list includes some old favourites, which have received a revamp for 2018 and some new additions that could well be the travel sleeping bag of your dreams! So in no particular order, here are our favourite gap year sleeping bags for 2018…
The Highlander Trekker Superlite made its debut back in 2015 and is still our lightest and most compact travel sleeping bag at just 480 grams. The Trekker Superlite has a 400T/20D ripstop nylon shell, which is soft and comfortable to the touch and has a 50gsm hollowfibre filling, which is easily compressed to create a small and manageable pack size. Without compression, the Trekker Superlite packs down to 25 x 14cm, but can be compressed down to a tiny 15 x 13cm using the included 4-way compression sack.
Other useful features include a central zip for easier use with hammocks, a zip baffle to prevent drafts and an internal pocket for small items. The Trekker Superlite has a 1-2 season rating, with a comfort temperature of 12°c, making it suitable for use in warm and tropical climates.
Best for: Warm climates,Small pack size & low weight
The Vango Ultralite Pro 300 is a firm favourite here at GY HQ and is designed for backpackers who require high performance, low weight and small pack size. The Ultralite Pro 300 delivers with a 3-4 season rating, 1350 gram weight and compact 27 x 24cm pack size. This sleeping bag is great option for travellers who need a high performance bag, but don’t have the budget for a down sleeping bag.
Vango have used a range of technical features to enhance warmth and overall comfort, including synthetic 4T insulation, which improves the warmth to weight ratio of the bag by trapping warm air inside its channel structure. Then there’s the thermal embrace system, which reduces cold spots by gently conforming to the shape of your body. This sleeping bag would be our top pick for travellers camping at altitude on treks such as the Inca Trail (you may require a 4 season bag if you’re trekking during the winter).
Best for: Trekking, adventure travel & colder climates
As most travel sleeping bags come in a mummy shape, it can be pretty hard to come by a lightweight and compact sleeping bag in a rectangular shape. If your legs tend to feel restricted by mummy shaped bags, the Travelpak Traveller from Snugpak is a great option as it offers a more spacious envelope shape. It compresses down to 18x15cm and weighs in at 900 grams, making it a little heavier than the Travelpak 1 (its mummy shaped counterpart) but it’s still a great lightweight option for backpacking in warmer climates. The Travelpak Traveller can also be opened out and used as a blanket, which is an extremely useful feature when you’re sleeping in tropical conditions!
Of course, the stand out feature of the Travelpak range has to be the built in mosquito net in the hood, which helps protect you from mosquitoes and other insects during the night. Snugpak have also treated the inner and outer fabric with Paratex, an anti-bacterial treatment, which reduces the growth of odour causing bacteria to keep your sleeping bag fresher for longer.
Best for: Comfort, versatility & tropical destinations
A great travel sleeping bag for budget conscious travellers, the Ultralite 100 from Yellowstone offers a 1 season rating, small pack size and weighs just 750 grams, making it well suited to travelling in tropical climates. It doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of some of the other sleeping bags on our list, but it’s a simple option that will likely appeal to travellers who want a cheap sleeping bag for their gap year and want to save space in their backpack. The Ultralite 100 also includes an internal pocket for storing valuables during the night.
The Vango Planet 50 is our most popular anti-mosquito sleeping bag and a great all-rounder for travelling. The Planet 50 comes with a 1-2 season rating for use in warm climates and features mosquito nets in the hood and foot to keep mosquitoes out of your sleeping bag. You can even zip up the mosquito nets during the day to stop insects crawling inside and giving you a nasty surprise come bed time!
Vango have also treated the fabric with Vango Shield, an anti-insect and anti-bacterial treatment, which both effectively repels insects and prevents the growth of odour causing mould and bacteria. The zip also extends along the foot of the sleeping bag, allowing you to easily open it for ventilation or you can open the sleeping bag fully and use it as a blanket when you get too warm. Of course size and weight is taken into consideration with a pack size of 22 x 15cm and weight of 900 grams.
Rachel has worked for the company for 9 years and as one of our buying team, has a wide knowledge of travel gear. She has travelled in Europe and Southeast Asia, but her dream destination would be South America to experience Carnival in Rio, unleash her inner Attenborough in the Galapagos and sip on Colombian coffee in colonial Cartagena.