The 9 Best Cold-Weather Sleeping Bags of 2021

These sleeping bags will keep you warm on even the coldest of nights

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Best Cold-Weather Sleeping Bags

TripSavvy / Chloe Jeong

The Rundown

Best Overall: Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0F Mountain Hardwear

"Does everything extremely well."

Best Budget: Kelty Cosmic 0 Degree Sleeping Bag at Kelty

"Great for those who are just starting out with cold-weather camping."

Best for Backpacking: Western Mountaineering Versalite 10 at Moosejaw

"Meets the rare combo of extremely lightweight and warmth."

Best for Expeditions: Marmot Col -20 at Backcountry

"We love how roomy the bag is cut, which allows for tossing and turning as well as layers if you still need some extra warmth."

Best for Extreme Cold: The North Face Inferno -40 at The North Face

"Full of invaluable smart design features that make it innovative and extremely convenient."

Best for Wet Weather: Big Agnes Boot Jack 25 at Backcountry

"Comes in a size that packs down so small, bringing it along is the furthest thing from a hassle."

Best for Short Trips: Rab Ascent 700 at Moosejaw

"The almost 25 ounces of 700-fill-power duck down is toasty without being overbearingly hot."

Best for Hot Sleepers: Nemo Sonic at Backcountry

"Can zip down to let airflow come in and wash over your core as you sleep, while still keeping you warm."

Best for Kids: The North Face Youth Eco Trail at Ramsey Outdoor

"This bag has plenty of insulation to keep your little ones nice and warm even when it's wet."

If you're planning on taking a cold-weather camping trip, you'll need a sleeping bag that is capable of handling extreme elements. Being inadequately prepared for a cold night can be miserable. If you’re in extreme cold, having the right sleeping bag with proper insulation is crucial. At the very least, a good night’s sleep helps re-energize a tired brain and body, which is important to cold-weather adventure.

The hard part is figuring out which is the right sleeping bag for you. Things like temperature ratings and materials should be considered. Where you adventure and camp are also crucial. For example, will you primarily be using the bag for high alpine nights? Or in more humid winter climates like the Midwest? We've rounded up the best options currently available, taking into account price, shape, and warmth rating.

Speaking of warmth rating, make sure you know the low temperatures forecasted before your camp. And remember, temperature ratings are about survival, not necessarily comfort. When in doubt, go with a lower temperature rating. Or camp at 5 to 10 degrees warmer than your bag's rating.

Read on to learn more about the best cold-weather sleeping bags.

Best Overall: Mountain Hardwear 0F Phantom

Mountain Hardwear Phantom

 Courtesy of Mountain Hardwear

What We Like
  • Ultra-lightweight

  • Maximum heat retention

  • Water-repellent finish

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Not good for larger people

Mountain Hardwear’s 0F Phantom is a solid do-everything winter bag—though it’s admittedly a bit pricey. Losing heat through the head can happen. That's why we love the Phantom's four chambers of loft in the hood. And the draft collar and face gasket help trap precious warm air inside the bag. Packing small and weighing in at less than 3 pounds makes this bag, which has an 850-fill goose down insulation, ideal for backpacking and hut trips.

In a rarity for lightweight outdoor gear, the Phantom's 10D recycled nylon ripstop holds up to normal backcountry wear and tear. A DWR finish helps repel outside moisture, which is handy for any potential snowy conditions. We appreciate the two-way glow-in-the-dark zipper for easier nighttime exits. Pro-tip: Store the bag in the mesh sack it comes with to not crush the down fill, which will cut down on warmth.

Weight: 2 pounds, 10 ounces | Temperature Rating: 0 degrees | Type of Fill: Goose down | Fill Rating: 850

Tested by TripSavvy

Mountain Hardwear’s Phantom 0F is essentially a puffy down jacket in sleeping bag form. It utilizes the typical backpacking “mummy” shape that tapers down along the legs and can feel restrictive for first-time users. The reasons for utilizing a mummy shape are to minimize the space inside the bag that your body has to heat. The taper also minimizes the volume and weight of the bag—it's about 2 pounds, 10.5 ounces. That's good for backpackers carrying lots of gear and looking for ways to shave pounds.

The hood is an area where the Phantom really stands out compared to other bags we tested, with a solid draft collar to hold in warmth. There's also a cinch to seal the hood around your head for when temperatures are at the lower end of the bag’s capabilities. These features make the bag more comfortable by creating a de facto built-in pillow around your head even if that’s not their main purpose.

Overall, the weight and warmth make this a great sleeping bag for those spending many nights backpacking in the high alpine or push their seasons into colder months. But it's probably overkill for campers or backpackers not spending many nights a season in colder environments. — Justin Park, Product Tester

Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0 Sleeping Bag

Justin Park / TripSavvy

Best Budget: Kelty Cosmic 0 Degree Sleeping Bag

Kelty Cosmic 0 Degree Sleeping Bag

 Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

What We Like
  • Includes stuff sack

  • Fast-drying

  • Electronics pocket

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky

  • Heavy

Those who are testing out cold-weather camping—or those wanting a bag for a one-off trip—should look at the Kelty Cosmic 0 Degree bag. Kelty is known for high-quality outdoor products at value prices, and the Cosmic is just that. At less than $200 and a warmth rating to zero degrees, there's no better intro cold-weather bag.

Now, the Cosmic won't blow the other bags on this list away. But it does great across the necessary categories like warmth, water resistance, and speedy drying. At 4 pounds, it's a bit heavier than other backpacking bags. But these days, that means it's still relatively light.

We also love the Cosmic’s PFC-free DWR coating and 600-fill DriDown filling, which uses a polymer application to coat each plume of down making them hydrophobic. Bonus: The Cosmic has some nifty features like an electronics pocket and draft collar.

Weight: 4 pounds | Temperature Rating: 0 degrees | Type of Fill: DriDown | Fill Rating: 600

Best for Backpacking: Western Mountaineering Versalite 10

Moss Green Western Mountaineering 10 Degree Versalite Sleeping Bag

 Courtesy of Moosejaw

What We Like
  • Comfy

  • Lightweight

  • Breathable

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

If packing light or moving fast is what you're looking for in a winter bag, Western Mountaineering's Versatile 10F sleeping bag is worthy of the investment. It weighs just 2 pounds and will keep sleepers warm down to 10 degrees. The 850-fill is lofty and packs down tightly. We also like the breathability enhancements, such as interlocking draft tubes and a genius collar design, that help keep air going while backpackers remain warm and cozy inside. Western Mountaineering also added some extra shoulder space for extra layering and those with broad shoulders.

Not surprisingly, considering the name, there's strong versatility with various lengths for this bag, which get much more specific than the usual regular and long sizing. Short is for those 5 feet, 6 inches and shorter—and weighs less than 2 pounds—and there are also medium and long lengths. It’s a durable bag, too, thanks to Western Mountaineering’s ExtremeLite shell that uses taffeta inside for a bit more durability.

Weight: 2 pounds | Temperature Rating: 10 degrees | Type of Fill: Goose down | Fill Rating: 850

Tested by TripSavvy

I tested Western Mountaineering’s Versatile 10F bag in nighttime temperatures at about 15 degrees and was never cold. The bag would likely hold up if the temps dropped further. Rated as 850+ fill, Western Mountaineering says the unique rating reflects the fact that their Eastern European down is at least that grade but often above 900. The upshot: It's some of the best down money can buy. What that gets you is more insulating power for less weight. That's the ideal combo for pushing your backpacking or bike touring journeys into multiple seasons.

The Versalite has some nice additional features that solve common problems with sleeping bags like a Velcro strap that goes across the top of the zipper to keep it from inching down while sleeping. To avoid snagging the delicate fabric in the zipper, there’s a piece of plastic running down either side of the zipper's inside to give it a clear runway. This cuts down a little on the comfort inside the bag, but it’s a minor concession to avoid infuriating snags that can ruin your bag in an instant.

If you’re counting grams in your pack, the Versalite 10 does an incredible job of keeping you warm and your pack light for thru-hiking. If you’re budget-conscious and an extra pound won’t make or break your trips, you can spend less. — Justin Park, Product Tester

Western Mountaineering Versalite 10

Justin Park / TripSavvy

Best for Expeditions: Marmot Col -20

Marmot Col Sleeping Bag

 Courtesy of Backcountry

What We Like
  • Roomy cut

  • Glow-in-the-dark zipper pull

  • Good in frigid temperatures

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky

  • Expensive

With 37.5 ounces of 800-fill-power down, this bag is made for trekking in unsavory conditions. Yes, it’s a splurge, but if you happen to be heading out on a long expedition, it’s worth the spendy cost. We love how roomy the bag is cut, which allows for tossing and turning as well as layering up for the super chilly backcountry nights.

If you happen to like a bit more thickness around the feet, the foot box is plenty cozy. Some clever design features include the glow-in-the-dark zipper pull and down-filled draft tube.

It’s a little bulky, but if it’s packed down well, it’ll easily fit inside a larger pack (around 60 liters) and still have room for other winter clothes and gear.

Weight: 3 pounds, 14.6 ounces | Temperature Rating: -20 degrees | Type of Fill: Goose down | Fill Rating: 800

Best for Extreme Cold: North Face Inferno -40

The North Face Inferno -40 Sleeping Bag
The North Face Inferno -40 Sleeping Bag. The North Face image.

The North Face Photo

What We Like
  • Center zipper

  • Roomy cut

  • Internal pocket for insulated storage

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky

Full disclosure: You’ll pay a lot for this ultra-warm bag, but what you're getting is The North Face's warmest bag suited for extreme cold. The 800-fill ProDown Inferno bag is rated down to minus 40 degrees. It’s also full of smart design features like the interior pocket, full draft collar, and hood cinch.

Its trapezoidal baffle, which is designed to keep sleepers from scooching down as they sleep, is also handy. The center zipper is also a unique feature, which makes shimmying in and out of the bag easier for both right- and left-handers. We dig that the feature also allows ventilation via unzippering to be distributed evenly across the torso rather than just drafting in through one side.

A generous cut allows you to layer. And the bag comes with both a compression and storage sack for when you’re out in the wild—or back home from it.

Weight: 3 pounds, 14 ounces | Temperature Rating: -40 degrees | Type of Fill: ProDown | Fill Rating: 800

Best for Wet Weather: Big Agnes Boot Jack 25

Big Agnes Boot Jack Sleeping Bag

 Courtesy of Backcountry

What We Like
  • Internal and external loops

  • Affordable

  • Water-resistant layers

What We Don't Like
  • Not good for extreme cold

If your winters are spent in the Pacific Northwest or Northern California—or any other relatively warm and rainy climate—Big Agnes’ Boot Jack bag is treated for maximum water protection. The water-resistant shell is a hugely effective first barrier to moisture, but that’s not all the company does well. Big Agnes takes DWR-treated DownTek inside the lining creating an extra layer of protection. We also love Big Agnes' typical ingenuity and cleverness in creating internal and external loops to add liners or hanging after your trek.

The 600-fill bag weighs in at just over 2 pounds and packs down incredibly small.

Weight: 2 pounds, 2 ounces | Temperature Rating: 25 degrees | Type of Fill: DownTek | Fill Rating: 600

Best for Short Trips: Rab Ascent 700

Rab Ascent 700 Sleeping Bag
Rab Ascent 700 Sleeping Bag. Rab image.
What We Like
  • Roomy cut

  • Affordable

  • Hood drawcord

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

  • Bulky

If you’re the type of person who will take a few cold-weather trips a year, the Rab Ascent 700 is the perfect mid-level winter bag. The mid-weight, middle-of-the-road price point bag is rated to a low of about 10 degrees. For the price, the Ascent holds up its end of the bargain when it comes to value.

We like the roominess of the bag—side, stomach, back, and whatever-else sleepers all have room to move about. The almost 25 ounces of 700-fill duck down is toasty without being overbearingly hot. Plus, a trapezoidal baffle design does away with the cold pockets that can pop up in other bags.

It's not the lightest bag on the list—again, think mid-range weight. But if you’re camping from the car, going on a trip that’s just a couple of days, or staying in a base camp, this is a solid pick. 

Weight: 2 pounds, 13.5 ounces | Temperature Rating: 10.4 degrees | Type of Fill: Duck down | Fill Rating: 700

Best for Hot Sleepers: Nemo Sonic Down

Nemo Sonic

 Courtesy of Backcountry

What We Like
  • Roomy cut

  • Waterproof

  • Comfy

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Heavy

This 800-fill hydrophobic duck down bag is designed for super-cold weather—it’s rated to around minus 20 degrees. But it has a small blessing for those who sleep hot: Nemo’s Thermal Gills zip down letting airflow come in across your core as you sleep. It’s great for those who tend to wake up hot in sleeping bags.

The Sonic is also pretty roomy, which, again, is great not only for those that toss and turn but also for extra layering potential. One extra design feature we like: The pulls for the hood drawstrings have a different feel to them, so you can adjust the tightness easily even on moonless and starless nights. We also appreciate Nemo's PFC-free and Responsible Down Standard, which means there was humane sourcing of the down throughout the entire supply chain.

Weight: 3 pounds, 8 ounces | Temperature Rating: -20 degrees | Type of Fill: Duck down | Fill Rating: 800

Best for Kids: The North Face Youth Eco Trail

The North Face Youth Eco Trail Synthetic 20 Sleeping Bag

Courtesy of REI

What We Like
  • Wraparound J-zip

  • Internal pocket

  • Eco-friendly

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky

This mummy-style sleeping bag is rated to -20 degrees and is made completely from recycled materials—so it’ll keep your kid and heart warm at the same time. There’s a fitted, cinched hood for extra warmth, and the 100% recycled synthetic insulation keeps little ones warm even if outside conditions are a little damp. The Eco Trail has an internal pocket and tie-down loops to attach a sleeping pad underneath.

Temperature Rating: -20 degrees | Type of Fill: Synthetic

Final Verdict

This all-rounder winter sleeping bag is an investment, but in terms of keeping you and your whole body warm, Mountain Hardwear’s Phantom 0F bag is hard to beat (view at Mountain Hardwear). Plus, at just under 3 pounds, it’s light enough, making it equally solid for backpacking and car camping. 

What to Look For in a Cold-Weather Sleeping Bag 

Price

How much you spend on a sleeping bag should tie into how much you’re using it. If you’re looking for a bag that’s going to keep you warm and comfortable for frequent weekends on the trail, spending a little more might not be a bad idea. If you’re a beginner or occasional camper, holding back on the budget might be a good idea. 


Shape

Mummy-style bags have a hood-like topper and taper toward the feet, which is designed for holding warmth. Most bags designed for super-cold weather will be mummy-shaped; but if you’re just using the sleeping bag for the occasional backyard camping trip, rectangle-shaped bags will usually suffice. 


Warmth Rating

Warmth ratings should be used as a baseline—rather than an absolute rule—when it comes to finding the right sleeping bag for you. They’re issued by manufacturers, so take them with a grain of salt. But they generally indicate the lowest temperature someone could sleep in the bag and stay relatively warm. For cold-weather camping, it's always good to pack extra layers.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How should I clean my sleeping bag?

    Look on the tag of your sleeping bag for specific instructions about how to wash—and dry—the bag. The tag will be your best source of information because it’s generated specifically for the brand of sleeping bag and model you’re using. There is one rule about what not to do, and that’s to not dry-clean it. Doing so can damage the waterproof coating and damage the loft (the warm and cozy down that keeps you dry inside).

  • Can sleeping bags be zipped together?

    Most rectangular sleeping bags can be zipped together for extra coziness on the trail or in the tent. Sleeping bags with hoods, however, don’t work quite as well for this. Many manufacturers will also say if a specific bag can or cannot be zipped to another.

  • What should I look for when it comes to loft?

    Loft refers to how thick and plump the sleeping bag is—and correlates to how warm the sleeping bags are (higher lofts trap more air to keep you warm). A high loft will give you a lot of warmth but also be bulkier for backpacking and hiking, when you might need a sleeker, lighter-weight bag.

  • Should I get a synthetic or down sleeping bag?

    Less-expensive bags generally tend to be made from synthetic materials, which isn’t a bad thing. If you’re just looking for a bag for camping, one you don’t have to port with you, synthetic bags can be warm but are also a little bulkier because they need more material (loft) to keep you warm. Down bags tend to pack down a little easier than synthetic bags, but if moisture gets on them, they tend to take longer to try (and you might be a little cold in the meantime). 

Why Trust TripSavvy?

Krystin Arneson spent 20 hours researching to bring the best cold-weather sleeping bags our way. Multiple products were also tested by Justin Park, who has more than 20 years of experience covering outdoor adventure and gear.

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