• Leon Pantenburg | Survival Common Sense


Review: Naturehike® lightweight down sleeping bag for backpacking and canoe camping

538 400 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

Few items are more important to backpackers or prepper/survival types than a quality sleeping bag.

by Leon Pantenburg

Disclaimer: Naturehike® supplied the product in this review. At the time of publication, there was no affiliate or advertising relationship between Survival Common Sense and Naturehike®. Nobody had any input in this review, and all I ever promise is a fair review.

You’ve heard this from my soapbox before: “Survival gear doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to work.”

But I also preach: “Don’t scrimp or try to economize on your knife, boots or sleeping bag.”

Airing out my Naturehike lightweight down sleeping bag and tent on a Mississippi River sandbar.

When it comes to sleeping bags, the best choice depends on the situation, the environment it will be used in and the materials the bag is made of. Match the bag to your activities. You don’t want to carry a heavy arctic-level bag on a summer backpacking trip, nor do you want a lightweight summer bag when the snow is deep and the temperatures drop. Subsequently, I have (probably too many!) sleeping bags that will cover the extremes of heat and cold. Learn how to choose a sleeping bag.

These days, most of my outdoor adventuring is on the Lower Mississippi River with Big River Wild Adventures. The canoe company operates year-round, and we may be on the river in the Deep South summer heat, or below-freezing temperatures in November and December. The best sleeping bag for those situations needs to be lightweight, durable and versatile. Space may be at a premium in the canoe, so a compact bag is preferred.

In the summers, I flee the heat and humidity and go back to Oregon. I need a lightweight, compact bag for backpacking and camping. In both of these very different situations, the Naturehike Lightweight works well.

Here is some product information from the Naturehike website:

    • QUALITY – Made with high quality 20D nylon material, comfortable and water proof. Filled by high quality 800 fill power pure white goose down.
    • LIGHTWEIGHT — Weight 1.26 lbs  (regular)/1 .74 lbs (extra large).  
    • ULTRA COMPACT –This sleeping bag has two sizes: Regular (74.80″L X 28.35″W) and Extra Large (78.74″L X 31.50″W. Both can be compressed to carry bag size, 4.5 inches diameter x 10 inches length.
    • WARMTH — 800 fill power white goose-down. Recommend sleep zone: Regular (42.8℉ to 51.8℉) Extra Large (32℉ to 42.8℉).

Here is how the bag worked out. I used the lightweight regular at the Georgia Bushcraft Gathering in Watkinsville in early November; a Big Rivers Wild Adventures training session the following weekend, and a five-day Quapaw Canoe Company Vicksburg voyage in late November. In all these situations, I was sleeping in the same backpacking tent. The bag performed to advertised standards.

Quality: The bag appears to be very well-made, with excellent stitching. Time will tell how durable it is. All my gear gets used hard and often, so we’ll have to see.
Compact: The bag is designed to save space and weight in your backpack. I appreciated that it could be compressed into a bag the size of a small loaf of bread.

Lightweight: The featherweight 1.26 pound bag weight makes it a natural for backpacking. Combined with my 10 foot x 12 foot tarp, which weighs in at about two pounds, that means my sleeping and shelter combination weigh about 3.5 pounds.

Warmth: Temperature ratings on sleeping bags, IMO, are always optimistic and they don’t take into account the shelter. A tent is warmer than a tarp shelter, generally, and being near a campfire can throw in another variable. At the Georgia Bushcraft Gathering, the bag was too warm – I never zipped it up. On the five-day November voyage, when the temperatures got below freezing, it was inadequate. At the BRWA survival session, it was just right.

I anticipate this bag will be also be just right for most river trips and some summer backpacking in the Cascades.

Insulation: I tend to shy away from down sleeping bags. Once it gets wet, the down compacts way down and loses its loft. That means the insulative value is gone. Also, drying out a down bag takes time, and drying one out over a campfire can be really difficult. But if you will always be sleeping in a tent, where the chances of getting wet are very small, this becomes a moot point. Down comes into its own in cold temperatures. There is no better insulation for below freezing temperatures if the down stays dry.

Size: I’m 5-foot-10-inches tall and weigh 188 pounds. The bag fit me perfectly, and should be fine for people up to about 6-foot-three-inches tall.

All in all, I really like this sleeping bag. It is checking all the boxes for my camping needs, and I look forward to using it more.

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