The 5 Best Women’s Sleeping Bags for the Appalachian Trail

Ladies! I can’t tell you how important it is to have a proper sleeping bag when hitting the trail. Women’s sleeping bags are being made by top outdoor retailers, and good news, they aren’t all pink.

Too many times I’ve run into other females on the AT, shivering the night away because they thought that ‘unisex’ 20-degree bag was really going to keep them warm at 20 degrees.

You need a women’s specific sleeping bag for two very important reasons:

1. Women’s sleeping bags have different temperature ratings

Women tend to be colder at night. One reason for this might be a higher core temperature, leaving the extremities cooler than our male counterparts.

To combat this, a Women’s 20-degree sleeping bag will have significantly more insulation in it. Compare a Women’s 20-degree bag with a Men’s and you will see the difference right away.

2. Women’s sleeping bags are smaller

“I sleep like a furnace” you may say. Well, that’s great, but if you have a smaller body frame, you might have a tough time heating up a sleeping bag meant for someone who is 6 foot tall.

Typically a women’s regular length sleeping bag is meant for someone 5 foot 6 and a size long goes up to 6 foot.

Related posts about women’s outdoor gear:

There are a lot of other considerations to make when purchasing a new sleeping bag:

  • Warmth – Where will you hike most often? What temperature rating will allow you to get the most use out of your sleeping bag and still be comfortable?
  • Weight – For the best overnight backpacking experience, I’ve found that 2.5 pounds or less is best.
  • Size – This refers to two things:
    • How you fit in the sleeping bag
    • How small in packs when you aren’t using it
  • Insulation Type Down or synthetic?
    • Down is lightweight and packs smaller
    • Synthetic has better water resistant properties and is a good choice for those allergic to down
  • Price – The smaller, lighter, and warmer it is, the most expensive it will be

Taking all of that into consideration, here are my candidates for the best Women’s Sleeping Bags for backpacking on the Appalachian Trail:

1. REI Co-Op Magma 17 Sleeping Bag

REI Magma 17 Women's Sleeping Bag
REI Magma 17

Temperature Rating: 17 degrees Fahrenheit

Price: $349.00 – $369.00

Weight: 2lbs 4oz

Fill Type: Down

Best For: Backpacking in cooler temps. The amount of warmth it provides for the size, weight and price is tough to beat. Spring for the long if you’re taller than 5’6”. This is my current favorite sleeping bag and you can read my full review of the REI Magma 17 here.

2. REI Co-Op Joule 21 Sleeping Bag

REI Joule 21 Sleeping Bag
REI Joule 21

Temperature Rating: 21 degrees Fahrenheit

Price: $299.00 – $319.00

Weight: 2lbs 3oz

Fill Type: Down

Best For: 3-season backpacking in potentially wet or humid areas. The water-resistant down and bag coating can keep you dry even if your tent floods. Yep — I’ve been there.

3. Rab Neutrino 400 Sleeping Bag

Rab Neutrino 400 Sleeping Bag
Rab Neutrino 400

Temperature Rating: 25 degrees Fahrenheit

Price: $359.00 – $379.00

Weight: 1 pound 11 ounces

Fill Type: Down

Best For: Ultralight 3-season backpacking. This is one of the lightest weight bags in it’s category. When compared to the REI Magma 17, the Rab Neutrino is less warm, but also less weight — and it’s in the same price category, too.

4. Mountain Hardwear Heratio 32 Sleeping Bag

Mountain Hardwear Heratio 32 Sleeping Bag
Mountain Hardwear Heratio 32

Temperature Rating: 32 degrees Fahrenheit

Price: $230.00 – $250.00

Weight: 2lbs

Fill Type: Down

Best For: Warm weather backpacking. This temperature rating will not keep you warm in early Spring or late fall like the other bags on this list. Also when compared to the other bags on this list, it could be much lighter. But the great price makes up for that.

5. Big Agnes – Sidney SL 25 Sleeping Bag

Big Agnes Sidney SL 25 Sleeping Bag
Big Agnes Sidney SL 25

Temperature Rating:  16-30 degrees Fahrenheit

Price: $279.95 – $299.95

Weight: 2lbs 3 ounces

Fill Type: Down

Best For: 3-season backpacking — Most versatile design allowing comfort even in warmer temps. This bag is meant to slide onto a sleeping pad — meaning there is no insulation underneath. Just make sure that you invest in a great sleeping pad with a high warmth value.

1 thought on “The 5 Best Women’s Sleeping Bags for the Appalachian Trail

Leave a Comment