Go fast and light with this compact bag, suitable for popping in bike panniers or backpacks for multiday camping adventures from spring through to autumn, or overseas travel to warmer shores.
Lightweight and compact
Only suitable for warmer weather
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Mountain Equipment Women’s 250 Helium sleeping bag: first impressions
The Mountain Equipment Women's 250 Helium sleeping bag may tick all your boxes if “small” and “lightweight” are top of your sleeping bag wish list for a warm-weather bag. It weighs about as much as a large bottle of water, and once packed into it stuff sack it only takes up about the same amount of space that a bottle would too.
This compact mummy-style sleeping bag (see: Types of sleeping bag) still packs a punch come bedtime, however, with 700-fill power duck down insulation to keep you warm in balmy conditions. Just be aware that it is only designed for use in the warmer months of the year (late spring through to early autumn), with bulkier and much warmer options available in Mountain Equipment’s Helium family of sleeping bags for camping outside of those times, or at higher altitudes or in colder climes (see our best women’s sleeping bags and best 3-season sleeping bags).
A length of 180cm should suit most well, but there is a long version available for taller women.
• RRP: £220 (UK)
• Weight: 680g / 24oz
• Length: Regular 180cm / 71in Long 195cm / 77in
• Max user height: Regular 170cm / 67in Long 185cm / 73in
• Packsize: Regular 22 x 18 x 15cm / 9x7 x 6in Long 23 x 18 x 15cm / 9 x 7 x 6in
• Fill: DOWN CODEX–approved duck down with a minimum fill power of 700
• Comfort: 8°C / 46°F
• Limit: 3°C / 37°F
• Compatibility: Two-season camping and travel to warmer climes
In the field
Mountain Equipment don’t actually explain how the female version of the Helium 250 is different to the unisex design, but on test we reckon nods to women’s bodies include a shorter length and smaller pack size, and extra insulation around the torso and feet, all features highlighted in our guide on how to choose a sleeping bag.
A snug hood stays put all night and cinches in tight, trapping in warmth around the face. We like the Helium for warm weather wild camping and for international backpacking and camping. While it claims to have a comfort limit down to 3C, we wouldn’t take it outside of summery conditions, as it’s too light and not insulated enough to offer a good night’s sleep in anything but fair weather. This bag’s lofty down still offers nice comfort though, and also dries quickly and has kept its shape and warming properties well over time.
An award-winning travel and outdoors journalist, presenter and blogger, Sian regularly writes for The Independent, Evening Standard, BBC Countryfile, Coast, Outdoor Enthusiast and Sunday Times Travel. Life as a hiking, camping, wild-swimming adventure-writer has taken her around the world, exploring Bolivian jungles, kayaking in Greenland, diving with turtles in Australia, climbing mountains in Africa and, in Thailand, learning the hard way that peeing on a jellyfish sting doesn’t help. Her blog, thegirloutdoors.co.uk, champions accessible adventures.