Extreme cold weather sleeping bags need to keep you super warm in absolute freezing temperatures so you can go get a great night sleep. You don’t want to be up half the night freezing; you want to be well rested to get on with your adventures the following day.
However deciphering which is the best cold weather sleeping bag is not the easiest task- which is where this guide is going to come in handy. Whilst some sleeping bags claim to keep you cosy and warm, some do little to reduce the chill factor and the last thing you want to do is work this out the first you use it.
This best sleeping bag for cold weather guide takes you through everything you need to consider in order to purchase the perfect extreme cold weather sleeping bag. First up, I’ll take you through the various features that make a sleeping bag suitable for cold weather and then take a closer look at some of the best extreme cold sleeping bag options weather currently on the market.
Whether you’re looking for the best cold weather sleeping bags for your family camping trips or for lightweight cold weather sleeping bags perfect for backpacking around Europe in the middle of winter, I have no doubt you will find just what you are looking for in this guide.
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Our Pick for the Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bag 2019: Marmot CWM Sleeping Bag
Don’t have time to read my entire guide on extreme cold weather sleeping bags? Well my pick for the best sleeping bag is the Marmot CWM. This sleeping bag is a great size mummy style sleeping bag and is super warm using certified Goose Down for ultimate warmth in extreme weather conditions.
Comparison Chart for the Best Extreme Cold Weather Sleeping Bags 2019
Check out the table below for a quick and easy comparison of the extreme cold weather sleeping bags in this guide. For further information about each sleeping bag, keep reading the reviews below.
|EDITOR’S CHOICE||1. US Military 4 PC Weather Resistant Modular Sleep System
|RUNNER UP||2. Marmot CWM Sleeping Bag
|3. High Peak Outdoors Cascade Sleeping Bag
|4. Teton Sports Deer Hunter Sleeping Bag
|5. Browning Camping McKinley Sleeping Bag
|6. Browning Camping Kenai Wide Mummy Sleeping Bag
|7. Slumberjack Borderland Sleeping bag
|8. Slumberjack Boundary Sleeping Bag
|9. Elite Survival Systems Recon 5 Sleeping Bag
|10. Klymit KSB Mummy Style Sleeping Bag
Things to Consider when Purchasing the Best Sleeping Bag for Cold Weather
When it comes to buying a sleeping bag for extreme cold weather, you don’t want to risk buying any old sleeping bag – you really do want to do your research and ensure you are purchasing a sleeping bag is going to do what it says it will – that is keep you nice and warm in freezing cold temperatures.
In order to purchase the best cold weather sleeping bag, consider the following factors:
1. Temperature Rating
First up let’s talk a bit about how a sleeping bag works. A sleeping bag is designed to trap warm air inside to heat up your body. So the less space inside the bag the faster you can heat up and stay warm.
When choosing a sleeping bag, take note of the temperate guide, however consider this guide with caution. Usually the temperate rating on the sleeping bag is the coldest temperate that you would survive in if you had to sleep in the sleeping bag – not the temperature for a nice warm comfortable sleep.
Another thing to consider is your own personal body temperature. I’m sure you know people that never seem to feel the cold or are always complaining of being too hot. Make allowance for this when considering the temperature rating on the sleeping bag.
In general, you are best to make note of the coldest temperature that you will most likely be sleeping in and then at another 5-10 degrees to this and buy a sleeping bag with this temperature rating.
Insulation inside a sleeping bag is one of the most important factors when it comes to keeping you warm. Insulation is usually in the form or either down or synthetic which is contained between two layers of fabric – the shell (the outside of your sleeping bag) and the lining (the inside of your sleeping bag.
There are advantages and disadvantages of both down and synthetic insulation – lets that a look:
If you want the best quality sleeping bag, then you want one with down insulation. Down insulation has an awesome warmth to weight ratio – meaning it takes a smaller amount of insulation to keep you warm than synthetic insulation. This means down sleeping bags are super lightweight and compact so the best type if you are looking for a lightweight cold weather sleeping bag – awesome option for the best cold weather backpacking sleeping bag as you can easily pop it in the bottom of your pack.
On the downside, down insulated sleeping bags are super expensive. But you do get a great top quality sleeping bag that will last forever. One more downside is that down sleeping bags tend to lose their warming capability when wet – but this is simply overcome by having a waterproof coating on the sleeping bag.
If you’re purchasing a sleeping bag insulated with down, look for one ethically sourced. That is the animals haven’t been ill-treated in order to produce the down. Look for companies that follow the Responsible Down Standard. You can find a list of companies that follow this standard here.
If you haven’t got a lot of money to spend then a sleeping bag with synthetic insulation is your best bet. Synthetic insulated sleeping bags are quick drying and still keep you warm if wet. However just keep in mind that they are much bulkier than a down sleeping bag.
Sleeping bags come in a range of shapes including your standard rectangle, mummy and tapered rectangle.
When it comes to the best sleeping bag for extreme cold weather you should buy a mummy shape sleeping bag. These sleeping bags are wide at the shoulders and then narrow towards the feet. Mummy sleeping bags provide the maximum warmth as they have the least amount of space inside, so there is less air to warm up and you will stay warmer.
However if space is a priority to you, opt for a standard rectangle shape sleeping bag or a tapered rectangle sleeping bag which is somewhere in between your mummy sleeping bag and a rectangle sleeping bag.
If you’re looking for a cold weather lightweight sleeping bag or the best cold weather sleeping bag – backpacking suitable, then the weight of your bag is going to be important.
Sleeping bags comes in a wide range of weights, from super ultra-light to reasonably heavy. Just note that for the very best lightweight cold weather sleeping bag, you really should be buying a down insulated sleeping bag which is going to somewhat expensive. If you only have a small budget for your cold weather backpacking sleeping bag, you’re going to have to compromise on weight.
5. Other Features
There are a range of other features to consider when purchasing a sleeping bag such as:
- Shell: Look for sleeping bag shells made from high quality ripcord nylon, fabrics such as polyester or cotton tend to be heavier and not as durable. Also consider a sleeping bag which has been coated with a waterproof barrier such as Gore-Tex.
- Lining: Purchase a sleeping bag with polyester or nylon for breathability and to draw moisture away from the body.
- Zippers: Good quality two-way zippers are ideal so you can get in and out of your sleeping bag with ease. Also ensure your zippers go all the way around so you can open your sleeping bag right up and it as a blanket also.
- Neck Collar: For added warmth, look for sleeping bags that secure around your neck to avoid warm air escaping.
- Hood: Again, to keep you nice and warm, ensure your sleeping bag as a hood on it with a cinch cord to pull it nice and close to your head. Like the neck collar this prevents warm air from escaping and keeps you extra warm.
- Internal Pockets: As a bonus some sleeping bags have built in pockets for gadgets like your phone, watch or torch.
- Sleeping Pad Sleeve: If you usually sleep with a sleeping pad, look for a sleeping bag with a built-in sleeping pad sleeve – this will keep you on your pad all night and prevent you from rolling off and getting cold.
If you are also interested in a pop-up tent check here a great selection of the best pop up tents.
Best Extreme Cold Weather Sleeping Reviews 2019
Below I’ve reviewed some of the best cold weather sleeping bags currently available. I’ve listed them in order of their temperature ratings.
The US Military 4 PC Weather Resistant Modular Sleep System is a super warm mummy style sleeping bag that is great for extremely cold weather with a temperature rating up to -50 degrees, the lowest temperature rating in our reviews.
This sleeping bag is made up of 3 compartments – the patrol bag, black intermediate cold weather bag and the vapour permeable bivy cover – which can be used all together or individually as needed to suit the conditions.
Each bag is made from rip-stop nylon and is non-flammable and machine washable. The woodland Camo bivy is made from wind and waterproof 3-layer GORE-TEX fabric and has a snap fastener and slide fastener.
Other great features of this sleeping bag are an anatomically designed footbox that has twice the insulation as the rest of the bag, a sewn-in quilted chest collar that helps to prevent air drafts, a reversible double-pull slider that allows top or bottom ventilation and a draft flap and hood that help with heat retention.
Made with synthetic insulation and weighing only 11 lbs, this mummy style sleeping bag is perfect for the coldest of nights and will keep you warm on those winter adventures.
For one of the warmest, lightest and most compact sleeping bags for extreme weather, the Marmot CWM sleeping bag is the ultimate when it comes to cold weather sleeping bags.
Weighing in at only 5 lbs, yet with a temperate rating up to -40F, this is the perfect choice for travellers who go on regular camping trips in cold weather. It is certified at a whopping 800 Fill goose down and has a waterproof membrane on the shell to keep you dry and warm in wet conditions.
This sleeping bag is super snug with a length of 89 inches, shoulder girth of 65 inches, hip girth of 63 inches and foot girth of 47 inches.
The Wrap-Around Footbox helps to increase and intensify the insulation but still leaves plenty of room for your feet to wriggle around. Other great features of this sleeping bag are the hood to keep your head cosy, down filled neck collar and zipper guards. It also includes a small internal pocket to keep your personal belongings in.
If you’re looking for the ultimate cold weather sleeping bag that is lightweight compact and will keep you warm on the coldest nights, look no further than the Marmot CWM sleeping bag.
The High Peak Outdoors Cascade Sleeping Bagis a 4-season lightweight mummy sleeping bag which is suitable for both extremely cold weather as well as more mild weather.
This sleeping bag has a temperature rating of up to -40 degrees and with features like the sew-in Draft Tube and Chest Collar, Thermal Collar and windshield, you can be sure that you will be kept warm on your next camping trip in extreme weather.
Made from Invista Tactel Nylon/Nylon Taffeta and weighing only 8 lbs, it is super lightweight which is perfect for backpacking and the included compression stuff sack means you’ll be able to get it into the bottom of your bag.
This sleeping bag is 86 inches long and 34 inches wide and has a range of great features such as a hood with drawstring closure and barrel lock, #10 two-way zipper which also gives you the option to zip two sleeping bags together to create a double, windshield and anti-snag Zipperband.
The High Peak Outdoors Cascade sleeping bag is the perfect great lightweight mummy style sleeping bag and comes with at a great price too.
The Teton Sports Deer Hunter Sleeping Bag is a super comfortable and super warm rectangle style sleeping bag perfect for cold climates.
This sleeping bag measures 90 inches long and 39 inches wide and is insulated with SuperLoft Elite fiber fill. It also features a double layer construction and zipper and shoulder draft tubes that keep the cold air out and the warm air in. For extra airflow and easy access, you’ll also appreciate how you can unzip the sleeping bag from either side.
The Teton Sports sleeping bag is super warm with the poly-flannel liner on the inside and water-resistant canvas shell. It’s appropriate for cold weather up to -35 degrees but you will sleep warmer if you use a camp pad and extra clothing.
Weighing 17.5 lbs it is the heaviest sleeping bag in our reviews so it’s not ideal for backpacking, however it’s the perfect cold weather sleeping bag for those camping trips where you’re not carting your equipment.
If you are after a larger size sleeping bag to keep you extra warm on a cold night, consider the Browning Camping McKinely sleeping bag.
This is a tapered shaped sleeping bag, so it is designed to be extra warm whilst providing you with plenty of room to move around. This sleeping bag is 36 inches wide and 90 inches long for a comfortable sleep for even the tallest camper with many customers over 6 foot claiming the sleeping bag fitted them perfectly.
This sleeping bag is made from durable 210T Nylon, a brushed polyester lining and with a two layer construction to trap the heat inside. For added warmth it also includes insulated chest and zipper baffles as well as a contoured hood to lock in the heat. For easy transportation, this Browning sleeping bag comes with a compression sack and roll up straps.
At a weight of 12.8 lbs, this is one of the heavier sleeping bags in this review, however if weight is not a concern, this is a good buy sleeping bag, with a reasonably inexpensive price tag, which will keep you nice and warm during your cold weather adventures.
The Browning Camping Kenai Wide Mummy Sleeping Bag is a warm and spacious sleeping bag which will provide you a comfortable night’s sleep during cold weather.
This mummy shaped sleeping bag is 86 inches long and 40 inches wide around the shoulders so there is plenty of room to get comfortable. It only weighs 8.6 pounds so it’s reasonably lightweight for backpacking.
Made from a two-layer construction of 210T nylon diamond ripstop fabric and featuring an inner MicroFiber liner with compact TechLoft+ Insulation, you’ll know you’ll stay nice warm on those cold nights. Other great features of this sleeping bag are the insulated chest, compression sack, zipper baffle and #10 separating zipper.
With a temperature rating of up to -20 degrees, this is a spacious synthetic sleeping bag that is suitable for mid to extreme cold weather.
If you’re after a good value sleeping bag, that will keep you warm on a cold winter’s night, the Slumberjack Borderland Sleeping Bag is definitely worth considering.
This sleeping bag has a temperature rating of up to -20 degrees so it will definitely do the job of keeping you warm in super cold weather. The layered offset quilt construction prevents cold spots and the draft tubes along the zippers help keep the cold air out while trapping warm air in.
There is a soft touch liner for ultimate comfort and the dual zipper extends all the way around the foot box for increased ventilation and versatility. The sleeping bag itself weighs 6 pounds and is 84 inches long and 34 inches wide so there is plenty of room for a comfortable and warm night’s sleep.
Other great features of this sleeping bag are the compression sack, #8 zipper with anti-snag protection, internal chest pocket and Velcro tabs to create an “arms out” functionality without having to unzip the sleeping bag.
This is a really great value sleeping bag that ticks all the boxes for extreme cold weather sleeping at a really affordable price.
Yet another great value sleeping bag by Slumberjack – the Boundary Sleeping Bagis a super affordable good quality mummy style sleeping bag perfect for cold weather adventures.
This sleeping bag is super comfortable and convenient with the external Velcro tabs and dual zippers, giving you the option of either sleeping with your arms out with the bag zipped up, or just quickly unzipping and popping your arms out to grab a drink or check your phone.
This sleeping bag has a temperature rating of up to -20 degrees and is made from polyester Taffeta and has a layered, offset, quilted construction that prevents cold spots. The outer shell fabric is made from 190T polyester and it has a flip over hood for extra warmth.
Other great features of this sleeping bag are the included stuff sack, angled foot box for a natural foot position, dual zipper design with the right zipper being able to extend around the footbox for extra ventilation and draft tubes along the zippers. It also has plenty of room with the dimensions of 86 inches long and 35 inches wide.
Weighing in at only 6 pounds, if you’re looking for an affordable cold weather sleeping bag to take backpacking, this Slumberjack Boundary sleeping bag would be a great one to consider.
If you’re after a super lightweight sleeping bag, consider the Elite Survival Systems Recon 5 Sleeping Bag. Packed with stacks of great features, this sleeping bag is sure to keep you warm during your winter adventures.
The outer top shell is made from 210T Ripstop Nylon with a Teflon finish and the outer bottom shell is made from 210D Nylon Oxford with a waterproof finish. The inner is made from 210T Ripstop Nylon and the sleeping bag features a DuPont Thermolite Micro Insulation. This sleeping bag will keep you warm in weather up to -4 degrees.
Weighing only 2 pounds, this sleeping bag is super lightweight, in fact the lightest sleeping bag in our reviews! While being so lightweight, it is also very spacious when it is unpacked. The length is 89 inches, the width at the shoulders is 33 inches and 21 inches at the feet.
Other great features are the internal baffle foot, ultra-thin barrier of anti-bacterial pure silver micro fibre, bonded seams, anti-snag zip with Velcro tab closure, draw cord and barrel lock in the hood, internal phone pocket, internal and external hanging tabs, compression sack, shaped hood and internal and external hanging tabs.
If you’re after the lightest sleeping bag for your cold weather adventures, you really must consider the Elite sleeping bag.
TheKlymit KSB Mummy Style Sleeping Bag is a four-season mummy style sleeping bag that is available in six different colour options.
Insulated with 650 fill-power white duck down this sleeping bag offers a lot of warm yet is lightweight. This sleeping bag only weighs 3.7 pounds so it super lightweight and would be ideal if you’re looking for a top quality sleeping bag to take backpacking. The draft collar, over-stuffed footbox, insulated mummy hood and flexible baffles all add to keeping you warm and cozy while you sleep.
The expanded chest area means you will be nice and comfortable as the rest of the sleeping bag will fit quite snug and tight. The length is 82 inches and the width is 30 inches so still enough room to fit the average sized person but there is the option of using the adjustable length locks to make the sleeping bag 15 inches shorter if preferred. Perfect if you’re particularly tall!
Other great features of this sleeping bag are the compression stuff sack, internal stash pocket and lifetime warranty.
This sleeping bag only has a temperature rating of 0 degrees, so it is actually the least warm sleeping bag in our reviews but still perfect for a mild winters night, so great for those looking for a top quality down sleeping bag to take on your winter backpacking adventures.
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