Everyone needs some time to spend in the outdoors, and camping is one of the most fun activities you can do alone, with family, or with friends. If you have been feeling adventurous lately, and have considered camping out, you’ll need a sleeping bag. This list will help you to find the best warm sleeping bag, as well as the best winter sleeping bag.
Considering that autumn and winter are some of the best times to catch a great view and camp outside, you will need a warm sleeping bag for a comfortable and well-rested sleep. However, choosing the perfect sleeping bag for cold weather can get overwhelming.
So before you choose one, there are some things that need careful consideration. These include the terrain in which you will be camping, the temperature at night, and the overall climate of the place. While some prefer a lightweight package, others look for warmth and coziness.
The features you are looking for often depends on personal preferences, but if heat is your main concern, here are some things you need to know about the best sleeping bag for cold conditions.
What are the best sleeping bags for cold weather?
There are so many different kinds of sleeping bags that vary in size, temperature rating, insulation material, and weight. So while choosing the best sleeping bag for cold weather, you have to read the features carefully.
Here are some crucial tips to understand the elements of some of the best winter sleeping bags for better.
1. Check the temperature rating
Each sleeping bag comes with a short description of the temperature rating. This rating tells you the minimum temperature at which the sleeping bag will keep you warm. However, the ratings are based on the assumption that you are wearing warm clothing and have sleeping pads as a barrier between the ground and your sleeping bag.
These ratings are also not universally applicable as some people feel colder or hotter more quickly than others. Also, the scores may differ from one brand to another, which means that these ratings are not precise. Therefore, it is wise to pick a number around the ratings for maximum accuracy.
For cold weather sleeping bags, choose one that specifies a temperature rating of 10 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
An ideal bag for cold-weather is one that has a temperature rating lower than the lowest expected nighttime temperature. You can always unzip the bag if you get too warm, but if you get too cold there isn’t much you can do.
There are other factors to consider as well such as wind, humidity and metabolism that vary for everyone.
The standard temperature of the sleeping bags according to the season are categorised as:
|Bag Type||Temperature Rating (°F)|
|Summer||+30° and above|
|3-Season||+15° to +30 °|
2. Consider the insulation material
There are different types of materials used to fill up sleeping bags to make it warm. Each material has its pros and cons. However, the three most common materials used for insulation of sleeping bags are:
Synthetics: often made of polyester, synthetic insulation is readily available and much cheaper. One of the advantages is that it still works even when it gets damp. They are also hypoallergenic and durable. On the other hand, the disadvantage is that they are heavier and bulkier to pack.
Goose-Down: This is made of natural goose feathers, so they are slightly pricier. But many users prefer this material as the insulation quality and durability is much better than the synthetic materials. It is light and easily compressible, but it loses insulation when it gets damp.
Water-resistant: most water-resistant insulation for sleeping bags are made with treated goose-downs. They are the most expensive options and rightly so because moisture does not affect the insulation properties. They are light and compactable and, most importantly, warm enough for freezing temperatures.
3. Consider the shape
The more room that is in the sleeping bag, the longer it takes to warm up. But a tighter sleeping bag can trap heat and warm you faster. Mummy-shaped bags keep you warm in cold temperatures, but they restrict movement.
Mummy shaped: Mummy-shaped bags keep you warm in cold temperatures with their snug fit, but they can restrict the movement of your legs. They are suitable for light sleepers and also for cutting weight. Instead of moving inside the bag, you roll over with the sleeping bag. It comes with a hood and zippers on one side or both sides of the pack.
Rectangular shaped: Rectangular shaped sleeping bags allow plenty of space for leg and arm movement. They usually come with zippers on one side and no hood. Rectangular bags are convenient because they can be used as a quilt when unzipped. They have the highest sleeping capacity among the sleeping bag shapes and are also easiest to find.
Semi rectangular: These are a cross between the mummy and the rectangular sleeping bag styles. They have the snug fit of the mummy but with more room and less restrictive shoulder and arm space. They feature a hood and some manufacturers even add pockets for easy storage of small essential items on the side.
Double bag: Designed especially for two people, the double bag shape is roomy enough to keep you warm without compromising on leg and hand movement. Some brands make the zipper compatible with other sleeping bags of the same brand to extend the size. If you are looking for a double sleeping bag, choose one that has a zipper compatible with other bags.
4. Shell and lining material
The outer cover of the sleeping bag is called the shell. It should be waterproof and trap heat to keep you warm. On the other hand, the inner lining should be made of a material that can evenly distribute body heat.
5. Pillow pockets or hood
The hood protects the head and keeps it warm while the pillow pockets allow room for you to stuff it with clothes as a temporary headrest. If you are used to sleeping with your head covered or using pillows, these two features are vital to consider.
6. Sleeping bag liner
Some sleeping bags come with a bag liner. This is convenient because it can add extra warmth and keep the bag clean. You can easily remove the liner to clean it or remove it if it gets too warm.
7. Storage sack
Some brands provide a storage sack to preserve the insulation when it is stored for too long. While the sack is convenient for portability, it is good to keep the sleeping bag in a flexible cotton mesh so that the insulation retains its volume and warmth.
The Best Sleeping Bags for the Cold
With those features in mind, here are the top-ranked sleeping bags for cold weather:
#1. MalloMe Camping Sleeping Bag
This sleeping bag is at the top of the list because it is one of the most trusted brands in the country, and it has all the features you would want for camping outside in any weather.
Specially designed for adjustability, this cold-weather sleeping bag is an excellent investment because the shell is waterproof and the inner lining is extremely comfortable. Made of hexagon-shaped fabric that is lined with s-shaped stitching, it traps air to keep you warm faster and dry throughout the night.
It is easy to clean, carry, and pack. It comes with a hood that has an adjustable drawstring to keep your head protected from the cold. You can also unzip the bottom to keep your feet out for temperature control as it gets warmer during the winter sunrises. It is compact, lightweight, and durable.
It is available in double and single sizes so you can pick your preferences at a very reasonable price.
#2. McKinley-30 Degree Sleeping Bag by Browning Camping
Specifically designed for winter camping, the McKinley sleeping bag also has all the features required to keep you cozy and comfortable in the wilderness.
This sleeping bag can withstand a temperature below -30 degrees because the shell has 210T nylon diamond rip fabric. The inner lining is also brushed with durable Techloft Silver insulation, which is polyester and keeps you warm and dry.
It is extremely warm and comfortable for winter because it also has an extra layer inside that acts as a blanket to prevent cold spots. The zipper on the side is also intentionally placed to trap as much heat and prevent cold air from getting trapped inside the lining.
Another feature is that it includes a mummy-shaped hoodie to keep your head warm while you store tiny personal things on the side pockets. It comes in army green colors that camouflage stains and dirt.
#3 Farland Sleeping Bags
If you are looking for a sleeping bag that has brighter colors and is softer than the previous ones, this is it! Farland sleeping bags are softer, and they come in bright colors that set a happy mood in the wilderness.
It is made of breathable and waterproof nylon shell while the inner lining features fine polyester fiber that is lightweight and compact. This material makes it highly portable so that even kids can carry it during hikes and long treks by packing it in the compressing sack.
The envelope-shaped sleeping bag is specially designed for cold weather that goes below -7 to -17 degrees. It also comfortably fits large sleepers with enough legroom and stretching space.
The Farland sleeping bag also comes with a pillow pocket where you either stuff it with other clothes to make a temporary pillow or use it as a cover to protect your head from the cold.
#4 Norsens Sleeping Bag for Cold Weather
This sleeping bag is currently one of the most sought-after bags because of its neat design and comfortable features. It is specially created for all weather but works equally well in winter below -20 degrees Celsius.
The hollow cotton fiber inside is a breathable material that feels soft and skin-friendly. The flannel liner gives it a comfortable and familiar feel that makes you feel homely, whereas the waterproof exterior keeps you warm and dry even under the mist.
This sleeping bag is spacious enough for a 180lb adult and for active sleepers who move around more frequently. It is lightweight and comes with an upgraded compression bag that makes it easy to pack and go.
Another feature to consider is the versatility of the sleeping bag, which can transform into a quilt or bedding while keeping the zip fully open. The S-shaped pattern on the shell prevents the cotton filling from dispersing and retains the shape of the sleeping bags and warmth.
#5. Hyke & Byke Katahdin 0F Hydrophobic Sleeping Bag
Another one from one of the most trusted brands that specialize in outdoor equipment is the Hyke and Byke sleeping bag. If the price is not an issue, this is definitely one of the best goose-down sleeping bags in this price range.
Since this sleeping bag is so light and highly compressible, you can save a lot of space and leave out the weight. Since it is filled with highly durable Down feathers, it is water-resistant and compatible with frigid temperatures. It does not absorb moisture but traps in body heat efficiently.
The mummy Down sleeping bag ensures that you are both cozy and comfortable even through the roughest night by withstanding temperatures between -10 to -37 degrees Fahrenheit.
You will find this sleeping bag in three sizes and two different color options, and you can take it anywhere because it is so light, compact, and easy to pack.
#6 SOULOUT Down Sleeping Bag
Another great choice of Down Sleeping bags for winter is the SOULOUT brand, which has the same features as Hyke & Dyke. However, this sleeping bag is slightly longer, and it comes in a solid black color.
This bag is made of goose down and polyester, which makes it more expensive. But the price is worth the quality as it is durable, waterproof, and windproof. It is highly recommended for summit camping where the weather is icy and windy.
The expanded chest area allows more flexibility, whereas the snag Velcro prevents the fabric from snagging. It also has an added insulation on the feet to avoid frostbites and keep you warm faster even during an emergency. It has enough space to allow movement, which is a crucial part of a good rest.
The mummy-shaped sleeping bag also comes with a compression bag that tightly secures the bag in a compact size. And since it is so light, you can easily carry it for a longer hike and pack other important things instead.
#7 Hyke & Byke Antero Hammock Sleeping Bag
If sleeping on the ground or taking a sleeping pad is not an option while you camp outdoors in winter, this hammock sleeping bag is the perfect option.
Specially designed for extreme weather in any season, this sleeping bag is a great option among the different types of bags. This is because you will not be sleeping on the cold ground, so therefore you will not require an extra sleeping pad, which shaves off pack-weight.
Secondly, it is made of high-quality Goose Down with a base of ClusterLoft for added durability and resistance to water. This material makes it waterproof and warm in extreme temperatures, keeping you dry even on rainy days.
It is handy for camping in the forest during the winter season. Even if there is a sudden rainstorm or blizzard, you can quickly hook yourself to two sturdy poles and comfortably snuggle in the hammock as you enjoy the view.
Before you go out in the woods with any of these winter sleeping bags, make sure to open them and check for any holes or defects.