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The trails stay open in the winter, and so do your passions for hiking in the remote reaches of the planet. Whether you’re staying overnight on the Appalachian Trail or sleeping under the stars in the wintry Canada wilderness, you need one of the best winter sleeping bags to survive.

A winter sleeping bag allows you to endure sub-freezing temps overnight so you can continue your journey in the morning. The proper equipment is vital to your sleep, your comfort, and your survival, so we want to make sure you get it right. Read on to get all the info you need to decide which winter sleeping bag is right for you!

For more of our top backpacking gear recommendations, check out the Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags.

 

Quick Answer - The Best Winter Sleeping Bags

  1. NEMO Canon -40
  2. Marmot Trestles
  3. The North Face Inferno
  4. REI Co-op Down Time
  5. The North Face One
  6. Marmot Never Summer
  7. NEMO Sonic
  8. Mountain Equipment Iceline
  9. Marmot Col
  10. Kelty Discovery

 

Comparison Table - Best Winter Sleeping Bag

PictureNameWeightInsulationTemperature RatingPriceRating
NEMO Canon -404lbs 6oz (regular)Down-40 Degrees F$$$4.7
Marmot Trestles4lbs 9.8oz (regular)Synthetic1.9 Degrees F$4.7
The North Face Inferno3lbs 5oz (regular)Down-20 Degrees F$$$4.8
REI Co-op Down Time3lbs 14oz (regular)Down0 Degrees F$4.5
The North Face One3lbs 12oz (regular)Down & Synthetic5 Degrees F$4.2
Marmot Never Summer3lbs 3oz (regular)Down0 Degrees F$4.7
NEMO Sonic3lbs 8oz (regular)Down-20 Degrees F$$4.9
Mountain Equipment Iceline3lbs 10oz (regular)Down-22 Degrees F$$$4.9
Marmot Col3lbs 14.5oz (regular)Down-20 Degrees F$$$4.8
Kelty Discovery5lbs 8oz (regular)Synthetic15 Degrees F$4.2
PictureNameWeightInsulationTemperature RatingPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Sleeping Bags for Winter

NEMO Canon -40

Specs
  • Insulation: Down
  • Material: Ripstop Nylon
  • Type: Mummy
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Weight: 4lbs 6oz (regular)
  • Temperature Rating: -40 Degrees F
Features
  • Contains Traceable Down From Humanely-treated Animals
  • Insulated Tunnel Hood Warms The Head And Allows You To Breathe
  • Waterproof, Breathable Fabric Dissipates Body Heat Without Letting Cold Air In
  • Zippered Arm Openings Allow You To Stay Warm While Getting Ready
  • Mummy Style Shape Keeps You Tucked In Tight

BEST FOR: THE MOST FRIGID TEMPERATURES

If you’re planning on winter hiking in the upper hemispheres or mountaintops, you need a sleeping bag that will keep you warm in the most frigid of temperatures. The Canon lets you nod off to sleep in temperatures well below zero so you can start fresh again tomorrow. If it gets too hot inside, you can unzip the armholes and get a little air.

The unisex sleeping bag is available in a regular and long size, accommodating sleepers up to 72” and 78” respectively. As you might expect, because it provides such superior insulation, it weighs over 4lbs and doesn’t compress as easily as some other models. You may want to practice your packing skills before your hike to make sure you can carry it.

Marmot Trestles

Specs
  • Insulation: Synthetic
  • Material: Polyester
  • Type: Mummy
  • Water Resistant: No
  • Weight: 4lbs 9.8oz (regular)
  • Temperature Rating: 1.9 Degrees F
Features
  • 3D Hood And Footbox Provide Ample Room For Your Extremities
  • Exterior Pocket Makes Your Phone And Flashlight Easy To Store And Find
  • Fold-down Top Gives You A Wide Entry Point
  • Comes With A Compression Stuff Sack For Portability

BEST FOR: SNOW CAMPING ON A BUDGET

The ground might be frozen underneath you, but you won’t even know, all curled inside this mummy roll. For the price of this sleeping bag, you really get a warm, solid night’s sleep, even when night temps approach 0 and you’re sleeping over a bed of powder. If the temps might drop any lower though, you might consider a warmer bag.

This sleeping bag comes in regular, long, and long-wide sizes for those who need extra room. The hood has two adjustable drawcords you can fiddle with until you close out all the drafts. If you need more circulation, you can remove the hood and open the fold-down front for some air.

The North Face Inferno

Specs
  • Insulation: Down
  • Material: Synthetic Fabric
  • Type: Mummy
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Weight: 3lbs 5oz (regular)
  • Temperature Rating: -20 Degrees F
Features
  • Water-resistant Finish Protects The Down Insulation And Keeps You Dry
  • Generous Cut Leaves Room To Change Positions
  • Draft Collar With Overlap Allows You To Breathe Without Losing Heat
  • Drawcord Hood Gets You All Bundled Up And Protects Your Face From The Cold
  • Internal Pocket Makes Your Phone And Flashlight Easy To Store And Find

BEST FOR: GROUND SLEEPING

With the Inferno, you never have to sacrifice a good night’s sleep to cold, uneven ground. If you don’t have a mattress with you, no worries – this sleeping bag includes extra water-resistant padding between you and the ground. Since the bag compresses to about the size of a basketball, you may have to leave the sleeping pad behind anyhow.

If there’s any chance of cold or snow on your trek, the Inferno ensures you’re prepared with the appropriate sleeping arrangements. You’re sure going to appreciate a good night’s sleep out in the wilderness more when you wake up warm and well-rested.

REI Co-op Down Time

Specs
  • Insulation: Down
  • Material: Ripstop Nylon and Polyester
  • Type: Mummy
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Weight: 3lbs 14oz (regular)
  • Temperature Rating: 0 Degrees F
Features
  • Water-resistant Finish Protects The Down And Keeps You Warm
  • Relaxed Cut Leaves Wiggle Room
  • Draft Tube With Insulated Muffler Allows You To Breathe Without Losing Heat
  • Drawcord Hood Gets You All Bundled And Keeps Your Face Warm
  • Loops Hold The Bag To Your Sleeping Pad So You Don’t Slip Off It In The Middle Of The Night

BEST FOR: FALL/EARLY WINTER CAMPING

This sleeping bag would be overkill in the spring and summer, but once the temperatures start to dip toward freezing, you’ll be happy to have its warmth to bed down in. You can strap your sleeping mat and bag together so you don’t get separated during the night.

The sleeping bag is available in long, regular, and short sizes to accommodate men and women up to 66”-78” tall. The mummy-style bag wraps around you to keep heat contained but leaves a little spare room to adjust. If you tend to move a lot in your sleep, this bag could either help contain your movements or make you feel restricted. It’s worth sleeping in it for a trial run at least once before you head to the trailhead.

The North Face One

Specs
  • Insulation: Down & Synthetic
  • Material: Nylon
  • Type: Mummy
  • Water Resistant: No
  • Weight: 3lbs 12oz (regular)
  • Temperature Rating: 5 Degrees F
Features
  • Double-bag System Allows For 3 Configurations In All-weather Conditions
  • Water-resistant Finish Protects The Down And Keeps You Dry
  • Bottom Layer Rolls Up Into A Pillow
  • Middle Layer Converts Into A Shawl For Around The Campfire

BEST FOR: WIDE TEMPERATURE RANGES

You could be ascending a mountain today and back at ground level tomorrow, with a drastic temperature change in between. So, you need a sleeping bag system that adjusts to all the unpredictable climate changes. The One sleeping bag is “just right” for all of them.

This interchangeable sleeping bag system has a removable mid-layer that allows you to adjust for a wide range of temperatures. Use the outer bag alone for temperatures down to 40o F, the mid-layer down to 20o F, and the two together down to 0o F. So hey, you only need to haul around one sleeping bag, not an entire sporting goods store on your back.

Marmot Never Summer

Specs
  • Insulation: Down
  • Material: Nylon
  • Type: Mummy
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Weight: 3lbs 3oz (regular)
  • Temperature Rating: 0 Degrees F
Features
  • Water-resistant Finish Protects The Down And Shell
  • Insulated Collar, Hood, And Draft Tube Allow You To Breathe Without Losing Heat
  • Internal Pocket Keeps Your Phone And Flashlight Within Reach
  • Generous Foot Room With Foot Warmer Pockets Keep Your Toes Toasty
  • Comes With A Stuff Sack And Storage Bag For Packing

BEST FOR: HARDCORE WINTER BACKPACKERS

If hiking is in your bones, your love of the sport doesn’t magically end in the winter. Well, thankfully sporting goods manufacturers see your obsession and raise you the gear to match it. The Never Summer, for example, voids the idea of “stepping out of your comfort zone” with your very own comfort zone. 

The sleeping bag makes you feel more like you’re sitting on a rug in front of the fireplace than resting in sub-freezing temperatures. Your entire head will be covered by the hood of this bag and you can even put heating packs in the foot pockets, because it’s impossible to fall asleep with cold feet. Plus, it’s a lot easier to face tomorrow’s summit after getting a good night’s rest tonight.

NEMO Sonic

Specs
  • Insulation: Down
  • Material: Nylon
  • Type: Mummy
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Weight: 3lbs 8oz (regular)
  • Temperature Rating: -20 Degrees F
Features
  • Overstuffed With Down To Give You A Cushy Night’s Sleep
  • Water-resistant Down And Water-repellent Shell Keep Condensation Out
  • Draft Tube And Collar Allow You To Breathe Without Losing Heat
  • Stretchy Knees And Extra Foot Room Allow You To Sleep On Your Side
  • Contoured, Drawcord Hood Keeps Head Heat From Escaping

BEST FOR: SIDE SLEEPERS

Most mummy sleeping bags are designed primarily for back sleeping, but not everyone can sleep on their backs. Side sleepers unite with this plush sleeping bag! Extra stretch across the knees and generous foot room accommodate restless legs.

You can get good sleep at normally-uncomfortable temperatures too. The overstuffed down feels like a giant pillow and warms like a toaster. If you start to feel a little too toasty, you can open up the breathable “gills” to let excess heat escape without letting chilly drafts in. This sleeping bag gets all technical, which you can take comfort in as a beginner.

Mountain Equipment Iceline

Specs
  • Insulation: Down
  • Material: Nylon
  • Type: Mummy
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Weight: 3lbs 10oz (regular)
  • Temperature Rating: -22 Degrees F
Features
  • Generous Length And Width Accommodate Extra Layers And Violent Sleepers
  • Superior Thermal Efficiency For Sub-zero Temperatures
  • Anatomical, Adjustable Drawcord Hood Keeps Head Heat From Escaping
  • Magnetic Locking Collar Won’t Open Up While You Sleep
  • Interior Pocket Keeps Your Phone And Flashlight Within Reach

BEST FOR: EXTREME TECHNICAL CONDITIONS

If it’s good enough for technical mountaineering, this sleeping bag will get you through a thru-hike in extreme conditions too. All the details about the features, specialty shell fabric, and lab-tested warmth get a little technical, but all you need to know is you’re getting the best of the best as far as winter sleeping bags go. The company also has programs in place to ensure animal welfare and humane workplace conditions. A lot of heart accompanies their brainpower. 

If you appreciate the finer things in life, this quality, well-constructed mummy suit definitely meets your criteria. Never again will you be able to experience raw nature in its most extreme form in total comfort without this beast of a winter sleeping bag.

Marmot Col

Specs
  • Insulation: Down
  • Material: Nylon
  • Type: Mummy
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Weight: 3lbs 14.5oz (regular)
  • Temperature Rating: -20 Degrees F
Features
  • Waterproof Shell Keeps Condensation From Penetrating
  • Hidden Interior Pocket Holds Your Nighttime Essentials Within Reach
  • Drawcord Hood And Draft Tube Seal In The Warmth But Still Let You Breathe
  • Reinforced Footbox Can Take A Beating

BEST FOR: MOUNTAIN CLIMBING

If climbing Mt. Everest is on your bucket list, then so is this sleeping bag. It’s only natural that this bag would accompany you on such rigorous endeavors, because it can handle the extreme conditions with high-quality down insulation. The moisture-regulating shell is both breathable and waterproof to dissipate body heat and block condensation.

Unless you’re heading to Antarctica (or find yourself inside an Arctic blast), you should be warm enough with the Col sleeper. If you will be on warmer land during your trek though, this is probably overkill–and more cumbersome than practical. For normal winter weather, the “big banana slug,” as one user so cleverly calls it, makes an inviting bed.

Kelty Discovery

Specs
  • Insulation: Synthetic
  • Material: Polyester
  • Type: Rectangular
  • Water Resistant: No
  • Weight: 5lbs 8oz (regular)
  • Temperature Rating: 15 Degrees F
Features
  • Draft Collar Keeps Chilly Air Outside
  • Cozy Fleece Lining Feels Soft Against The Skin
  • Comes With A Stuff Sack For Storage
  • Doubles As A Comforter For Cabin Beds

BEST FOR: WARM WINTERS AND DAY TRIPS

If sleeping outside in the freezing cold isn’t your style, perhaps heated cabins are more your thing. You wouldn’t want to be stuck out in remote areas with only this sleeping bag to keep you warm. But it does give you a warm place to lay your head in warmer or more temperature-regulated environments. If you plan to hike during the day and return to base camp at night, then you’re on the right track. 

Some people are just too claustrophobic or restless to sleep well in mummy sleeping bags, so that’s another reason why we included this rectangular version. Not only does the bag give you much more freedom of movement, but it’s also suitable for hemispheres with warmer winters.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A WINTER SLEEPING BAG

TEMPERATURE RATING

The temperature rating of your sleeping bag could be a matter of life or death. If your sleeping bag is rated for 0o F and you experience a -35o F night, your life could be in danger. Make sure your sleeping bag is rated for the coldest possible temperatures where you’re hiking so you’re covered. If you plan to hike in warmer winter climates or return to a heated camp, you may not need quite as extreme temperature ratings.

 

LENGTH

It’s important to pay attention to the length of your sleeping bag to determine if it will accommodate your body height. You won’t fit in a sleeping bag that’s too short and if you go too big, you leave too much space open to heat with your body. Check the manufacturer’s height recommendations before choosing a sleeping bag size.

 

WEIGHT

If you need to carry the sleeping bag on your back for multiple days, then you know minimizing the weight of your pack is vital. However, you have to expect extra weight for a decent sub-zero sleeping bag. Most of the bags on this list are in the 3+ lb range, which may require some gear adjustments.

 

WATER RESISTANCE

Most of the sleeping bags on this list are either water resistant or waterproof. You’ll most likely sleep inside a tent on a sleeping pad, so you won’t have direct contact with snow. However, your body heat can create considerable condensation, so it’s imperative that your sleeping bag doesn’t soak up the condensation. If you’re sleeping in a climate-controlled environment, then water resistance may not matter as much.

 

HEAD COVERAGE

If it’s -35 F outside, not even a little bit of your skin can be exposed to the air. However, you still need to be able to breathe. Most sub-zero sleeping bags have mummy-style hoods with some type of vented tunnel to allow you to breathe without letting heat escape. Drawcord hoods let you pull the bag even closer to shut out drafts. Make sure your sleeping bag provides adequate coverage to prevent frostbite, or worse.

 

PRICE

The differences between a $150 and a $900 sleeping bag are vast. The quality is evident in the feel and the features provided. Depending on what you need, you may be able to get away with a less expensive model or require every technical feature of the higher end models. Maybe you land somewhere in between. The colder, more technical the hike you plan on attempting, the higher the price you should expect to pay.

 

SLEEP STYLE

Are you a stomach, back, or side sleeper? Do you tend to move around a lot in your sleep? Do you get claustrophobic in confined spaces? All of these factors are important when choosing a winter sleeping bag. Mummy style bags work best for back sleeping but can oftentimes be used on your side. Mummy bags also tend to fit closely in order to keep you warm. Your sleep might be affected if you’re a stomach sleeper, you feel claustrophobic, or you have restless legs.

For even more insight, read How to Choose a Sleeping Bag for Backpacking.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

RIPSTOP NYLON

Ripstop nylon is a form of nylon with a heavy-duty, reinforced weave in a crosshatch pattern. This weaving style makes the nylon extra durable and resistant to tears.

MUMMY STYLE

Like you might guess, a mummy style sleeping bag wraps closely around the body, including the head. Mummy style bags hold body heat in better and tend to take up less surface area, so they’re lighter.

TUNNEL/DRAFT TUBE

A tunnel or draft tube refers to the hole inside the hood of the sleeping bag that you breathe out of. Tunnels tend to have a flap or vented screen over the top to keep cold air from getting inside.

FOOTBOX

The area of the sleeping bag dedicated to your feet is the footbox. If you have large feet or plan to wear boots to bed, the size of the footbox is an important feature to consider. Check out this visual showing the anatomy of a sleeping bag.

SHELL

The exterior layer of fabric on a sleeping bag is called the shell. The shell is in direct contact with the world around you, so it’s important that it keeps out what you don’t want (wind and water) and keeps in what you do (body heat).

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