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8 Cold Weather Sleeping Bags for Extreme Camping in 2019

Ever spent an entire night shivering in a tent? Or woken up with ice blocks for feet? Anyone who’s underestimated the temperature on a cold weather camping trip can tell you the importance of a good quality sleeping pad and a mega warm sleeping bag. If you haven’t yet spent a night hunched inside a summer sleeping bag, impatiently awaiting the sunrise, then congratulations! Let’s keep it that way.

Perhaps you’re preparing for a high altitude backpacking expedition or maybe you’re getting ready for a winter camping trip. Either way, sleeping under the stars is much more pleasant when you can feel all ten of your toes. But, there are a lot of sub-zero sleeping bags on the market and each one claims to be the best for extreme weather. So, which one should you choose?

We’ve researched sleeping bags extensively, from lightweight sleeping bags to mountaineering sleeping bags and sleeping bags designed for the extreme cold. Here, we’ve put together our selection of the best cold weather sleeping bags. And, just to make things extra easy, we’ve made a guide of features to look for before you purchase your cold weather sleeping bag.

Summary of the best cold weather sleeping bags in 2019

Disclaimer: We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

ProductDown fill powerDown fill weightWeight of bagExtreme temperature ratingCost
Mountain Hardwear Phantom Sleeping Bad850840g2.66lbs / 1.2kg0ºF / -18ºC$$$
Feathered friends Murre Ex 0 Women’s Sleeping Bag900+663g2.66lbs / 1.2kg0ºF / -18ºC$$$
Marmot Never Summer 0 Sleeping Bag650Not available3.19lbs / 1.45kg0ºF / -18ºC$
The North Face One Bag Sleeping Bag800Variable3.75lbs / 1.7kg5ºF / -15ºC$
Rab Neutrino 800 Sleeping Bag800800g2.66lbs / 1.2kg-7.5°F / -22°C$$
Alpkit ArcticDream 1200750+1200g3.75lbs / 1.75kg-73.48ºF / -58.6ºC$$
Feathered Friends Snowy Owl Expedition Down Sleeping Bag900+1500g5lbs / 2.3kg-60ºF / -51ºC$$$$$$
Western Mountaineering Bison GWS Expedition850+1190g4.6lbs / 2kg-40ºF / -40ºC$$$$$$

4 best winter sleeping bags

Mountain Hardwear Phantom Sleeping Bag Eco

Mountain Hardwear Phantom Sleeping Bag

Fill power: 850
Fill weight: 840g
Eco-conscious: Shell is made from recycled fabric

The Phantom Sleeping Bag from Mountain Hardwear is a lightweight cold weather sleeping bag with an extreme temperature rating of -18ºC. It’s insulated with 850 fill power down and has a 10D recycled shell and DWR finish. Additionally, the 4-chamber hood, combined with a draft collar, and contoured footbox prevent the loss of body heat.

The Phantom sleeping bag weighs approximately 1.2kg and packs into a compact nylon sack. It’s also fitted with a two-way zipper which extends until the contoured footbox so you can still sleep comfortably on warmer nights. The bag comes in 3 sizes and can be ordered with a left or right-hand zipper.

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact pack size
  • Made with recycled materials
  • Water-resistant
  • Versatile fit

Cons

  • Pricey

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry


Feathered friends Murre Ex 0 Women’s Sleeping Bag

Feathered Friends Murre Ex 0 Women’s Sleeping Bag

Fill power: 900+
Fill weight: 663g (small)

The Murre EX 0 Sleeping Bag from Feathered Friends is specifically tailored for female campers. As such this mummy bag is slimmer on the shoulders than the average unisex sleeping bag. This traps and insulates warm air better. It’s also more spacious on the hips and waist allowing campers to find a comfortable sleeping position. For further comfort, the bag is constructed with continuous baffles which lets you re-position the down. It’s also fitted with a 3D contoured hood, extra insulated footbox, and draft tube for extra protection from the cold.

The 900+ fill power goose down and the water-resistant shell does a good job of shielding you from the elements too. The extreme temperature rating is -17.7ºC. Despite this, the Murre EX 0 weighs in at under 1.2kg (small), making it a superbly lightweight mountaineering sleeping bag. This Feathered Friends sleeping bag is available in small or medium and has two colour options.

Pros

  • Women-specific fit
  • Good weight to warmth ratio
  • Water-resistant and moisture wicking

Cons

  • Pricey

Find the latest price at:
Feathered Friends


Marmot Never Summer 0 Sleeping Bag

Marmot Never Summer 0 Sleeping Bag

Fill power: 650
Fill weight: Unavailable

When it comes to value for money the Never Summer 0 Sleeping Bag from Marmot is our top choice. Coming in at under $300, it’s one of the lowest priced alpine sleeping bags on this list. Despite this, the Never Summer 0 still boasts an EN tested extreme temperature rating of -18ºC. A wraparound footbox is combined with a down-filled collar and multi-baffle hood.

A unique feature on the Never Summer 0 is that the top draw-cord is combined with a double zippered collar allowing for ventilation on warmer nights. It’s also a useful feature for campers who like a little extra space to read whilst snuggled inside the sleeping bag.

The main difference between the Never Summer 0 and its high-priced competitors is its fill power and weight. The 650 fill power down offers a less efficient weight to warmth ratio than the Phantom 0 and Murre EX 0. It, therefore, weighs in at a hefty 1.45kg making it better suited to car campers than hikers.

Pros

  • Versatile collar design
  • EN tested
  • The durable and water-resistant outer shell
  • Excellent value for money

Cons

  • Heavier than others on this list

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI


The North Face One Bag Sleeping Bag

The North Face One Bag Sleeping Bag

Fill power: 800
Fill weight: Unavailable

The One Bag from The North Face is one of the most versatile sleeping bags on the market. It’s designed with two removable layers which make it usable in temperatures ranging between -15ºC and 5ºC. The roll-away bottom layer can be combined with the synthetic outer shell (extreme limit 5ºC) or with the 800 down fill mid-layer (extreme limit -7 ºC). Using all 3 layers together allows you to safely sleep at a minimum temperature of -15ºC. This makes it a practical choice for multi-season camping.

The One Bag is available in two sizes; regular (1.7kg) or long (1.8kg). Though certainly not lightweight, it comes in at just under $300, making the One Bag an excellent value and highly versatile sleeping bag.

Pros

  • Suitable for a range of temperatures
  • EN and ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) Tested
  • Excellent value for money

Cons

  • Heavy

Find the latest price at:
REI | Backcountry


Rab Neutrino 800 Sleeping Bag

RAB Neutrino 800 Sleeping Bag

Fill power: 800
Fill weight: 800g

The RAB Neutrino 800 is a lightweight four-season sleeping bag filled with ethically sourced 800-goose down. The sleeping bag is made with a rip-stop nylon inner and a water-resistant Pertex Quantum outer fabric, both of which help to keep the weight to a very reasonable 1.2kg.

To prevent any cold spots, the Neutrino 800 is constructed with trapezoidal (horizontal) baffles. Some users may find the tapered mummy bag shape a bit restricting to sleep in, however, the design does help to trap heat and reduce weight. On the other hand, the angled footbox and comfortable 3D internal collar guarantees a comfortable night’s sleep. Plus, with a minimum temperature limit of -22ºC, the Neutrino 800 is certainly built for extreme conditions.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Made from high-quality fabrics
  • Ergonomic design
  • RDS Certified goose fill

Cons

  • The tapered shape may feel restrictive

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | Cotswold Outdoor


4 best extreme cold weather sleeping bags

Alpkit ArcticDream 1200

Alpkit ArcticDream 1200

Fill power: 750+
Fill weight: 1200g

The Arctic Dream 1200 is the warmest in the Alpkit range of extreme cold weather sleeping bags. Designed for arctic weather conditions, this Alpkit sleeping bag has been EN Tested and boasts a lower limit of -33ºC and an extreme limit of -58.6ºC.

It has 750 down-fill insulation and comes with a very competitive price tag. The Arctic Dream 1200 is constructed with ergonomic vertical baffles which help to keep the down in place. Meanwhile, the tapered shape and zip baffles effectively trap heat. The bag is even fitted with extra insulation in the hood and footbox.

The outer shell and inner are made from lightweight expedition-grade fabrics while the down-fill is treated with water-repellent Nikwax Hydrophobic which helps the down maintain its warmth even when wet. Considering the temperature rating of this sub-zero sleeping bag it’s also reasonably lightweight, at just 1.7kg.

Pros

  • Lightweight for its warmth
  • Water-repellent
  • EN Tested
  • RDS Certified Down
  • 3 Year Warranty

Cons

  • Lower down-fill quality

Find the latest price at:
Alpkit


Feathered Friends Snowy Owl Expedition Down Sleeping Bag

Feathered Friends Snowy Owl Expedition Down Sleeping Bag

Fill power: 900+
Fill weight: 1500g (Regular)

The Feathered Friends Snowy Owl Expedition Down Sleeping Bag is designed to keep you comfy in polar conditions. Its spacious mummy design allows enough room to move around whilst the contoured hood, draft tube, and side walls keep your body insulated to a minimum temperature of -51ºC.

Another thing we like about this Feathered Friends sleeping bag is that it’s fitted with a dual zipper system. Aside from preventing drafts and trapping air, this system provides a backup in case of damage to the external zipper. Plus, the Snowy Owl is made using lightweight Pertex fabrics which keeps the weight to a minimum. The outer shell is built with a breathable and highly waterproof Pertex Shield which repels rain and snow. Meanwhile, the collar is designed to prevent condensation from breath.

Pros

  • Spacious design
  • Breathable and water-repellent
  • Ergonomic fit

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Heavy

Find the latest price at:
Feathered Friends


Western Mountaineering Bison GWS Expedition

Western Mountaineering Bison GWS Expedition

Fill power: 850+
Fill weight: 1190g (Regular)

Built with 850+ down-filled Gore Windstopper fabric, the Bison GWN Expedition from Western Mountaineering is designed to withstand rough weather conditions and temperatures as low as -40ºC. The combination of large V-side baffles, 10” loft, and horizontal baffles keeps the fill in place and prevent any cold spots. Likewise, the large hood with an internal hood ruff and draft tubes, seal the heat in and keep the cold out. This extreme cold weather sleeping bag is not the lightest on our list, however, it still remains a reasonable weight for its warmth, at just under 2.1kg (regular).

Pros

  • Tough windproof fabric
  • Excellent insulation
  • Comfortable design

Cons

  • A little heavy
  • Large pack size

Find the latest price at:
Backcountry


What to look for in a cold weather sleeping bags

Insulation, fill power and fill weight

The two most commonly used insulation types are down and synthetic. For this round up article, we have only featured down-filled sleeping bags. Although they tend to have a higher price tag, down sleeping bags are hard to beat. They’re lightweight, compress well, and provide a better warmth to weight ratio compared with synthetic insulation.

When selecting a down sleeping bag it’s important to check the fill power AND the fill weight.

Fill power measures the quality of the down. Higher fill power means that the down is more lofty, creating more pockets of trapped air which results in greater levels of insulation.

However, high quality loftiness doesn’t equate to much if there is a low volume of down. So as well as a fill power, it is essential to check the fill weight of the sleeping bag. This indicates how much down is inside the sleeping bag. A high fill power combined with a high fill weight makes for a very warm sleeping bag. Whereas a high fill power combined with a low fill weight will make it highly packable, but not as warm as its high fill power might lead you to believe.

Temperature rating

Selecting the most appropriate temperature rating can be the trickiest part. Temperature ratings are not as clear cut as they seem. Often brands will recommend their own comfort and extreme temperature rating. However, the EN Rating System (European Norm) does help to simplify the process. The majority of the manufacturers on this list use the EN system to rate their sleeping bags.

The system marks each bag with four temperature ratings:

Upper Limit: the maximum temperature at which an average sized man can comfortably sleep (without excessive perspiration).

Comfort: the temperature at which an average sized woman can comfortably sleep.

Lower Limit/Comfort Limit: the minimum temperature at which an average sized man can comfortably sleep. (up to 8 hours)

Extreme Limit: the minimum temperature at which an average woman can remain still without risk of hypothermia. (up to 6 hours)

Additionally, the insulation type, weight, and shape of the bag, as well as the type of sleeping mat you use, will impact the warmth of the bag. You should also consider whether you’re a warm sleeper or whether you’re the first to grab a jacket when the temperature falls below 20 ºC. If in doubt, we recommend choosing a sleeping bag with a lower temperature rating.

Size and weight

If you’re backpacking for multiple days then your sleeping bag is going to be one of the largest and heaviest items in your backpack. That’s why it’s important to look out for lightweight sleeping bags which have a compact pack size. You don’t want to be hiking with a bag which weighs over 1.5kg unless the conditions are extremely cold.

The majority of cold weather sleeping bags weight between 1.2kg and 1.4kg, although sub-zero sleeping bags can weigh up to 2.5kg.

Water resistance

Sleeping bag fabrics are usually coated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) or Nikwax treatment. This doesn’t make the sleeping bag 100% waterproof, however, it keeps light rain or morning dew from soaking through to the insulation. This is a useful feature if you’re backpacking without a tent. DWR does need to be reapplied as it wears out with frequent use.

Many sleeping bags also contain hydrophobic down. This is down that has been treated in a similar way to treating the outer fabric with a DWR coating. The result is that the down is more resistant to the negative effects that water has on its loftiness.

Style and shape

To get the right fit for you, you’ll also want to check the manufacturer’s height and width measurements as not all bags are made to a standard size. Tapered bags cut down on weight, however, they’re also more restrictive to sleep in. Conversely, a spacious sleeping bag might be more comfortable but it may be less efficient at trapping and insulating warm air.

If you opt for a classic mummy bag then remember to take a look at the zipper. Some extend all the way to the bottom, allowing the bag to be used as a quilt on warmer nights, while others only unzip half way.

Ethics and sustainability

We like to know that the down used to keep us warm have been ethically and sustainably sourced. Therefore, when making this list we looked for winter sleeping bags made with traceable down and certified by Global TDS, RDS, or another recognised organisation. We also look out for manufacturers which use recycled materials in their sleeping bag lining and outer shell.


Wherever your winter adventures take you, make sure you stay fuelled up and hydrated to help avoid hypothermia. For more information on roughing it during the colder months of the warm read our tips on staying warm when winter camping and our winter hiking guide.

Stay warm, happy campers!

About the author

author-beth

Originally from the UK and currently based in Turkey, Beth Carter is a full-time adventurer, former scout, and vegan traveller. When she’s not hiking long-distance trails with an oversized pack on her shoulders, you’ll probably find her peddling up and down scenic roads, or pitching a tent in a far-off mountain range. On the odd occasion, you might even see her sitting at a keyboard, coffee at the ready, typing about her latest outdoor pursuit.

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