CAMPING & HIKING

Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bag: Sleep Away the Cold

Winter sleeping bags review
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

Most people have a problem in finding the best cold weather sleeping bag for their needs. They are mostly concerned with comfort, size, model and more but often forget that keeping yourself warm and insulated is the main part. But of course, you will agree that camping in a cold weather location requires the warmest, most comfortable sleeping bag. However, shopping for one has its fair share of challenges.

So, if you’re one of those people who just can’t find the right sleeping bag, or simply don’t know which one you should buy, then we urge you to keep reading. Aside from providing top tips on how to shop for a sleeping bag, we have also done you the favor of recommending some top products. Let’s get right to it!

Our Top Picks

BrandWeightSizeBest UseWaterproofDown or SyntheticPrice
Western Mountaineering Antelope MF2.7 lbs5 ft 6 in and 6 ft 6 inWinter and cold climatesWater resistantDownCheck price on Amazon
Mountain Hardware Phantom 0F4 lbs6 ftWinter and extreme weather conditionsWater resistantDownCheck price on Amazon
MontBell U.L. Spiral Hugger2.78 lbs5 ft3 seasonWater resistantDownCheck price on Amazon
Marmot Lithium 0F1 lb6 ft3 season, dry climatesWater resistantDownCheck price on Amazon
Valandre Shocking Blue 8003.7 lbs6 ftWinter, cold weatherWater resistantDownCheck price on Amazon
Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed 800-Fill4.2 lbs6 ftWinter, cold and wet climatesWater resistantDownCheck price on Amazon
Mountain Hardwear Lamina Z Flame 224.7 lbs6 ftCold and wet climatesWater resistantDownCheck price on Amazon

Tips on How to Buy a Cold Weather Sleeping Bag

So, how do you know which cold weather sleeping bag, or any sleeping bag for that matter, is the right one? Well, simply, there are a couple of things that you need to watch out for before making the purchase.

Types of sleeping bags

There are three main types of sleeping bags. Each of the following have their own benefits and disadvantages, depending on the type of your trip.

  • Rectangular sleeping bags: This type looks exactly like its name suggests. It resembles a door by its shape, and it’s a really common type of sleeping bag. While not being the most wanted one, it stays a classic, with its benefits and disadvantages being balanced. They are usually larger, which makes them difficult to pack, and to carry. They are also often times too heavy, to be carried when going on long journeys. Since they usually offer a lot of room, they are not very good for maintaining heat, and preserving it. However, that is the same thing that we can count as one of the benefits, because they offer a lot of room, which makes them comfortable to sleep in. There is also a type of rectangular sleeping bags called “double-wide” sleeping bags. They are large enough for two persons to sleep inside of them, with no problem.
  • Mummy sleeping bags: The most common modern day sleeping bags are definitely the mummy ones. And yes, they are called that because they resemble a mummy’s coffin. Without a doubt, this type is the best one you are going to find on the market. They are featured by all the latest improvements for sleeping bags. Featuring high insulation, temperature rating, weather-resistance, breathability and ventilation, they are the most wanted sleeping bags, by campers, mountaineers, and hikers, from all over the world. While not being exactly comfortable, with not much room to offer, that is the price you will pay for a warm night sleep. Don’t be mistaken, every camper and adventurer will sacrifice comfort for the guarantee that they will stay warm and insulated, during the night.
  • Semi-rectangular sleeping bags: These sleeping bags are probably more commonly known as barrel-shaped sleeping bags. They are not that different from the rectangular ones. They also offer plenty of room, and are really comfortable to sleep in. Not exactly the ideal sleeping bag to bring on the top of your backpack, if you know that extreme and ideal conditions await you. They won’t insulate you as well as a mummy sleeping bag would, so watch out.

Types of sleeping bags

Size

It will most likely depend on the model of the sleeping bag, what size should you choose. However, this shouldn’t be a big issue as long as you keep in mind a few things, while choosing.

A sleeping bag shouldn’t be too big or too small. Don’t buy a sleeping bag just because you like how it looks, just to find out afterwards you have to squeeze yourself when trying to sleep, or even worse, to find out you have extra space. Buying a sleeping bag that is too big means that the temperature within it will be much lower than it should, especially during winter, and the cold season. So you should choose a sleeping bag which is just a little below your height, because your head will always be outside the sleeping bag.

Temperature rating

When checking out sleeping bags, you will probably need to keep an eye on the ones that look the largest. And that obviously means that one will be the warmest to sleep in, right? Well not exactly, because some sleeping bags have a higher percentage of insulation, and some have a lower percentage; this can’t be seen by the naked eye.

Sleeping bag size

It also usually depends on the material the sleeping bag is made from. When we put all of this together, it is called temperature rating.

The temperature rating can vary from a minimum of 15ºF to over 50ºF. Sleeping bags with a temperature rating between 15ºF and 35ºF are best during the warmer seasons. During winter, it is highly recommended that you use sleeping bags with a temperature rating of over 40ºF.

It isn’t easy choosing a sleeping bag with the right temperature rating, but this given information is basic knowledge, and it should be enough for you to choose the right one for the occasion.

Weight

You need to think ahead when buying items for camping or anything that will become an important part of your adventure once you step out into the wild. That’s why you need to count on the overall weight of the items you’ll be carrying. Now, sleeping bags aren’t usually that heavy. At least, they don’t seem that way in the beginning.

Cold weather sleeping bag

If you buy a sleeping bag which is heavier than the common one, it will become a nuisance carrying it. So plan ahead.

Insulation

Don’t confuse insulation with temperature rating, because those are two different things you need to consider. Knowing the material a sleeping bag is made of will also tell you the insulation percentage. There are two most common insulation types:

  • Synthetic: Most recommended because they are highly water-resistant and retain heat better. They are also much heavier. Best used during winter and in really cold climates.
  • Down: Lighter than the synthetic type and has a high temperature rating. However, even if it sounds better, it will not preserve heat well when it’s wet, and it dries really slow. You don’t want to be in that situation during winter and where it’s cold.

Hoods

Some sleeping bags come with hoods to help you keep the heat from your head. In cold conditions, you will lose a lot of heat through your head, which is why it’s important to keep that heat as much as possible.

Sleeping bag Hoods

Any kind of headwear won’t be enough if you’re looking to sleep through a cold night, because temperatures plummet at night. So, buying a sleeping bag that has a hood for your head is highly recommended. Sleeping bags that come with a hood are usually the mummy sleeping bags, which of course resembles a mummy’s coffin.

Warmth-to-weight ratio

Now, some sleeping bags can be good from an economical perspective if they are not heavy. This means you will save up a lot of strength when carrying it, which will probably make your trip easier. Then again, you might be a person who is more concerned about getting a good night’s sleep. Then you are more likely to buy a sleeping bag that is heavy but warm.

Sleeping bag for cold weather

In most cases you can’t have both, which means you will probably have to choose between the two. If you find your energy preservation more precious, it is good to buy a sleeping bag that isn’t heavy; but if you think that keeping yourself warm to the maximum, then buy a sleeping bag with a high insulation percentage. It really depends on what you think is more important when going out.

Now that you know the basic things you need to know about sleeping bags, it’s time to review the best ones on Amazon.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Western Mountaineering Antelope MF Sleeping BagWestern Mountaineering Antelope GWS

Price: Approx. $594

Weight: 2.7 lbs

Size: 5 ft 6 in and 6 ft 6 in

Special features: Highly weather-resistant, highly breathable, MicroLite XP shell

Best use: During winter and in cold climates

The Western Mountaineering Antelope MF sleeping bag is a down type. Even though down material sleeping bags aren’t that resistant to water, and dry very slowly, it is featured by both high breathability and insulation. The 850 fill power down  provides you with exceptional warmth to weight ratio, which is what you need in a winter sleeping bag.

It is really comfortable, and comes with a hood, which is really important, as mentioned earlier. It is featured by a MicroLite XP shell which is resistant to any weather, and offers great protection. It also features a temperature rating of up to 41ºF, which makes it ideal for extremely cold conditions.

In addition, to prevent any air from seeping in the sleeping bag, it comes with a full down collar and full-length draft tube. With this Western Mountaineering Antelope sleeping bag, you’ll be assured a warm and cozy sleep. Is this what you want during a winter’s night in the wild outdoors?

PROS:

  • Durable
  • Good breathability
  • Comfortable

CONS: 

  • High price tag

Related: If you’re tired of sleeping on the cold ground, you can always opt for a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Mattress. It supports your back and neck while keeping you off the ground. So, you can guarantee you’ll wake up feeling fresh and brand new. It’s ultralight and made with ThermaCapture technology that locks in the heat.

Check the price on Amazon

Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0ºF Sleeping BagMountain Hardwear Phantom 0 Sleeping Bag

Price: Approx. $375

Weight: 4 lbs

Size: 6 ft

Special features: Preserves body heat through high-insulation, water-resistant

Best use: During winter and extreme conditions.

The Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0ºF Sleeping Bag features high insulation, water-resistance, and great comfort. It also comes with a six-chamber hood which maintains the loft around your head for consistent warmth.

The Q Shield 800 fill power down has an advanced treatment applied to it, which resists moisture from absorbing heat and retaining water. In other words, your sleeping bag won’t be damp during wet weather conditions.

It’s another mummy type sleeping bag that is a little heavier than the average one, but it is still a lightweight version, and not that heavy to make your trip difficult. The lightweight two-way zipper also reduces weight and provides you with easy entry and exit. It is also easily packed, which makes it economical for you.

It may be slightly more expensive than a regular sleeping bag, however, it’s really a great option if you’re going to be mountaineering during the winter season.

PROS:

  • Water resistant
  • Good comfort
  • Packs down to size

CONS: 

  • A little on the heavier side

Related: Another great option from the Mountain Hardwear collection is the Mountain Hardwear Bozeman Flame Sleeping Bag. It has an extra wide mummy fit for comfort and gives you enough space while still preserving heat. The footbox gives you a natural foot position, so you’ll have a cosy and comfortable sleep.

Check the price on Amazon

MontBell U.L. Spiral Hugger #1 Sleeping BagMontBell UL Spiral Hugger 1 Sleeping

Price: Approx. $550

Weight: 2.78 lbs

Size: 5 ft

Special features: High breathability, lightweight

Best use: During spring, summer, fall, and in partially dry conditions

The MontBell U.L. Spiral Hugger #1 Sleeping Bag is another mummy sleeping bag with high insulation and even higher breathability and ventilation. The Airlight nylon shell with a DWR coating prevents moisture and condensation from entering your sleeping bag.

Its temperature rating is 15ºF, which is a minimum. In other words, it has an extremely high warmth to weight ratio – which is what you need in a winter sleeping bag.

The shape of the bag, despite of being a mummy type, allows a lot of movement within the sleeping bag. It is cozy and really comfortable. Many people aren’t fans of the mummy-style sleeping bags because it reduces mobility when sleeping. However, you’ll be able to sleep in the fetus position without any problems with this sleeping bag. The extra mobility is due to the elastic stitching.

In addition, it is a lightweight sleeping bag. So, you’ll have no problems carrying it. It’s also very easy to pack up, which is another feature that is very important to mountaineers.

PROS:

  • Good ventilation
  • Good warmth
  • Allows plenty of movement
  • Good packability

CONS: 

  • It’s quite bulky

Related: You’ll need a secure and spacious tent when you go camping, so in this case, we recommend the Rab Latok Mountain Tent. It’s a two-person tent that’s designed with eVent waterproof technology and DVStorm fabric for extra durability.

Check the price on Amazon

Marmot Lithium 0ºF Down Sleeping BagMarmot Lithium 0F Down Sleeping Bag

Price: Approx. $174

Weight: 1 lb

Size: 6 ft

Special features: Lightweight, high ventilation and insulation.

Best use: Recommended to be used in dry climates, and during spring, summer, and fall.

The Marmot Lithium 0ºF Down Sleeping Bag  is a classic lightweight model. It comes with a hood, high ventilation and breathability. The large draft tubes and insulation tag team to ensure that no air seeps in or out of your sleeping bag. So, if you’ll be in freezing temperatures, you’re in good hands.

The adjustable neck collar also aids in minimizing heat loss for those that suffer from heat loss around the head area.The nylon fabric is soft on the skin and really compliments any sleeping pad you’ll be using. It is featured by good insulation and great comfort.

You’re most likely also looking for a sleeping bag that you’ll be able to carry without any struggle. Since this sleeping bag is extremely lightweight, you’ll be able to carry it anywhere and pack it up with ease. It has an all-way down zipper, which is the reason of the high ventilation and breathability of the sleeping bag.

PROS:

  • Snug without being restrictive
  • Good warmth especially against colder temperature
  • Roomy at the feet

CONS:

  • Heavier and bulkier than your average sleeping bags

Related: If you’re a backpacker, you’ll need something lightweight. The Hyke & Byke Snowmass Sleeping Bag is a lightweight bag that comes with a lightweight compression sac. It’s mummy-style design will keep you snug and warm in zero degree temperatures.

Check the price on Amazon

Valandre Shocking Blue 800 Sleeping BagValandre Shocking Blue 800 Sleeping Bag

Price: Approx. $539

Weight: 3.7 lbs

Size: 6 ft

Special features: Water resistant, heavy for harsh climates, preserves heat

Best use: Camping, trekking, and mountaineering

The Valandre Shocking Blue 800 Sleeping Bag is not exactly the lightest sleeping bag. Although, you may not be considering a heavyweight sleeping bag, you should know that this model comes with high insulation and high water-resistance.

This sleeping bag is a great option if you’re looking for one that’s slightly more heavy duty. It has 32 pre-cut baffles that anatomically shaped for your body. So, you’ll be able to have a comfy and cosy sleeping with the ability to move around without restriction from head to toe.

It dries really quickly when wet, which is a huge plus when using it in wet climates. It comes with a hood, and a zippered back with internal reinforcement, which is excellent for preserving, and maintaining heat. Though it is also more expensive than some of its competitors, it’s a very reliable sleeping bag that has everything you need.

PROS:

  • Water resistant
  • Good feel and comfort
  • High quality fabric

CONS:

  • Quite heavy
  • Getting in and out is not easy

Related: The Sea to Summit Spark SP II is another great option if you’re looking for a reliable and durable sleeping bag. It has amazing warmth to weight ratio and is made with premium down. The ultra-dry down 850+ will keep you cosy and warm throughout the night.

Check the price on Amazon

Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry BedSierra Designs Dridown Backcountry Bed

Price: Approx. $219

Weight: 4.2 lbs

Size: 6 ft

Special features: Classic style, high insulation, water resistant

Best use: Camping and trekking during winter

Sometimes, modern isn’t always better. Sometimes, going with a classic sleeping bag will do the trick. The Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed is a heavyweight old-fashioned mummy coffin sleeping bag that has the highest percentage of insulation and a high temperature rating, which makes it great for the cold times.

It’s another typical down material sleeping bag having 600 fill down with versatile integrated comforter wraps that allows you to adjust to changing temperatures.

The insulated hand/arm pockets provide insulation under your arms when the comforter is used outside the bag.  It also comes with sleeping pad sleeves which secures your sleeping pad to the sleeping bag, ensuring that you won’t be slipping off your pad in the middle of the night.

The great features about the Sierra sleeping bag is that it is highly water-resistant and dries fast. So, you won’t have to worry about sleeping in a damp sleeping bag in case of moisture.

PROS:

  • Versatile
  • Feature-packed
  • Good warmth and insulation

CONS:

  • Too heavy
  • Can be expensive

Related: Some of us can’t sleep without a pillow, so this means you’ll need one. But, you don’t want to bring your pillow from home. Sierra Designs DriDown pillow is specialized for outdoor use. It’s made with polyester ripstop and down material, so it provides you with both durability and comfort.

Check the price on Amazon

Mountain Hardwear Lamina Z Flame 22 Sleeping BagMountain Hardwear Lamina Z

Price: Approx. $178

Weight: 4.7 lbs

Size: 6 ft

Special features: Water resistant, preserves heat with well-built insulation

Best use: Recommended for usage when going camping, trekking, and backpacking.

The Mountain Hardwear Lamina Z Flame 22 sleeping bag is a mummy bag with high insulation, water resistance, and breathability. Usually mummy sleeping bags aren’t that comfortable, but it might surprise you how much you would like the comfort this sleeping bag has to offer.

Though it is a mummy sleeping bag, it’s designed to provide you with maximum space, giving you as much mobility as possible. The footbox allows you to sleep with a natural foot position, giving you ultimate warmth and comfort.

Its synthetic material makes ideal for usage in wet climates and especially during winter. This bag guarantees maximum warmth, due to its high temperature rating, welded Lamina construction and zoned insulation.

You won’t make a mistake if you use this bag during really awkward and cold weather, and in wet climates as well. This bag will keep you warm, safe and dry – all the essentials that you need in a winter sleeping bag.

PROS:

  • Good warmth
  • Very comfortable
  • Packs down to size

CONS:

  • Not the lightest
  • Zipper issues

Related: If you’re not planning on sleeping under the stars, you’re going to need a tent. The MSR Hubba HUbba NX 2-Person Tent is a great addition to your camping equipment. It’s lightweight and comes with built-in rain gutter and cross-ventilation rain flies. It even comes with an ultra-compact compression sack.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Things Up

So as you probably convinced yourself, choosing something as simple as a sleeping bag can be difficult if you are not provided with the right knowledge prior to choosing one.

Hopefully, your decisions in choosing sleeping bags will not be an issue for you now that you’ve read this article. Also, you won’t have to look far for a good sleeping bag for any occasion, since you have been provided with a list of Amazon’s finest sleeping bags.

Winter sleeping bag

So, what do you think of our selection of cold weather sleeping bags? Any sleeping bag that has managed to tickle your fancy? Let us know in the comments!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

  • Tyler Johnson

    The Sierra Dridown Sleeping Bag is a great alternative to a traditional sleeping bag. With pad inserted in the sleeping bag sleeve, it is very comfortable. It’s also much easier to turn on your side versus a traditional bag. As a side sleeper, I found this bag really fits my sleeping position and it’s really warm.

  • Daniel Carraway

    The Sierra Dridown Sleeping Bag has been my loyal companion to many of my camping trips. Even in freezing temperatures, this bag will keep you comfy and warm. It also dries fast and you won’t regret choosing this from among other sleeping bags.
    Thanks for dropping by Tyler!

  • Andrew Richardson

    I just got my second Valandre Sleeping Bag. Basically, it’s warm and feels like silky. Moreover, Valandre sleeping bag smells quite good. This sleeping bag is one of the best that you can find.

  • Daniel Carraway

    Thanks for dropping by Andrew! This sleeping bag is a gem and one of my favorites so far. Excellent insulation, you’ll never freeze when you’re wrapped in this comfy sleeping bag. I also like that it is high water resistant. Most would balk at the steep price, but believe me, it’s worth every penny, isn’t it?

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