A warm and comfortable bag can make or break a good night’s sleep, and a good night’s sleep will allow you to perform better on your next day’s hike. Sleeping bags are also the most efficient way to keep your body warm; they’re much warmer per unit of weight than any type of clothing.
Introduction to the Cold Weather Sleeping Bag
Spending the night in nature can be a great experience. You have the opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of life and take in the beauty and serenity nature provides. Enjoy the star filled nights and an open campfire. Without proper equipment, however, the sleeping part can be a real challenge. A tent can help protect you from the elements, but the weather can be an issue, especially when cold evenings become the norm.
Winter camping not only must address the issue of comfort, but also safety, as hypothermia can set in quickly if you do not have the right equipment. Cold weather sleeping bags provide additional warmth and comfort allowing you to camp year around. These bags offer padded insulation and better construction. They are designed to reduce cold spots and keeps out cold air, especially around the zipper, where air leaks are common in warm weather sleeping bags. Cold weather bags commonly feature a mummy style hood which will keep your neck and head warm and reduce the amount of body heat lost during sleep. These factors can allow you a comfortable night sleep, even when the temperatures fall below freezing.
Top Ranked Cold Weather Sleeping Bags
Coleman North Rim 0 Degree Mummy Sleeping Bag
Why is it the Top Pick?
The Coleman North Rim 0 Degree Mummy Sleeping Bag is the top pick because it is lightweight and still provides a comfortable sleep down to 15 degrees F. The bag is constructed of 100% polyester fill weight only 60 ounces for the whole bag. The sleeping bag is a mummy style bag with synthetic material and measures 32 inches by 82 inches making it long enough for those over 6 feet tall. The bag includes a rip stop polyester which makes for a longer life and reduces damage from nature. The cover and lining are polyester and the sleeping bag includes a stuff sack for easier portability and storage.
The mummy sleeping bag features a quilt like construction which will reduce the occurrence of cold spots. The sculpted hood keeps drafts from getting into the bag and keeps your neck and head warm for the coldest cold weather camping. The chest baffle is insulated to hold body heat in the bag and it includes a zipper that is two-way, allowing you to combine two sleeping bags together for double sleeping or more room. This sleeping bag is a good choice for three seasons of outdoor use. It is machine washable and comes with a five-year warranty. The Coleman North Rim 0 Degree Mummy Sleeping Bag weighs 6.2 pounds making it ideal for camping trips.
Teton Sports Celsius Regular Sleeping Bag
Why is it a Top Pick?
The Teton Sports Celsius Regular Sleeping Bag is a top pick due to its lightweight construction and durability. This bag features a 100% polyester filling along with a polyester lining. It only weighs 5 pounds and is 80 inches long and 33 inches wide, allowing tall and medium size individuals to stay warm in temperatures as low as 0 degrees F. The inside of the sleeping bag features a brushed poly flannel lining for increased warmth and comfort. The sleeping bag is a mummy style bag with a drawstring hood. This feature allows you to open the hood during warmer months and close the hood for additional warmth during cold winter months, giving you year around camping with a single bag. The zipper is a right and left sided zipper and can be zipped together with another sleeping bag providing you a double bag for couples or additional room.
The Teton Sports Celsius Regular Sleeping Bag provides more room than traditional bags due to its wider size. It also has the same width throughout the bag rather than a tapered bottom. The sleeping bag features a SuperLoft Elite four channel fiber insulation for additional warmth and the reduction of cold spots. There is in interior pouch to keep keys and other valuables secure without leaving them loose. It comes with a sack that allows for a compact compression and reduces storage needs, providing a compact design for carrying and storing your sleeping bag.
K Sports Celsius Sleeping Bag
Why is it a Top Pick?
The K Sports Celsius Sleeping Bag is a top pick because it comes with a heavy duty water proof coating made from nylon taffeta. It can withstand outside temperatures down to 32 degrees F and only weighs 2.4 pounds. The lightweight nature of this sleeping bag makes it the perfect choice for camping or hiking, when space and weight are a premium. The sleeping bag is a half hood mummy style which will keep your head and neck warm as the temperatures cool in the fall and winter months. It will also secure a pillow in place and keep you head off the ground. The bag features body mapping and a tapered foot to keep your entire body comfortable throughout the night. The K Sports Celsius Sleeping Bag is 86.5 inches long making it a good choice for taller individuals. It is also 31.5 inches wide at the top and a tapered bottom for a comfortable night sleep in most conditions.
This three season sleeping bag features an outer nylon material that is water resistant. The filling is made from spun cotton and the inner layer is cotton for increased comfort. It also comes with a durable two-way zipper is also self-repairing and a sack to keep the sleeping bag compact when storing or carrying to the camp site. In addition to a compact sack there are also compression straps that can be tied to a hiking pack or back pack. With the left and right zipper, you are able to connect two bags together for additional room or sleeping for two.
Top Rated Cold Weather Sleeping Bags Summary
A good quality sleeping bag is essential for winter camping. One with additional insulation will provide greater comfort in low temperatures and allow you to enjoy the outdoors in the fall and winter months. When it comes to outdoor activities a sleeping bag is often used in hiking and camping. For camping trips, you have more room and weight is less of an issue making the Coleman North Rim 0 Degree Mummy Sleeping Bag and the Teton Sports Celsius Regular Sleeping Bag great choices. For hiking trips and remote camping, the K Sports Celsius Sleeping Bag is the lightest of the three, but has the highest temperature rating. The Teton bag offers the lowest temperature rating offering the coldest camping conditions to be able to enjoy your experience in comfort. All of our top picks provide the mummy style sleeping bag because this design allows your head to be part of the bag leaving so gap for air to cool your head and neck. The design is also useful for holding your pillow and preventing it from lying on the ground. The Teton style offers an adjustable mummy design that can be opened for warmer weather camping, increasing its versatility.
Cold Weather Sleeping Bag Buyers Guide
What is a Cold Weather Sleeping Bag
When looking for a cold weather sleeping bag there are a number of decisions that will impact the quality of the sleep you will receive during a winter camp out. A cold weather sleeping bag offers more insulation and is designed to withstand colder temperatures than a traditional bag. The increased design makes them more specialized than standard sleeping bags. The spring and summer months you can enjoy camping outdoors with a few blankets or a lightweight sleeping bag that is designed for warmer nighttime lows. Colder months require specialized equipment that can keep you safe and warm when the night temperatures fall near freezing or below. Without a low temperature rated bag, you risk hypothermia, which can set in quickly as the temperatures fall in the evening. Fall and winter camping requires sleeping bags that are designed to keep you warm all through the night.
Where Will You Be Using the Sleeping Bag?
Hiking and remote camping require sleeping bags that are not only warm but also light weight. They need to be able to reduce down to a very compact size and be carried with ease. They must be light in weight so they do not add much additional weight enabling you to carry them for several miles without adding to the fatigue of the hiker. These compact bags typically use a down material which can provide warmth without the bulk of other materials. They are also typically more expensive than other styles because of the materials that are used to reduce the weight and bulk of the sleeping bag.
Camping and drive in camp sites allow you to focus on the comfort and temperature rating as the highest priority over the compactness and weight of the bag. These bags can be a little bulkier but often come with convenient sacks to keep them compact for travel. They can have temperature rating to zero degrees or below while still being lightweight and compact, but to a lesser degree than the hiking bags. They will have higher density filling to accommodate lower temperatures and are often less expensive because the polyester materials are not as expensive.
What Will the Weather Conditions Be?
The most important feature is how cold will you be able to camp in with your cold weather sleeping bag. The temperature rating that is listed on the bag is generally a survival rating, not a comfort rating. This means for the most comfortable night sleep you should choose a bag that is rates 15 to 20 degrees lower than you expect to experience. This means a zero-degree bag should be used when the lows will be 15 or 20 degrees. This will make you the most comfortable. Also consider what you wear and what temperature you sleep the best in. Things like wearing socks and a hat (where most of your heat loss occurs) will allow you to be comfortable in lower temperatures closer to the ratings given.
Remember that temperature ratings are also provided under ideal circumstances. Things like wind and rain will impact your level of comfort while camping in more adverse circumstances that a tester would experience. Consider whether you will be hiking at the beach or in the mountains and what elements you are most likely to incur. Take your worst case scenario, enabling the bag to meet all of your winter camping needs.
Features to consider
The Type of Sleeping Bag will you need. Sleeping bags come in several different styles. There are hooded and hoodless bags with zippers, zipper less or quilt style sleeping bags, hooded wearable bags and wearable quilt style bags. The sleeping bags may remain the same width all the way down or be tapered towards the feet.
The style you choose should be based on both your preferences and the weather you plan to sleep in. For warmer months’ zipper less bags and hood less bags are great for letting out the heat and allowing you to be comfortable when the weather is warmer. Colder temperatures benefit from the hooded styles because they are able to secure body heat in addition to the insulation to keep your body warm when the weather gets cold.
The Insulation will impact both the weight and the warmth. The most common type of insulation is synthetic material like polyester and down material. Down material can keep you warmer because it is a denser material and can give you lower temperatures without adding weight. Polyester is better for extended trips and wet conditions. Synthetic material tends to be heavier in weight and is harder to compress into a compact size so would not be ideal for hiking, where weight and size is critical for the journey in and out of the site.
The Fabric Used will impact the weight, your comfort and weather proof nature of the sleeping bag. Lightweight fabrics are generally used on higher end bags. Some will be resistant to rips and tears and some will include water proof features. The exterior should be easy to clean, where the inside you want for comfort. Lower price bags typically use heavier fabrics than more expensive counterparts. Some bags are machine washable making them particularly easy to care for.
The Temperature Rating will determine the level of comfort you can expect based on the night time temperatures. The rating listed will identify what the coldest temperature the bag is designed to withstand and keep the average camper warm. Understand that man and women have different temperatures and women tend to sleep colder than men.
Metabolism, clothing worn, wind, and the protection the tent provides will all factor into your personal needs. Typically winter bags should be rated for freezing temperatures or lower. Three season bags generally cover the temperature ranges of 10 to 35 degrees. Summer bags only need to be 35 degrees or higher.
When choosing a cold weather sleeping bag consider the features that are most important to you. Will you be using it mostly for general comping or remote hiking and camping? This will narrow your priorities for both weight and comfort. Then consider what temperature rating you will need. The lower the rating, the more sophisticated materials are used, which can quickly drive up the price. If you will camp up to freezing temperatures out top picks will keep you safe and comfortable during your camping experience.