If the promise of a scarcity of people, clear sky, and the smell of pine has you ready to go camping, you probably need to consider winter sleeping bags before you head out.
Winter camping has its own personality compared to summer camping, and the glory and enjoyment of camping during cold weather diminish if you are cold and miserable.
Therefore, it is vital to plan to ensure you stay warm when you sleep so you reap your winter adventure benefits.
Camping in the cold or snow requires a little extra calculation to handle the environment. It is vital to both stay warm but not overheat and cause yourself to sweat.
Being sweaty increases the risk of frostbite and decreases the ability to stay warm in the long run. The risk of sweating is why you do not want to pile on blankets to keep warm.
Not all sleeping bags are created equal. It would be best to have a quality winter sleeping bag that meets your portability, function, and warmth needs.
Recommended Read: The Best 5 Winter Camping Tents with a Stove Jack
Who Does This?
Heading out to a remote area in the winter does a lot to help you sleep in the long run. Research shows that exposure to real darkness without artificial city lights resets your circadian clock.
The study showed that just a week of sleep after camping in the winter gets your body to produce melatonin at a normal rate.
Also, camping in the winter gets you away from the crowds and forces you to slow down. Even in the winter, being in nature improves your stress levels and better prepares you to cope with what life throws your way.
How We Reviewed
Before diving in and sifting through the features of winter sleeping bags, we discovered the sought-after winter sleeping bag features that make winter camping fun.
We learned that you do not want to be cold, but you also do not wish to overheat.
The sleeping bags we present all have a variety of features. Also, we understand individuals have unique needs from the length of the bag, temperature expectations, and even compression weight.
Therefore, we worked to find various bags that exhibit quality construction and have the features you need.
What You Need in a Winter Sleeping Bag
There are several features unique to winter sleeping bags. Some of these features add to the functionality of the bag, while some are for convenience.
Winter sleeping bags fill type
There are a couple of options for fill types in winter sleeping bags.
First, you have synthetic material, which tends to be less expensive. Also, this fill type makes winter sleeping bags hypoallergenic.
Another option is goose feather down. Down tends to be more expensive, but down winter sleeping bags are warmer and easy to pack up small.
Depends on the weather
Temperatures vary drastically depending on where you camp. Sometimes it is just a little on the chilly side. Other times it is so cold you might question your sanity for sleeping in a bag.
Winter sleeping bags tend to have temperature ratings such as 20 degrees and zero degrees.
If you are camping in the fall, spring, or an area with mild winter temperatures, you might consider a 20-degree bag.
However, if you prefer to camp in insanity, meaning frigid temperatures, you need to look at winter sleeping bags with a zero-degree rating.
Also, it is vital to remember the ratings often have a comfort and survival limit. For example, your zero-degree sleeping bag might keep you alive at 15 degrees, but you will be comfortable at 30 degrees.
Lastly, be aware women tend to sleep close to seven degrees colder than men. Therefore, keep that in mind when selecting a bag for its comfort temperature rating.
Size and shape matter
The shape of your sleeping bag is also essential because it contributes to the ability to retain heat.
Often, the form of winter sleeping bags looks like a mummy.
Also, you want to ensure the size is not too small because you don’t want your sleeping bag to compress while you are in it. The compression causes you to lose heat.
Tons of add-on features are not necessary for survival, but they help make your time in a sleeping bag more enjoyable.
Some noted features include a media-friendly stash pocket, zipper foot vents, and a hood to keep in the heat. Also, zipper location and baffles matter as well.
Top Winter Sleeping Bag Contenders
There are several winter sleeping bags up for consideration that are sure to keep you warm.
The best winter sleeping bag for you, however, comes down to your unique needs and the temperatures during your adventure.
Moose Country Gear Frontier -20° Sleeping Bag
Moose Country Gear’s Frontier sleeping bag has a 20 below rating. With this rating, you are likely to be comfortable even in extreme camping environments.
Although, this is the extreme limit of the bag. You may need to make adjustments to your environment to keep warm.
This adult-size bag is windproof and waterproof. Despite being waterproof, the interior sleeping area’s design means any perspiration transfers away from you.
The fill type is synthetic, and the inner liner is nylon.
The shape is the expected mummy shape favored for winter sleeping bags, and it is 34 inches at the shoulder area and 86 inches long.
Hyke & Byke Katahdin 0°F 625 Fill Power Hydrophobic Sleeping Bag with Advanced Synthetic
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This bag has a survival limit at zero degrees Fahrenheit, but the comfort limit temperature is 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
The fill is an advanced synthetic material designed to perform even when it is wet. The loft of the synthetic material creates space to keep in warm air.
This mummy-shaped winter sleeping bag features an anti-snag zipper, an interior stash pocket for your cell phone, or other small items.
The bag compresses to 11 inches by 8 inches, and it weighs under 4 pounds, which makes it lightweight enough for backpacking.
Lastly, this bag comes in three different lengths. The short version is suitable for those up to 5 feet 6 inches tall. The regular length is for those up to 6 feet tall. For those over 6 feet, look for the long length.
Outdoor Vitals Summit StormLOFT Down Sleeping Bag
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Outdoor Vitals has several Summit Series winter sleeping bags worth considering. This bag is filled with the company’s 800-fill StormLoft Water Repellent Down.
Also, the cover is a ripstop polyester with a coating making it water-resistant. Because of the down fill, the bag is warm and lightweight.
Also, the company scooted some of the down away from the back to the feet. The down at the back offered little warmth because of the compression. Having more fill at the feet will keep your feet warmer.
Also, the bag has baffles to keep the down where it is meant to be.
Outdoor Vitals were careful to label their bags with their rated temperature, not just the lower comfort and survival ratings.
The Summit series has more than one temperature rating to this series. The temperature range is 15 degrees to 30 degrees. Also, you have options for lengths, too, including short, regular, and long.
Lastly, this bag features boxed zipper baffles and shoulder baffles to eliminate colds spots.
Recommended Read: How To Heat A Tent Without Electricity
Marmot Trestles 0° Sleeping Bag
Marmot’s Trestles 0° Sleeping Bag has a lot to offer.
The high loft insulation is synthetic, and the design is meant to have a maximum loft on the top and a blanket-type construction at the bottom for comfort.
This sleeping bag is called a zero degree bag, but the comfort temperature is right around 15 degrees Fahrenheit. While that is not quite zero degrees, it is pretty close.
This mummy-shaped bag has a shoulder circumference of 62 inches and a 47-inch foot-box.
This sleeping bag compresses into its stuff sack and weighs just under five pounds.
There is a second zipper in this bag for quick and easy ventilation if you get too warm. Also, the main zipper’s design reduces snagging.
You can expect drawcords, hanging loops, and a stash pocket for your smaller items as far as extra features.
Hyke & Byke Eolus 0°F Ultralight 800FP Goose down Sleeping Bag
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We discussed Hyke & Byke’s synthetic winter sleeping bag already, but they also have their Eolus down sleeping bag to consider.
The fill for this bag is ultralight 800 FP Hydrophobic goose down. The bag is very lightweight at less than three and a half pounds, depending on length.
The outside of the sleeping bag is water repellant ripstop nylon.
The zipper has an anti-snag design with a baffle, and the bag features oversized shoulder baffles for added warmth. Also, the shoulder and hood have drawcords so you can pull it tighter to your body if needed.
The foot box has enough room for your feet, and the bottom of the foot box area has two loops so you can hang your bag to air it out or to dry.
Sierra Designs Cloud 800 / 20 Degree Sleeping Bag
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If zippers are not your friend, consider the Sierra Designs Cloud Sleeping bag.
This sleeping bag is mummy-shaped and contains 800 fill Down.
The outside of the sleeping bag is nylon ripstop and includes a nylon ripstop liner on the inside.
You can expect comfort in weather as cold as 26 degrees Fahrenheit and a low limit of 15 degrees.
The shoulder circumference for this bag’s regular length is 60 inches, and the hip comes in at 58 inches. The longer lengths give a little bit more room.
Other features include insulated shoulder pockets, so the bag stays wrapped around you. Also, there is a sleeping pad sleeve underneath to keep your sleeping pad here it should be.
Backpackers favor this sleeping bag as it is very lightweight. The long version of this winter sleeping bag is barely over two pounds.
Finally, the foot box of this bag has self-sealing vents to allow in some air if needed.
Teton Sports LEEF Regular 0 Degree Ultralight Mummy Sleeping Bag
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The Teton Leef sleeping bag is designed with layers in mind. Teton added an extra layer in the foot box to keep your toes nice and toasty.
The fill of this sleeping bag is synthetic, and it is called PolarLite Micro insulation. The shell is ripstop nylon, which is water-resistant, and it also has a poly liner.
You can expect to survive the night with temps as low as zero degrees. However, to be comfortable, plan to camp in 34-degree weather.
This sleeping bag has several notable features, too.
You will find a puff hood for extra warmth around your head and an inner storage pocket. Also, the liner is a brushed microfiber, which makes it rather soft.
Furthermore, there is extra padding along the zipper to prevent cold air from getting in.
There are different lengths and sizes of this sleeping bag, but you can expect this bag’s weight to be just over four pounds.
Stay Warm out There
Winter camping has a lot to offer those looking for adventure.
Before heading out to a winter wonderland to sleep in the cold, you must be sure you can stay warm.
There is much to consider when looking at winter sleeping bags.
You have to consider the expected temperature of your trip because that determines the sleeping bag’s temperature rating.
It is also essential to be mindful of the difference between the survival temperature rating and the comfort temperature rating. You might survive in a zero degree bag, but you are not likely to have a fun time if the comfort level is 30 degrees.
Once you determine temperature needs, decide if you want or need down or synthetic. Down is long considered premium in a sleeping bag, but synthetic often does better in wet conditions. Plus, if you are allergic to down, you don’t have a choice.
You might look for other features, including the room in the foot box and whether the company added a stuff pocket on the inside.
In the end, the perfect winter sleeping bag comes down to what you need and your priorities.
What winter sleeping bag did you choose? Answer in the comments.