Goose Down Or Synthetic Sleeping Bag – What’s Better? [2021]

When you are on a camping trip, there is nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night shivering from cold.

The last thing you want to do when trying to sleep comfortably outdoors is worry about how warm your sleeping bag will keep you!

To prevent this all-too-common concern, it’s important that you choose a dependable and reliable sleeping bag before embarking on your next adventure.

So goose down or synthetic sleeping bag?

First things first.

The first thing to consider is weight, as you’ll have to carry it all day and night. A good weight range is between 3-5 pounds, which will make your life much easier.

Next, think about temperature ratings: do you want something that’s hot in the summer or cold in winter?

And finally, how much insulation do you want? If you’re camping at higher elevations or temperatures drop below 20°F (-6°C) then get a more insulated bag with a rating of 0°F (-18°C).

When hunting for your next type of bag, you can start by choosing some of the respected brands like that manufacture quality and affordable sleeping bags of both types. Sure enough, REI is a great place to go too.

Note that there are two main types: goose down and synthetic sleeping bags. Choosing which one to buy can be tricky.

This article will guide you through the pros and cons of each type so that you can make your own decision about which kind to purchase next time you’re shopping for gear!

Some people will swear by the warmth of a goose down sleeping bag, while others are convinced that synthetic is the way to go.

So if you want to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of each one, based on our experience, then read on.

Let’s begin.

What is a Goose Down Sleeping Bag?

A sleeping bag filled with feathers from geese that come from the down of a mature bird. These bags are lighter and more compressible than any other type of sleeping bag on the market.

a sleeping bag in the woods

They're perfect for camping trips or even use as an everyday blanket at home!


You might be wondering, why should I buy a Goose Down sleeping bag? Well, there are many reasons.

  • Portable bed - goose down makes the perfect travel companion. It's a great way to keep cozy and sleep well on any trip, whether you're camping or taking a family road trip in an RV.
  • They're lightweight and packable. They compress tightly when not being used - making them an excellent choice for backpackers, campers, and any travelers who want to travel light. Goose down bags fit very well in a pack with a dedicated sleeping bag pocket.
  • They're warm; the down feathers trap air to keep you warm. These bags maintain loft and warmth over time in part because they're more compressible, so less air escapes when your body heat compresses the material.
  • They are super breathable, which means you won't end up sweaty or overheated every night.

Sleeping in a goose-down sleeping bag is an experience that many people have come to enjoy. But it's not all peaches and cream, because there are some downsides to this fabric.

Let’s see them!


One of the biggest issues with using a goose-down sleeping bag is how quickly they lose their insulating power when wet.

A natural fiber such as down is lighter in weight than polyester and retains more loft than any other fill material.

However, once wet, it loses all its lofting ability and becomes less capable of retaining your body's warmth overnight.

If you're camping or hiking during the rainy season, you might want to invest in either a synthetic or water-resistant cotton sleeping bag.

Another downside of the goose-down sleeping bag is that a high-end down bag with comparable insulation comes around $700-$1,000+, whereas a synthetic bag will cost about $200-$400.

So the price becomes a significant factor, especially if you’re thinking about saving money on outdoor gear.

Synthetic Sleeping Bag

A synthetic sleeping bag is a type of sleeping bag that has been created with the use of artificial materials.

a girl lying in a synthetic sleeping bag

Some people prefer synthetics because they don’t want to deal with caring for animal products, while others find them just more comfortable than wool and down.


Synthetic sleeping bags have its advantages too. Here the major ones. 

  • Synthetic bags are cheaper than down ones because they're made from more durable materials such as polyester and nylon rather than feathers.
  • They are also perfect for those who live in warmer climates and want to enjoy the outdoors year-round!" In the past, synthetic sleeping bags were not great at keeping you warm. But that was before technology advanced and these bags are now much better than they used to be!
  • If you have to camp in a damp place, synthetic sleeping bags are a better option because if you get down wet it will ruin the sleeping bag's insulation.
  • Drying time is much less than it would be for a down bag.
  • A synthetic sleeping bag will not lose its loft and insulation value over time as a down one will. This is because synthetic fibers are more durable. Unlike those made of feathers or down, synthetics can take the heat and they can be machine washed whereas natural fiber cannot.

These features make the synthetic a much more practical option for sleeping bags. But with no disrespect intended towards those who love natural insulation and more warmth - there are some downsides with synthetics that are worth considering too.

Read on!


Synthetic fills can make your skin itch and feel clammy in humid climates. They are generally heavier to carry.

They are also less compressible than the other types and so can be bulky unless combined with gear designed to compress bulk.

Watch the video below that showcases the major pros and cons of synthetic vs goose down sleeping bags.

In addition, this bag is not as warm or cozy as a down one. Synthetic materials are more durable and easier to clean, but don't provide the same comfort for cold weather camping.

Goose Down Vs. Sleeping Bag: Final Verdict

Camping is rising in popularity! And if you have been trying to decide on which sleeping bag is best for your needs – goose down or synthetic sleeping bag, I hope this article helped.

We looked at the pros and cons of different types of bags so that you can make an informed decision when buying a new one or replacing an old one.

Both types of sleeping bags vary in price depending on their construction material, but they also provide varying levels of insulation, which is crucial for cold weather.

If you want more insulation in bad weather, then goose down is for you. If you're on a budget, then you'll be just fine with a synthetic sleeping bag.

The right choice will depend on what type of outdoor activity you plan to do. Whatever your reason for choosing a synthetic or goose-down bag, you should make sure it fits all your needs before making a purchase.

Which type of sleeping bag do you prefer? Leave a comment below!

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Asen Stoyanchev

Founder of this website, Asen is a passionate hiker and writer who is also a gear nerd. He’s been featured on many established hiking websites where he gives hiking advice & tips. When he is not trekking with his family or friends, he is writing articles and product reviews. Asen spends most of his time in Bulgaria but he constantly travels the world in seek of more unforgettable experiences. Read more about Asen here.

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