The 6 Best Ultralight Sleeping Bags On The Market

When it comes to ultralight backpacking, the weight of every piece of gear is critical to achieving your overall goal. Many backpackers focus on the ‘Big Three’ because that is where the biggest impact on weight is usually found (backpack, shelter, sleeping bag). We will be writing a series for the big three on ‘best’ ultralight options for backpacks and shelters, so keep an eye out for those articles to come in the future. Below, we will go over the top 6 ultralight sleeping bags based on weight, price, comfort, and durability as we see the current market.

Note – these sleeping bags are rated as 3 season or summer bags, no true 4 season or winter bags are included.

#6 Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45F – $330 – 19 ounces

[amazon_image id=”B00BMPIU40″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45 Sleeping Bag Graphite Regular / Right Zip[/amazon_image]

Coming in at an excellent 19 ounces, the Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45 degree sleeping bag is a top choice of Alpine climbers and ultralight backpackers alike. This lightweight summer sleeping bag is a fully featured mummy sleeping bag, complete with hood and zipper (unlike some of the bags below). The Phantom utilizes Q Shield 800 fill power down that creates nice loft, and along with the construction, features a down-filled face gasket, tight 5″ baffles, even loft spacing in hood for consistent warmth, an insulated draft tube along the zipper, and a comfort footbox. The bag can be purchased regular length or long, right or left zipper. This is a solid, proven go-to ultralight sleeping bag that is great for summer or potentially 3 season backcountry trips. One review states the following:

“This bag is great if you want to keep things super light and compact, but also value quality and performance. This bag is great, being that it is smaller than a Nalgene bottle and super light. I have also found that the temperature rating is slightly conservative by about 5-10 degrees. I have even slept in it when the temp dropped in the low 20’s, wearing only base layers and a Mont Bell ultralight down jacket inside.”


Click here to pick up your [amazon_link id=”B00BMPIU40″ target=”_blank” ]Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45 sleeping bag[/amazon_link] today.

#5 – Elightened Equipment Revelation 20F – $250 – 19.7 ounces

Enlightened Equipment Revelation

The Enlightened Equipment Revelation is the most versatile sleeping bag/quilt on our list. There are so many different configurations (lengths, widths, temperature ratings, down fill options). At the time of this writing, the regular length, regular width 20 degree 800 fill power down quilt weighs an excellent 19.7 ounces, keeping this sleeping bag in the category of ultralight sleeping bags with a little bit better warmth than some of the other bags on the list. The sleeping bag/quilt is partially zippered and can be used as a sleeping bag or as a quilt/blanket, increasing the multi-season versatility. It is a great all-purpose, lightweight option at an affordable price (best on this list). One review reads as follows:

“Enlightened Equipment makes a really quality product for a great price! There customer service is pretty stellar. I bought my quilt long and wide to fit my 6’2″ frame. I move around a lot when I sleep, and can’t stand being confined in a mummy bag… This quilt is just what I needed.”

Visit the Enlightened Equipment webpage to see all the different options of the Revelation sleeping bag. You won’t be disappointed in this lightweight option.

#4 – Katabatic Gear Palisade 30F – $420 – 18 ounces

Katabatic Gear Palisade

Katabatic Gear specializes in ultralight backpacking gear (backpacks, sleeping bags, and bivys), and the award winning Palisade is no exception. Rated to 30 degrees, this 18 ounce hoodless sleeping bag is a great option for lightweight gear seekers out there. You can choose 850 or 900 fill power down (with the 900 option trimming about .5-1 ounce off the total bag weight depending on the size you get). Outdoor Gear Lab awarded this sleeping bag a 2012 Editor’s Choice Top Pick for it’s “comfort, versatility, high warmth to weight ratio, and ultra comfy neck closure,” which we totally agree with. Other features of the Palisade are: down filled collar, trapezoidal foot box, overstuffed foot section, and a great pad attachment system (probably the best on this list). While priced on the high end of this list, you won’t be disappointed in the craftsmanship and comfort this lightweight sleeping bag provides. For more information, visit Katabatic Gear’s site.

#3 – Nunatak Arc Specialist 32F – $390 – 17 ounces

Nunatak Arc Specialist

Coming in at a stunning 17 ounces, the hoodless Nunatak Arc Specialist sleeping bag makes it’s case for best ultralight sleeping bag with an array of nice features. Rated to 32 degrees, this 800 fill power down sleeping bag is a hoodless mummy sleeping bag that is open in the back from your neck down to mid-calf with adjustable pad straps that allow you to tighten it to fit your body. Nunatak has put in quite a bit of work developing their Arc series of sleeping bags, and the Specialist (as well as the equally amazing 40 degree, 11.5 ounce Arc Edge, which rivals the #1 40 degree ZPacks option). This bag is warm, lightweight, and packs to a ridiculously small size. For more on this sleeping bag, visit Nunatak USA today.

#2 – Feathered Friends Vireo UL 25F – $300 – 15.5 ounces

Feathered Friends Vireo

The Feathered Friends Vireo UL is an amazing ultralight sleeping bag. Coming it at an astounding range of 14.4 ounces to 16.7 ounces (62″-74″, 3 different options), you will certainly attain your ultralight goals using this bag. Feathered Friends trims extra weight by cutting the hood and zipper, but don’t think it isn’t easy enough to get in and out of. The lower half has more insulation (rated to 25 degrees) while the upper half has less (rated to 45 degrees). This variable fill feature allows for additional weight trimming, and the 900+ fill power goose down is as soft, lofty, and lightweight as it is insulative. On colder nights, sleep with a sweater or down jacket to match the lower half warmth rating. Here is one review from Outdoor Gear Lab that highlights the features of this bag:

The Vireo has 900-fill down, weighs a mere 16 ounces, and packs down to the size of a grapefruit. This bag is best for sleeping in a seated position where other ultralight bags, like the Katabatic Gear Palisade, don’t cover your back and aren’t as warm. After extensive testing we now only recommend the Vireo for alpine climbs where you bring a down parka.”

This is an awesome sleeping bag – pack and use this bag and you will see why we choose it as our #2 ultralight sleeping bag option. Just don’t use this bag in the summer – the 25F rating for the lower half (which is incidentally not zippered and therefore un-vent-able) will make your warm night miserable. And remember to bring a parka for colder temperatures or your upper half will freeze. For more information, visit the Feathered Friends website.

#1 – ZPacks 30 Degree – $370 – 14 ounces

ZPacks 30 Degree

The award winning ZPacks 900 fill power down solo sleeping bags are probably the best warmth to weight ratio you will find on the market as of this writing. Here is a breakdown of their ratings and accompanying weights (all medium length, regular width): 40 degrees – 11.4 ounces (!!!), 30 degrees – 14 ounces, 20 degrees – 16.7 ounces, 10 degrees – 19.4 ounces. These weights are absurdly small for the amount of insulation you are getting. Similar to the Enlightened Equipment Revelation, this sleeping bag can be used as a quilt or blanket for added versatility. This sleeping bag features 5″ baffle spacing, a 3/4 length zipper that is positioned beneath you to get rid of the need for a draft tube, and comes with an ultralight (.9 ounce) stuff sack. Outdoor Gear Lab awarded the 20 degree version their 2013 Editors’ Choice Top Pick for its “Highest warmth-to-weight ratio of any bag tested.”

You won’t find a lighter sleeping bag out there right now. And even though this hoodless sleeping bag sits close to the top of the price range of this list, you have a lot of versatility in choosing a bag for different seasons. My favorite ultralight sleeping bag right now is the 11.4 ounce ZPacks 40 degree sleeping bag. There is just no comparison when it comes to the warmth-to-weight ratio, and even though it is mostly a summer sleeping bag, it fits my needs for getting the biggest bang for buck in the weight arena. For more information on ZPacks, visit their site today.

Honorable Mentions – Jacks ‘R’ Better Stealth, Feathered Friends Merlin

Backpacking Samurai Thoughts

The sweet spot for sleeping bags in the ultralight space sits right around 1 pound. If you can find a bag that is even less than that, you will be able to have more options with the other gear you pack, which is why this list put such a premium on weight. What is your favorite ultralight sleeping bag? Did we leave yours off the list? Let us know in the comment section below. As always, thank for reading and happy trails!


The Best Lightweight Summer Sleeping Bags On The Market

Summer Night CampingWhen it comes to finding a summer sleeping bag for your next backpacking trip, many trekkers look for the lightest option available. Summer is the best time to experience ultralight or minimalist backpacking at its finest. Summer sleeping bags are usually rated at 40 degrees or higher, and because of this, they have less insulation, which means the bags are lighter, smaller, and more compact. It is not uncommon to find a summer bag that is close to a pound in total weight, which means you are well on your way to packing less than 10 pounds of gear (usually the cutoff for ultralight backpacking). If you are looking for a summer sleeping bag to add to your equipment arsenal, this is the place for you to be. Below, we will highlight our favorite lightweight summer sleeping bags out there on the market today.

Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45 – $170

[amazon_link id=”B00314H5EQ” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45 Degree Sleeping Bag - Jungle LH[/amazon_link]The Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45 is very high on our list of best summer sleeping bags. It is a lightweight 800-fill down sleeping bag that weighs only 1 pound 3 ounces. It is cut to snuggly fit your body to maximize warmth and minimize weight. Mountain Hardwear sleeping bags are known for their comfort, and the Phantom is no exception. The price is right, especially if you can find it on sale at Amazon (which at the time of this writing it currently is). Click the following link to purchase yours today!

[amazon_link id=”B00314H5EQ” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45[/amazon_link]

Marmot Atom 40 – $290

[amazon_link id=”B003C17HWS” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Marmot Atom Down Sleeping Bag, Regular Left, Red[/amazon_link]Marmot is another name in the industry that has a devout following. The Marmot Atom 40 is one of their ultralight sleeping bag offerings for summer month backpacking, and is a 2008 Backpacker Magazine Editors’ Choice award winner. Coming in at 1 pound 5 ounces, this bag is super light, compacts down to the size of a Nalgene bottle, and will keep you warm below 40 degrees with a simple base layer. The Atom features 850+ fill power goose down, which is the best weight to warmth down on the market today. Click this link to order your Marmot Atom 40 today!

[amazon_link id=”B003C17HWS” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Marmot Atom 40[/amazon_link]

Marmot Always Summer – $200

[amazon_link id=”B00AO5NBKW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Marmot Always Summer Down Sleeping Bag, Regular-Left, Red[/amazon_link]Appropriately named, the Marmot Always Summer is a perfect summer sleeping bag for backpackers of all types. While not as light as the Marmot Atom or some of the other bags on this list (coming in at 2 pounds 3 ounces), the Always Summer makes up with its attractive price point of under $200. It features a slightly heavier 650-fill down, so it won’t be as compactable as higher-fill down sleeping bags, but the bag is rated down to 40 degrees. This is an all-around great summer sleeping bag, and offers great value at its price point. Get yours today by clicking on the following link!

[amazon_link id=”B00AO5NBKW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Marmot Always Summer[/amazon_link]

MontBell UL Super Spiral Down Hugger – $320

[amazon_link id=”B007LL3RG0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]MontBell U.L. Super Spiral Down Hugger 40 Degree Sleeping Bag Blue Ridge Regular / Left Zip[/amazon_link]This is a sleeping bag that I was personally excited to test myself. First of all, it comes in multiple temperature ranges, but the 40 degree bag is by far the lightest and most economical of them all. The Spiral Down Hugger features 800-fill power goose down that weighs an amazing 1 pound 2 ounces. That is truly ultralight. This sleeping bag also features a stretch woven fabric that allows the bag to conform to your body as you sleep. This stretch keeps the bag snug to your body but does not constrict your nightly movements. I loved this bag, for all of the reasons discussed above, and would recommend it to anyone seeking a truly ultralight summer sleeping bag for backpacking. To get your MontBell UL Super Spiral Down Hugger today, click the following link!

[amazon_link id=”B007LL3RG0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]MontBell UL Super Spiral Down Hugger #4[/amazon_link]

Big Agnes Pitchpine SL – $330

[amazon_link id=”B004MQSM58″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Big Agnes Pitchpine SL 45-Degree Sleeping Bags(800 Down fill), Reg Left Zipper[/amazon_link]Another summer sleeping bag that gets really close to the one pound threshold is the Pitchpine SL by Big Agnes. Rated to 45 degrees and insulated with 800-fill power goose down, the Pitchpine SL offers a 1 pound 2 ounce package that compacts to a very small overall size (5”x6”).  This is a comfortable bag that has a lot of comfort add-ons, like a pillow pocket, sleeping pad loops that allow flexibility in the legs, and a water repellant surface treatment to keep you dry and warm.  The Pitchpine SL is a true ultralight summer sleeping bag that offers a lot of bang for your buck. Click on the following link to get yours today!

[amazon_link id=”B004MQSM58″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Big Agnes Pitchpine SL[/amazon_link]

Lafuma Lightway 45 – $125

[amazon_link id=”B00B6QLSDU” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Lafuma Lightway 45-Degree Down Right Zip Sleeping Bag, Olympic Blue[/amazon_link]A more economical choice (around $125), the Lafuma Lightway 45 will still allow you to approach that ultralight backpacking concept. Weighing in at 1 pound 9 ounces, the Lightway features 600-fill power duck down which is more affordable than higher power goose down. This is a perfect summer sleeping bag option that has an attractive weight and price tag. To get your Lafuma Lightway 45 today, click the following link.

[amazon_link id=”B00B6QLSDU” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Lafuma Lightway 45[/amazon_link]

Kelty Cosmic Down 40 – $100

[amazon_link id=”B009PRN4QG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Kelty Cosmic Down 40-Degree Sleeping Bag, Yellow, 6-Feet[/amazon_link]The most affordable sleeping bag on our list, the Kelty Cosmic down 40 sleeping bag comes in right around $100. It features 550-fill power down, which adds a little to the overall weight of 1 pound 13 ounces. It also includes hang loops for storage, sleeping pad security loops, internal liner loops for those cooler summer nights, and a form fitting and snug shape. If you are looking for the best bang for your buck, the Kelty Cosmic down 40 sleeping bag is for you. Click the following link to order yours today!

[amazon_link id=”B009PRN4QG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Kelty Cosmic Down 40[/amazon_link]

Exped Ultralight 300 45 – $350

[amazon_link id=”B0087XXFEK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Exped Ultralite 300[/amazon_link]The 1 pound 4 ounce Exped Ultralight 300 lives up to its name as one of the best summer lightweight sleeping bags on the market today.  Featuring a high loft 840-fill goose down insulation and a waterproof packsack and net storage bag, the Exped Ultralight 300 is a great choice for ultralight backpackers. To order your Ultralight today, click on the following link.

[amazon_link id=”B0087XXFEK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Exped Ultralight 300 45[/amazon_link]

Backpacking Samurai Thoughts

You probably noticed that every single sleeping bag on this list is a down bag. It is just a fact that natural down has a better warmth to weight ratio than synthetic insulation does. Technologies change, and this might flip in the future, but right now, if you are looking for the lightest sleeping bags, especially for summer ultralight backpacking, down is the way to go.

The list of sleeping bags above has a wide range of prices. The cool thing is that the more affordable sleeping bags actually stack up quite well against the higher priced bags. My favorite summer bag is the MontBell UL Super Spiral Down Hugger with its 1 pound 2 ounce weight and excellent comfort, but a close second is the Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45 (one ounce heavier than the Super Spiral). Any one of these sleeping bags would provide excellent summer sleeping comfort, and exceptional warmth to weight. Hopefully, this guide will get you started on your search for a summer sleeping bag to fit your needs.

What do you think of the list of summer sleeping bags above? What is your favorite summer sleeping bag? What sleeping bag do you use for ultralight backpacking? Let us know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!


The Top 5 Down Sleeping Bags – Weight, Warmth Important

Down is one of two types of sleeping bag filling (the other being synthetic filling). Down has fabulous insulative properties, but only as long as it remains dry. Down is also very light for the amount of insulation it provides compared to most synthetic insulation out there. Down is also downright soft and comfortable!

When it comes to choosing the best down sleeping bags on the market today, several factors have to be considered. Price, weight, comfort, and warmth rating are all important factors for backpackers out there. But they all vary depending on the type of hiking. If you like to backpack in the summer only, you won’t worry as much about the warmth rating. Weight is an especially important consideration, especially for the minimalist or ultralight hikers.

This was a difficult task in rating the top 5 down sleeping bags on the market, especially since there are so many different needs. But we think we have a very good list based on the considerations mentioned above. Below you will find our top 5 down sleeping bags.

#5 – Kelty Cosmic 0, 20 Degree $150-$220

[amazon_link id=”B009PRMZMA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Kelty Cosmic Down 0-Degree Sleeping Bag, Autumn, 6-Feet[/amazon_link]Kelty is one of those brands that you just love because of the impressive value that you get from their products. The price of this bag compared to the others on this list is what bumped it into our top 5. Coming in at $150 for a 20 degree bag and $220 for the 0 degree bag, the Kelty Cosmic is a great deal for the amount of warmth you get. 550 Fill-Power Down is used as the insulation, which is heavier than higher power down, so the bag is a little on the heavy side (for this list). The regular 20 degree version weighs 2 lb 7 oz, the regular 0 degree weighs 3 lb 12 oz. This is a fantastic 3 season sleeping bag that won’t break the bank. Click the image or one of the links below to buy yours today!

[amazon_link id=”B009PRMZMA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Kelty Cosmic 0 Degree Down Sleeping Bag[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”B009PRNEY8″ target=”_blank” ]Kelty Cosmic 20 Degree Down Sleeping Bag[/amazon_link]

#4 – Marmot Helium 15 Degree $400-$470

[amazon_image id=”B000JM9ODI” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]Marmot Helium 15 Sleeping Bag – Cobalt Blue/Dark Azure Long/Left Zip[/amazon_image]

There are two down sleeping bags on this list by Marmot. And while they are the two priciest bags, they are amazingly soft, warm, and lightweight. They are also both Backpacker Editors’ Choice award winners, with the Helium winning 2008’s Gold award. The Marmot Helium is the lower priced of the two, ranging between $400 and $470, depending on whether or not you want the added waterproof and breathable MemBrain outer fabric, which bumps the price up. Lightweight 850+ Fill-power goose down will keep you toasty warm down to 15 degrees without adding too much to the overall weight.  Each weighs 2 lb 5 oz, which is light for a 15 degree bag, and it compresses into a very small package. The Marmot Helium is a fabulous choice for its warmth, weight, and comfort, even if it is a little on the expensive side. Click on one of the following links for more purchasing information.

[amazon_link id=”B015OVGCNS” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Marmot Helium[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”B0037SN2Z2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Marmot Helium MemBrain[/amazon_link]

#3 – Sierra Designs Nitro 0, 15, 30 $250-$400

Sierra Designs Nitro 30 Degree 800 Fill Down Ultralight Sleeping Bag (Long)

Sierra Designs Nitro down sleeping bag is our #3 rated option, and for good reason.  Their bags are labeled as ultralight, and this isn’t an exaggeration. Their warmth-to-weight ratio is fantastic, and their price fits right in with other bags on this list. The 0 degree Nitro has a price tag of $400 and a weight of 2 lb 15 oz. The 15 degree bag costs around $300, and weighs 2 lb 2 ounces. The 30 degree Nitro is a great 3 season bag that costs around $250 and weighs a measly 1 lb 10 oz. With 800 Fill-power goose down, you will stay nice and warm even on cold nights. The stretchy baffles around your upper body help you feel like you aren’t mummified, and the footbox on the 30 degree Nitro zips open for a nice cool draft on warmer nights. The Nitro by Sierra Designs is a great choice of down sleeping bag for any season. If you are interested in getting this sleeping bag, visit Sierra Designs‘ site today!


#2 – Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0, 15, 32 Degree $200-$400

[amazon_image id=”B00BQ743B8″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]Mountain Hardwear Unisex Phantom 0 Bag Reg RH RED[/amazon_image]

Coming in at #2 on our list is Mountain Hardwear’s Phantom series of down sleeping bags. There is a 0 degree, 15 degree, and 32 degree option, in men’s and women’s.  They range in price from $200 (the 32 degree option) up to over $400 (the 0 degree option). The Phantom employs 800 Fill-power goose down, which offers excellent warmth-to-weight ratio as well as a soft and comfortable lofty construction. They also feature down filled draft tubes that keep cold from seeping into your bag at the openings and zippers. The 0 degree bag weighs 2 lb 10 oz (for the regular size), the 15 degree bag weighs 2 lb (5 ounces lighter than the Marmot Helium), and the 32 degree bag weighs a paltry 1 lb 6 oz. Light, warm, comfortable, and competitively priced, the Mountain Hardwear Phantom series of down sleeping bags is a winning bag for all seasons. Below are the links to get more ordering information on the Phantom bags.

[amazon_link id=”B00BQ741YW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0 Degree Down Sleeping Bag[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”B00AYH8DQ2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15 Degree Down Sleeping Bag[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”B00EF43QTE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Mountain Hardwear Phantom 32 Degree Down Sleeping Bag[/amazon_link]

#1 – Marmot Lithium 0 Degree $490-$550

[amazon_link id=”B0161YP4T0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Marmot Lithium MemBrain Down Sleeping Bag, Regular-Left, Orange[/amazon_link]Our #1 rated down sleeping bag is the Marmot Lithium. This bag is very similar to the Marmot Helium down at #4, but with extra insulation that should keep you warm and comfortable down to 0 degrees. It is also a Backpacker Editors’ choice winner. The Lithium does this by utilizing the same 850+ Fill-power goose down that is employed in the Helium. This down offers the best warmth-to-weight ratio. This sleeping bag compresses to a very small overall size, which when coupled with its weight of 2 lb 12 oz, makes for a very portable, lightweight, and compact package. The Lithium MemBrain ($550) adds a breathable waterproof fabric to the outside of the bag, increasing its durability while protecting the insulative properties of down. One reviewer notes that this bag is “as light as a feather and warm as a oven.” Well said. This is the winner of our survey and is rated the best down sleeping bag on the market. Click one of the below links to get the #1 down sleeping bag today!

[amazon_link id=”B0161YP4T0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Marmot Lithium[/amazon_link]


Obvisouly, with only 5 spots on the list, we had to leave off some excellent down sleeping bags. What did we miss? What is your favorite down sleeping bag? Did we get the list right? Let us know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!


New To Backpacking? Get Started For Under $300

Are you interested in backpacking, but not willing to commit a large amount of money upfront until you know you are going to like it? Are you on strict budget? If you answered yes to either of these questions, this article will hopefully help you to see that you don’t need to spend a small fortune to get into this great hobby. Below, I will go over some of my favorite low cost (but still high quality) gear to consider.

For the sake of this article, we will assume you have no backpacking gear. That means you will need to buy a backpack, tent, sleeping bag, and other items to keep you going, less the consumables (food, fuel, etc). Let’s say you have a strict budget of $300 to get all the gear you need to go on a summer weekend (3 day, 2 night) backpacking trip that is more or less on a flat trail.

Here is a breakdown of the items, and below will be more details of the gear choices:

  • Backpack$115 [amazon_link id=”B009R4CV3E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Kelty Coyote 80 Backpack[/amazon_link]
  • Tent$110 [amazon_link id=”B0043HH5CW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Eureka! Apex 2XT 2 Person Backpacking Tent[/amazon_link]
  • Sleeping Bag$40 [amazon_link id=”B006WPZBBA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Ledge Sports Scorpion 45 Degree Ultralight Sleeping Bag[/amazon_link]
  • Water Prep – $25 [amazon_link id=”B004DZMD08″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Seychelle 28 Ounce Flip Top Water Filter Bottle[/amazon_link]
  • Food Prep$10 – [amazon_link id=”B000P9IR8I” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Stainless Steel Mess Kit[/amazon_link]
  • Total Cost = $300

Backpack – $115

[amazon_link id=”B009R4CV3E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Kelty Coyote 80 Internal frame Backpack, Forest Night, Medium/Large[/amazon_link]For the backpack, the Kelty Coyote 80 [amazon_link id=”B009R4CV3E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]can be picked up off of Amazon currently for $115[/amazon_link]. That is a great deal for a backpack that boasts 78 Liters (4750 cubic inches) of interior space. This is more than large enough for a 3 day excursion. It is more suited for a longer trip, but at that price point, it’s hard to pass this deal up. Additional features in this pack include:

Bag Features:

  • Top loading
  • 420-denier polyester Ball Shadow body fabric
  • 420-denier polyester Oxford reinforcement fabric
  • Hydration compatible
  • Reservoir sleeve
  • Front-panel access
  • Zippered side pockets
  • Mesh water bottle pockets
  • Side compression straps
  • Load stabilizer straps
  • Spindrift collar
  • Ice-axe loops
  • Daisy chain
  • Key fob
  • Zippered waist belt pockets
  • Lid converts into lumbar pack
  • Carry handle

Suspension Features:

  • CloudLock II adjustable suspension
  • LightBeam II dual aluminum stays
  • HDPE frame sheet
  • Removable HDPE reinforced dual density waist belt
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Ventilating back panel
  • Load-lifter/stabilizer straps
  • Sternum strap
  • Patented Scherer Cinch


  • Capacity: 4,750 cubic inches (78-liters)
  • Weight: 5 lb. 9 oz.
  • Measures 16 x 34 x 16.5 inches (W x H x D)

Highlights of the Kelty Coyote 80 backpack are the price point, the capacity, removable waist belt and lid (converts into hip pack), and construction. The pack is on the heavy side at 5 pounds 9 ounces empty, but as long as it isn’t over packed for a 3 day trip, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Tent – $110

[amazon_link id=”B0043HH5CW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Eureka! Apex 2 - Tent (sleeps 2)[/amazon_link]The tent of choice is the Eureka! Apex 2XT tent. This is a lightweight 2 person backpacking tent that is also a very palatable price right around a hundred bucks. We chose the Apex 2XT tent because of the price, as well as a few features, such as: the 2 door design with 2 vestibules totaling 27 additional square feet, solid construction, and light weight (6 pounds 5 ounces). Here are some additional features and specifications:

  • Seasons: 3
  • Sleeps: 2
  • Floor dimensions: 7′ 6″ by 4′ 11″
  • Center height: 3′ 10″
  • Minimum weight: 6 pounds, 5 ounces
  • Frame: Freestanding, shock-corded fiberglass
  • Vestibule: 2, with 13.8 square feet of storage each
  • Storage pockets: 2 mesh
  • Clothes line loops: 4
  • Flashlight loop: Yes
  • Warranty: Lifetime

This is great tent, and for the price, you won’t be disappointed. [amazon_link id=”B0043HH5CW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Pick yours up today[/amazon_link].

Sleeping Bag – $40

[amazon_link id=”B006WPZBA6″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Ledge Sports FeatherLite +20 F Degree Ultra Light Design, Ultra Compact Sleeping Bag (84 X 32 X 20, Red)[/amazon_link]Since this is a summer trip, we can get away with suggesting a summer sleeping bag. And that is completely fair, because if you are new to backpacking, you probably don’t want to get into a cold weather trip right off the bat because you might ruin your outlook on the hobby. Start with a mild, warm weather trip to see if you like it first, then as you get more experience and become more adventurous, expand. Back to the sleeping bag of choice – [amazon_link id=”B006WPZBBA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Ledge Sports Featherlite 20 degree ultra light sleeping bag[/amazon_link].

The price is right at $40, and the weight is also a bonus coming in at 3.4 pounds. This sleeping bag is nice because is compresses well and takes up minimal room. It is a synthetic fill sleeping bag, so even if it gets wet, it should keep you warm down to 30 degrees or so. It also comes with a stuff sack. Pick up one of these affordable 3 season sleeping bags today!

Food and Water Prep – $35

For cooking your food, this [amazon_link id=”B000P9IR8I” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]stainless steel mess kit[/amazon_link] is just right. It offers a frying pan, pot, two lids (plates) and a plastic 8 ounce cup. At just over $10, all you need to have is a bed of hot coals and you can cook food or heat water.

[amazon_link id=”B004DZMD08″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Seychelle 28oz Flip Top Advanced Filter Water Purification / Filtration Bottle[/amazon_link]As for purifying your water, the [amazon_link id=”B004DZMD08″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Seychelle 28 ounce flip top water filter bottle[/amazon_link] is a high quality option that is affordable ($25). It removes 99.99% of bacteria, virus, contaminants, and pollutants from water. It can filter up to 100 gallons of water, depending on the quality of the water (dirtier water = less filtering capacity). It weighs just 11 ounces and you can fill it up from any body of water along the trail.

The Bottom Line

If you are just getting into backpacking, and you are worried that you won’t like it, it doesn’t make sense to spend a ton of money on gear. I can tell you that if you like nature, exercise, the outdoors, and camping in general, you are going to absolutely love backpacking. But keeping your start-up costs low just in case you don’t is a good idea. The nice thing about all of these items is that they could all be sold used to recoup most of your money if you decide you don’t like backpacking. Another nice thing about all of these items is that if you do like backpacking, they are high quality products that you will be able to enjoy for a long time.

Use this list to find the right gear for your needs. This is just a list of the most essential gear items. I didn’t include hiking boots because they require such a specialized fit and vary greatly in price. For a flat 3 day hiking trip, sturdy tennis shoes should be alright. Other items might include a good flashlight, first aid kit, survival kit, GPS, fitted hiking boots, multi-tool or pocket knife, and a sleeping pad. They will greatly increase your comfort and safety in the backcountry. As always, happy trails!

Do you agree with this list? What would be your $300 starting setup? Leave a comment below. Thanks!