Whether you’re on a hiking, fishing, hunting or mountaineering trip, you’re going to be tired after spending an incredible day out in the elements. A lot of thought goes into these trips, and you’ve probably chosen your gear wisely and assembled your camp carefully.
At the end of day one you can’t wait to drift off so that you can wake up and do it all again the next day… the last thing you want is a restless night’s sleep rolling around trying to warm yourself up. Having the right bag with you is essential to make sure you wake up feeling rejuvenated and full of energy.
At A Glance: Our Top 3 Warmest Sleeping Bags
There are all kinds of bags out there, and the right one for you will depend on your specific needs, but to try and help you decide we’ve put together a list of our top warmest sleeping bags, as well as a few pointers on what to look for when you’re shopping around.
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It’s a real pain when you spend hours researching the best sleeping bag for you, only to find out at the end it doesn’t come in your size. Thankfully, this sleeping bag by Coleman fits people up to 6 feet 2 inches in height comfortably, and you’ll be nice and snug too in its cosy mummy design. And speaking of design, we’re big fans of its olive color scheme.
This bag has heaps of features that help it to keep you warm even at 0°F, like its insulated foot box, zipper draft tubes and cinchable hood, but the bottom can be unzipped so you can also use it in warmer environments too. Its zipper is designed to avoid snagging on the polyester cover, which is also rip-resistant and waterproof, making the bag a good companion for rugged adventures. Oh, and it’s water-resistant too. On top of that there’s a 5-year warranty included so you really don’t have to worry about the longevity of your purchase.
Although its polyester filling makes it nice and cosy, it doesn’t compress as much as a down-filled bag and is a little heavier, so bear that in mind for any backpacking adventures. Overall though, this is a great value-for-money option that is one of the warmest sleeping bags and last you for years.
Marmot is a reputable brand for all things outdoors and has been around since the 1970s. It’s not surprising, therefore, that we love their lithium sleeping bag. With its 800-fill goose down insulation you can rest assured you’ll be as comfortable as you are warm, even at temperatures as frosty as -4.5°F. It also has baffles, an insulated footbox, and draft tubes for extra insulation. The down fill is also nice and light too, with both the large and regular bags weighing in at less than 3 lbs. It compresses into a stuff sack to just 7.5 x 16 inches as well.
It might be a little on the expensive size, but it has plenty of extra features like its anti-snag zippers and shell lining, a handy stash pocket and a larger sack for storage at home as well as a small one for when you’re on-the-go, and a zipper holder so you don’t get any unwanted unzips in the night.
Like most down sleeping bags, we wouldn’t recommend putting this sleeping bag in the washing machine, but it does come with hang loops to help air out the bag. Overall, this bag is the perfect companion for backpacking in cold environments, thanks to its light weight, great insulation and quirky extra features.
The Phantom Gore-Tex by Mountain Hardware has it all – lightweight, high-quality materials, weatherproof, comfy and incredibly warm – what’s not to love? This high-end sleeping bag is the perfect companion for serious mountaineers, and it has a GORE outer fabric that is extremely water-resistant, breathable and windproof to make sure it can withstand the toughest of conditions.
It may be tough on the outside, but it’s certainly soft on the inside thanks to its 850-fill goose down (90%) and goose feather (10%) padding. The down padding extends into the face gasket for added warmth and comfort, and the shaped footbox will let you rest your weary legs. The sculpted draft collar and draft tubes also help to keep in warmth as do the vertical sidewall baffles, which also maximize loft.
And in case you weren’t sold already, this sleeping bag has extra space for gear storage and a reflective zipper pull so you don’t have to rummage around in the cold at night. With storage and compression sacks included, alongside an incredible -40°F temperature rating, there isn’t another bag I’d rather summit a mountain with. The only reason we might hesitate to buy this bag is the price tag… but if money wasn’t an object then this would be a no-brainer.
Available in a range of funky colours, the Hyke and Byke Eolus sleeping bags make a cheerful addition to any set of outdoor gear. This sleeping bag has an impressive warmth-to-weight ratio, with a temperature rating of 0°F yet weighing just 2.5-3.5 lbs (depending which size you go for). It’s filled with goose down and has baffles and a drawstring hood for heat retention, and the outer shell is water-resistant to keep you dry too.
The zippers have been known to snag on extra fabric from time to time, so make sure you’re careful with them, but there is a lifetime warranty included so if you do run in to trouble it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Overall, this a great lightweight option for cold weather trips.
Introducing our first cold-weather sleeping bag for couples (or just for those who like plenty of space)… the Teton Mammoth Queen. With dimensions larger than a queen-size bed, you can be sure you’ll have room to cuddle or simply spread out.
It comes in a nice variety of colors and is super cosy to thanks to its flannel inner lining. The synthetic insulation and draft tubes make sure warm air can’t escape, earning it a temperature rating of 0°F, and it even has a half-circle cinchable hood, which is quite rare for this style of bag. We like that is comes with hang lops for general at-home storage, and they also help to air out your bag and stop it getting smelly, although a nice perk of the flannel inner lining is that it doesn’t retain odours.
One thing to bear in mind is that this bag is certainly not a lightweight option (although you are getting two for the weight of one) and is therefore best suited to vehicle-based trips. It can be a little tricky to put back in its sleeping bag too, but if you have a camper or car with you at least you don’t have to deal with that on the move.
At the high-end of the sleeping bag spectrum is the Nemo Sonic mummy-style sleeping bag. This bag comes with a sturdy draft collar that can be adjusted easily in the night thanks to its Velcro sealing mechanism, and its hood offers excellent insulation and has been designed with those that like to sleep on their sides in mind – you won’t end up exhaling inside your hood – and you can even bend you knees because of the stretch construction.
It’s fairly light too and comes with a compression sack and storage sack. The down filling will keep you cosy and is ethically sourced, and you’ll stay dry too as the nylon cover is not only rip-resistant but also water-resistant. The thing we like most about this bag, however, is that its temperature rating can be raised by 20 degrees via the Thermo-Gills at the core, giving you ultimate control over your temperature and making this bag great for various climates.
Minor drawbacks include the price, although it is protected with a lifetime warranty, and the fact you can only have left-handed zippers, which can be slightly annoying if you’re right handed.
The Brown Camping McKinley sleeping bag is a great choice if you want something warm and spacious that won’t break the bank. The double-layered construction, chest and zipper baffles, TechLoft insulation and contoured hood all contribute to an impressive temperature rating of -30°F. There’s lots of room to manoeuvre too, and with dimensions of 36 x 90 inches even taller folk should have plenty of room.
It has a stash pocket as well, so you can keep you valuables nice and close, and it comes with a compression sack and roll up straps for easy transportation – but be warned that it is a little on the heavy side and packing up can be challenging. The durable materials mean that this bag should last you a while but, in case that wasn’t enough, it comes with a lifetime warranty against defects too.
Overall, we’re pleasantly surprised that there’s an affordable option out there for when you’re in need of a warm night’s sleep with plenty of wiggle room.
Here we have another super warm sleeping bag without a hefty price tag, the Slumberjack Boundary. You’ll be toasty at temperatures as low as -20°F thanks not only to the layered, offset quilted design that reduces cold spots but also to draft tubes and a cinchable mum-style hood. Don’t worry though, you can still use this bag in warmer conditions – simply use the two-way zipper to create a bit of airflow. And if you’re still feeling a little on the hot side, you can fold back the mummy hood, removing the contours and promoting some heat loss.
Unlike many other options this warm, this bag weighs just under 6 lbs, giving it a good warmth-to-weight ratio. The footbox is designed to be unrestricting too, so you can relax your ankles after a day of hiking, and the broad design and quilted construction guarantee a pleasant night’s sleep.
One minor drawback is that this bag doesn’t compress particularly well, but overall this a great bag and there’s not much we don’t like about it.
When you’re on the hunt for a decent sleeping bag, certain factors – such as price, durability and comfort – will always come into play. However, when sleeping in cold weather is your top priority, there are some extra considerations to bear in mind to make sure you’ll get the good night’s sleep you deserve.
Baffled about baffles? Baffles are small separations in a material (often created via seams) that create chambers designed to either keep your insulation in place or let you move it from one section to another in a controlled manner. In the case of the latter, they are referred to as continuous baffles, and some people like to be able to control the placement of the insulation – for instance, if you get cold legs at night you could move the filling towards the bottom of the bag. Others prefer baffles that keep the insulation in place, so you can give your bag a good shake out and not worry about the distribution of the filling.
Without any baffles at all, your filling might end up somewhere you don’t want it, so we think they’re a worthwhile feature, especially for cold weather bags with lots of filling. Baffles that hold the filling in place are probably the most common, but it’s worth having a think about which type of baffles will suit you best.
We love draft tubes. They line the length of the zipper put an end to those horrible moments when you roll over in the night and get woken up by a freezing cold zipper pressing into your thigh… and they also stop cold air from entering your bag. Draft collars are similar and, as the name suggests, they are a strip of material towards the top of the bag that keeps warm air in (and keeps cold air out). You’ll rarely find a sleeping bag that has a good temperature rating without these crucial features.
Okay, so you want a sleeping bag you can use in cold weather. But is this the only weather you’ll be camping in? And do you really want to have to buy another bag for those warmer trips? If the answer to these questions is no, then you might want to consider a bag you can use in different circumstances.
For instance, can you unzip the bottom of the bag for extra ventilation? Is there a hood you can remove or fold back to let some warmth escape from the top of the bag? Some of the more technical bags come with vents in specific places, such as the core or footbox, allowing even more control of your temperature.
Obviously, if you’ll be summiting a mountain then ventilation isn’t going to be your top priority, so you’ll have to think about the kind of trips you’ll be doing in the long-term. If you want something you can take up a mountain in winter as well as use by a lake in spring, then make sure you keep an eye on those extra features.
So, there are clearly some great contenders out there for the best warmest sleeping bag… but which ones made it to our top three?
Our top pick if you’re on a budget has to be the Coleman North Rim. Suitable for use at 0°F to 10°F, it’s hard to believe that this bag doesn’t come with a heftier price tag. It’s also made from rip-resistant materials and is waterproof too, so it can stand a little wear and tear – perfect for the adventurous types. Although it’s not super heavy, it is a little on the bulky side so make sure you have enough room for it in your backpack. Aside from that, we’re big fans of this bag and think you’ll be hard pushed to find something else this warm and well-designed at this price.
Our favorite allrounder is the Eolus sleeping bag by Hyke & Byke. It has a fantastic warmth-to-weight ratio, with a temperature rating of 0°F and even the largest model weighing less than 3.5 lbs. This makes it the perfect bag to sling on your back while hiking, hunting or just generally exploring. And you don’t need to worry if things get a little rough either, thanks to its water resistance and lifetime warranty. This bag is surprisingly affordable too (and did we mention we love the colors?) – well done Hyke & Byke!
But what’s our top pick? You might have guessed it… it’s the Mountain Hardware Phantom Gore-Tex. This bag will see you safely up the side of a mountain no problem thanks to its jaw-dropping temperature rating of 40°F. It won’t weight you down or get in the way either as it’s made of lightweight materials and its down filling compresses nicely. The glow-in-the-dark zipper is a very nice touch to stop you fumbling around in the dark, and it won’t snag on the bag itself either. We especially like that the padded face gasket extends into the hood, as this is where cold air can often creep in. It definitely isn’t the cheapest option out there, but it does come with a lifetime warranty so if you do invest in this bag it will most likely be your side for the rest of your cold-weather adventures – hard to say no isn’t it?