If you enjoy camping, even when the mercury drops, you will need a well-insulated sleeping bag to keep you warm all night long. Camping in cold weather presents an entirely unique set of circumstances: the risk of hypothermia and frostbite is very much real. For this blog, I’m going to take a closer look at what’s a bag perfect for cold weather camping and a few of my top picks.
The best sleeping bag for cold weather will be down insulated, water-resistant and include extra features to keep cold air out and warm air close to your body. The best sleeping bag for cold weather is one packed with down feathers, treated with a water-resistant material. Down, wither duck or goose feathers/plume, have the highest insulation value. This means you will be warmer and cozier, even when it’s snowing and ice cold outside your tent.
In this article we have 3 main types of sleeping bags we discuss. The first are the best general cold weather sleeping bags. Then next we discuss the best sleeping bags if you plan on being in extremely cold weather (there is a little overlap). And finally we discuss the best cold weather sleeping bags that are light enough to take if you are backpacking. If you are more interested in reading about one of these types of bags more than the others, I have placed links to each section below so that you can skip ahead down to that section. To get back to this list just hit your browser back button.
- Sleeping Bag Warmth 101
- Top Cold Weather Sleeping Bags
- Top Extreme Cold Weather Sleeping Bags
- Top Cold Weather Backpacking Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Bag Warmth 101
It’s snowing, again. You’re all cozy inside your sleeping bag, while the flakes pile up around your tent. Even though you need to hike 15 miles in the morning, you know you will be nice and rested because you have the warmest sleeping bag around. For this article, I’m going to take a closer look at what features make the warmest sleeping bag and my top pick. I hope you find this information helpful and valuable in your search for the warmest sleeping bag around.
The warmest sleeping bag is well made, down insulated with special attention to the seams and shape. While there are certain factors that make a sleeping bag incredibly warm, the best sleeping bag will vary from person to person. If you run hot, a lightweight sleeping bag may just do the trick. However, if you are always cold, you’re going to need a heavier bag to keep you warm through the night.
So, you’re in the market for a sleeping bag. If you’ve just started your search for the best, warmest sleeping bag on the market, you are probably overwhelmed by the options. Long gone are the days of the just rectangular shaped sleeping bag. While those bags are still available, it turns out the closer and tighter the bag fits around your body, the warmer you will be. There are several sleeping bag shapes: mummy, rectangular, semi-rectangular and double-wide. I’ll get into the specifics in a bit.
When determining the warmest sleeping bag for you, also take into consideration where you will be setting up camp, the weather and temperature forecast. In general, sleeping bags fall into several categories: Summer, three-season, and winter. Summer bags are rated to keep you warm in temperatures above 32 degrees. Three season bags will keep you warm in 10 degrees to 32 degrees. Winter bags are rated to keep you nice and toasty when the mercury drops below 10 degrees.
Before you even begin the search for the warmest sleeping bag determine where you will be using the sleeping bag. Your summer bag might be the warmest when you’re camping in July, however, you may be shivering in that same bag when you’re camping in mid-October in the North Cascades. Just about every quality sleeping bag will clearly rate the temperature range of the bag to help you make an informed decision.
The quality of design and construction also play a huge role in how warm a sleeping bag will be. Pay close attention to the zippers, seams and overall construction of the bag. Most sleeping bags are made of three layers, shell, insulation and lining. The shell should keep water away. The insulation should be made with high quality down or synthetic down and the lining of the bag should be soft and made of polyester- to wick away moisture while you are sleeping.
Insulation is perhaps the biggest determining factor in how warm or cold you will feel inside a sleeping bag. Thanks to advances in technology, the heavier the sleeping bag doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to keep you warmer. In fact, some of the warmest sleeping bags made today weigh under five pounds. Some backpacking sleeping bags weigh just a few ounces. When it comes to insulation, you have two choices: down insulation and synthetic insulation. Down is more expensive, but it does an incredible job at keeping you warm. Synthetic down insulation is also really warm and waterproof; however, it tends to be bulky and heavy.
While down is my favorite choice for a sleeping bag in cold weather, it does have its pitfalls. Down is not naturally water resistant. When down gets wet, it loses its insulation value. When shopping for a down sleeping bag make sure the feathers have been treated with a water-resistant material. This water-resistant material will keep your sleeping bag dry if rain or snow makes its way inside your tent at night. In general, the higher the fill count in a sleeping bag the warmer it will be.
Down insulation doesn’t hold up well to water. So, if you go with a down sleeping bag, you want to make sure the outer shell of the bag is made of a water-resistant material. If you get down wet, it can take a very long time to dry out. There’s nothing worse than crawling into a wet sleeping bag. Synthetic insulated sleeping bags dry out quickly and are better in wet weather. Synthetic bags are also easier on the wallet than down insulation. IF you are camping in extreme cold, you are going to be the warmest in a down sleeping bag. The higher the down fill count, the warmer the sleeping bag will be. So, an 800-fill count sleeping bag is going to keep you toastier than a 150-fill count bag.
Synthetic insulation is incredibly warm as well, however, it’s bulkier than down. If you are backpacking in January, you’ll want to choose a down sleeping bag. Synthetic is easier on the wallet, making it an ideal choice for those on a budget. If you don’t have the extra money for a down bag, a synthetic bag with a liner will do the trick.
The construction and quilting of the insulation will also play a role in how warm you will be during a cold weather camping trip. Quilting keeps insulation in place- so the warmth is right where you need it while sleeping. Quilting also prevents insulation from shifting while it’s inside a stuff sack. There’s nothing worse than pulling your down sleeping bag out of your pack only to discover the feathers are all at the bottom of the bag.
Shape Of The Sleeping Bag
There are lots of different shapes of sleeping bags on the market today. Shape matters when you are trying to stay warm. A mummy shaped bag, with tapered feet and wider shoulder area, will keep you warmer than a traditional rectangle sleeping bag. Mummy bags keep the insulation close to your body, which means there is a layer of warm air close to all night long. On a really chilly night, a mummy bag will keep you toasty. If a mummy bag is too restricting, try a relaxed- mummy bag instead. The relaxed style gives you a little more wiggle room in the feet area, so you can toss and turn in the middle of the night without restriction.
The shape of the sleeping bag matters when you are trying to stay warm. As I mentioned earlier, there are several shapes of sleeping bags to help you stay warm: mummy, rectangle, semi-rectangle and double wide. The mummy sleeping bag is wide at the shoulders and chest and tapers down toward your feet. Some find the tailored feet restricting, but others find having the bag close to the body provides extra warmth. Having the bag and all that insulation keeps you warmer all-night long. When the bag fits close to the body, that warm air and down insulation stay right next to your skin. You are not wasting any space or warm air- it all stays close to you.
Rectangle and semi-rectangle sleeping bags are also great options to stay warm- however, they tend to have too much room between the insulation and your body. Rectangle bags can be connected to another similar bag for extra warmth when needed. Semi-rectangle bags are a cross between mummy bags and a true rectangle bag. A semi-rectangle bag features the tapered feet, but still enough room to move around if you tend to move around a lot in the night.
Sleeping Bag Construction
How well a sleeping bag is constructed and designed makes a big impact in keeping you warm. As I mentioned earlier, there are three layers of a sleeping bag: an outer shell, lining, and insulation. The outer shell should be made out of polyester and durable nylon. The outer shell is responsible for keeping your sleeping bag dry. The outer shell should be treated with durable water repellent (DWR) finish. This finish keeps water and moisture from penetrating the bag. Once the sleeping bag gets wet, you will start to get cold. Keeping your sleeping bag dry, means you will stay warm. Pay attention the outer shell when shopping for your next sleeping bag.
The lining of the bag is the inside of the sleeping bag. The lining should have the ability to wick away moisture, in the event you get too hot and sweaty while sleeping. Again, staying dry is critical to staying warm. The lining of the bag will most likely be made of polyester. Polyester is soft and it keeps moisture away from your body. If you get too cold in your bag, you could always add an additional a sleeping bag liner too.
The zippers and seams matter in a sleeping bag. You need zippers and seams that will keep cold drafts from finding a way inside your toasty bag. If you aren’t a seamstress, it may be difficult to know if the seams are quality and made to keep you warm. Ask the sales associate for details about the brand and construction. Also, climb in the bag before you buy it and try out the zippers. Are they easy to move up and down? Do they get stuck on the fabric? These are all important factors to consider. Most high quality, warm sleeping bags will feature zip guards that keep the zipper away from the fabric.
Also, pay close attention to how the bag is stitched together. The warmest sleeping bags have quilt-like stitching to keep insulation in one spot at all times. In other words, the stitching prevents the insulation from shifting. If the bag is not made with quilt stitching, you may unpack your sleeping bag to discover the insulation is at the bottom of the bag and you’re suddenly freezing at night. The stitching will keep the insulation where it needs to be and that means you will be warm all night long.
Extra Features for Warmth
The best sleeping bags for cold weather will feature hoods, draft tubes, high-quality zippers and a draft collar. A hood wraps your head, ears and most of your face in your sleeping bag. The hood typically has drawstring cords to tighten the hood for more warmth and protection as the weather and temperature changes throughout the night. A hood also doubles as a pillow, which of course can add comfort while camping. A draft tube keeps cold air from entering your sleeping bag through the zippers. A neck baffle is extra sleeping bag material designed to keep your neck covered and warm throughout the night. Turns out you can lose a lot of body heat through the neck area.
A hood on a sleeping bag basically covers your entire head, giving you extra warmth for those really cold nights. Some hoods will cover most of your face too. These bags are designed for ultimate warmth. The hood on a sleeping bag can also double as a pillow- keeping you warm and comfortable all at the same time. If you want to stay warm, you should opt for a sleeping bag with a hood.
A draft collar is another element added to high-quality sleeping bags to keep you warm. A draft collar is the elastic webbing around the hood of the sleeping bag. The draft collar keeps the hood in place and prevents cold air from seeping inside your bag. Draft collars are typically found on sleeping bags rated for cold weather camping. A draft tube is an inside zipper to give you extra protection from cold air. The draft tube also keeps warm air close to your body. With a draft tube, you can keep cold wind from finding a way inside your sleeping bag.
Even if you have the warmest sleeping bag in the world, you could still be cold if your bag is right on the cold ground. A sleeping pad is like a mini-mattress for camping. The pad protects you from the cold ground and keeps you comfortable throughout the night. Thanks to advances in technology, sleeping pads are lightweight, compact and incredibly comfortable. You can lose a lot of body heat through the process of conduction. Conduction happens when body heat transfers to an object or surface colder than your body temperature. To prevent this heat loss while camping, use a camping pad. You will be warmer and more comfortable while sleeping under the stars.
However, if this isn’t in your budget, there are plenty of high-quality bags for a couple hundred dollars. In this blog, I have explored the warmest and best sleeping bags for every weather condition, budget and style. A sleeping bag is an investment! One you will be thankful you made every time you go camping or need it in an emergency. Happy camping!
Cold Weather Camping
Even when the snow is falling, you’ll find extreme mountain explorers, hikers and ice climbers in search of their next adventure. Camping in cold weather is a fun way to experience the great outdoors in an entirely different way. The silence after a snowfall, the mountain peaks, and ice-covered rivers make a cold weather camping trip exciting, beautiful and a bit challenging.
When you camp in the summer, staying warm isn’t a problem. I mean, you have Mother Nature on your side after all. Depending on the region and elevation of your camping trip, it can be 60 degrees at night. Summer camping bags are all about comfort- insulation value isn’t as big of a priority. A sleeping bag for cold weather camping is all about the insulation. If you don’t have a well-insulated sleeping bag when the temperature drops you could face hypothermia, frostbite or even death.
I know that seems a bit extreme, but hundreds of people are seriously injured or die from exposure to cold temperatures every year. With a warm, comfortable sleeping bag you can rest assured you will not be chilly overnight inside your tent, even if a blizzard is rolling through. The best sleeping bag for cold weather will be durable, packed with down, and keep drafts from making their way inside. A cold weather sleeping bag should also be treated with a durable water-resistant material to keep moisture from soaking your bag. The key to staying warm is staying dry.
In addition to a quality sleeping bag, you should also make an investment in a sleeping pad. A sleeping pad prevents your body heat from transferring to the cold ground you are sleeping on. This is known as conduction. Having a sleeping pad will keep you more comfortable and warm. Sleeping pads pack well and many are self-inflating. The self-inflating pads are easy to set up- just unroll and they fill with air. However, it can take a while to deflate this type of sleeping pad. Just a quick side note from someone who’s spent more than an hour trying to fit a sleeping pad back in my pack after a camping in the North Cascades.
Cold Rated Sleeping Bags
When researching the best sleeping bags for cold weather, pay attention to the rating of the bag. In general, sleeping bags fall into one of three categories: Summer, three-season, and winter. For your reference, a summer sleeping bag is rated for temperatures above 35 degrees. A three-season sleeping bag is rated to keep you warm in temperatures between 10 and 35 degrees. Winter rated sleeping bags will keep you warm and prevent hypothermia when the mercury drops below 10 degrees.
So, you have lots of choices. When determining the right sleeping bags for cold weather, you need to think about what time of year you will be camping, where you will be camping. Also, consider your own sleeping habits. If you tend to sleep hot at night, even when it’s freezing outside you may not need a heavy duty down sleeping bag. However, if you are always chilled no matter what you’re wearing, you may need a winter rated sleeping bag for camping in October. The best sleeping bag for cold weather will vary from person to person.
Top Cold Weather Sleeping Bags
Now that you know what to look for in a cold weather rated sleeping bag, let’s take a closer look at my top picks.
REI Co-Op Magma
The REI Co-Op Magma is packed with 850-fill goose down. All that down means this sleeping bag is down with keeping you toasty on the coldest of nights. The down feathers will also hold up to wet weather thanks to a water-resistant coating. Even with all that insulation, the bag is lightweight-tipping the scales at just two pounds. The outer shell of the bag is made with a 15 denier ripstop nylon. This type of nylon is durable and tough- designed to withstand extreme weather and alpine conditions.
This is a true mummy bag- designed to contour to your body. It’s restricting, but that’s what makes it so warm. The zipper starts out at an angle, making it easy to get in and out of the bag. Inside the bag, there’s an anti-snag guard in place so you don’t get the zippers stuck when you’re trying to get out in the morning. The hood is spot on. It’s packed with soft, fluffy down feathers and it contours right to your head. An extra inner layer of material around the hood prevents heat from leaving the bag in the middle of the night.
This bag is rated to keep you warm at 10 degrees F. If you run cold, you may need a warmer sleeping bag. If you sleep hot, this will probably do the trick on those chilly fall hikes in the North Cascades or your favorite mountain range. Overall, this is a quality sleeping bag that packs a punch to the cold weather. The high down insulation fill county makes this bag a top pick for the best sleeping bags for cold weather. The bag also comes in two different lengths: regular and long. This bag rings in at $369.
Mountain Hardware Phantom Torch 3
The Mountain Hardware Phantom Torch is another top contender for the best sleeping bag for cold weather. This bag is packed with 800-fill down- making it incredibly warm, even when the temperature drops below 5 degrees. This bag is rated for extreme cold, with capabilities to keep you warm between 16 degrees and -38 degrees. The bag is mummy shaped for maximum warmth during those chilly nights.
Like the Magma, this sleeping bag is packed with down treated with a water-resistant coating to keep you warm and dry all night long. The draft collar, hood, and insulated draft tube keep cold air out and warm air where it belongs. The hood is designed to fit close to your head, neck, and shoulders. This tight fit, keeps you protected from the harsh cold weather. The bag also features quilting pattern to keep the down insulation where it needs to be. This bag is durable, warm and well made. For a fewer fill count, this bag is surprisingly more expensive than the Magma. This bag retails for $600.
The North Face Inferno Sleeping Bag
The North Face Inferno will keep you warm during an overnight camping trip, even if there are an ice storm and blizzard at the same time. This bag is rated to keep you warm in extreme cold. We’re talking -40 degrees cold. This bag is packed with 800-fill down and weighs a whopping 2 pounds! The bag is water resistant, so the insulation will still keep you warm and dry even if there’s moisture in the air.
The bag is a mummy shape, although there’s more room than a standard mummy bag. I’d call this bag a relaxed-mummy shape. This is a great shape for those who don’t like their feet restricted at the bottom of the bag. There’s also more shoulder room in this bag!
The bag is literally designed for Alaska and Antarctica expeditions. An extra puffy draft collar keeps heat from escaping your bag. The hood, back of the bag and foot zone are all made with water-resistant material as well. Those areas are more susceptible to getting wet while camping. The bag features an unconventional middle zipper. Some love the zipper, others don’t like it. The bag retails for $749.
Top Extreme Cold Weather Sleeping Bags
When the mercury dips below freezing and the wind starts to pick up, it can be downright dangerous to camp outside. However, the cold weather never stops the passion to be outside and explore the great outdoors. Having a warm, durable sleeping bag while camping in extreme cold weather is critical to survival. For this article, I’m going to be taking a closer look at the best extreme cold weather sleeping bags on the market today.
The best extreme cold weather sleeping bags are durable, down insulated, water-resistant and feature all the bells and whistles to keep cold air out and warm air where it belongs. You’ll find the price point for an extreme cold weather is higher than that of a three-season or summer sleeping bag. You pay for what you get. The colder the weather, the more insulation, special zippers and draft tubes are needed to keep hypothermia and frostbite at bay. Extreme cold is subjective, so for this article, I’m going to narrow it down by sleeping bags rated for 10 degrees or less.
Feathered Friends Snowy Owl Sleeping Bag
Now, that you know what makes a sleeping bag warm- let’s take a closer look at one of the warmest bags around. The Feathered Friends Snowy Owl Sleeping Bag is touted as one of the warmest sleeping bags in the world. Here’s why: the sleeping bag is packed with 900 fill down insulation. All that down insulation means you will be toasty, no matter how cold it is outside. In fact, this sleeping bag is rated to keep you warm at -60 degrees. This is the sleeping bag the amazing climbers on Everest use when they need to stay warm at base camp. According to the company, this is also a top choice for those exploring the arctic circle and Antarctica.
The stitching on the bag also makes it so the down fill doesn’t shift around while you are sleeping a getting comfortable at night. The snowy owl is also a mummy bag. That shape, as you know, giving you extra warmth, from head to toe. The mummy shape keeping a layer of warm air close to your body at all times. The shell of the bag is made with heavy duty water resistant and breathable nylon. The hood of the bag wraps around the entire face, neck, and mouth- leaving just a few inches of space to breathe. This is an extreme bag for extreme weather.
According to Feathered Friends, the Seattle based company that makes the snowy owl, this sleeping bag also includes two-way locking zippers and an inside independent zipper system as well. The backup inside zipper system ensures you will stay warm, even if the outer zippers fail. The dual zipper system also keeps cold drafts out and warm air from leaving the sleeping bag. The bag also features high-quality draft tube and high quality, durable taffeta lining. This lining keeps you warm and dry all night. This sleeping bag is perhaps the most expensive too, ringing in at $1,120. If you are heading on an arctic adventure this is the bag for you.
Feathered Friends Widgeon EX-10
If you’re planning on making a trek to the base camp of an epic mountain peak or maybe you want to camp in your car to get the first chair at your favorite ski resort, this is the sleeping bag you want to take with you. The Feathered Friends Widgeon EX-10 is made in Seattle by the fine folks at Feathered Friends. This company excels in down insulated sleeping bags, coats, bedding and other high-quality gear. If staying warm and dry is a top priority, Feathered Friends has you covered-literally!
The bag boasts 900 + goose down. The generous mummy shaped bag allows for the insulation to stay close to your body but isn’t too restricting. The outer shell of the bag keeps bone-chilling winds from seeping between the seams and zippers. The heavy-duty hood with drawstrings keeps your head, neck and face covered during the most epic of cold spells. The sleeping bag is treated with a durable water repellent finish to wick away moisture. If staying warm during freezing cold nights is at top priority, getting this bag should be a top priority. The Feathered Friends Widgeon EX-10 retails for $689.
REI Co-op Magma 10
The REI Co-Op Magma 10 is the kind of sleeping bag you want to climb into when the wind is whipping and the snow is falling. This sleeping bag is packed with 850-fill power goose down, treated with a water-resistant coating to keep moisture at bay and keep its insulation value! You’ll be glad the down is water resistant when you’re camping in the snow and icy conditions. This bag is rated to keep you warm when the mercury drops below 10 degrees.
The bag is a classic mummy shaped, keeping a thin layer of warm air close to your body while you rest up for your next adventure. Even though this is a mummy bag, the bottom of the bag is a bit wider than the traditional mummy’s, alleviating the restriction campers typically feel in this type of bag. Extra insulation around the hood and neck area, keep you comfortable and warm all night long. This bag is actually the 2017 Editors’ Choice Award Winner from Backpack Magazine! The REI Co-op Magma 10 retail for $350.
The North Face One Sleeping Bag
The North Face One is a versatile sleeping bag you can adjust to fit the weather and temperatures. The bag can be configured several ways to meet your specific needs. The bag is made of three separate sleeping bags, all connected through a series of zippers and snaps. For summer nights, the outer layer is perfect to keep you cozy. The mid layer boasts 800-fill power down, which is rated to keep you warm when the mercury hovers around 20 degrees F. Add the outer shell and you have a bag that can keep you comfortable when the temperature drops below 5 degrees. This is the only bag you will need from May to December.
The bag is comfortable, cozy and the soft lining makes it easy to crawl inside for a winter slumber. The bag is also treated with a water-resistant coating to keep snowflakes away! The extra padding around the hood doubles as a pillow- keeping you both comfortable and warm when it’s snowing outside. This is an excellent sleeping bag for extreme cold weather- and it’s the only bag you will ever need to own. The North Face One Sleeping Bag retails for $289.
Marmot Trestles 0
The Marmot Trestles 0 is a budget-friendly extreme cold weather sleeping bag! It’s packed with high loft synthetic insulation, ensuring you will stay warm and dry when the snow starts to fly. The extra fluffy hood, keeps your head protected from frigid temperatures and it also adds another of comfort. The mummy shaped bag a quilted construction keeps the insulation close to your body- keeping you warm all night long no matter how cold it is outside your tent or car.
The bag also features a super soft and cozy liner, adding extra comfort after a long day on the mountain. Once inside the bag, you will find a convenient stash bag for all the essentials: lip balm, cell phone, night light and a book. This bag is a bit bulky, tipping the scales at just over four pounds. If you’re worried about weight, you may want to consider a down bag instead. If weight isn’t an issue, this is a great choice for you and your wallet. The Marmot Trestles 0 retails for $139.
Nemo Sonic 800-Fill Down Sleeping Bag
The Nemo Sonic 800-Fill Down Sleeping Bag 0 Degree, is everything you’ve ever hoped and dreamed for when it comes to outdoor gear. Nemo is all about making/designing high quality, intuitive sleeping bags. A Nemo bag is an investment and will last for decades to come. The company is no strangers to acclamation. The Nemo Sonic recently received The Backpackers Editor’s Choice Award. So, what makes this bag so amazing? It’s packed with 850 fill power down, keeping you crazy warm and comfortable no matter what Mother Nature throws your way.
Nemo is the first sleeping bag company to make it possible to open up your bag, without letting cold air inside. Nemo calls this feature “Thermo Gills” and it’s genius. IF you ever become overheated, you can simply unzip the gills on the top of the bag to let warm air out without risking cold air rushing in. Love it! The stretch material allows this generous mummy bag to move with your body and make it possible to sleep on your side, just like you do at home. The Nemo Sonic Down Sleeping Bag retails for $479.
Kelty Cosmic Down 0 Sleeping Bag
When you don’t want to spend a small fortune to stay warm in sub-freezing temperatures, this is a great choice for you! The Kelty Cosmic Down 0 is a solid sleeping bag, made by a well respected outdoor gear company. The bag is packed with 600- fill hydrophobic DriDown. As you know, down is naturally loses its insulation value when it gets wet. With this bag, you can rest easy knowing the down is protected with a water-resistant coating- keeping you warm and dry even when a blizzard takes over three miles into a 15-mile adventure.
The Kelty Cosmic Down is made out of a quality polyester ripstop shell, keeping water away and protecting that precious insulation. The mummy shaped bag keeps the heat close to your body, keeping you comfortable all night long. The bag extends over your head, protecting your body heat and keeping your neck and chest protected when the mercury really starts to drop. The Kelty Cosmic Down 0 retails for $219.
Big Agnes Beryl SL 0 Sleeping Bag
When the temperature starts to drop, you will want to climb inside the Big Agnes Beryl SL 0 Sleeping Bag. This bag is big on comfort, warmth and making sure you get some shut-eye after a long day in those hiking boots. The bag is packed with 650 fill power down. The down is responsibly sourced and treated with a water-repellent coating to keep wet weather from putting a damper on your camping trip. With a nylon taffeta lining, this bag is equally cozy as it is warm.
The traditional mummy shape keeps the insulation close to your body. Even though this is a mummy bag, there is extra room at the base to allow you to comfortably move around and sleep on your side if you like. The bag also features an oversized draft collar to keep cold air out and warm air inside. This bag also allows you to attach a sleeping pad to the bottom. This innovative sleeping pad system keeps you protected from the cold ground moves with you as you toss and turn. The Big Agnes Beryl SL 0 retails for $319.
Big Agnes Orno 0 Ultralight Down Mummy Sleeping Bag
The Big Agnes Orno is big on keeping you exceptionally warm even when it’s a winter wonderland outside your tent. This is an ultralight mummy bag, which means it’s easy to pack no matter where the trail leads you. In fact, even with 850 fill down, this bag weighs under two pounds. All that insulation will keep you warm from head to toe when it’s tinkering around zero degrees outside. Brrr. If you’re feeling chilled, pull the hood over your head and snuggle in for a long winter’s nap.
The Big Agnes is all about comfort. This bag is designed to use a built-in sleeping pad- protecting you from the cold ground! The Big Agnes Orno feels like your bed at home- it’s that comfortable. The bag also features an oversized anti-draft collar, two-way zippers, and a nylon rip-stop lining. The Big Agnes stops cold weather in its tracks. The Big Agnes Orno UL 0 retails for $539.
REI Co-Op Downtime Down Sleeping Bag
The REI Co-Op Downtime Down Sleeping Bag is a great option if you want the comfort and warmth of down without the hefty price tag. This sleeping bag is packed with 650 fill power duck down. All that insulation keeps you nice and evenly warm from head to toe, even in the most extreme cold weather! This mummy shaped bag is designed to contour to your body and keep the heat where it belongs. The bottom of the bag is narrower than a traditional mummy bag, which some campers appreciate. However, the bag can feel a bit too restrictive at times.
However, the bag is wider in the shoulder and hip zones, giving you plenty of room to get comfortable. A contoured hood and extra insulation around the neck, keep your body heat from escaping from your head! Like the Big Agnes, the bottom of the bag has loops to keep your sleeping pad close to your sleeping bag. The bag is currently rated to keep you warm when the mercury dips below zero. For all the down insulation and bells and whistles, you can’t beat the price tag of $229.
The North Face Inferno 0 Sleeping Bag
If you find yourself in the middle of a blizzard at the top of a mountain, the North Face Inferno 0 is the bag that will save your life. The bag boasts 800-fill ProDown, making this the ultimate sleeping bag for comfort and warmth. Once inside this bag, there’s no chance hypothermia is setting in. This bag is made for the day when Mother Nature puts on a show. The bag is designed to keep you warm when the temperatures hits zero degrees. Add another liner for extra warmth and comfort, when the wind picks on those chilling winter treks.
The outer shell of the bag is designed to repel water, with extra fabric covering the hood, back and foot zones. A center zipper makes getting in and out of the bag a breeze. Plus, a center zipper eliminates the possibility of cold weather making its way inside your nice warm bag. An inside pocket makes it easy to grab a flashlight when you hear something scratching outside your tent. This solid, warm and durable sleeping bag currently retails for $519.
Top Cold Weather Backpacking Sleeping Bags
There’s nothing worse than trying to warm up after a long day climbing a mountain. You need a sleeping bag that will hold up to the unique demands of winter camping. I get it. That’s why I’ve set out to find the best cold weather backpacking sleeping bags. I’ve done all the research so you can spend more time planning your next summit.
The best cold weather backpacking sleeping bags are lightweight and incredibly warm. It seems like these two requirements don’t go hand in hand, but they do. Thanks to advances in design and materials, the warmest sleeping bags are now the lightest too. When you’re backpacking, every ounce adds up. That’s why you need a sleeping bag that is lightweight without sacrificing warmth.
Big Agnes Blue Lake 25
Big Agnes is big on keeping sleeping bags warm and lightweight all at the same time. If you’re on a budget but need a bag that will keep you warm when the mercury starts to drop, the Big Agnes Blue Lake 25 is the right choice for you. The bag is packed with synthetic insulation, however, it’s not bulky or heavy like other similar styles. This bag tips the scales at 2 lb. 11 ounces. The sleeping bag compresses nicely inside the included stuff sack to make packing it around for hours at a time on the trail no big deal.
The bag is mummy shaped, which is perfect for those cold nights in the mountains. The mummy shape keeps the insulation close to your body and traps a thin layer of heat for consistent warmth and comfort all night. This bag also features a nice hood and integrated pad system designed exclusively by Big Agnes. The inside of the bag is lined with a cozy lining to keep you comfortable. The Big Agnes Blue Lake 25 will keep you warm when it’s about 25 degrees outside your tent. This sleeping bag currently retails for $109.
Feathered Friends Penguin 20
If you only want to buy one sleeping bag in your lifetime, this is the one to get. Feathered Friends is a Seattle based outdoor gear company passionate about making the world’s best down sleeping bags! Each bag is handmade- how cool is that? The Penguin Feathered Friends 20 is packed with 900-goose down and is incredibly lightweight. This bag is specifically designed with the backpacker in mind. The bag weighs 41 ounces. That’s it!
The bag is a generous mummy shape, with extra wide shoulder space and larger than normal foot zone at the bottom. This extra-roomy mummy bag allows you to get comfortable without feeling restricted. The outer shell is a Pertex material, known for its durability and resistance to water. The inside of the bag is a soft liner, adding another layer of warmth for those long winter nights in the back-country. The Feathered Friends Penguin 20 retails for $469.
Feathered Friends Hummingbird UL 20
If you like to pack light when you are exploring the great outdoors, the Feathered Friends Hummingbird UL 20 is the sleeping bag to throw in your pack. It’s so lightweight, you will hardly know you have it. In fact, you may want to double check your pack before you leave the trail-head just to make sure you don’t forget it. This bag tips the scales at a whopping 27 ounces. That’s it! An incredible feat considering this high-quality sleeping bag is packed with 950-fill goose down. That’s a whole lot of insulation for not a lot of weight. This is a backpackers dream come true!
The bag is an extra wide mummy, giving you space, you need to sleep on your side. The center zipper makes getting in and out of this bag easy. With all that insulation, this bag will keep you warm on the coldest of winter nights. In fact, it’s rated to keep you warm when the mercury hovers around 20 degrees. This is an excellent sleeping bag for anyone who wants to trek through the mountains during the winter months! The Feathered Friends Flicker 20 retails for $439.
Big Agnes Elsie 15
If you are heading out in the wild on a cold fall morning, you’re going to need the protection of Elsie, the latest in the line of Big Agnes sleeping bags! This bag has everything you need to stay warm while camping without the hefty price tag. The Big Agnes Elsie 15 is a synthetic insulated sleeping bag with an integrated sleeping pad system to keep you protected from the cold ground. This system makes it so your sleeping pad slips right into a sleeve at the bottom of the bag, preventing the pad from moving around while you toss and turn during the night.
The bag is a bit heavier than a traditional backpacking bag, weighing in around three pounds. So, this is not a bag to take on a multi-day trek. This is a great bag for one day hike or trek to a mountain cabin. The bag features a comfortable hood to keep your head protected from the cold weather as well. The rectangle shape allows for more room to sleep however you like. The Big Agnes 15 will keep you protected when the temperature drops to 15 degrees. This bag currently retails for $179,
The North Face Furnace 35
Tipping the scales at just over two pounds, The North Face Furnace 35 is lightweight and exceptionally warm. The bag is packed with 550-fill water-resistant down. This is important when you are camping during inclement weather. Down naturally loses its insulation value when it gets wet. It’s always a good idea to go with a sleeping bag with water resistant down! This mummy shaped bag is big on keeping a consistent heat all over your body.
The quilting construction keeps the insulation where it belongs and exactly where you need it. You won’t be waking up in the middle of the night wondering where all the down feathers went in this bag. Another layer of synthetic insulation on the bottom of the bag gives you extra protection from the cold ground. A draft collar also keeps cold air out and warm air inside. The North Face Furnace 35 retails for $169.
Sea to Summit Spark
The Sea to Summit Spark packs up so well in a stuff sack it can literally fit in the palm of your hand. Yes, it’s true. Now, that is what backpackers like to hear and see! According to the company, this bag weighs about the same as a 20-ounce cup of coffee. That’s it! The designers of this bag also packed it with 850- loft water resistant down. The outer shell of the bag is made durable, yet lightweight nylon. This is one of the lightest sleeping bags you will find on the market today!
The bag features a unique sewn-through construction to literally keep the insulation from shifting and moving around. Each quilting block is packed with insulation- and right where you need it. The mummy shape keeps all that down close to your body when the mercury starts to drop. This bag is made to keep you warm when the temperature dips just below freezing. The bag is also available for summer and three-season camping as well. Right now, the Sea to Summit Spark retails for $419.
The North Face Blue Kazoo
When you need a sleeping bag as brave as you are, The North Face Blue Kazoo is an excellent choice. The bag is designed to keep you warm when you decide to take a two-day hike to Snow Lake in late October. You know, that time of year when warm fall days quickly give way to winter-like conditions at night? This bag is rated for temperatures above 15 degrees F. It’s packed with 650 fill ProDown. This means the down is treated with water-repellent finish.
This is a mummy bag with a slimmer than normal fit around the legs and feet. While a bit restrictive, it serves a good purpose. Keeping your body close to your sleeping bag gives you ultimate warmth for those cold alpine nights. The bag weighs in at just over 2 pounds. A nice draft collar and hood will keep the warm air inside your bag from escaping into the abyss. The North Face Blue Kazoo retails for $289.
Nemo Rave 15 Sleeping Bag
If you love backpacking but can’t stand the mummy shaped bag traditionally used by all your hiking buddies, this is the bag for you. The NEMO Rave 15 is a semi-mummy bag, with lots of room to sleep on your side, on your back or stomach. This bag is designed by an incredible team on the east coast. The bag is intuitive, comfortable and warm. If it could only make you coffee in the morning!
The bag is packed with 650 Nikwak hydrophobic down, which means you will stay warm and dry even when the snow starts to fly. The bag rated to keep you warm when the mercury drops to 15 degrees. Once you’re inside this bag, you won’t even notice how cold it is outside your tent. The top of the bag folds over-making it extra cozy, just like your bed at home. The Nemo Rave 15 currently retails for $299.
REI Co-Op Joule 21
With 700-fill power duck down, shivering will become a thing of the past. This bag is big on keeping you nice and toasty, from head to toe. It’s a mummy shaped bag, with extra fabric around the base of the bag to protect your toes from early morning dew on your tent. The bag is designed specifically to fit a women’s body. REI also makes backpacking bags for men too! With all that insulation it’s a small feat that this bag only weighs two pounds.
The outer shell is made with a high-quality and durable nylon material, designed to keep to water away from all that precious insulation. The contoured hood and draft tube keep body heat from escaping and cold air from finding a way inside. This bag is rated to keep you warm in weather around 21 degrees F. The REI Co-op Joule 21 retails for $299.
Nemo Forte 20
The Nemo Forte 20 is made for backpackers who want to sleep on their side after a long day on the trail. This bag is a spoon shape, with extra room around the knees. It’s super comfortable and makes camping in the cold something you will actually look forward to. The bag is made for three-seasons and can be zipped together with other Nemo bags for extra warmth on extra cold winter nights. Vents on the top of the bag called “Thermo Gills” allow warm air out if you wake up in a sweat. These cool vents keep cold air from coming back in your bag. It’s a genius idea!
The bag is packed with a synthetic insulation and weighs just over three pounds. It’s a bit on the heavy side for a backpacking bag, but it’s worth the extra weight. You may need to leave something behind to take this bag with you. Maybe you can leave those chocolate bars and smoked oysters in the car? The shell of the bag is made with a nylon ripstop treated with a durable water repellent finish. This will keep snow and rain from getting your bag wet. The Nemo Forte retails for $189.
Kelty Cosmic Down 20
When the temperature drops, you’ll want to climb into the Kelty Cosmic Down 20. This sleeping bag traps heat and keeps it where it belongs. The bag boasts 600 fill power Dri Down and weighs around two pounds. The Cosmic Down is rated to keep you warm when the mercury drops to 20 degrees. A draft collar and quilted construction make this a great choice for cold weather camping in the backcountry. The shell of the bag keeps moisture away and is durable against snags.
The Kelty Cosmic Down 20 is an excellent sleeping bag if you don’t want to spend a small fortune to stay warm. Kelty is an excellent brand, known for making high-quality gear without breaking the bank. This bag currently retails for $159. For that price point, you’ll have enough money left over to buy everyone a round of hot chocolate, coffee and cookies after you get off the mountain. Happy camping!
When a sleeping bag is rated for winter, it essentially means you can safely camp in the cold. Winter rated bags tend to be heavier than summer rated sleeping bags because they have more insulation. So, if you are backpacking into an alpine lake in February, you may want to take into consideration the weight of the sleeping bag as well as the insulation value.