If you suggest going on a winter camping trip, some people will think it is a crazy idea. Others believe that there is nothing better than waking up on a brisk, chilly morning in the great outdoors. However, if you have ever gone camping during the winter months, you know how important it is to stay warm at night. When the temperature drops too low, blankets and comforters will no longer do the trick. Instead, you need an insulated winter sleeping bag.
Winter sleeping bags utilize multiple layers and insulation to keep you warm and safe during cold nights. In many parts of the world, winter nights can bring dangerously low temperatures. It is important to choose a sleeping bag that is capable of fighting off the cold so you can stay safe and have a good night’s sleep. And with all the extra padding, they are also pretty darn comfortable. Let’s take a look at the five best winter sleeping bags.
The 5 Best Winter Sleeping Bags
5. Coleman Heritage Sleeping Bag
The Coleman Heritage Sleeping Bag is a great choice for camping in the cold weather. It comes with plenty of room and great insulation. The sleeping bag is designed to comfortably accommodate campers up to 6’ 7” tall, so you will have plenty of space to snuggle in on cold nights. Smaller sleepers can even fit an extra blanket inside, though it might not be needed.
The Coleman Heritage sleeping bag is rated for use in temperatures of around 10˚ F. It is definitely a heavy sleeping bag, but that’s why it is so effective at keeping you warm. In fact, a large portion of the weight comes from the 5 pounds of Holofill insulation inside. It is designed to trap heat inside, keeping you warmer at night. For an additional layer of warmth, it also boasts a cotton flannel liner.
You will not have a problem with zipper snags when you are getting in or out of the sleeping bag. They are designed to be snag-free. It also makes closing and rolling it up a little easier.
Once you get it home, you can simply toss it right into the washing machine. It is maintenance-free and comes with an included 5 year warranty.
Pros & Cons
4. Browning McKinley Sleeping Bag
The Browning McKinley Sleeping Bag is designed for extreme campers on a budget. Not only is it affordably priced it is designed to keep you warm in temperatures 30 degrees below zero.
The sleeping bag comes with the manufacturer’s TechLoft silver insulation. The 7 denier material keeps body warmth even in freezing temperatures. To ensure continued warmth, the outer shell of the bag is made from nylon with a polyester liner.
You will have plenty of space inside the sleeping bag, with dimensions measuring 36’ by 90’ feet. Weighing around 12 pounds, you do not have to worry about carrying it to your campsite. It is also easy to clean and can be safely tossed right into the washing machine when you get home.
Additionally, the two-layer construction ensures that the sleeping bag is durable. It reduces the effects of wear and tear, so the bag should hold up through years camping trips and regular use.
Pros & Cons
3. Hyke & Byke Katahdin Sleeping Bag
The Hyke & Byke Katahdin Sleeping Bag is designed for campers that do not want to carry a lot of weight. It also does not take up much space in your pack. Using microfiber insulation, the sleeping bag will keep you warm when temperatures drop below freezing.
Not only will you be warm when the ground is freezing, but you will also stay dry when it is raining. The sleeping bag is constructed from waterproof materials that will keep you dry if water seeps into the tent. It will also protect you from rain and morning dew if you decide to sleep under the stars.
Weighing under 5 pounds, you will not have any problems carrying this sleeping bag around. Its durable construction ensures that it will last for several camping seasons. While it is not machine washable, this sleeping bag is easy to wash by hand. In most cases, it can actually just be quickly wiped down or spot cleaned.
Pros & Cons
2. Coleman Brazos Winter Sleeping Bag
With its affordable price and ability to keep you warm in winter temperatures, it is not surprising that we love sleeping in the Coleman Brazos Winter Sleeping Bag.
The polyester insulation is thermally efficient and retains heat so you can sleep snug and warm even when it is slightly below freezing outside. You also do not have to worry about too much added weight because the insulation is hollow. You can easily roll up the lightweight sleeping bag and shove it into your pack.
Constructed from 100% polyester, the sleeping bag is durable. You will not have to worry about the insulation shifting and leaving uncomfortable lumps, thanks to its fiber lock construction. The bag will be as comfortable on your 20th camping trip as it was on your first.
It also measures a little over 6 feet in length, so you should not have any trouble fitting inside of it.
Pros & Cons
1. Teton Leef Mummy Sleeping Bag
The Teton Leef Mummy is our absolute favorite, and is one of the best sleeping bags for camping in the winter. It will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable when it is freezing outside. The Teton Leef Mummy sleeping bag will keep you cozy, even as the temperature hits a chilly 34 degrees Fahrenheit.
It also comes with extra insulation in the foot area. No more waking up with freezing feet in the middle of the night. The foot box is also roomier than other sleeping bags, giving you more space to stretch out and get comfortable.
Along with the draft tube in the zipper that traps heat in, you also have a three-piece hood attached to the sleeping bag. You can pull the hood tight around you, providing insulation and warmth for your head that is not available in most other comparable bags. This is a feature that is often overlooked, but is fantastic when the temperature drops and the winds pick up.
Getting the sleeping bag back into your pack will only take seconds. It comes with a compression sock so all you have to do is stuff the sleeping bag in. Close the straps and your sleeping bag is packed.
Pros & Cons
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Winter Sleeping Bag
Before you head off on your next winter camping trip, make sure you bring an insulated sleeping bag to keep you warm during the cold nights. If you are looking to purchase a new winter sleeping bag, these are a few of the important factors that you should consider.
It is important to look at what temperature the sleeping bag is rated for. You do not want to bring one designed for warm weather sleeping on a winter camping trip. There are typically three recognized ratings for sleeping bags:
- Summer temperatures over 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Spring and fall temperatures below 35˚ F.
- Winter temperatures 20˚ F and lower.
It is important to remember that if a sleeping bag is rated for winter temperatures, it does not mean that you will be warm and toasty. Everyone has a different tolerance for cold weather.
Types of Insulation Material
The insulation in the sleeping bag matters as much as it is temperature rating. Some materials hold heat in better than others. There are three main types of insulation used, and each comes with its advantages and disadvantages.
1. Synthetic Insulation
Synthetic insulation is inexpensive, durable, and usually made from polyester. Additionally, it is also hypoallergenic so you do not have to worry about itchy skin or rashes. It will even keep you warm when the material is damp. The downside is that synthetic insulation can be bulky, making it difficult to pack and easily carry.
2. Goose-down Insulation
Goose-down is warmer and more durable than synthetic insulation, but it also costs more. It does compress easily so you can save some space in your pack. Its downside is that it will not keep you warm if it gets wet.
3. Water-resistant Down Insulation
Water-resistant down is the highest-priced, but you do get the advantages of goose-down and synthetic insulation. The down feathers are treated to prevent them from absorbing moisture. You will stay warm and dry on cold, winter nights and still be able to compress the sleeping bag down for easy carrying if you do not mind the price.
Even if your camping site is a short distance from the car, it does not mean you want to lug a 30 pound sleeping bag a few feet. However, not all sleeping bags are lightweight, and the weight can vary significantly between different models. Unless it is absolutely necessary, you generally do not want to add weight to your gear. The goal is to find a good warmth to weight ratio that suits your specific needs.
The type of material used, especially in the insulation will determine how heavy the sleeping bag is. Synthetic materials are heavier, you will also find that the bulky material is difficult to pack. Bags that utilize goose-down, treated, and untreated insulation may be more expensive, but they are also easier to carry and usually pack down small to a manageable size. In addition, many high quality sleeping bags also come with an included compression sack or stuff sack that does a great job of reducing bulkiness.
The shape of the sleeping bag can be the difference between a warm night’s sleep and shivering until the morning campfire. Wider sized sleeping bags give you more room, but the larger area can allow heat to escape. Mummy-style sleeping bags that form a type of cocoon around your body are the best if you want to keep heat inside while you are sleeping.
Couples may want to consider choosing a double sleeping bag instead. While there is more room inside, that loss of heat would be offset by the additional body warmth from your partner. However, remember that temperature ratings also apply to double sleeping bags, so be sure to choose one that is properly rated and safe for your camping environment.
Additional Features to Consider
Warmth and portability are the two primary features you look for in the best winter sleeping bag. To ensure you are getting the best value for your money, there are a few additional features to consider.
Heat escapes through your head, and a sleeping bag that comes with a hood will trap warmth in. You can often find hoods on mummy-style sleeping bags where preventing warmth from escaping is a primary design goal.
The outside of a sleeping bag is referred to as the shell. You want the sleeping bag to have a water-repellent shell to stay dry at night. The interior is the lining, and you want it to have wicking properties to prevent sweat from disrupting your sleep.
With some sleeping bags, a pillow pocket may also be included. When stuffed with clothes, a pillow pocket forms a pillow. Since it utilizes the clothes you are already bringing, a pillow pocket removes the need to pack and carry a bulky pillow.
In addition to comfort, these makeshift pillows also keep your head elevated off of the cold ground, which is essential for staying warm during cold nights. Pillow pockets are a feature that most campers do not find necessary, but it is definitely convenient to have one.
Winter Sleeping Bags FAQs
What is the best material for a winter sleeping bag?
You want a sleeping bag that comes with a water-resistant shell and plenty of insulation. Your budget will determine the type of material. If you can afford to pay a little more, look for a sleeping bag with a synthetic shell, and treated goose-down insulation. Otherwise, polyester will also keep you warm on cold nights.
How much does a winter sleeping bag cost?
Winter sleeping bags are available at a wide range of prices. The cost will depend on the materials used, along with the brand name. Some brands are priced higher than others, usually due to the higher quality materials used.
Do all winter-rated sleeping bags keep you warm?
There are a few factors that come into play when you are trying to decide if a sleeping bag will keep you warm. Even if it has been rated for winter use, the temperature ratings can still vary quite a bit. You will want to check this, especially if your next camping trip will be in arctic temperatures. You also want to consider how your body may react to the cold.
For all of your outdoor winter trips, we also recommend bringing along a thick wool blanket. Regardless of what sleeping bag you use, it is always good to have a warm blanket with you in case there is an emergency or if things turn out to be colder than expected. It is always much better to be over-prepared than it is to be under-prepared, especially if you are camping in a remote area.
There is something special about waking up at the campsite on a cold winter morning. The air is crisp and clear, and a day full of adventure awaits. However, without a good night’s sleep the night before, odds are you will feel pretty groggy. To stay warm and sleep comfortably in the cold outdoors, a high quality winter sleeping bag is an essential piece of camping gear.
As the overall best winter sleeping bag, we highly recommend the Teton Leef Mummy Sleeping Bag. It is warm, comfortable, durable, and affordable. However, no matter which sleeping bag you choose, remember to be mindful of the temperature rating. Also be sure to consider the carrying weight and comfortability.
Perhaps most importantly, remember to stay safe when camping outdoors during cold weather. Make sure you bring a sleeping bag that is appropriately temperature-rated. We also recommend bringing along extra blankets and sleeping pads. It is important to take every precaution to ensure your safety and health.
Have fun, but also remember to use common sense.
Is there a sleeping bag that you love to use during cold, winter nights? We would love to try it out! Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.