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Reducing pack weight is an obsession for every serious backpacker. When you’re cutting the handle off your toothbrush to save weight, the possibility of shaving a pound or more off your sleeping bag could send you into a joy coma. But you want to be careful not to sacrifice comfort and safety at the expense of a few ounces, and you want to make sure whatever model you’re favoring will hold up in cold, wet, or other rigorous conditions. Here are three things to think about as you shop for your next ultralight sleeping bag.

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There are many ultralight sleeping bags that weigh under three pounds. Typically, the lighter the bag, the more it will cost.

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The lower a sleeping bag’s temperature rating, the heavier the bag. If you’re backpacking in warm conditions, you can get away with a lighter bag. Keep in mind that temperature ratings can be subjective, as one person’s comfort level in a 30-degree bag may not be the same as another’s. Another factor can be the shape of the bag. Mummy bags are often lighter and warmer but less roomy than standard, rectangular-shaped sleepers.

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Some fill materials (downs or synthetics) are lighter than others. Hydrophobic (water-repelling) fill is important, since a damp bag will lose its heat retention capability. Use compression straps on bulky bags to make them easier to fit in your backpack.

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