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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TRIPSAVVY-best cold-weather-sleeping-bags

Chloe Jeong / TripSavvy

The Rundown

Best Overall: Mountain Hardwear Phantom at backcountry.com

"Does everything extremely well."

Best Budget: Kelty Cosmic 0 Degree Sleeping Bag at Amazon

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

Best for Expeditions: Marmot Col -20 at backcountry.com

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

Best for Extreme Cold: North Face Inferno -20 at rei.com

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

Best for Wet Weather: Big Agnes Boot Jack 25 at backcountry.com

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

Best for Short Trips: Rab Ascent 900 at moosejaw.com

"The almost 32 ounces of 650-fill-power duck down is toasty without being overbearingly hot."

Best for Hot Sleepers: Nemo Sonic at nemoequipment.com

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

Best for Backpacking: Western Mountaineering Versalite 10 at moosejaw.com

"Weighs just two pounds, one ounce, which is practically unheard of for a sleeping bag."

Best for Kids: The North Face Youth Eco Trail at ramseyoutdoor.com

"This bag has plenty 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. After all, there's nothing worse than being inadequately prepared for a cold night. A good night’s sleep is what reenergizes a tired brain and body—and if you’re losing heat all night with a poor quality sleeping bag for the situation, you won’t feel rested and up for the next day's physical and mental rigors. If you’re in extreme cold, having the right sleeping bag with proper insulation can even mean the difference between life and death. The hard part is figuring out which is the right sleeping bag for you and you should always take materials and temperature ratings under consideration. Luckily, we've rounded up the best options available, taking into account price, shape, and warmth rating.

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

Best Overall: Mountain Hardwear 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

If you like to make sure head heat loss is protected overnight by your sleeping bag, Mountain Hardwear’s Phantom is a fantastic all-rounder winter bag — though it’s admittedly a bit pricey. Although it doesn’t excel in any particular category, it does everything extremely well and has four chambers in its hood, so you’re kept consistently warm all night long, and the draft collar helps keep warm air from leaking out of the rest of the bag. It weighs just two pounds, 10 ounces, so you can definitely backpack with it, but the 850-fill-power goose down keeps trekkers warm down to 0 degrees.

If you tend to incur a bit of wear and tear during your expeditions, this bag has you covered: The outer shell is made of recycled 10D materials so it's super durable and does a great job of repelling water to boot, keeping sleepers dry even in snowy conditions. It packs down into a nylon compression sack for backpacking and a mesh sack for longer-term storage back at home (the down doesn’t get crushed that way).

Weight: 2 lbs. 10 oz. | Temperature Rating: 0 degrees | Type of Fill: Goose down | Fill Rating: 850

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 dying

  • Electronics pocket

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky

  • Heavy

Those who are just starting out with cold-weather camping — or those who just want a bag for a one-off trip — might want to look to budget bags before committing to a more expensive bag (and these bags can get expensive). Kelty is known for high-quality outdoor products at value prices, and the Cosmic fits the bill great with a bag rated down to 0 degrees and a price tag that won’t hurt the wallet.

It’s not going to blow the other bags on this list away, but it does great across the necessary categories (warmth, water resistance, etc.). It might be a bit heavy for some backpackers at a bit more than four pounds, but it’s not impossible to carry around — and so much the better if you’re camping from the car.

We also love the Cosmic’s 550-fill DriDown filling, which is water-resistant (each individual feather is treated to protect against wetness) and super-comfortable to sleep on.

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

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 44 ounces of 800-fill-power down, this bag is made for comfortable sleeping — which is critical after multiple long days of trekking in unsavory conditions. Yes, it’s almost a month’s rent, but if you happen to be heading out on a long expedition, it’s worth paying that much for a price this comfortable to lay your head at night. We love how roomy the bag is cut, which allows for tossing and turning as well as layers if you still need a bit extra.

If you happen to like a bit more thickness around the feet, the foot box is plenty cozy. One clever design feature is the glow-in-the-dark zipper pull: Should it happen to get snagged zipping or unzipping, you’ll be able to spot it in the dark relatively easily.

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: 2 lbs. 12 oz. | Temperature Rating: -20 degrees | Type of Fill: Goose down | Fill Rating: 800

Best for Extreme Cold: North Face Inferno -20

North Face Inferno -40

REI

What We Like
  • Water-resistant

  • Roomy cut

  • Internal pocket for insulated storage

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky

Full disclosure: You’ll pay quite a lot for this ultra-warm bag, but it’s worth it if you’re heading into extreme cold. The North Face’s 800-fill-power ProDown Inferno bag is, ironically, rated down to -20 degrees. It’s also full of smart design features — we especially love the interior pocket, so you don’t have to take your hands out of the bag to grab essential items like cell phones or flashlights.

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

We also like that the hood drawstrings are textured differently than other pulls on the bag, so they’re easy to cinch more tightly or loosen in the dark. 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 lbs. 5 oz. | Temperature Rating: -20 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

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

If you’re going to be camping in high to mid-winter temps (around 25 degrees or so) and you’re expecting wet weather or taking off to a 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. Inside the lining, even the bag’s insulation has been ​specially treated to keep rain and wetness out: Big Agnes uses a special water repellant so you stay dry inside and out. We also love the mummy shape of the bag — all the better for insulation — and a size that packs down small, so bringing it along is the furthest thing from a hassle.

Sleeping in this bag feels like you’re ensconced in your favorite down comforter, and when you’re back home from the trip, it’s easy to air out thanks to its exterior loops.

Weight: 2 lbs. 6 oz. | Temperature Rating: 25 degrees | Type of Fill: DownTek | Fill Rating: 600

Best for Short Trips: Rab Ascent 900

Rab Ascent 900 Sleeping Bag

Courtesy of Moosejaw 

What We Like
  • Roomy cut

  • Affordable

  • Hood drawcord

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

  • Bulky

If you’re not heading out on an expedition — and don’t want to drop almost a month’s worth of rent on a sleeping bag for it — but tend to take three- and four-day trips out in the cold outdoors, Rab’s Ascent 900 bag is a solid pick, and it’s rated down to 0 degrees. The price tag is in the middle of the road for cold-weather bags, and 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 — and the almost 32 ounces of 650-fill-power 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.

This means, however, that the bag is on the heavy side, which is why we wouldn’t recommend it for expeditions or longer trips. 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: 3 lbs. 6 oz. | Temperature Rating: 0 degrees | Type of Fill: Duck down | Fill Rating: 650

Best for Hot Sleepers: Nemo Sonic

Nemo Sonic

 Courtesy of Backcountry

What We Like
  • Roomy cut

  • Waterproof

  • Comfy

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Heavy

This 800-fill duck down bag is designed for super-cold weather — it’s rated to around -20 degrees — but it has a small blessing for those who sleep hot: Nemo’s Thermal Gills zip down to let airflow come in and wash over your core as you sleep. It’s great if you tend to wake up hot in your sleeping bag as temperatures rise around dawn and beyond, keeping you comfortable up to 20 degrees.

The Sonic is also pretty roomy, which is great for those who don’t just sleep hot, but toss and turn as they try to sleep. One extra design feature makes this bag really great: The pulls for the hood drawstrings have a different feel to them, so you can adjust the tightness easily even in the pitch black night.

Weight: 3 lbs. 10 oz. | Temperature Rating: -20 degrees | Type of Fill: Duck down | Fill Rating: 800

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 is your ultimate concern — whether you just don’t like unnecessary baggage or are an ultralight backpacker — this is one of the lightest bags for cold-weather camping that exists. It weighs just two pounds, which is practically unheard of for a sleeping bag, but it will keep sleepers warm down to 10 degrees. We have to say: The premium goose down this bag uses is one of the comfiest around — it’s hard not to get a good night’s sleep with this lining the bag, and the breathability enhancements (interlocking draft tubes, a genius collar design) help keep air going while backpackers remain warm and cozy inside.

We like the various lengths for this bag, too, which get much more specific than the usual regular and long sizings: Short is for those five feet, six inches and shorter (and weighs less than two 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 lbs. | Temperature Rating: 10 degrees | Type of Fill: Goose down | Fill Rating: 850

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 Fahrenheit 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 there’s 100% recycled synthetic insulation that keeps little ones warm even if outside conditions are a little damp. There’s also an internal pocket-sized for a phone or a watch, and tie-down loops in case you’ve brought a sleeping pad for 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 Platform bag is hard to beat (view at Mountain Hardwear). Plus, at just under 3 pounds, it’s super light, so it’s just as good at backpacking as it is for a more standard camping trip. 

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 trial, spending a little more on them might not be a bad idea—after all, this is how you’re going to rest and recharge. If you’re a more occasional camper, holding back on the budget might pay off. 


Shape

Mummy-style bags have a hood-like topper and tend to taper toward the feet, which is all the better designed for keeping warmth in. Most bags designed for super-cold weather will be mummy-shaped; but if you’re just using the sleeping bags 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 warm. 

FAQs

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 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? 

Yes, almost any sleeping bags, provided they’re both rectangular, 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.  


What should I look for when it comes to loft? 

Loft refers to how thick and plump the sleeping bag in—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 itself 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?

TripSavvy authors are subject-matter experts who also constantly keep an eye out for new releases, spend plenty of time researching, and are genuinely excited about the products they recommend. For this article, the author read more than 20 hours of reviews, blogs, and product pages to bring the best cold-weather sleeping bags our way.

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