How to Choose a Mummy Sleeping Bag

A mummy sleeping bag on a hilltop during the golden hour

In this post, we'll take a look at:

If you’ve ever wondered about the best way to catch some quality Z’s in the great outdoors, you’re in the right place. We’re diving into the world of mummy sleeping bags – those cozy cocoons designed for a snug night’s sleep.

In this post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about mummy sleeping bags and help you choose the right one for yourself.

Interested? Let’s begin.

Key Takeaways

  • Ensure the temperature rating matches the coldest conditions expected – mummy bags excel in cold weather.
  • Pick insulation type based on weather exposure – down for dryness, synthetic for dampness.
  • Focus on weight, packed size, features like draft tubes and collar, and materials for intended use.

Mummy Sleeping Bags: A Closer Look

Two of the most common types of sleeping bags are:

  • Mummy sleeping bags: Developed in the 1930s, these snug-fitting bags are favored by backpackers for their lightweight and compact design, allowing for easier carrying and warmth. Keep in mind, though, they provide less room for movement inside.
  • Rectangular sleeping bags: Although not the warmest design, these bags offer more space for movement and are generally more affordable.

Anatomy of a Mummy Sleeping Bag

To truly appreciate the benefits of a mummy sleeping bag, it’s essential to understand its components and how they contribute to a comfortable night’s sleep:

  1. Outer Shell: The protective layer. Usually made from durable and weather-resistant materials like nylon or polyester.
  2. Baffles: Baffles are internal chambers that hold the insulation in place and prevent it from shifting.
  3. Hood: Minimizes heat loss from your upper body and retain warmth within the bag. Many hoods feature drawstrings for adjustable fit and added insulation.
  4. Draft Tube: The draft tube, located inside the zipper, prevents warm air from escaping and cold air from entering the bag.
  5. Zipper: These bags typically feature a full-length zipper along one side, with some offering a two-way zipper for ventilation and easy bottom unzipping.
  6. Foot Box: The foot box, the lower part of the sleeping bag, is designed for your feet, offering a bit more room for natural positioning and comfort.

Mummy Sleeping Bag Features

Now that we’ve got a good grasp on what mummy sleeping bags are, let’s dive into what makes them so special in more detail:

  1. Exceptional Insulation: Their tapered shape conforms closely to your body, reducing the amount of empty space inside the bag. This snug fit minimizes heat loss, keeping you warm and cozy even when temperatures drop.
  2. Improved Thermal Efficiency: Mummy sleeping bags prioritize thermal efficiency with their narrow design that traps and circulates body heat, ensuring a consistent temperature for a comfortable night’s sleep.
  3. Lightweight and Compact: Mummy bags are both lightweight and highly compact, ideal for outdoor adventures. On average, they’re about 20-30% lighter than similarly rated rectangular bags.
  4. Excellent Wind Resistance: When camping in windy conditions, mummy sleeping bags shine. The snug fit and hood design minimize exposure to the elements, offering excellent wind resistance.

How to Choose a Mummy Sleeping Bag

Mummy Sleeping Bag: A close-up of a packed sleeping bag held by a hiker

In this section, we’ll delve into the factors and considerations you should keep in mind when choosing the right mummy sleeping bag to suit your specific needs.

1. Temperature Rating

Start by considering the temperature rating of the mummy sleeping bag. This rating indicates the lowest temperature at which the bag can keep you warm.

Ensure the bag’s rating matches or exceeds the lowest temperatures you expect to encounter during your trips. It’s better to have a bag that’s slightly warmer than you need rather than risking discomfort in chilly conditions.

For additional details on temperature ratings, explore this post available here.

2. Insulation Type

You have two choices here: down or synthetic.

  • Down insulation offers excellent warmth-to-weight ratio but can lose effectiveness when wet. It is also much more expensive.
  • Synthetic insulation is more resistant to moisture, making it a reliable choice for damp environments. Yet, bags filled with synthetic insulation tend to be larger and heavier.

If you’re interested in delving deeper into this topic, you can explore our dedicated post here. Keep in mind that your choice will impact the bag’s weight, packability, and performance.

3. Other Considerations

  1. Weight and Packability: If you’re a backpacker, weight and packability are critical factors. Look for a mummy sleeping bag that strikes a balance between warmth and weight. In today’s era, a 3-season sleeping bag should ideally weigh less than 2.5 lbs (1.1 kg).
  2. Size and Fit: Consider bags designed for your body type and height. Check for features like adjustable hoods and draft collars for personalized comfort. Are you a side-sleeper? Choose a bag made for that.
  3. Seasonality: 3-season mummy sleeping bags are suitable for spring, summer, and fall, offering a balance of warmth and ventilation. 4-season bags are designed for winter. In extremely cold conditions, go for expedition-grade or 5-season sleeping bags.
  4. Durability and Material: Ripstop nylon and polyester are popular for durability and water resistance. Verify if the bag’s shell is treated to repel water.

By considering these factors and conducting thorough research, you can confidently select the right mummy sleeping bag that aligns with your camping needs.


Mummy sleeping bags stand out for their exceptional warmth, portability, and custom fit. They excel in cold weather, making them a top choice for outdoor enthusiasts.

Whether you’re facing chilly peaks or enjoying a serene summer night, your mummy sleeping bag will be your trusted companion.

Looking for a ultralight sleeping bag? Check out our TOP 5 Guides for the lightest sleeping bags on the market.


Are mummy bags good for side sleepers?

Mummy bags can work for side sleepers, but it depends on the bag’s design and your personal preferences. Look for mummy bags with a slightly wider cut, flexible features, and an adjustable hood. Check the bag’s length to ensure it suits your height. Using a sleeping pad can also enhance comfort for side sleepers.

Is it better to wear clothes in a mummy sleeping bag?

Wearing appropriate clothing, such as moisture-wicking base layers, inside a mummy sleeping bag is recommended for improved insulation, comfort, moisture control, and adaptability to changing temperatures. It helps retain body heat and ensures a more comfortable and warm night’s sleep.

Spread the word →

Why you should trust us

At Hikinglite, we're all about helping you hit the trails with lightweight and ultralight outdoor gear that won't weigh you down. Our crew of content creators? Real outdoor enthusiasts who've logged countless miles on the trails.

Leading the pack is our editor-in-chief, Alex Jardine – an ultralight evangelist who's hiked over 10,000 trail miles across the globe. He's basically a walking outdoor encyclopedia. This dude loves testing out the latest and greatest products, so you can trust his recommendations are always well-informed and reliable.

We treat all our suggestions like advice from close trail buddies. No fluff, just real insights from folks who live and breathe the outdoor life.

Have any questions?

More Insights

Suscribe to Our Newsletter

Stay smartly informed with our weekly newsletter

Follow us

hikinglite logo white
© 2024 Hikinglite - All rights reserved

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe now to stay ahead of the pack with the most up-to-date outdoor content.