CAMPING & HIKING

Best Compression Sack for Sleeping Bag to Help You Save Space: Top 8 Choices to Consider

Compressions sack in action
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

There are different sorts of sacks on the market from which you’ll have to choose. While regular stuff sacks are great for simply storing your sleeping bag, dry bags and dry sacks are amazing for waterproofing it.

But these options aren’t so good when it comes to bad weather, which is why you’ll need the best compression sack for a sleeping bag to really shrink it and decrease its size so that you can add more things in your backpack.

Choosing something as important as this isn’t easy because you’ll need to think about all its characteristics. We’ll give you an idea of what you should consider below, as well as our top favorite products on the market.

How to Choose

There are many factors that influence your choice of a good compression sack, such as:

Size

Before perusing the generous offer of compression sacks, you’ll have to consider which type of sleeping bag you own first.

Down bags

These sort of sleeping bags can be compressed even more than the sleeping bags which have synthetic insulation. That means they require smaller stuff sacks because their overall volume is smaller.

Choose your Down sleeping bag

Even if you can use a regular kind of sack for these highly compressible sleeping bags, it’s still a good idea to reduce their overall volume even more especially when you’re on a longer hike in cold weather. That’s because you’ll need to take more stuff with you during this sort of trips, so you need more space in your backpack.

When it comes to the types of down sleeping bags, these are:

  • Mummy shape. These bags are made from less material and don’t have as much insulation, therefore they’re smaller. The compression sack should be smaller too.
  • Rectangular. These are the bigger down style sleeping bags because they are manufactured using more material and more insulation. The compression sack should be bigger too.

So the recommended sizes for the compression bags should be:

  • 6-8 liters for 40°F.
  • 8-12 liters for 20°F.
  • 14-20 liters for 0°F.
  • 22-30 liters for -20°F.

Synthetic Bags

As opposed to the down sleeping bags which have insulation at their bottom part, these sort of items are less compressible. That means they occupy more space, therefore needing a larger compression sack to accommodate them in.

Synthetic sleeping bag

Besides, while the down bags can at times be fit into a normal sack, this is definitely not the case with these synthetic bags that are very capacious and wouldn’t be shrunk at all by a dry sack.

Regarding the shape of synthetic bags, these too are:

  • Mummy shaped.
  • Rectangular.

The clarifications that we’ve made for these two models above still stand even when the insulation is different. As such, the sizes we’ll give you are just an estimate, and you’ll have to take into account that a rectangular sleeping bag may need a bigger sack.

  • 9-13 liters for 40°F.
  • 16-20 liters for 20°F.
  • 25-35 liters for 0°F.

Weight

When it comes to weight, that depends on where you’re going, what you’re taking with you and what you want to compress.

Sleeping bag comperessed

As a general rule, the smaller compression bags are lighter, but that means they also can’t accommodate more stuff inside. On the other hand, if you want more compartments to add more equipment for a longer journey, apart from just a sleeping bag, you might want to sacrifice weight for space.

Materials

The best material used for compression sacks is nylon or another type of strong polymer. Nylon can be found in various degrees of resistance, maybe even mixed with other fabrics like cotton to form a stronger fabric called Cordura. It’s a good idea for the outer layer to be waterproof, maybe even have an extra coating.

Either way, choose something that doesn’t tear easily, is high-quality and perhaps resistant to water. Also, check for the seams to be double-stitched for a greater resistance to tears, and to have reinforced stress points.

Compression mechanism

The best compression system is made with a system of straps and buckles. This will provide a small, uniform final package, as well as an easy access to your belongings.

Zippers are a good idea access-wise too, but they also help you organize your things in different compartments.

Compression mechanism

Having flip-top lids is another perk since these will prevent your straps from getting tangled, in plus offering more protection for your sleeping bag.

The compression mechanism can rely either on horizontal straps, vertical straps, or a mixture of those two. The horizontal straps are used to shrink the overall width, while the vertical ones shrink the height. It’s a nice feat to compress your sleeping bags from multiple sides and angles, so make sure you have enough straps that can be adjusted accordingly.

Best Items on The Market

These are the characteristics of a good compression sack, so now it’s time to see them in action for the products below:

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Sack

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Sack

Weight: 4.8 ounces

Dimensions: 10 x 6 x 2 inches

Specifications: flip-top lid; XS to XL; 30D siliconized Cordura; reinforced stress points; slippery finish; 4 long straps

Best Use: hiking

Description: This 4.6 stars sack has a price range that varies between $26.95 – $81.40. These prices depend on how big you want it to be, from size XS to XL. That means you’ll have a choice between 2 and 30 liters capacity.

Either way, the weight of Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Sack ranges from 2.4 to 4.1 ounces, so you have an item that’s easy to carry in your backpack.

To get a better idea, the medium size can accommodate perfectly an XL mummy type sleeping bag (0°F), so a bigger size would be great for more than just one sleeping bag or for additional luggage.

The Sea to Summit sack is made from great materials and it has an exemplary craftsmanship. That’s because it’s manufactured with 30D siliconized Cordura, which is a very strong, waterproof fabric that doesn’t tear.

The design is likewise one of the best, seeing as it doesn’t allow its straps to get tangled, and it has reinforced stress points. And to really make your packing easy, it has a slippery finish that will help you with that.

The compression mechanism is based on four straps. This will make the whole pack even so you can fit it properly amongst other equipment. The straps are also quite long, which means you’ll be able to completely fill the sack you get.

Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack

Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack

Weight: 3.5 ounces

Dimensions: 6 x 10 x 3 inches

Specifications: XS to XL; nylon; eVent; reinforced stitches; 4 straps; roll top Hypalon

Best Use: hiking

Description: This 4.8 stars Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack varies in a range between $29.95 – $49.95, depending on the size of your choice. As such, you can opt for anything between an XS to an XL, with a total volume that varies between 2 to 6 liters.

These sizes entail that the overall temperature should probably be a bit higher to get the most out of this product.

As it’s the norm for all Sea to Summit products, this one is made from grade A materials too. The first thing we notice is the nylon fabric that keeps it water resistant, adding to its general sturdiness and durability.

The eVent fabric from which the base is manufactured is waterproof too, so you won’t risk your things getting wet. But eVent is also air permeable, meaning that it allows the free circulation of air, so you won’t get your sleeping bag all damp and yucky.

The design is top notch, seeing as the seams won’t allow any water to get through since they’re reinforced with double stitched and tape sealed. The compression is done in a singular manner because the mechanism lets air be pushed out for compression at the same time as water resistance is ensured.

This mechanism is based on four straps that make for a smooth, level pack, while the lid closure is a roll top synthetic rubber called Hypalon, meaning your bag will be perfectly secured inside this sack.

ALPS Mountaineering Cyclone Compression Sack – Large

ALPS Mountaineering Cyclone Compression Sack - Large

Weight: 13 ounces

Dimensions: 15 x 7 x 3 inches

Specifications: nylon ripstop; M to XL; 4 compression straps; bar tacked stress points; double-stitched seams; not waterproof

Best Use: hiking

Description: The Cyclone Compression Sacks can be found at a price range between $17.39 – $24.04, depending on the size you choose: medium, large or extra-large. All these options are quite accommodating, seeing as they can hold a capacity that’s respectively 15, 27 and 45 liters.

For synthetic bags, the sacks are good to go from -20°F to 20°F, while for down sleeping bags they’re good below 0°F to -40°F.

The colors from which you’ll be able to choose are blue, rust and olive, so you can buy more than just one sack to organize your luggage. The compression mechanism is based on four straps, three of which are tied horizontally, and one vertically on its length. That means you’ll be able to make a very small, tight, uniform pack out of your sleeping bag from all directions.

Even though these sacks aren’t waterproof, they still have double-stitched seams, as well as bar-tacked stress points so that they can withstand years of use without getting ripped or undone.

REI Lightweight Compression Stuff Sack

REI Lightweight Compression Stuff Sack

Weight: 2.5 ounces to 3.5 ounces

Dimensions: 6-9 inches width; 15-21 inches length

Specifications: drawcord closure; compression straps; not waterproof; nylon; 4 webbing straps; imported

Best Use: hiking

Description: This 4 stars item has a price range between $20.95 – $24.95, also depending on the size you’ll choose for it: 6, 11, 16 or 21 liters capacity.

Temperature-wise, that translates into a range between -20°F to 40°F depending on what sleeping bag you have. The color range is also rather generous, seeing as you can pick your desired item in eggplant, orange, green or blue.

The nylon used for the fabric is one good material. It’s strong and resistant even to water, but it’s not totally waterproof, although it has an extra layer of coating. So if you don’t fully submerge it into water, a few drops of rain will surely do it no harm.

The strapping system will provide a strong, neat compression of your sleeping bag, seeing as it’s based on four webbing straps. That along with the drawcord closure will securely store your sleeping bag inside, making for a small package up to a half of the original size.

Kelty Compression Sack

Kelty Compression Sack

Weight: 3-6 ounces

Dimensions: 6-11 inches width; 12-22 inches length

Specifications: S-XL; nylon; imported; hidden pocket; nylon ripstop; DWR finish; 4 vertical straps

Best Use: hiking

Description: This 4.2 stars and $15.19 Kelty Compression Sack has an appealing juniper color. For various other prices, you can get the same model in rhubarb ($22.48), deep blue ($15.99) and curry ($13.59). The size range is great for a variety of sleeping bags or other equipment you want to compress to fit and carry better in your backpack.

You can go from small to extra-large with just a small 3 ounces variation between them, which makes each model lightweight and a great investment.

The materials which this imported Kelty Compression Sack is made from are a good proof of its quality.

The 100% nylon fabric that was used for its manufacturing is resistant to all kinds of damages and tears, accounting for the sack’s durability. Seeing as it’s improved with a DWR coating, this also explains why the sack is resistant to water, although not fully waterproof.

The compression mechanism is based on four straps which are tied vertically with buckles that can be quickly opened. This will keep your sleeping bag in a nice, tiny little pack, increasing the available space in your luggage.

There’s also a hidden pocket in which you can either store some other things or even the actual sack when you’re not using it, so it doesn’t take up much space in your home either.

Osprey StraightJacket Compression Sack

Osprey StraightJacket Compression Sack

Weight: 2.9 ounces

Dimensions: 13 x 11 x 17 inches

Specifications: 8-30 liters; nylon; waterproof coating, waterproof seams; zippers; wings, buckles, and 3 straps compression system

Best Use: hiking

Description: This 4.5 stars Osprey StraightJacket Compression Sack can be found in the following sizes: 8, 12, 20 and 32 liters, with a price that varies between $25 for the lowest size to $34.95 for the biggest one.

That means you can fit a wide variety of sleeping bags and at a wide range of temperatures. The color palette is also very appealing to all tastes, seeing as you can pick a sack in gray, orange, lime or teal.

The Osprey compression sack is manufactured from nylon, which gives it resistance and strength for a long life with plenty of uses. This is a water resistant material, but the coating that’s applied on top of it is waterproof, and so are the seams.

Only the zippers aren’t fully waterproof, but they’re still great because they allow you a fast and easy way of access to your belongings.

The compression mechanism is based on a system of wings, buckles and three straps, each of them manufactured from nylon.

The wings provide increased protection, the buckles are handy for quick access and adjustment, while the straps are sturdy. This will help you compress your sleeping bag horizontally in a rectangular shape for a space-saving packing.

Grand Trunk Getaway Compression Pack Cube

Grand Trunk Getaway Compression Pack Cube

Weight: 1 pound

Dimensions: 14 x 12 x 3 inches

Specifications: gray; 600D nylon; 600D Oxford nylon exterior; YKK waterproof zippers; water-resistant; individual storage compartments; straps, buckles and loop handle compression system

Best Use: hiking

Description: This $63.96 Grand Trunk Getaway Compression Pack Cube is one of the best on the market, which is reflected in a higher price. However, if you want to save a few dollars, you can opt for the Cube Sahara nuance which costs only $33.97 with the same benefits.

So the first thing that can be noticed is how the great fabrics are processed with skill and good technology into a smart final product.

The high-quality 600D nylon is one of the strongest plastics we can think of, and it covers the sack’s body. Its exterior is very resistant to potential damages, tears and water since it’s a 600D Oxford nylon.

The water resistant characteristic is reinforced by the YKK zippers which are furthermore waterproof. These zippers are found on the top, bottom and lateral sides, providing not only a quick access but also a smart way of packing.

That’s because this sack has the option of individual storage compartments to pack your things efficiently.

The compression mechanism is based on a system of straps and buckles that are tied vertically. Plus, you get a loop handle so you can carry the whole pack easily. The only possible downside could be represented by the total weight which is bigger than that of the other products we’ve looked at above.

Coghlan’s 1116 10 Liter Compression Sack

Coghlan's 1116 10 Liter Compression Sack

Weight: 0.8 ounces

Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.2 x 7.2 inches

Specifications: flip up lid; 210D nylon; cord locks; straps; zippers on top and bottom

Best Use: hiking

Description: This 4.2 stars and $11.99 Coghlan’s 1116 10 Liter Compression Sack is one of the lightest items on the market, but it can still hold 10 liters with no problem. It’s a resistant and durable item with a long lifespan granted by its top-notch construction from 210 D nylon, which is a sturdy polymer.

That makes the Coghlan’s sack resistant to water as well as other damage that might happen during your hiking trip.

And its compression abilities are great for fitting in one medium-sized mummy-shaped sleeping bag, seeing as it can only hold 10 liters, which makes it a small size in the category of the compression sacks.

However, its compression mechanism is great, with four vertical straps tied with buckles that shrink its height in half from 16 to 8 inches. That will make a compact pack, easy to fit in your luggage. Plus, the way in which the lids are designed, by using a flip-up system, doesn’t let the straps tangle. Not to mention that the zippers are convenient for a fast, easy access to your stuff.

What’s The Sack?

After reviewing all these items, you can notice that they’re amazing for different types of sleeping bags, as well as other equipment. It all depends on what you’re planning to take with you according to the length of your trip.

Bring your compression sack

And we bet you’ve found at least one compression sack you like amongst the products we discussed.

So, which is it? What are you planning to use it for? Or do you plan to make a DIY sack instead? Do you think hikers can manage without a compression sack? Let us know that, and whatever else you can think of in the comments below – we’re always happy to hear more from our readers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis Owens
Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.

  • Chase Oliver

    I’ve spent years trying to find a compression sack that ticks all the boxes without any luck. That was, until, I found the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil.

    I have a Thermodown 15 Degree Down Mummy Sleeping Bag, 600-fill in long and I am able to pack it into the Sea to Summit with relative ease, though with no room to spare.

    The sack is water resistant with a durable construction and appears to be capable of withstanding a fair amount of abuse.

    Overall, I am happy with the Ultra-Sil, and would certainly recommend it.

    • Dennis Owens

      I have been encouraging my co-enthusiasts not to be blinded by looks when selecting a sleeping bag in general. The durability should be considered because you definitely want something that will last a lot longer and can sustain a great deal of use before surrendering to wear and tear.

  • Chris Marks

    I’m a frequent backpacker and camper and wanted a compression sack that would not only reduce the amount of space used in my pack, but that was capable of handling the rather rough treatment my gear is exposed to on the trails. I bought the Kelty Compression Sack in April of 2016 for a month-long mountain expedition, for the purpose of compressing my sleeping bag, pillow, and some other ‘keep warm’ essentials. I can’t speak highly enough of the product, I was able to compress my Cosmic Down 4-season sleeping bag to almost half the size of its original pouch and still fit in a pillow, 3 fleeces, and a few other essentials, without breaking a sweat! The sack is durable and water-resistant, which is a huge bonus in my humble opinion and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to other travelers.

    • Dennis Owens

      The Kelty Compression Sack is one of the better compression sack options in recent years. Very durable, light, and water resistant which is very handy when tackling camping destinations that are high in humidity. It gives enough support and comfort that you need to have a restful sleep.

  • Donald Fisher

    I highly recommend Sea Summit compression sacks, especially if you’re a backpacker. The bags are really good quality and can take a lot of force when compressed. I first thought the large one would be too small for my sleeping bag, but when I started compressing I managed to fit much more stuff in it. The sacks keep everything perfectly dry even when the humidity is unbearable. I often go backpacking in Brazil and they are my best and most useful equipment.

    • Dennis Owens

      Compression sacks do look smaller that the space it can actually provide, so what appears to be too small might be the fit that you will need. Remember, the objective of having a compression sack is to provide compression while you are sleeping or at rest so there is this comfortable tightness that should come with it.

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