Down Sleeping Bags for Less than $200 - Appalachian Mountain Club

Down Sleeping Bags for Less than $200

July 17, 2017

Lightweight, compressible, and long-lasting, a down-filled sleeping bag is a delightful addition to any camper’s or backpacker’s gear locker. The problem is that down-filled bags are almost always more expensive (sometimes way more expensive) than synthetic-fill options, a trend that has only gotten worse in recent years. Indeed, these days you can easily spend north of $400 for a high-end, ultralight bag.

So I spent some time digging around to find the most affordable down-filled options. My criteria were simple. The sleeping bags needed to be rated to 20 degrees Fahrenheit or better, my benchmark for all-purpose three-season use; and they needed to cost less than $200 at regular price. Here are two of the best options I found.

Kelty Cosmic Down 20 ($159 to $179)

Stuffed with 600-fill water-resistant down, the men’s/unisex version is available in three lengths (short, regular, and long). A women’s version is also available that fits sleepers up to 5 feet 8 inches.  Depending on length, the bag weighs between 2 pounds, 10 ounces and 3 pounds, 2 ounces. The stuff sack that accompanies it is flimsy and weak; you’ll want to buy a compression stuff anyway for maximum squash and minimum packed size.

The North Face Furnace 20 ($179 to $199)

This option features 550-fill water-resistant down that has been certified to meet the Responsible Down Standard, which ensures that the down comes from animals that were not live-plucked, force-fed, or otherwise subjected to unnecessary harms. It also features a thin layer of synthetic insulation on the bottom, which helps keep the price down at the expense of compressibility. The men’s version come in regular, long, and even an extra-long version that fits giant sleepers up to seven tall. The weight ranges from 2 pounds, 10 ounces to 3 pounds, 5 ounces. A more expensive women’s version ($219) is also available.

Other options

Other down-synthetic hybrids like the North Face Furnace are available, including the REI Alpen Pod 17 ($159 to $169). This round-up also excluded summer-weight sleeping bags rated to 30 degrees or higher. If you’re a warm sleeper or only head out in balmy summer conditions, there are multiple options in this warmth range that cost less than $200, notably the 40-degree Marmot Always Summer ($179 to $199).

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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.