Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bags

Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bags

Our experts tested 27 of the most popular winter down sleeping bags in 8 years. We purchased 13 of the most warm and best winter sleeping bags, which allowed us to spend months camping in the cold without the luxury of a warm home. We’ve tested and compared 13 of the best and warmest bags with road trippers and ski patrollers. To score each product, we carefully evaluate the key performance metrics. For those looking to save money and find the best feathers, our comprehensive review provides recommendations based upon proven performance.

The Best Overall Cold Weather Down Sleeping Bag

Western Mountaineering Kodiak MF

Our favorite cold-weather bag is the Western Mountaineering Kodiak MMF. WM has quietly been producing this bag for many years to a loyal following of adventurers. This bag, like the Versalite and the Antelope, has a large 3D draft tube as well as a zipper that is snag-free. Its 66″ shoulder cut and 30 ounces (850) fill down make it our favorite bag for winter camping in lower 48. The testers loved the fact that they could sleep on either their stomach or side and that they could also carry all of the insulation without any hassle. It can also be folded down very small.

If you plan on spending several weeks under the stars, having more space in your sleeping bag can be a plus. But keep in mind that an uninsulated bag won’t feel as warm or as snug as one with more insulation. This can be fixed by packing your jackets and extra layers in the bag. The best Western Mountaineering bag is the best, but they are expensive. This high-quality bag can last for decades if you take care of it.

Fast and Light Winter Camping

Mountain Hardwear Phantom

Although the Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0 bag has seen many improvements over the years, it is still a top-quality bag and highly sought after by those who dream of sleeping in a white wilderness. This bag, which weighs in at just 3 pounds, has 850 fill power and is made from a 10D recycled nylon shell. It’s ideal for overnight ski tours or winter backpacking trips. MHW does everything to make this bag compressible, even including a high-quality, compression sack. The DWR-treated shell fabric keeps down dry and protects it from condensation. Our testers also appreciate thoughtful features such as the storage pocket and glow in the dark zipper pulls.

Although the Phantom 0’s cut is standard compared with most top-performing down bags it may be too tight for larger people. This is especially true if you are spending several days at base camp and need to keep a liter or two of water, a pair of clothes, or their boots inside the bag. The price of this bag is also not to be discounted. Quality goose down is expensive, especially when it comes in a durable and lightweight shell fabric. The Phantom will make it possible to forget about all your excuses and get out into the backcountry in winter. We would bet on it.

The Best Bang for Your Buck

REI Co-op Time 0

The REI Co-op Down Time 0 down bag is suitable for all and easily outperforms synthetic bags of similar price and rating. It also offers all the features of more expensive bags like draft tubes and a draft collar. DWR treatment prevents the bag from soaking in overnight condensation which can be a problem when winter camping. The bag was loosely packed in large storage bags. This is a sign that the duck down’s 650-fill contents aren’t compressed and shows REI’s dedication to quality, even with the more expensive duck down.

The Down Time 0 is warm enough for its price but not light. Although the 650-fill duck down is warm and comfortable, its warmth-toweight ratio is not as high as bags with 800+ filled goose down. However, these bags are twice as expensive. This bag is great for short trips to the hunting camp or winter car camping. However, it is difficult to carry this bag far into the mountains.

Lightweight Winter Adventures

Western Mountaineering Versalite 10

Our go-to bag when we are on ultralight winter adventures is the Western Mountaineering Versalite. This bag is light at just 2 lbs 1 Oz and perfect for spring skiing and cold climbing trips. The Versalite, like all Western Mountaineering bags has a great snag-free zip, a high draft tube and a warm draft collar. The Versalite, paired with a down jacket is a great option for people who like to sleep warm but want to lose weight.

Although the Versalite may not be as weather-resistant than some of our heavier bags, it is lighter and packs down more efficiently than any bag in its category. We recommend carrying a heavier or warmer bag if you are going to experience temperatures below the mid-teens. This bag is worth falling in love with, even if you don’t live there.

Best For Comfort

NEMO Sonic 0

For its comfort, the Nemo Sonic is a winner’s circle. This bag’s generously large cut gave our testers ample space to turn and toss in their testing. The thermal vents let us dial in the right amount warmth to provide a greater range of utility. However, during most of our testing it was so cold that we decided to keep them closed. The bag’s deep hood, wide shoulder cut and elastic foot box made it easy for our testers to remove their clothes from the bag.

The Sonic doesn’t feel as warm to our testers as the Western Mountaineering Kodiak MMF. This bag isn’t as efficient thermally because of its extra space. To add warmth, stuff your puffy jacket into the bag’s bottom to increase the space. This bag could be the one for you if comfort is your main priority.

Best for Expeditions

Marmot Col. -20

Marmot Col bags are great for expeditions. You’ll spend many days in your Marmot Col sleeping bag waiting for the weather to improve. The bag is spacious enough to hold water bottles, boots and extra clothing. The bag is so large that one of our testers was able to read inside the bag.

The Col is over 4 lbs and does not pack down as small in our review. This makes it not the best choice for human-powered long-distance activities. The Col is better for people who use a snowmobile, horse or dogsled to get around. The Col is the perfect winter base camp for those who value warmth, comfort, weather resistance and warmth more than weight and packability.

Test Results

Your sleeping bag is a key piece of gear for your overnight winter kit. You will most likely be unable to sleep well in the cold without a sleeping bag. Your sleeping bag can also be described as your “survival package.” If you had to save your life by ripping a hole in your tent, or breaking your leg away from help, your sleeping bag would likely make the difference between being rescued and becoming hypothermic. Most situations will only require the ability to crawl into a warm down cocoon at night after a long cold day. In winter, you have no other heat source than your body heat. Building fires is not always possible. Thankfully, modern down bags allow us to stay alive and even sleep comfortably in the coldest conditions with waterproof/breathable fabrics, hydrophobic down, and various clever design strategies. It is crucial to be able to fall asleep and then rest and recover properly to enjoy any skiing, hiking, or climbing that you are planning to do during your trip. It’s one thing to be able to survive the night, but it’s another to fall asleep and wake up feeling refreshed.

The bags in our review include bags that keep you warm and comfortable at your favorite winter crag. We also have high-end bags suitable for backcountry skiing tours and climbing expeditions. We brought back some of our favorite bags from the previous review and compared them with a variety of newcomers. Each bag was tested for warmth, weight, comfort and packed size. We also evaluated weather resistance.

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By Tom Smith

Tom Smith is Content Manager at Amir Articles, Answer Diary and Mods Diary from Australia, studied BSC in 2010, Love to write content in general categories, Play hardcore strategy games all the time.

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