Q. Hey Gear Guy, I am going cold-weather camping later this month, and I need a good new sleeping bag at a good price that I can use for a long time. It needs to be: Synthetic, at most 15 degrees, at most 4 pounds, and compact enough for backpacking. We are low on cash at the moment, so is there anything out there that I can get for around $100 that meets those requirements?
— Samuel Needs-A-Bag, Matthews, N.C.
A. Hey Samuel. Good question. And it seems like you’ve already done some homework on sleeping bags. You obviously know that weight and pack-ability are key factors to consider if you’ll be backpacking. You also seem to know that synthetic sleeping bags are best for situations in which they might get wet (because they’ll still keep you warm when wet, unlike down) and that synthetic bags are also generally more affordable. Now that said, a cold-weather backpacking bag for under $100 — that’s a tall order. But let’s see what we can do.
I think your best bet would be to shop online for a deal. I did some checking around and found these two good options for you, one at the REI Outlet site and the other from Marmot.com:
REI Zephyr +20 ($95; www.rei.com/outlet) It’s not exactly a 15-degree bag, but consider this one too: The Zephyr is a 20+ degree rated synthetic mummy-style bag that weighs 3 pounds and packs small enough for backpacking. It normally costs $140 but this is last year’s model so you can find a deal on it here.
Marmot Trestles +15 ($99; www.marmot.com) Here’s a +15 bag that squeaks in just under your $100 cap. It’s a 3 pound 10 ounce synthetic mummy bag that should pack down compact enough to bring along on a backpacking trip.