Top 5 Best Elk Hunting Sleeping Bags in 2019
Can anything ruin the perfection of a big game hunt? Well, if your sleeping bag is so thin that you feel as cold as just wearing a sheet. Or if it makes your gear so heavy that by the time you get to camp that evening, your shoulders feel like limp noodles.
When you’re pitching camp under the stars, you want to get the best night’s sleep possible. And you want to be protected and comfortable, even out in the middle of nowhere. The best elk hunting sleeping bags will allow you to have the best elk hunting experience possible.
Best Elk Hunting Sleeping Bags: Our Top Picks
The Paria Thermodown 15 is rated for temperatures down to 15F. This manufacturer is new to the outdoor gear market, but their sleeping bag is impressive and effective. Designed as a mummy bag (tapered from shoulders to feet), this bag doesn’t rely on the standard drawstrings around the face to keep the drafts out. Instead it has a built-in flap inside the bag, which traps air from your torso downward and preserves warmth.
Filled with 100% natural down feathers and weighing only 2.14lbs, the Paria Thermodown 15 comes with a compression bag for backpacking to compress it to a small size as well as a a mesh bag for long term storage.. Customers who bought this sleeping bag rave about how easy to pack and how warm it is.
Although close to perfect, this bag does have one noticeable flaw; as with many synthetic materials, the zipper can sometimes snag and get stuck.. The Paria Thermodown is also the most expensive of our top five sleeping bags, though still within an affordable range.
Overall, we love the Paria Thermodown 15 for camping and overnight trips. It’s quality, lightweight, and stuffed with down rather than synthetics, and our Top Pick for 2019. You will not be disappointed in this sleeping bag for your hunt.
- Compresses well
- Draft collar
- Zipper sticks easily
- More expensive
The Hyke and Byke Shavano is another bag with features that don’t disappoint. Rated for 32F, this mummy bag is great for early fall trips where the temperature stays above freezing. It’s lightweight and comfortable, and it compresses down to 9” long and 6.5” in diameter, fitting handily into most packs.
This sleeping bag has another thing going for it, it’s roomy. People reviewing the Shavano repeatedly talked about how much less cramped they felt in this bag compared to similar mummy style bags. And it’s water resistant, to keep you dry on those damp, drizzly fall nights.
This bag isn’t all snuggles and warmth however, reviewers commented that it wasn’t warm enough to use below about 40F. They also mentioned that it takes a while to re-fluff the filling once it has been compressed, and that the semi-synthetic down clumps, leaving thin spots in the lining. They also commented that the material was noisy and not as nice as on other bags.
Overall, the Hyke and Byke Shavano is great for when you’re looking for a bit of protection from the elements – as long as the temperature doesn’t drop too much. You’ll enjoy more room in your pack and a lighter load on your back.
- Compresses well
- Noisy material
- Filling clumps
- Not good below 40F
The Kelty Tuck 22 is rated for temperatures down to 22F, making it more suited for colder trips. It’s lightweight, comes with its own compression bag, and can fit into any backpack without much trouble. So it’s a great option for camping off the beaten path.
One of the most interesting features of this bag is the Comfort Tuck, a separate zipper for the footbox that makes easy to unzip and give your feet a little cool air if you get too warm. There’s an interior pocket for storing your device, your headphones, and other small items. This gives you a bit more peace of mind, especially if you are camping with an unfamiliar group of people.
Despite the low temperature rating, the Kelty Tuck 22 isn’t great for temperatures below 35F. Several reviewers also mentioned that it was smaller and harder to fit into than most mummy bags and that the interior measurements didn’t match what the manufacturer listed. It also has a lot of zipper issues.
Overall, it’s a good bag for cool weather and comes in at a slightly lower price point than our top pick. If you’re looking for a more budget friendly but still lightweight option, this bag could be perfect for you.
- Separate zipper for feet
- Phone pocket
- Zipper issues
- Not good below 35F
Known as a top supplier of firearms and hunting weapons, Browning also offers a selection of camping gear, such as the Browning McKinley – a highly rated, spacious, comfortable sleeping bag. Well-insulated and warm down to 25F, this sleeping bag is rated for temperatures reaching clear to 0F, making it the best bag for below-freezing temperatures on our list.
The McKinley for the mummy style opening paired with a roomy standard bottom. No cramped foot-space or feeling claustrophobic in this bag – warmth and comfort. There’s even room up top for a pillow.
The downside of such luxury is size and weight. Warmth and space come at the cost of an almost 9lbs weight and bulk – even when in the compression sack. Customers also complained that the compression sack was too small, and that it took too much work to fit into into the sack.
Overall, if you’re driving to camp and you don’t have to worry about hauling a pack around, the Browning McKinley is a great choice for a hunting bag. It’s comfortable in cold weather and could keep you warm even down into the single digits with a few extra layers.
- Comfortable to 25F
- Room for a pillow
- Stuff sack small
- Slippery outer material
The Tracker Ultralight sleeping bag by Teton is the most affordable bag on this list. It also has a limited lifetime warranty, covering all manufacturers defects.It’s rated down to 5F and comes in two color combinations.
This sleeping bag features a vaulted footbox with plenty of room for your feet. It also has a pocket to provide a safe and dry place for your device. It cinches up around your face with drawstrings, and is great for temperatures down to about 25F.
Despite the vaulted footbox, this sleeping bag tends to be narrow on the inside. Some taller and broader customers had trouble fitting inside, and returned the bag for something bigger. At 4 lbs, it’s a full pound heavier than most sleeping bags. Several customers also complained about the zipper getting badly stuck or unzipping during the night.
Overall, the Tracker Ultralight by Teton is a good budget-friendly choice for a cold night or two. You’ll sleep well and wake up feeling ready for another hunt – which is all you can ask for
- Vaulted footbox
- Comfortable to 25F
- Limited life warranty
- Small inside
- Zipper issues
What to Look for in the Best Elk Hunting Sleeping Bag?
The first thing to check in your sleeping bag is the temperature rating. Keep in mind that a bag rated for 25F is rated for survival temperature, not for optimal comfort. In general, you want a sleeping bag with a temperature rating at least 15F to 20F below the temperatures you expect to encounter.
Next, look at your basecamp location. Will you be making camp near the road, or are you parking and hiking to a campsite? You may want something that won’t take up too much weight or space in your pack. And you will need to find a balance between weight and warmth; the warmer your sleeping bag, the heavier it will often be.
The final thing to consider is maybe a bit surprising. Check the zipper on your sleeping bag to see if it snags too much. You don’t want to get trapped if there is any kind of emergency… whether it’s an out-of-control fire or an out-of-control bladder. You need to be able to get out of the bag quickly and without any trouble.