If you are just headed out on a quick overnight camping trip to the lake in the middle of July, you probably can get by with the same ratty sleeping bag you’ve owned since the sixth grade.
But when you’re in a survival situation, you need a sleeping bag that’s a bit more advanced than that. Not all sleeping bags are built alike, and survival sleeping bags are truly in a category all their own.
How do you know what to look for? There isn’t a single best survival sleeping bag for everyone, but there are common characteristics that the top picks all share.
If you’re ready to upgrade your survival ability to the next level, you’ve got to consider investing in one of the best survival sleeping bags.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A SURVIVAL SLEEPING BAG
Sleeping bags have come a long way in the last few years. There are now hundreds of types, styles, and configurations to suit any need, climate, or budget.
When you’re looking for a survival sleeping bag, the first thing you need to do is consider the conditions in which you will be using it. For example, if you live in Arizona and don’t plan on traveling very far from home, you are going to have very different needs from somebody who lives in northern Canada.
Once you’ve decided when and how you intend to use your survival sleeping bag, you should consider these factors in your search.
Without a doubt, size is the most important factor you need to consider when it comes to purchasing a survival sleeping bag. If you’re a child or a small woman, you are going to need a much smaller survival sleeping bag than an adult man.
Don’t assume “the bigger, the better,” either. Sleeping bags warm you best when they can trap heat and fit your body’s unique contours. If there’s too much empty, unfilled space, you’re going to lose body heat. However, you also don’t want one that’s too snug, as you’ll crush the insulation and remove the air pockets necessary for trapping that heat.
Lots of people prefer mummy-style sleeping bags for survival sleeping bags, and these are probably the best choice. They will keep you warm as they trap body heat the best.
However, it’s not your only choice. You will also find double sleeping bags, rectangular, and semi-rectangular sleeping bags. Double sleeping bags are smart if you plan on co-sleeping with a young child that you will need to keep warm. They can also be used by couples, and while the benefit here is that the two of you can share body heat, they are very uncomfortable to sleep in during the long term.
Many emergency sleeping bags are sold in foldable designs so that they can be used by one or two people, depending on the need.
FILL AND COLOR
Pay close attention to the fill of your sleeping bag, too. If you’re going to be sleeping in very cold conditions, down will be the best choice as it has the highest insulation value. However, keep in mind that down is quite expensive and will need to be fluffed from time to time. It can be tough to wash, too, and it won’t perform as well in rainy weather.
In fact, a heavy rainstorm can completely ruin a down sleeping bag. That being said, down is lightweight and compresses well, plus it’s remarkably warm.
Another option is synthetic fill. Synthetic fill isn’t as warm as down, but it insulates you when it’s wet and is easier to keep clean and dry. It is also more affordable and doesn’t need to be fluffed. More often than not, emergency sleeping bags are made out of materials like polyethylene, mylar, and other reflective materials that will help keep you warm.
Pay attention to the color of your emergency sleeping bag, too. Most are sold in bright orange or green, which will help draw the attention of passersby in case you need to be rescued.
Most sleeping bags are rated and tested according to the EN13537 standard. This standard will give you a range of temperatures for which the sleeping bag is suitable. However, this will usually give the lowest possible limit of the sleeping bag.
While a sleeping bag might be rated to 0 degrees, that doesn’t mean that it will keep you warm and toasty at 0 degrees. It simply means it will keep you alive. Therefore, you will want to pay attention not only to the temperature rating but also to the comfort rating.
It’s recommended that you choose a survival sleeping bag that is rated, both for temperature and for comfort, below what you actually think you might need. As a good rule of thumb, you can get away with a sleeping bag that is rated at +30 to +55 degrees Fahrenheit if you are going to be sleeping in warm weather conditions.
If you plan on using your survival sleeping bag at all in extreme cold, snow, or ice, you need a sleeping bag that is rated to at least -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind that some survival bivy sacks aren’t rated at all, as they’re meant to be used inside another sleeping bag.
You might find interesting to read our best budget sleeping bags article.
TOP 8 BUDGET SLEEPING BAGS
If you’re looking for a few ideas of the top-rated survival sleeping bags, give these top eight suggestions a try.
#1 S.O.L. SURVIVE OUTDOORS LONGER ESCAPE SERIES EMERGENCY BIVVY
|82 x 32″
(+) Has a full hood and drawcord closure
(+) Comes with a fully-formed foot box
(+) Made out of breathable material
(+) Prevents the formation of condensation and reduces heat loss by 70%
(-) Not ideal for daily use
(-) Best for warm environments
Available in multiple colors, the S.O.L. Survive Outdoors emergency sleeping bag is one of the best for emergency situations or even just for going on a backwoods camping excursion.
At 84×31 inches, it weighs only 8.5 ounces so it’s easy to compress and pack into a backpack. It has the ability to reflect up to 70% of your body heat back to you to prevent the loss of heat. It has waterproof seams and a drawstring hood so that you can keep cold air out.
It’s also made with a tear-resistant material that will hold up to all of the snags and debris that tend to wreak havoc on your sleeping bag when you’re out in the woods. Since it’s a reusable bivvy, it can be used multiple times as a sleeping bag or emergency blanket – it’s an affordable option that can get you through the worst circumstances imaginable.
It is breathable, with fabric that prevents condensation. You’ll stay warm, dry, and cozy on nights with temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and if you want to add further insulation, you can add this bivvy to your existing sleeping bag for powerful cumulative effects.
#2 SE EB122OR SURVIVOR SERIES EMERGENCY SLEEPING BAG KIT
|36 x 84″
(+) Reflects your body heat back to you
(+) Works well in an emergency
(+) Can be compressed and packed easily
(-) Noisy when you move around in it
(-) Not the best for winter temperatures
These EB122OR Survivor Series Emergency Sleeping Bag Kit is another great option for when you’re in a pinch. It’s lightweight, coming in at less than six ounces, and made out of heavy-duty aluminized PE interior material. It offers exceptional warmth, insulation, and durability, and is sold in a bright orange shade that is highly visible. It’s also available in bronze and green shades.
When you purchase this sleeping bag, which has dimensions of 36”x84”, you’ll get a free drawstring carrying bag. This makes it easy to compress down and stuff into a pack as you head out into the woods.
The bag retains up to 95% of your body heat, a percentage that’s practically unheard of when it comes to outdoor survival. It’s made out of heavy-duty material that is thick and tear-resistant. Its compact size means you can take it anywhere, and you won’t have to worry about holes or rips in the bag leaving you exposed to the elements.
This bag can be used on its own or paired with your standard sleeping bag of choice for maximum heat retention. It’s not the most breathable sleeping bag you will find, but it’s perfect in an emergency situation and will keep you warm and protected from the elements. It can be reused as many times as you like, making it a great value for preppers on a budget!
Check out our suggested one-person tents article.
#3 TACT BIVVY COMPACT ULTRA LIGHTWEIGHT SLEEPING BAG
|36 x 84″
(+) Comes with a durable nylon stuff sack, paracord, whistle, and carabiner
(+) One of the best manufacturers guarantees
(+) Best used inside your sleeping bag
(-) Thin material
The Tact Bivvy 2.0 Emergency Sleeping Bag is not only compact, but it’s also ultra-lightweight. In fact, it’s made out of a super lightweight polyester film known as HeatEcho. Although it’s light, it’s mighty, weighing less than five ounces yet offering the ability to raise your body temperature by more than 20 degrees.
This sleeping bag can be compressed down into a small stuff sack so you can reuse it as many times as you like. It will certainly become a key component of your outdoor survival kit. It comes in two separate colors, tactical orange, and tactical green, and comes with a drawstring made out of paratinder paracord.
What does that mean? You can use the paracord to hold your sleeping bag in, or you can use it to tie down your gear. In a pinch, it can even be used as a firestarter. At the end of this drawstring, there’s also a 120-decibel whistle that can be used in the event of an emergency, along with a carabiner that you can use to attach your sleeping bag sack to your pack.
This all-inclusive sleeping bag is made out of 100% waterproof material. Despite being thin and lightweight, it is remarkably strong. Each sack is tear-resistant, waterproof, and windproof.
Not only that, but this sleeping bag is backed by one of the best in the industry warranties. You’ll get a six-month any-reason refund guarantee along with live customer support if you have any issues. It’s easy to use, too – all you have to do is unpack the sleeping bag and get inside. You can also use it as a liner inside your existing sleeping bag. You’ll stay warm and dry all night!
#4 MEZONN PE EMERGENCY SLEEPING BAG
|37 x 80.7″
(+) Lightweight, waterproof, and windproof
(+) Bright colors will make you highly visible
(+) Small and easy to store in any emergency kit
(-) Not a very heavy-duty option
The Mezonn PE Emergency Sleeping Bag is another ultralightweight, compact sleeping bag that weighs in at just 4.8 ounces. It’s available in both bright green and bright orange shades and can be purchased in bulk for an extra discount.
It’s easily stored in a 8.2” bag that weighs just around four ounces. It can be used multiple times and stored in any place (even in an emergency first-aid kit). It is heat-resistant and made out of PE material that has the ability to reflect 90% of your body heat to keep you warm.
Its bright colors make it easy for rescuers to find you, so it’s suitable for any outdoor survival situation. At nearly 81”, it’s large enough to wrap fully around an adult’s body but it could also be used as a blanket for two adults in an emergency, too. It’s durable despite its thin, lightweight feel. It’s also not only waterproof but windproof and tear-resistant, too.
We also suggest checking out our article about the best survival tents by clicking here.
#5 GO TIME GEAR LIFE BIVVY EMERGENCY SLEEPING BAG
|36 x 84″
(+) Weighs just 4.1 ounces
(+) Durable and waterproof design
(+) Has a reflective interior to keep heat inside
(-) Makes loud crunching noises when you’re inside it
The Go Time Gear Life Bivvy Emergency Sleeping Bag is another emergency sleeping bag that is one of the best you can buy. It is designed specifically for survival situations and comes with a 120-decibel survival whistle.
Sold in both bright orange and green, this sleeping bag will help make you visible to rescuers. It also comes with a paracord drawstring that can be used to repair equipment, build a shelter, or even start a fire.
This multifunctional stuff sack is super lightweight and made out of 26um extra-thick mylar material. It has a puncture- and tear-resistant coating that holds up well to severe conditions, and it’s so durable you will be able to use it on repeated occasions.
It comes with a waterproof nylon stuff sack and offers the utmost protection against wind, snow, and rain. It is made out of extra-thick polyethylene material and has sealed seams and a puncture-resistant design. It protects you from hypothermia and will keep you warm as it reflects up to 90% of your body heat right back to you.
#6 DELMERA EMERGENCY SURVIVAL SLEEPING BAG
|37 x 80.7″
(+) Eco-friendly design
(+) Made out of tear-resistant mylar
(+) Helps retain up to 90% of your body heat
(-) Not 100% waterproof
The Delmera emergency sleeping bag comes in both orange and green and can be purchased in one- or two-packs so you’re always prepared. It’s so tiny that it can fit into the palm of your hand and comes rolled inside a helpful nylon stuff drawstring bag. It’s a first-aid sleeping bag that has excellent waterproofing qualities and is also resistant to the wind.
A well-insulated bag, it’s made out of mylar and can help you retain up to 90% of your body heat. It has a bright color that will help rescuers find you with ease. Despite being lightweight, it’s 26um extra-thick mylar is puncture-resistant and sturdy in all conditions.
With a heavy-duty aluminized PE interior, this sleeping bag can shed rain, snow, and extreme cold with ease. Keep it in your survival kit, in your coming year, or even in your glove box so that you are always prepared.
One more nice feature of this survival sleeping bag? It’s made out of green, eco-friendly materials that are safe for the environment as well as for your body.
|84″ x 36″
(+) Multifunctional design
(+) Useful in hot, sunny weather
(+) Breathable and tear-resistant
(-) Does produce some condensation
The Survival Frog Tact Bivy 2.0 sleeping bag is a multi-use sleeping bag that is designed to be used inside your existing sleeping bag. It can also be used as an independent lightweight summer bag.
It is made out of thermally-reflective materials and can also serve as a tarp or blanket. It has a multifunctional design and is not only breathable but is also tear- and water-resistant. It has high durability to weight ratio and can even block up to 98% of the sun’s rays, making it a good choice in sunny climates where sunburn and sun exposure are greater risks than the cold.
It measures at 84”x36”, good dimensions for people of most sizes. It’s lightweight and portable and has two zippers with both internal and external zippers for flexibility and ease of use. On the inside of the sleeping bag, you’ll find an aluminum coating that helps reflect your radiant heat. It can be used as a reflective tarp and has a maximum tensile strength of an impressive 40 lbs.
#8 GRIZZLY GEAR EMERGENCY SURVIVAL 2 PERSON SLEEPING BAG
|64 x 87″
(+) Compact and versatile
(+) Reflects 90% of your body heat
(+) Great for two people
(-) Can produce some condensation
(-) Not the most visible color for rescuers
The Grizzly Gear Emergency Survival 2 Person Sleeping Bag is an excellent choice if you are looking for the best survival sleeping bag for two people.
It can accommodate two adults with its measurements of 64”x87”. It offers compact protection and can retain and reflect 90% of your body heat. It is made out of durable insulating mylar – the same material, in fact, used by NASA for space exploration, so you know it’s going to work well.
This Grizzly Gear sleeping bag is not only waterproof and windproof, but it’s also reusable. It’s compact enough to be stored in a car, backpack, or emergency kit, and is easy to set up, too.
A SURVIVAL SLEEPING BAG IS NOT A LUXURY – IT’S ESSENTIAL
A good survival sleeping bag won’t come cheap, but like most survival gear, it’s essential. This piece of gear is especially important if you plan on heading out into the wilderness on a regular basis, whether it’s to hunt, fish, camp, or simply get from point A to point B.
Hopefully, this guide has given you some ideas on how to find the best survival sleeping bag for your needs. You can rest assured that once you find the right one, you’ll be sleepy, warm and toasty – and safe.