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.
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.
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 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).