Mummy Vs Rectangular Sleeping Bag – A Side By Side Comparison

a person relaxing in a sleeping bag in front of a tent

When it comes to camping essentials, a good sleeping bag is pretty high up on the list.

But, what kind of sleeping bag should you go for?

It basically comes down to 2 choices – mummy vs rectangular sleeping bag. How you sleep and how you camp will largely determine which type is right for you.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about both types of sleeping bags, the pros and cons of each, and how they compare to each other.

By the time you finish reading, the answer will be clear as day.

Ready?

Let’s get started!

The Mummy Sleeping Bag

a mummy sleeping bag

Mummy bags are shaped to fit the contours of your body, so they’re a tighter fit than classic, rectangular shaped sleeping bags.

But what does this actually mean?

First of all, their mummy shape is great at keeping you warm. If you’re heading out on a winter camping trip, a mummy sleeping bag is definitely the way to go.

They’re also smaller in size, which means they’re a more compact and lightweight bag. For this reason, backpackers almost always opt for mummy shaped sleeping bags to save on space and keep their load light.

On the flipside, this means that you’ve got a lot less room to move around in a mummy shaped sleeping bag. The restricted movement aspect is something that might bother you, especially if you like to switch positions in your sleep a lot.

Pros:

  • The tighter fit keeps you warmer in cold weather
  • A more compact and lightweight sleeping bag

Cons:

  • The tight fit also means restricted movement
  • Can’t double as a quilt, unlike a rectangular bag

The Rectangular Sleeping Bag

a rectangular sleeping bag

Rectangular sleeping bags give you plenty of room to move around, so tossers and turners can have at it all night long.

But, that extra room comes at a cost.

More space inside the sleeping bag makes heating that space up more difficult. You’re more likely to have issues with cold spots and your body heat might not be enough to keep you warm in colder weather conditions.

Also, these bags are bulkier and often weigh significantly more than mummy bags. For that reason, rectangular bags are generally more popular among car camping enthusiasts than they are among backpackers.

What’s cool about this type of sleeping bag though is that it also doubles as a quilt. Just unzip it all the way, and you’ve got a large, square quilt to cover yourself with, or use as a picnic blanket.

This makes the rectangular sleeping bag a great summer bag – perfect for those hot nights when you don’t need to be zipped in.

And here’s another neat feature that’s unique to rectangular sleeping bags:

If you’ve got 2 rectangular bags that are compatible, you can zip them up together to create a large, double sleeping bag.

This is great for when you’re going camping with your significant other. I mean, let’s face it – it’s a much more intimate solution than sleeping next to each other in separate bags.

Pros:

  • More space to move around inside the sleeping bag
  • Can be used as a quilt when unzipped
  • You can zip 2 of them together to create a double bag for 2 people

Cons:

  • Not as warm as a mummy bag
  • Often considerably heavier and bulkier than a mummy bag

Mummy Vs Rectangular – The Ultimate Sleeping Bag Showdown

a kid in a mummy bag in a tent

OK, so now that we’ve talked about mummy bags and rectangular bags, let’s take a look at them side by side, to see how they compare in different areas.

Warmth

When it comes to warmth, mummy shaped sleeping bags win hands down.

They’ve got less space inside, so it’s easier to heat that space up and keep it warm.

That being said, if you’ve got a rectangular sleeping bag you can still stay warm in colder weather. Just fill your sleeping bag with dry clothes, so that as much of the empty space is filled up as possible. This is a super handy little trick that’ll keep you warm when things get chilly.

Of course, a sleeping bag liner, and a good sleeping pad with the appropriate temperature rating will also do wonders when it comes to staying warm, whichever shape you choose.

The winner: mummy shaped sleeping bags

Comfort

In the comfort department, rectangular bags take the cake.

The extra room they offer means your movement isn’t restricted like it is in a mummy bag.

This means you’re free to move your arms and legs around. So, you can sleep in whichever position you feel like, and which positions as often as you feel like.

The winner: rectangular sleeping bags

Portability

a packed sleeping bag next to a backpack

Due to their smaller size, mummy shaped sleeping bags are both lighter and more compact than rectangular bags. That makes them much easier to carry around.

Mummy bags are a favorite among backpackers for this reason precisely.

The winner: mummy shaped sleeping bags

Versatility

A mummy bag can only really be used in one way. A rectangular bag, on the other hand, can be used in a few different ways.

You can unzip it and use it as a large quilt for one or more people. Or, you can zip it together with another rectangular bag, creating a large, double sleeping bag for two people.

The winner: rectangular sleeping bags

Affordability

If you’re camping on a budget, you might have to factor in affordability when making your decision.

Generally speaking, the most expensive sleeping bags on the market are mummy bags. However, you can find mummy bags that are around the same price as some rectangular bags.

So, whichever style you decide on, just make sure you select a sleeping bag with a good price-performance ratio.

The winner: rectangular sleeping bags

The Final Verdict

So, as you can see, both mummy bags and rectangular bags have their strengths and weaknesses, and it’s impossible to declare one clear winner. At the end of the day, the sleeping bag shape you choose will come down to your own personal needs and priorities.

Basically, if you’re a backpacker, or anybody going camping in cold weather and you need a winter sleeping bag, you’ll probably be better off going for a mummy shaped bag.

On the other hand, if you like a bit of wiggle room, and you’re only going summer camping, a rectangular bag that you can unzip and use a blanket is the best choice.

Either way, don’t forget to check the sleeping bag temperature rating before you buy. Be sure to go for a bag that can keep you warm in slightly colder weather than you expect to encounter on your camping trips.

Whichever type of bag you decide on, be sure to do your research and read reviews, like our Outdoor Vitals sleeping bag review, to make sure you find an awesome sleeping bag.