Best Sleeping Bags For Cold Weather

12 Best Sleeping Bags For Cold Weather (2024)

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Gear up for winter camping adventures with the 12 best cold-weather sleeping bags! As an outdoor enthusiast, I’ve curated a list of top-performing sleeping bags for cozy nights in chilly temperatures. From extreme-cold options to women-specific and budget-friendly choices, this guide ensures you’re well-prepared for your next winter escapade.

Looking to cozy up outdoors this winter? Choosing the right winter sleeping bag is gonna be key for having an enjoyable and safe camping experience, whether you’re heading into the backcountry on a snowshoe, ski, or mountaineering trip–or just hanging out with your favorite people around a campfire next to the car.

Some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a sleeping bag for cold weather are:

  • Temperature rating
  • Insulation type
  • Weight
  • Packability

Short on time?
Here are the best winter sleeping bags:

A sleeping bag’s temperature rating is the most important factor to consider, as it will be a major determiner of how warm the bag will keep you; it’s important to choose a bag with a temperature rating that is appropriate for the coldest temperatures you expect to encounter. Oftentimes, manufacturers will advertise a “lower limit” rating–but this will be significantly different from the bag’s “comfort rating.” So, when you’re shopping around, it’s important to look for the comfort rating (which will oftentimes be buried in the product specs) and gauge that against the temperatures that you’ll expect to encounter on your trips.

Insulation type is another important factor to consider. Down insulation is lighter weight and more compressible than synthetic insulation, making it ideal for backpacking, mountaineering, and ski touring, but down-filled bags are typically more expensive than synthetic ones; and that fill can lose its insulating properties when wet–though high-end, modern bags are often filled with treated down with possesses moisture resistance.

Synthetic insulation is bulkier and heavier than down, but it retains its insulating properties when wet. It’s often less expensive, too. Weight and packability are also important factors to consider, especially if you plan to backpack with your sleeping bag. Ounces equal pounds, and pounds slow you down!

A few other important factors to consider when choosing a cold weather sleeping bag are the style, size, and shape of the bag. Mummy-style bags are the most thermally efficient because their shape keeps heat closer to the body. The downside is that mummy bags can be more restrictive and less comfortable for some people. Old-school, rectangular bags are more spacious and comfortable than mummies, but they are heavier and less thermally efficient.

The size of the bag is also important, as a bag that is too small will be uncomfortable, while a bag that is too large will not be as thermally efficient. That’s why it’s important to pick a bag that fits your body size and shape. Finally, think about some of the specific features of the bag, like the hood, draft collar, and draft tube, and zipper length which can help to keep you warm and comfortable on cold winter nights!

12 Best Sleeping Bags For Cold Weather

Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0F

Looking for the best all-around cold weather sleeping bag? The Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0 takes the cake! It’s the perfect choice for serious mountaineering and winter backpacking trips. The Phantom is made from high-end materials–including 850-fill down; and a lightweight, but durable 10D recycled shell–and there’s even a water-resistant Gore-Tex option!

The Phantom insulates down to its 0F claim, and has a cozy fit thanks to the slim mummy shape. This keeps it impressively light (2 lb 11 oz for the medium size) and it cinches down very small in its included compression sack. With the Gore-Tex shell (3 lb 3.5 oz for medium size,) it’s also water-repellent, making it ideal for backpacking and hut trips when condensation build-up can make for damp conditions. Oh! And the colors are super vibrant and pretty.

Therm-A-Rest Parsec 0F

The Therm-a-Rest Parsec 0 is a very lightweight cold weather mummy-style bag that’s suitable for year-round use. Box baffling ensures the best structure for warmth; and 60% of the insulation is positioned over the chest and 40% on the legs in order to maximize thermal efficiency.

The Parsec has a draft collar and zipper draft tube to hold in your body heat with a two-way zipper so you can vent the bag if you feel too warm–this makes it a great option for warmer weather. The generous girth across the chest accommodates extra clothing layers and lets you store gear inside, like boot liners or water bottles, that you don’t want to freeze overnight.

Because it’s made by Therm-A-Rest, a brand that also specializes in the best winter sleeping pads, it has special sleeping pad straps that can help prevent you from rolling off your pad at night; while exterior loops let you layer compatible quilts or blankets on top to boost the Parsec’s temperature rating so you don’t need to buy a separate sleeping bag for extreme conditions.

Feathered Friends Snowbunting 0F

The Feathered Friends Snowbunting EX 0 is a premium-quality ultralight sleeping bag that is perfect for mountaineering, winter backpacking, and high-altitude trekking, like in Nepal. The bag is stuffed with 25 ounces of ultra high-quality 900-fill down, which provides an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio. The continuous horizontal box baffles enwrap the entire bag, allowing you to shift down filling to exactly where you need it, while preventing down from migrating vertically in the bag which could create cold spots.

The hood is super plush and adjusts from wide open all the way down to a tiny hole for the mouth, while a fat collar and draft tube along the thick zipper keeps the breeze out. The Snowbunting is extra roomy for the regular size, which allows you to stash boot liners, gloves, and socks into the bag so that you can warm them and dry them overnight. Smaller people might find this bag a bit drafty.

Sea to Summit Spark 5F

The Sea to Summit Spark 5F is a premium, ultralight, and winter-ready sleeping bag that is perfect for people who prioritize weight savings over everything else. The bag is stuffed with 850-fill power Ultra-Dry goose down, which provides an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio; with its 10D ghost-like nylon shell, this mummy bag tips the scales at a scant 31 oz for the regular length.

Despite its low weight, the Spark features a full-length, #3 YKK snag-free zipper, a down-filled draft tube, and a draft collar–all of which will keep you cozy throughout the night. The side-block baffles maintain a 60:40 top to bottom insulation distribution, and the 3D contoured hood fits snugly around your head, providing maximum heat retention.

The bag is filled with Responsible Down Standard down and has Non-PFC hydrophobic treatment, which reduces moisture absorption, but is lighter on the planet, making it a more eco-friendly choice. While the Spark is incredibly lightweight for a bag with this temperature rating, that comes with a caveat: a significant reduction in interior space–which could make it less comfortable for some people.

Big Agnes Cinnabar -20F

The Big Agnes Cinnabar -20F sleeping bag is designed for burly expeditions and harsh winter conditions. It is built with a superlight, high tear strength shell with a PFAS-free waterproof coating; and it’s insulated with super-fancy 850-fill DownTek™ water-repellent down. The bag is designed with body mapped, thermally efficient baffles, which maximize loft while keeping the bag’s liner and thus, trapped heat close to the body.

A side-access zipper on the opposite side of the full zipper provides quick-access venting and heat retention if you need to slip an arm out. The bag also features an internal mesh stash pocket for phones and other small items like camera batteries. An insulated tube along the upper hood opening seals out drafts when it’s cinched; the low-profile cord lock lets you uncinch the hood with one hand. An additional, oversized draft collar with adjustability, and a 3-D anti-snag draft tube along the YKK #5 zipper prevents heat loss. At the bottom of the bag is an ergonomic footbox with increased insulation; the interior of which features polyester taffeta fabric with a moisture-wicking finish for both durability and moisture management. Finally, interior fabric loops allow you to hook a sleeping bag liner inside; and streamlined exterior loops allow hang-drying and storage.

Best Winter Sleeping Bag for Women

Women-specific sleeping bags are typically designed with the consideration that we like to sleep in a fetal position and we run a lot colder than men on average.

Feathered Friends Murre EX 0F

The Feathered Friends Murre EX 0 is the best choice for women-specific 0-degree sleeping bags and my personal favorite. The shoulder girth is more narrow which helps trap the body heat inside the bag while the chest area is larger, allowing extra room inside for you to tuck your knees up and curl into a ball while you sleep. The footbox also has extra insulation which makes this the warmest of Feathered Friends’ 0 degree bags.

You can feel the premium quality of this plushy bag as it’s stuffed with 25.5 oz of ultra high-quality 900-fill down and the medium size (fits up to 5’9”) weighs only 2 lb 13 oz which provides an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio, similar to the Snowbunting. The permanent draft collar prevents breath condensation from getting into the bag and creates extra warmth around the neck. With the snug hood, you no longer have to tuck your head into your sleeping bag to stay extra toasty.

Extreme Cold Weather Sleeping Bags

Planning an expedition in the northern regions? High altitude mountaineering in the depths of winter? Crossing a polar ice cap? These extreme cold weather sleeping bags are up for the task.

Feathered Friends Ptarmigan EX -25F

The Feathered Friends Ptarmigan EX -25 sleeping bag is an excellent choice for extreme cold weather–think camping on top of 14ers in the winter or high-altitude expeditions in Nepal or South America. It’s stuffed with 39 ounces of 900-fill down, which provides an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio. The Pertex Shield EX water-resistant/breathable shell with DWR, and a Pertex 30 denier taffeta lining, ensures that the bag will stay dry and comfortable even in wet conditions–like when condensation freezes on the tent’s inner walls, and then falls down when the sun comes out.

The Ptarmigan’s side-block baffles maintain a 60:40 top to bottom insulation distribution, while the 3D contoured hood wraps a thick, cozy layer of down around your head. The bag also features a thick draft tube that prevents cold air from seeping past the zipper; large side walls that ensure an even distribution of insulation all around; and a heavy-duty #5 YKK two-way zipper with locking sliders keeps it secure.

Therm-A-Rest Polar Ranger -20F

The Therm-a-rest Polar Ranger™ -20F sleeping bag was designed for cold weather expeditions, with expert consulting from famed polar explorer Eric Larsen. It is extremely warm and comfortable, but also adaptable thanks to its vertical side vents which allow you to use your arms while tucked inside, and also to release excess heat.

The Polar Ranger is stuffed with 800-fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down, which provides excellent, water resistant insulation while keeping the bag lightweight and compressible. It also features a thick draft collar, a hood, and the Toe-asis™ Foot Warmer Pocket provides a crazy amount of warmth–all of which will work together to keep you comfortable throughout the night. Finally, it’s made from recycled and responsibly-sourced materials, making it an eco-friendly choice for outdoor enthusiasts.

Best Budget Winter Sleeping Bags

So you want to experience winter camping–but are looking for a sleeping bag that won’t break the bank? One of these budget-friendly options will be your wallet’s best friend!

Mountain Hardwear Lamina 0F

The Mountain Hardwear Lamina 0F sleeping bag is a high-quality, warm, and well-built sleeping bag that is perfect for cold weather camping. The bag is stuffed with Thermal.Q synthetic insulation, which provides an excellent non-down warmth-to-weight ratio. The bag features a full-length snag-free zipper, a down-filled draft tube, and a draft collar to keep you warm and comfortable throughout the night. The side-block baffles maintain a 60:40 top to bottom insulation distribution, while the 3D contoured hood wraps a layer of insulation around your head. The bag is made from recycled materials, which reduces its environmental footprint. The Lamina 0F weighs only 4 lbs 2 oz, which is relatively light for a synthetic bag with this temperature rating. 

REI Co-op Frostbreak 5F

The REI Co-op Frostbreak 5F sleeping bag breaks the frost, but it doesn’t break the bank! Its recycled polyester shell is treated with DWR that helps it to repel both stains and moisture; the bag is stuffed with four layers of recycled polyester insulation. Offset quilt construction provides even coverage and minimizes the formation of cold spots. This bag is kind of heavy (5 lbs 1 oz for regular size,) and quite bulky, so it’s best-suited for camping vs. backpacking.

Hyke & Byke Eolus 0F 

The Hyke & Byke Eolus 0F is a premium quality, ultralight sleeping bag that’s stuffed with hydrophobic, 800 fill power goose down–and, almost unbelievably, comes in at a price point that is more comparable to budget down bags or high-end synthetic bags than what can be found from comparably-specced bags from mainstream brands. According to Hyke & Byke’s founders, this is because they’ve eliminated much of the overhead that bigger companies take on (such as physical offices and marketing budgets;) they design all of the products and fulfill orders themselves; and they pass those savings directly to their customers.

Kelty Mistral 0F

The Mistral is another budget-friendly synthetic-filled sleeping bag that’s rated for cold weather camping. At a price point similar to that of the REI Frostbreak, the Mistral offers nearly a pound in weight savings, clocking in at 4 lbs. 2 oz. for regular size–meaning that it gets closer to a weight that can be justified for backpacking. Personally, I prefer down fill as opposed to a synthetic sleeping bag specifically for winter camping but they do tend to come at a higher price point.

Winter Camping: FAQs

Still have some questions about winter camping? I’ve got you covered!
Finding the right sleeping bag for winter camping is important when planning your camping trip. Remember that winter camping can extend to early Spring depending on the snow conditions and whether you are camping at high altitude or not.

Also, having the proper sleeping bag for winter camping won’t be enough to keep you warm if you do not have the proper insulated sleeping pad to keep your back warm. I’ve slept in a -20 degrees sleeping bag at below freezing temps with a 3 season sleeping pad and had a miserable cold sleep — learn from my mistakes. Click here to shop the best (& my personal favorite) inflatable winter sleeping pad for backpacking.

What is the overall best sleeping bag for winter?

If you can swing the price, the Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0F is the best overall sleeping bag for camping out during the winter. It has a robust feature-set; a great balance of comfort compared to light weight; and is made with premium materials. 

Which sleeping bag is the warmest?

The Feathered Friends Ptarmigan -25F is the warmest sleeping bag on this list; it should suffice for winter camping in most conditions in cold places, even for cold sleepers. If you’re looking for a truly extreme sleeping bag, the Feathered Friends Snowy Owl is temperature rated to -60F!

What sleeping bag do I need for 30 degree weather?

If you’re looking for a sleeping bag for 30-degree weather, that would likely fall into the “three-season” category, which is significantly lighter weight than a 0-degree bag; and will likely be cheaper, too. Check out the Sea to Summit Spark 28F, which only weighs 1 lb 1 oz!

How warm is a 0 degree sleeping bag? 

A sleeping bag, even a zero degree one, doesn’t generate warmth–but it will insulate the body against temperatures outside. Most sleeping bags that are advertised as “0F” are actually advertising their “lower limit,” which will protect the body from cold, but will likely be uncomfortable for most people; even more so for women. To determine how warm a sleeping bag will keep you, look for the “comfort rating,” which for a zero degree bag, is likely to be closer to 15-degrees. That means that it should keep you warm down to 15 degrees outside, but that can also be affected by a variety of variables, including humidity; and even how much you ate for dinner! If you know that you do run cold, consider choosing a warmer bag.

Conclusion: Best Sleeping Bags For Cold Weather 

There you have it: the best sleeping bags for cold weather backpacking, mountaineering, and camping. From Mountain Hardwear to Thermarest and Feathered Friends, there’s a sleeping bag for every camp condition. Make sure you pay attention to the temperature rating, insualtion type, weight, nad packability when picking out the right winter sleeping bag for your trip.

Do you recommend a bag that didn’t make this list? Lemme know why in the comments.

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