It might be a little while off yet (depending entirely what part of the world you live in) but it’s never too early to prepare for the colder weather.
Especially if you’re going to be spending time outdoors.
Do you know what the best thing about camping in winter is?
There’s nobody else around.
That’s because most people would think you were an absolute nutter for attempting to camp in lower temperatures.
But as the old adage goes – there’s no such thing as bad weather – only bad clothes.
Or in this case, bad sleeping bags.
But these certainly aren’t bad sleeping bags, my fellow campers – these are the best cold weather sleeping bags 2020!
And so long as you’re fully prepared and you’ve got the right gear, you can enjoy camping in any conditions. So check out these awesome sleeping bags for winter camping in my review below. A buyer’s guide and FAQ will follow.
- TOP 15 Best Winter Sleeping Bags 2020
- Active Era Mummy Sleeping Bag
- Farland Sleeping Bag
- Coleman 0°F Mummy Sleeping Bag
- Teton Sports Celsius XXL Sleeping Bag
- Marmot Trestles 30 Mummy Sleeping Bag
- Aegismax Outdoor Goose Down Sleeping Bag
- North Star Sports Sub-Zero Sleeping Bag
- Hyke & Byke Eolus Hydrophobic Goose Sleeping Bag
- Therm-a-Rest Questar Down Sleeping Bag
- Big Agnes Blackburn UL 0 Sleeping Bag
- Nemo Sonic 0 Down Sleeping Bag
- Mountain Hardwear Phantom Flame Sleeping Bag
- The North Face Unisex Inferno Sleeping Bag
- Western Mountaineering Kodiak Sleeping Bag
- Marmot Col Membrain -20F Degree Sleeping Bag
- Cold Weather Sleeping Bag Buyers Guide
TOP 15 Best Winter Sleeping Bags 2020
Active Era Mummy Sleeping Bag
Review: Starting at the budget end (which isn’t going to last that long) we have this Active Era mummy-style sleeping bag.
It’s rated down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit in extreme conditions with a 300 GSM synthetic filling and polyester outer shell. It’s water resistant for damper conditions and has a bunch of other useful features that will keep most casual campers happy.
- Great price for what you get.
- Internal pocket for valuables.
- Double zipper.
- Not for taller campers.
- Perhaps not as warm as claimed in colder weather.
Farland Sleeping Bag
Review: Stepping up to 400 GSM for the internal filler is this Farland entry that is designed for colder or cooler weather.
Like the above model, it might not do you much good in extreme conditions, but it’s a decent all-rounder that will suit the folks who aren’t regularly in the great outdoors.
This water-resistant and waterproof bag also comes in a choice of styles – either the mummy or the rectangle depending on your preference.
- Great price.
- Choice of colors and styles.
- Can combine to become a double bag.
- Look elsewhere if you’re over 5’11.
- Not one of the best backpacking sleeping bags out there – on the bulky side.
Coleman 0°F Mummy Sleeping Bag
Review: It really is of no surprise that one of the best camping tent brands would weigh in with their winter sleeping bag – one that is finally suited to the taller humans among us.
Coleman makes quality camping gear across the board, and this is a solid, budget option from a name you know you can trust. It’s a mummy style bag that claims to be usable in as low as zero degrees Fahrenheit.
Not bad for a synthetic, machine washable product.
- Great value for a name you know.
- Suitable for tall people.
- Anti-snag system on the zips.
- Not the most attractive color.
Teton Sports Celsius XXL Sleeping Bag
Review: Teton is another outdoor sports company that produces some terrific, quality products – and this extra large cold weather sleeping bag is no exception.
It’s a rectangular design with a smart flannel interior that still manages to offer a mummy hood. Rated to zero degrees Fahrenheit, the packed up bag weighs 7 lbs in a stuff sack.
- Smart design.
- Interior pocket.
- Combinable with another bag.
- Not machine washable.
- On the heavy side.
Marmot Trestles 30 Mummy Sleeping Bag
Review: Based in Colorado, Marmot has been offering top quality outdoor clothing and goods since 1974.
This bag is one of their more budget offerings – which is arguably one of the best cold weather sleeping bags under $100. Tested to provide a very comfortable night’s sleep to as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s close to being a down bag without actually being packed with down.
- Great price for what a Marmot bag.
- Water and weather resistant.
- Comfortable design.
- Would have been nice to offer a lower temperatures range – but then the cost would increase.
Aegismax Outdoor Goose Down Sleeping Bag
Review: The first of our down sleeping bags sees this ultra-light effort from Aegismax. Rated as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit in extreme conditions, its major advantage is that it weighs just 408 grams.
It’s certainly one of the best lightweight winter sleeping bags available. But remember it will depend on temperatures, clothing, and a person’s own individual condition when it comes to being comfortable in really lower climes.
- Ultra lightweight.
- A bargain down bag.
- A little thin on the goose down.
North Star Sports Sub-Zero Sleeping Bag
Review: Northstar sports get in on the action with this black and coyote (gold) over-sized mummy-style sleeping bag.
It’s a synthetic, machine washable and ripstop material that will keep you comfortable at zero degrees Fahrenheit. There’s also loads of room in this if you happen to be on the larger side of the population and you want to flip over in the dead of night.
- Smart design.
- Quality 10 YKK zipper.
- On the weightier side for backpacking.
Hyke & Byke Eolus Hydrophobic Goose Sleeping Bag
Review: US company Hyke & Byke specialize in outdoor equipment with particular emphasis on sleeping bags and backpacking tents.
These aerospace engineers are inclined to produce some of the best quality 4-season sleeping bags around. This offering is a hybrid goose down and synthetic construction, with a comfort range of zero degrees Fahrenheit.
The largest model weighs less than 4 lbs when packed in the compression sack. If you get the orange one you’ll look like a giant carrot.
- Super compact and lightweight.
- All-around quality build.
- Reputable, environmentally friendly company.
- Choice of fun and funky colors.
- Colors might not be for everyone.
Therm-a-Rest Questar Down Sleeping Bag
Review: This Therm-a-Rest bag offers a zero degree Fahrenheit rating in a bag that can fit someone up to 6’6 tall (long version) while it weighs as little as 3.19 lbs.
It boasts a 650-fill Nikwax-treated hydrophobic down that is actually water resistant and dries three times faster than untreated versions. Removable straps connect you to your mattress to minimize heat loss and ensure you have a comfortable night’s sleep while not rolling off onto the floor.
- Great choice of sizes.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Zoned insulation to trap body heat.
- Not as tried and tested as similar models.
Big Agnes Blackburn UL 0 Sleeping Bag
Review: Another company based in the outdoor capital Colorado, Big Anges are a by-word when it comes to cold weather tents.
As such, you would expect them to produce the same kind of quality for their cold weather sleeping bags – and indeed they have.
This 850-fill DownTek down bag has a rating of zero degrees Fahrenheit, a choice of sizes and zipper sides, and is contoured to keep you toasty all night long. This is a draft-free zone right here.
- Beautifully designed.
- Great choice of sizes and zip sides.
- Weighs just 2lbs 12 oz.
- If you find one let me know!
Nemo Sonic 0 Down Sleeping Bag
Review: Based out of Dover, New Hampshire, Nemo has put together some serious pieces of kit when it comes to aiding you in your outdoor adventures.
A lot of thought has gone into this award-winning Sonic bag, with a zero degree Fahrenheit rating and well-contoured design to ensure you have a great night’s sleep – from basecamp to summit.
It’s jam-packed full of features that will impress even the most jaded winter camper.
- Stretchable construction to allow movement.
- Vents ensure you don’t overheat without letting cold air in.
- Water resistant.
- Light for a winter sleeping bag.
- On the pricey side.
Mountain Hardwear Phantom Flame Sleeping Bag
Review: Founded in the US in 1993, Mountain Hardware is another home-grown company that specializes in quality outdoor gear, equipment, and apparel.
The Phantom-Flame is aptly named as it is their warmest down sleeping bag, and it’s tough, durable and yet exceptionally lightweight.
For climbers and campers, this one is hard to beat.
- Six-chamber hood for consistent head warmth.
- This is getting to be a very expensive hobby.
The North Face Unisex Inferno Sleeping Bag
Review: Well, what a surprise. You knew it wasn’t going to be too long before outdoor stalwarts The North Face finally made an appearance – and here they are.
This is an expedition quality, 4-season sleeping bag with a 15-degree temperature rating. It’s beautifully designed with a front-opening zipper, water-resistant coating and 800-fill down insulation.
It’s certainly one of the best-looking bags on this list, that’s for sure.
- Smart design.
- Vented fabric technology.
- Roomy inside.
- It might be difficult to actually get in it for some.
Western Mountaineering Kodiak Sleeping Bag
Review: Moving into the upper echelons of the sleeping bag world and we have this entry from Western Mountaineering.
Founded by two mountaineers and based out of California, this company have been delivering unparalleled outdoor gear for over 30 years. This offering is constructed of highly water-resistant, breathable and lightweight shell fabric.
They’ve made this with bear-sized people in mind, and yet it only weighs 2 lbs 12 oz.
- Top quality across the board.
- Super lightweight and portable.
- You might need to remortgage the house.
Marmot Col Membrain -20F Degree Sleeping Bag
Review: Another entry from Marmot sees this offering, which is no doubt the best extreme cold sleeping bag in my review.
This boasts a 2-layer, 30D Pertex Shield, 800-fill down and waterproof, breathable exterior.
The draft tube is also down filled, ensuring your head and neck won’t feel the chill in the night – even if you’re in temperatures as low as -20. For all-weather, year-round sleeping bags – it doesn’t get much better than this.
- Top-drawer construction – up there with the best money can buy.
- You’re going to need a lot of money to buy it.
Cold Weather Sleeping Bag Buyers Guide
I think I’ve learned a ridiculous amount in researching this review – because the world of sleeping bags isn’t easy to navigate.
Below you’ll find some potentially useful information to help you make the right decision, including what to look for and an FAQ section.
Without a doubt this should be your first port of call when looking for the best cold weather sleeping bags. How a bag is insulated will make a huge difference between keeping you warm or freezing several appendages off.
There are two main types of insulation.
Synthetic Sleeping Bags
Usually made from polyester or nylon. Their main advantage is that they are far cheaper than the down filled variety. However, they also have a huge plus point in being able to remain efficient even in damp or wet conditions. The main disadvantage is that they can be bulky and less portable.
Down Sleeping Bags
Filled with either goose or duck feather. Goose is more expensive but not because it performs any better – it’s just harder to come by. They’re lightweight and generally warmer than synthetic bags. They’re also more durable – so you can see why you’ll usually pay more for a down bag.
However, there is a “down” side (sorry). If you get a down bag damp or wet, it becomes pretty much useless.
There are other versions, such as water-resistant down which has been treated to improve its ability to function when it gets wet. You’ll pay through the nose for that though.
The Temperature Rating
Now I must admit to finding this a little confusing and complex at first, but it’s essential that you learn and understand the temperature rating before buying any sleeping bag.
Otherwise, you’re risking sweating buckets or freezing to death – neither of which leads to a very good night’s sleep.
EN 13537 is a European standard which was implemented to ensure a universal temperature rating system for sleeping bags worldwide.
It can get confusing when you take into account the many variables and assumptions one must make in order to find the correct sleeping bag for your needs.
The scale you’re looking out for can be found in the short informative video below:
That should give you an idea of how the system works far better and more efficiently than I could be writing several paragraphs about the subject.
Some manufacturers might claim to have produced a 4-season sleeping bag, but if you adhere to the temperature ratings, you won’t be left out in the cold.
It should go without saying, but you kinda want to be comfortable when you’re sleeping at night.
If you’ve chosen your filler and you’re happy with the temperature rating, your comfort will also depend on what kind of material is going to be next to your skin.
This will be entirely down to your own choice and preference. However, there is another couple of factors that will play into your general level of comfort – and they are…
Size and Style
You’d be amazed at how many people purchase a sleeping bag and then complain when they can’t fit into it.
Sleeping bags do come in a variety of sizes, so do make sure you know how big you are before you click add to basket.
And that doesn’t just mean knowing your measurements. Your comfort will also depend on how much you like to move around at night.
Do you sleep as stiff as the dead – or are you prone to starfishing? Do you like to snooze on your side or on your tum? Are you one of those total aliens who can sleep all night on their backs…?!
Pay attention to wiggle room – particularly at the shoulders, knees and feet. Check to see if the footbox is going to be comfortable for you.
Does it have a hood? Generally speaking, winter or colder weather sleeping bags should have one as standard.
All of these factors will come into play in either a mummy-style or rectangular sleeping bag. Or perhaps a hybrid of the two.
Again, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself in for.
Or, INTO, rather.
How easy it is to transport a sleeping bag is a big factor for many people when choosing a product that’s right for them.
This is especially true if you’ll be on the go. Backpacking sleeping bags are vastly different to vehicle or frontcamping ones.
Obviously, you’ll know what type you’ll need to look out for. But remember that down sleeping bags are usually much more portable and packable than the synthetic ones.
Zippers and Breathability
Nobody likes snagging a zipper on the bag material as the temperature plummets and you’re just trying to tuck yourself in for the night.
Thankfully, these days it should be all but a thing of the past – as new zipper and sleeping bag tech seeks to end that nightmarishly frustrating scenario.
But it isn’t always the case – so make sure you check the quality of the zippers and fastenings of your potential product purchase.
And while you’re at it – make sure there’s decent airflow (without compromising insulation) when you’re examining specifications.
You don’t want to be waking up in a pool of your own sweat, either.
This can often be a huge factor when it comes to deciding your sleeping bag of choice.
Not least because the cost can vary wildly and to serious extremes.
Personally, for me, it comes down to what you’re going to be using it for.
(And perhaps how much you value your life.)
Am I Going to be Too Hot if I Use a Winter Sleeping Bag in the Summer?
The short answer is – most likely. But it all depends on your sleeping bag rating. Also, remember that in summer you can always remove more layers, or open your bag out and use it more as a duvet.
Again, use the right product at the right time.
How do I Make Myself Warmer in My Sleeping Bag?
A useful question. Start by putting on more layers – which means you need to make sure you’ve packed enough gear in the first place. You can’t put on what you don’t have.
Always wear a hat – even if you’re using a hooded bag.
Never sleep in wet or damp clothing – or a wet or damp sleeping bag. Unless of course, it is water resistant.
And one of the best ways of keeping warm – or increasing your temperature – is to sleep off the ground. Camping mats are great, camping cots are better.
And if all else fails – shared bodily warmth. Snuggle in with a loved one. And if you haven’t got a loved one – a dog is just as good – if not better.
How do I Wash My Sleeping Bag?
You’ll most likely find that synthetic bags are machine washable, so just bung it in with a little powder and you’re good to go.
I would advise caution on using the tumble dryer though – hang it outside and let nature take its course.
For the most part, down bags will need to be gently hand washed with a mild detergent. Don’t ever wring it out – hang it up to dry on the line and be patient.
It is possible to machine wash down bags – so just always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions before you utterly ruin your brand new toy.
Having said all that, if you take good care and maintain your bag well – you should rarely – if ever – actually have to wash it.
With a bit of luck, I’ve provided you with enough food for thought before you purchase the best cold weather sleeping bag 2020.
Let me know in the comments which one you’re thinking of opting for and why. As ever, it’s always nice to hear a bit of feedback.
In the meantime, happy camping!
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