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Best Sleeping Bag for Camino de Santiago – My personal experience

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Sleeping bag is no doubt one of the most important items on your camino packing list. Not only it is one of the heaviest items, it is also one of the things from your backpack you will use regularly, possibly daily. On the top of that, the selection is huge, and one can buy a sleeping bag for both $20 and $200 (and more :)). So what is the right sleeping bag for the Camino de Santiago? What material should you pick? What temperature comfort? And do you actually need a sleeping bag, or will you do with a sleeping bag liner? Last but not least, what are the best sleeping bags for pilgrims available at a market right now? I will answer all these questions on the following lines. Let’s dive into this!

 

Dilemma no. 1: Do I need a sleeping bag for camino the Santiago?

The short answer is YES. Unless you do one of those bus Caminos that cost $4,000 for 10 days, with support buses and all nights spent in luxury Paradors and other 5 star hotels, you need something to sleep in. Be it a sleeping bag, or a sleeping bag liner (I dive more into this later). And this is true also in the case that you do the camino in the heat of summer.

Because you should not forget that not all pilgrim hostels offer blankets, and if they do, they typically have just a few of them. On the top of that, the sleeping bag isn’t only for comfort. It is also for protection, cleanliness (while some pilgrim hostels are spotlessly clean, others are not), and also for a rare occasion that you will be have to sleep outside. It happens quite often nowadays. Camino as a concept is more popular each year, and the sleeping capacities are simply not adequate… I remember a night where over 200 pilgrims slept in the streets of Portomarin (Camino Frances), simply because there weren’t any beds available (not even in hotels and luxury places).

Having at least some sleeping bag with you will allow you to be more relaxed. You won’t have to specifically search for pilgrim hostels (or other accommodation options) that offer blankets, and you won’t have to quit your camino if it happens that there’s isn’t any bed free for you, and you have to sleep outside… So do you need at least some sleeping bag for the camino? The answer is YES, you do.

* May also interest you: Camping and bivouacking on Camino de Santiago – is it possible?

 

Dilemma no. 2: What kind of sleeping bag do I need? Summer, three season, all year?

Buying the right sleeping bag, with the right comfort temperature, is absolutely crucial for your comfort during the nights on the Camino. Now, it matters a lot what season of the year you do walk, and also a bit which Camino way you follow. If you walk in summer, and aren’t someone who’s generally feeling cold at night, you should take a light summer sleeping bag, or a liner only. Because if you take a three-season one, or even a four season sleeping bag, you’ll feel hot at night, will sweat a lot, lose a lot of liquids, and generally won’t have a good sleep. And bad sleep means bad walk the next day :).

Having said that, if you walk in spring or autumn, or do one of the more mountainous Caminos any time of the year (such as San Salvador or Vadiniese), the three season sleeping bag is the ideal choice. In an ideal case, you should aim for a sleeping bag with comfort temperature of about 12-15 degrees Celsius (53-59 Fahrenheit), and one that can easily be open with a zipper, ideally completely, so you can open it on a warmer nights and still feel comfortable. I also recommend a three-season sleeping bag if you plan to spend some night sleeping outside during your Camino. Outside it can always get colder than inside, hence even in the heat of summer, it is better having a three season sleeping bag for the nights outside.

The four season (all year) sleeping bag is not recommended, unless you do some extreme winter Camino, such as waking the Frances in January. But even then I’d prefer a good three season sleeping bag (you probably won’t sleep outside), and for an occasional cold night in an albergue where heating doesn’t work (there are many such on the Caminos), you will do with an extra blanket from the albergue (on the top of your three-season sleeping bag). In winter it will be a lonely ride, so even if the albergue has only 2-3 blankets for all pilgrims, you’ll get one of them, because all will often mean 1 in the winter :).

 

If you find any information on this page incorrect or outdated, or have a suggestion how to improve it for fellow pilgrims, please let us know. Thank you for helping the pilgrim community, and buen Camino ๐Ÿ™‚

Dilemma no. 3: What material should I look for when buying my sleeping bag for the Camino?

Here the answer is clear: It depends on your budget, and also ethical preferences. Sleeping bags (or sleeping bag liners) from natural materials, such as down or cotton are definitely more comfortable that sleeping bags (and sleeping bag liners) from synthetic materials. This difference multiplies ten fold on a hot night, where sleeping bags from synthetic materials become extremely uncomfortable (sweating and itching all hot night long is the name of the game :)).

Hence you should buy a sleeping bag (or sleeping bag liner, next to this in the next dilemma) from natural materials, unless one of the following is the case: 1. You are on budget and cannot afford it. 2. You do not want to do so, from ethical reason (for example you’re an ethical vegan and don’t but things that include any parts of an animal, for example goose down). In any other case, go for natural materials… Before I recommend you a great product for each budget (and period of the year), I want to resolve the last dilemma: sleeping bag, or a sleeping bag liner?

 

Dilemma no. 4: Sleeping bag, or sleeping bag liner for Camino de Santiago?

Many people walk the Camino only with liners, and they are mostly okay in the summer. With climate change and everything else going on, heat is a problem we experience on Camino de Santiago, and not cold... And on a hot night, or even on a moderately warm night, you’ll be just fine with sleeping bag liner (unless you are one of those people who generally feel cold at night, regardless of the outside temperature). Having said that, Camino is a long journey, and starting in summer doesn’t mean you’ll end in summer. Also with today’s climate problems anything can happen–a really hot night in October, as well as quite a cold night in August…

For that reason, I would still recommend light summer/three season sleeping bag over a sleeping bag liner, for any Camino, or at least a warmer sleeping bag liner. Nowadays the price difference isn’t that significant, and some of these sleeping bags are really light as well. However, if you belong to those folks who rarely feel cold at night and if you plan to walk the Camino de Santiago in summer, and if you’re into ultralight packing, you’ll be perfectly fine with a sleeping bag liner ๐Ÿ™‚ .

 

The best sleeping bags and sleeping bag liners for Camino de Santiago – my personal recommendations

I handpicked for you six different products, for each kind of a budget, and for different situations on the Camino. Please note that while I have some of these sleeping bags myself, with some I relied on online reviews and specifications of the seller (knowing what I should look for in a good sleeping bag and sleeping bag liner). Make sure to read “Matej’s note” in the description of each product, because there I explain what kind of a situation and Camino is the given product recommended for. Enjoy, and I hope you will find your favorite ๐Ÿ™‚

Product name
Vumos Sleeping Bag Liner and Camping Sheet โ€“ Silk Like Material for Travel – Has Full Length Zipper
Sea to Summit Reactor Insulated Sleeping Bag Liner, Extreme (83 x 35)
Sea to Summit Silk-Cotton Blend Travel and Sleeping Bag Liner, Rectangular – Long (82×36 inches)
Naturehike 1.26lbs Ultralight Sleeping Bag, 800 Fill Power Goose Down Sleeping Bag, 43-52โ„‰ Compact Lightweight Envelope Sleeping Bag Adult, Backpacking Sleeping Bag for Hiking Camping
TETON Sports Trailhead, 20 Degree Sleeping Bag; Lightweight, Warm Mummy Sleeping Bag, Camping, Backpacking, Hiking
Vumos Sleeping Bag Liner and Camping Sheet โ€“ Silk Like Material for Travel - Has Full Length Zipper
Sea to Summit Reactor Insulated Sleeping Bag Liner, Extreme (83 x 35)
Sea to Summit Silk-Cotton Blend Travel and Sleeping Bag Liner, Rectangular - Long (82x36 inches)
Naturehike 1.26lbs Ultralight Sleeping Bag, 800 Fill Power Goose Down Sleeping Bag, 43-52โ„‰ Compact Lightweight Envelope Sleeping Bag Adult, Backpacking Sleeping Bag for Hiking Camping
TETON Sports Trailhead, 20 Degree Sleeping Bag; Lightweight, Warm Mummy Sleeping Bag, Camping, Backpacking, Hiking
Price not available
$100.78
$67.46
$109.99
$54.99
Best for
Lowest price, below $20
Quality/Price ratio
Super lightweight, comfortable materials
Comfort, lightweight, universal use
Warmth in any conditions, Quality/Price ratio
Weight
330 grams (0.72 pounds)
420 greams (0.9 pounds)
160 grams (0.35 pounds)
570 grams (1.25 pounds)
1.1 kilos (2.42 pounds)
Material
100% polyester, “silk” finish
Thermolite
70% cotton, 30% silk
Goose Down
100% polyester
Recommended for
Pilgrims on budget
Serious pilgrims and people who also go to hike and camp outside of the pilgrimage
Serious pilgrims
Serious pilgrims who want to buy a sleeping bag that they will use also after their Camino de Santiago, on other hiking/camping trips
Serious pilgrims, early spring/late autumn pilgrimage
Matej’s note
This sleeping bag liner would do, but won’t be that comfy on hot nights (and you will have some of those no doubt on your camino), since it is 100% from polyester. If you’re on budget though and looking for a decent inexpensive sleeping bag liner, it is a good choice.
This one is super comfy, and great for pilgrims who tend to feel cold at night, because the material and the shape (mummy) make sure you feel warmer at night. Sea to Summit is a great brand overall, and all products I had from them met, if not exceeded my expectations.
This sleeping bag liner is superlight and very comfy. It takes little space, and you will have a good sleep in it, because there are no synthetic materials used whatsoever! The only downside is that it has no zippers, so for older people it may be tricky getting in and out. However, no zippers mean less weight, so if you’re flexible enough and can afford this liner, get it!
Nothing beats goose down when it comes to comfort, and 570 grams for the temperature span this sleeping bag is recommened for is a no-brainer really. You will have great nights on the Camino, and after the Camino in this sleeping bag. However, quality comes with a price, and that’s probably the only downside of this sleeping bag…
You will be too hot in this one is summer, but it will offer you all the protection you need in colder weather. Ideal for those who want to avoid the crowds (doing Camino in early spring or late autumn/winter) and also like to sleep outside at times on the Camino. The mummy style really helps to make sure that the warmth does not escape from the bag at night ๐Ÿ™‚
Product name
Vumos Sleeping Bag Liner and Camping Sheet โ€“ Silk Like Material for Travel – Has Full Length Zipper
Vumos Sleeping Bag Liner and Camping Sheet โ€“ Silk Like Material for Travel - Has Full Length Zipper
Price not available
Best for
Lowest price, below $20
Weight
330 grams (0.72 pounds)
Material
100% polyester, “silk” finish
Recommended for
Pilgrims on budget
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
This sleeping bag liner would do, but won’t be that comfy on hot nights (and you will have some of those no doubt on your camino), since it is 100% from polyester. If you’re on budget though and looking for a decent inexpensive sleeping bag liner, it is a good choice.
Product name
Sea to Summit Reactor Insulated Sleeping Bag Liner, Extreme (83 x 35)
Sea to Summit Reactor Insulated Sleeping Bag Liner, Extreme (83 x 35)
$100.78
Best for
Quality/Price ratio
Weight
420 greams (0.9 pounds)
Material
Thermolite
Recommended for
Serious pilgrims and people who also go to hike and camp outside of the pilgrimage
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
This one is super comfy, and great for pilgrims who tend to feel cold at night, because the material and the shape (mummy) make sure you feel warmer at night. Sea to Summit is a great brand overall, and all products I had from them met, if not exceeded my expectations.
Product name
Sea to Summit Silk-Cotton Blend Travel and Sleeping Bag Liner, Rectangular – Long (82×36 inches)
Sea to Summit Silk-Cotton Blend Travel and Sleeping Bag Liner, Rectangular - Long (82x36 inches)
$67.46
Best for
Super lightweight, comfortable materials
Weight
160 grams (0.35 pounds)
Material
70% cotton, 30% silk
Recommended for
Serious pilgrims
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
This sleeping bag liner is superlight and very comfy. It takes little space, and you will have a good sleep in it, because there are no synthetic materials used whatsoever! The only downside is that it has no zippers, so for older people it may be tricky getting in and out. However, no zippers mean less weight, so if you’re flexible enough and can afford this liner, get it!
Product name
Naturehike 1.26lbs Ultralight Sleeping Bag, 800 Fill Power Goose Down Sleeping Bag, 43-52โ„‰ Compact Lightweight Envelope Sleeping Bag Adult, Backpacking Sleeping Bag for Hiking Camping
Naturehike 1.26lbs Ultralight Sleeping Bag, 800 Fill Power Goose Down Sleeping Bag, 43-52โ„‰ Compact Lightweight Envelope Sleeping Bag Adult, Backpacking Sleeping Bag for Hiking Camping
$109.99
Best for
Comfort, lightweight, universal use
Weight
570 grams (1.25 pounds)
Material
Goose Down
Recommended for
Serious pilgrims who want to buy a sleeping bag that they will use also after their Camino de Santiago, on other hiking/camping trips
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
Nothing beats goose down when it comes to comfort, and 570 grams for the temperature span this sleeping bag is recommened for is a no-brainer really. You will have great nights on the Camino, and after the Camino in this sleeping bag. However, quality comes with a price, and that’s probably the only downside of this sleeping bag…
Product name
TETON Sports Trailhead, 20 Degree Sleeping Bag; Lightweight, Warm Mummy Sleeping Bag, Camping, Backpacking, Hiking
TETON Sports Trailhead, 20 Degree Sleeping Bag; Lightweight, Warm Mummy Sleeping Bag, Camping, Backpacking, Hiking
$54.99
Best for
Warmth in any conditions, Quality/Price ratio
Weight
1.1 kilos (2.42 pounds)
Material
100% polyester
Recommended for
Serious pilgrims, early spring/late autumn pilgrimage
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
You will be too hot in this one is summer, but it will offer you all the protection you need in colder weather. Ideal for those who want to avoid the crowds (doing Camino in early spring or late autumn/winter) and also like to sleep outside at times on the Camino. The mummy style really helps to make sure that the warmth does not escape from the bag at night ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Final words on choosing the sleeping bag for the Camino

Regardless of the model you pick from my selection, or from any other place, make sure that:

  1. The sleeping bag/liner has the right length for you. Now, on Camino de Santiago it doesn’t matter too much if it is longer than you are. If it is shorter, however, that’s a problem :). If you plan to sleep outside on several nights on the Camino, the sleeping bag should actually be designed for your height, since extra length means warmth loss and cold feet :).
  2. You have enough space in your backpack for the sleeping bag. Choosing the right backpack for Camino de Santiago is another issue worth looking at, but if you already have a backpack, it is important considering the size of the sleeping bag in relation to the size of a backpack. For example, if you will walk the Camino with 30 liters backpack, you have to choose only one of the light-weight sleeping bag liners, since nothing else will fit into your backpack, considering everything else you have to take with you…
  3. You do not overthink this. Camino de Santiago isn’t the Appalachian trail, or some back-country mountain escape… You will sleep inside, typically you will be able to get an extra blanket, and it isn’t cold in Spain, especially not in summer :). Hence you do not really need to overthink this. Consider the points I made in this article, pick one of the sleeping bags I recommend, and enjoy your Camino!

That’s it, any questions, you can always contact me. Thank you for reading, and buen Camino!

Matej

May also interest you: Camino de Santiago Ultralight packing list for men and women.

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