How to Choose an Ultralight Sleeping Bag

Few moments compare to crawling into a sleeping bag with a full belly after hunting hard from dawn to dusk. Being warm and comfortable for a few hours of sleep allows muscles and mind to recharge. To hunt hard everyday on a backcountry hunt, you need a solid night’s sleep. It’s that simple. To help you choose the best ultralight sleeping bag, pad, and layer combo, we’ve put together this guide to help you choose the best Stone Glacier system for any hunting situation.

Hunter in truck with Stone Glacier Chilkoot Sleeping Bag

General Guidelines for Choosing a Sleeping Bag 

Before we delve into specific Stone Glacier Chilkoot bags, let's start with the basics. The first thing you need to consider is the temperature rating of the bag. This rating tells you the lowest temperature at which the bag will keep you warm. It's important to note that ratings are a guide, and your comfort level may vary based on factors like your metabolism and the clothing you wear to bed. Not all bag ratings are the same either, and they can range broadly between manufacturers.

“We know that your sleeping bag can mean the difference between a good night’s rest on the mountain and a downright miserable or dangerous one,” says Kurt Racicot, Stone Glacier’s founder and lead designer. “That’s why we take our temperature ratings seriously and get the most accurate ratings in the industry.”

Hunter with Stone Glacier Chilkoot Sleeping Bag

Stone Glacier Chilkoot Sleeping Bags are built for backcountry hunters with best-in-class ultralight, packable, water-resistant materials.

You can read more about how we test our bags to achieve our ratings, but the bottom line is that you can trust our ratings as highly accurate baselines for how your bag will perform in the field.

The next thing to consider is the insulation type. There are two main types of insulation: down and synthetic. Down insulation is lighter and more compressible, making it ideal for backpack hunts. That’s why we only utilize premium goose down in our Chilkoot Sleeping Bags. Down can lose superior insulating properties when wet, which is why we use water-resistant HyperDRY™ 90/10 grey goose down and incorporate Pertex Quantum fabrics in the exterior shell and interior liner.

If you really want to break down the tech in our sleeping bags and learn how to properly care for a technical bag, read our How to Get the Most Out of Your Sleeping Bag blog post. We also put our bags through a water cooler test to demonstrate the water-resistant properties of the technical materials that go into every Chilkoot Sleeping Bag, and you can watch that test below.

Choosing a Sleeping Pad 

Sleeping pads are an integral part of your sleep system and provide important relief from the the ground. They also serve as an insulation layer based on their R-value, which describes how well a material insulates against heat transfer. For sleeping pads, the R-value indicates the pad's ability to resist heat flow through its thickness. The higher the value, the better the insulation factor. 

Stone Glacier carries two Thermarest sleeping pads that will fit any hunt. The Neoair® XLite is a versatile, ultralight pad that provides insulation in every season thanks to its 4.5 R-value. For extreme winter conditions, the Neoair® XTherm is three inches thick and provides a 7 R-value. Weighing just a few more ounces than the Neoair® XLite, the Neoair® XTherm has the best warmth-to-weight ratio in its class.

Stone Glacier Ultralight Sleep Systems 

Stone Glacier Chilkoot 32 degree quilt in stuff sack and compression sack

Stone Glacier Chilkoot Sleeping Bags come with a mesh storage sack and a smaller stuff sack. Bags can also be compressed to save space by using a compression sack. In this photo, the Chilkoot 32° Quilt is shown in an SG stuff sack on the right and in a compression sack on the left.

At Stone Glacier, we believe in the systems approach when it comes to choosing gear for a hunt. Our apparel line allows you to customize your kit to match the hunt. This same philosophy applies to our sleeping systems.

Similarly, backpack hunters should also consider the apparel layers they will carry with them as part of their system. Sleeping in base layers, mid-layers, or insulation layers can boost the temperature rating of your system without adding additional weight, meaning you can pack a lighter sleeping bag knowing that you can increase your warmth by wearing layers you already plan to carry with you. For example, sleeping in our Grumman Down Series can add up to 15 degrees of warmth to your sleep system.

The following are general guides for choosing a Chilkoot Sleep System to stay as light as possible while also having the peace of mind that you will be warm and well rested for the hunt ahead.

Mild Conditions / Early Season System 

The Chilkoot 32° Quilt is the best bag for staying ultralight in milder conditions. It's a quilt-style bag that weighs just 16 ounces, making it ideal for backpacking trips. The quilt design allows for more freedom of movement while still keeping you warm, and it’s designed to be extremely versatile. The quilt can be adjusted for the conditions as well as how you sleep. Pair this with the Neoair® XLit pad, and your entire sleep system weighs just a hair over two pounds—or the average weight of one hunting boot. 

Most Versatile System 

The Chilkoot 15° is our most versatile bag that excels in most conditions as an ultralight but warm bag. It's filled with 850-fill power down, making it lightweight and compressible. The mummy design ensures maximum warmth retention, and the 15-degree rating makes it suitable for most hunting scenarios. If the forecast calls for temps below 15 degrees, use the Neoair® XTherm pad and wear base layers from the Chinook Merino line

Late-Season System 

For the most frigid conditions, we recommend the Chilkoot 0°. This bag is filled with 850-fill power down, making it the warmest bag in our lineup. The mummy design ensures maximum heat retention, and the 0-degree rating makes it suitable for extremely cold conditions. Use it with the Neoair® XTherm pad for maximum insulation from the ground. Wear the Grumman Jacket and Pant at night to lower the temperature rating of your bag even further, making it suitable for the most extreme environments.

At Stone Glacier, we know that some of our customers hunt sheep above timberline, and others chase elk in Arizona during the rut—and sometimes they do both in the same year. That’s why we create versatile, ultralight sleeping bags and systems that keep you warm in any situation.

By the Numbers

Feature Chilkoot 32° Quilt
Chilkoot 15° Bag
Chilkoot 0° Bag
Weight 1 lb. 6.6 oz. 2 lbs. 3 oz. 2 lbs. 11 oz.
12 oz. of 850+ Fill Power HyperDRY™ 90/10 Grey Goose Down
22.4 oz. of 
850+ Fill Power HyperDRY™ 90/10 Grey Goose Down
29.1 oz. of 850+ Fill Power HyperDRY™ 90/10 Grey Goose Down
15 Denier Pertex® Quantum Shell
15 Denier Pertex® Quantum Shell
15 Denier Pertex® Quantum Shell
Articulated Foot Box Yes
Neck Baffle System Yes Yes
Primary Use Mild conditions Moderate conditions Cold conditions