Staying nice and toasty is typically one of the most important aspects to consider while camping or backpacking. If you’re body starts to shiver you better change your situation quickly before a lovely time outside turns into a nightmare situation. Vegan sleeping bags with synthetic insulation are becoming more popular and there are more verities on the market than ever before.
The Problem with Goose Down
For decades the only way to sleep soundly out in the wilderness was to cover yourself in a bag of feathers. Goose down not only keeps you warm in very cold temperatures, it’s also extremely lightweight and highly compressible. Unfortunately, the down industry isn’t great for the geese. They’re either plucked alive or killed for their feathers.
Synthetic alternatives to down have come a long way even in just the past few years. While synthetics have their own issues (i.e. plastic waste and fossil fuels) no animals are exploited in the process of manufacturing vegan sleeping bags. There are some who argue that synthetic insulation has less environmental impact on the planet than down and vice versa. A few companies we’ve included on our list below have recycled synthetic materials to further reduce their environmental impact.
Used Goose Down vs New Synthetic Sleeping Bags
Some suggest buying a used down sleeping bag is the most eco-friendly approach. You get all of the benefits of a down sleeping bag without contributing to the industry directly. That’s not to say synthetic bags are any less quality. Most vegan sleeping bags will keep you just as warm, however they are not as compressible and they do weight more than down sleeping bags. Personally, I feel it’s worth it to carry a little extra weight and take up a bit more space to avoid down all together.
Vegan Alternatives to Goose Down
There are many, many different types of synthetic down used in vegan sleeping bags. Each offers it’s own unique benefits. Some are better than others in terms of warmth, durability, and compressibility. Below I’ve listed some of the top technologies used major outdoor brands.
Prima loft Eco
Prima Loft is used by brands like Patagonia, The North Face, and adidas to name just a few. The newer eco line contains over 55% post-consumer recycled content with zero loss in performance. The fibers in primal loft are super small and they’re designed in such a way to lock in air and lock out moisture. Unlike some synthetic materials, prima loft is “hydrophobic” which means it is completely waterproof! The tiny fibers also allow the sleeping bag to be highly compressed while remaining lightweight.
Spirafil is a unique material blend of thick, hollow spiral fibers for loft, and smaller polyester fibers that are highly efficient at trapping in heat. The small fibers also offer a lot of cushy softness and compressibility. A thermal bonding technique is used in Spirafil to increase tear strength and long-term durability.
Marmot designed Thermal R to carry moisture and perspiration away from the body while keeping heat trapped next to your body. The material has an excellent warmth to weight ratio and it is very resilient. Marmot’s featherless line now accounts for 60 percent of the brand’s sales globally.
Designed by Mountain Hardware, Thermal Q is used in vegan sleeping bags because it essentially mimics goose down. Like goose feathers, Thermal Q is made up of both thick and thin strands of material. The thicker material creates a strong structure that allows heat in, while the thinner materials work within the structure to trap that heat. The material is also completely waterproof, meaning your sleeping bag will not hold water when conditions are not ideal.
Sleeping Bag designs
Rectangular Sleeping Bag
If you’re camping at low altitude in the middle of summer, chances are it’s going to be warm with or without a sleeping bag. Rectangular bags are perfect for mid-summer camping trips. The shape of the sleeping bag allows air to flow in from the tent. A rectangular sleeping bag will protect you from a cool breeze and keep you cozy on a warm night.
Barrel-Shaped Sleeping Bag
Barrel-shaped sleeping bags cover a wide range of conditions. You can take these sleeping bags along with you year-round and they’ll keep you comfy. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a bag that will do just fine in a wide range of conditions. They can be a bit cumbersome to take on a backpacking trip, but they’re perfect for a weekend car camping excursion.
Mummy Sleeping Bag
For wilderness backpacking a mummy-style sleeping bag is a must, especially in the spring and fall. Shivering in your tent all night long will ruin your experience, your sleep, and could potentially be very dangerous. Mummy bags hug your body and are designed specifically to trap in heat. They’re also very compressible and do not take up unnecessary space in your backpack.
Double Sleeping Bag
When you’re backpacking with a partner a double sleeping bag might be ideal. Two bodies give off more heat than one and you’ll be toast all night. Plus one of you doesn’t have to carry a sleeping bag!
Quilts are awesome! Backpacking quilts are very popular because the are ultralight and very versatile. These are best used in the summer months when you don’t mind a little air flow here and there. Although some quilts do have a zipper feature if you want a bit more protection from the air outside.
The Best Vegan Sleeping Bags
Many sleeping bags on my list have varying sizes, temperature ratings, and price ranges within the same design. I’ve done my best to create a table that gives you an overall comparison of each brand and design, however know that there can be several variations of each sleeping bag.
|North Face||Aleutian||Heatseeker eco||55||1lb 13oz||Barrel||$|
|Marmot||Trestles 30||Spirafil||30||3lbs 2oz||Mummy||$|
|Marmot||Trestles 0||Spirafil||0||4lbs 15oz||Mummy||$$|
|Big Agnes||Blue Lake||Fireline||25||2lbs 8oz||Mummy||$$|
|Big Agnes||Buell||Fireline||30||2lbs 7oz||Mummy||$$|
|Marmot||Trestles Elite Eco||HL Elixr||20||2lbs 9oz||Mummy||$$|
|Mountain Hardware||Lamina -15||Thermal Q||-15||4lbs 7oz||Mummy||$$$|
|Mountain Hardware||Lamina Eco AF||Recycled Thermal Q||15||2lbs 6oz||Mummy||$$$|
|Convert Apex||Climasheild||20||2lb 3oz||Quilt||$$$|
|Enlightened Equipment||Revelation Apex||Climasheild||20||1lb 8oz||Quilt||$$|
|The North Face||Dolomite One Duo||Recycled Polyester||15||8lbs 13oz||Double||$$|
|Marmot||Double Wide||HL Elixr||35||7lbs 8oz||Double||$$|
|Kelty||Tru Comfort||Cloud Loft||20||9lbs 8oz||Double||$$|
Marmot Elite Eco 20
The wide design of the Marmot Elite Eco gives plenty of comfortable space to move around throughout the night. The materials are made from 96% recycled material that is lightweight and highly compressible. A 3D footbox allows for free movement of your feet and creates an anatomically sound form around your body.
Mountain Hardware Lamina Eco AF
This ghostly looking sleeping bag is the Lamina Eco AF. The name says it all. The sleeping bag is made up of recycled materials and it is undyed to reduce the water footprint. Rated at 15F, this is a vegan sleeping bag that performs in cooler shoulder season conditions.
Enlightened Equiptment Convert Apex
Less fabric means less weight, and the convert is the perfect half sleeping bag half quilt option. The quilt can be laid out flat or zipped up completely on colder nights. There is no hood, however the neck does have a synch to trap body heat.
Enlightened Equiptment Revelation Apex
This quilt is likely the best option for ultralight hikers who want a quilt that has a big temperature range. The Revelation is designed to be used in conjunction with a sleeping bad to insulate heat. The quilt can be laid flat for warmer temps, and the footbox has a zipper that creates a partial closure for colder temps. There is no hood, which cuts down on overall weight and space.
North Face Dolomite One Duo
There are actually three layers in the Dolomite One double sleeping bag. Depending on the temperature you can add or ditch a layer to your comfort level. When all three layers are used the bag is rated to 15F. When it’s warm outside just use the blue layer rated at 50F. The interior liner is made of a super soft material for extra coziness.
Marmot Zuma Double
The Marmot Zuma has a mummy style design for trapping in extra heat on those chilly nights. The sleeping bag can also be unzipped into a quilt in case you want to use it will you cozy up around a fire as well. The 3D footbox gives your toes a little extra room to wiggle and allows airflow for those warmer nights.
Kelty Tru Comfort Double
This double sleeping bag is extra wide for extra space that allows you and your partner plenty of space. Underneath the top layer there are two insulated blankets for cold nights. In the summer time the top layer can be zipped away and you can just use the insulated blankets. The bottom of the bag unzips as well so you can stick your feet out when it gets too warm.
Did we miss your favorite vegan sleeping bag? Let us know in the comments which bag you take along on your camping or backpacking trips!