Best Sleeping Bag for Cold Weather in 2020 | Expert advice

If you quickly want to find out which is the best sleeping bag for cold weather, I’d recommend the Hyke & Byke Quandary Sleeping Bag.

A good sleep at the end of the day is significant, be it at home or the backcountry.

Sleeping bags are an important aspect of any trip since they provide the body with the rest it needs.

Below, you can find some solid buying advice, the best way to use them and a list of sleeping bags for cold weather. All of them are chosen based on customer reviews & performance.

Our Top 5 Sleeping Bags for Cold Weather of 2020

4.5

Hyke & Byke Quandary 15 Degree F 650 Fill Power Hydrophobic Down Sleeping Bag

Temp Rating: 15F

1. Hyke & Byke Down Sleeping Bag

  • Best value for money
  • Less weight as compared to other bags in the same price range
  • High quality zippers and pull strings
4.6

Temp Rating: 0F

2. TETON Sports Polara 3-in-1 Sleeping Bag

  • Toasty warm in cold weathers
  • Two of the same bag can be zipped together to make a double sleeping bag
  • Best for car camping
4.2

Temp Rating: 0F

3. ALPS Mountaineering Desert Pine Sleeping Bag

  • Best mummy bag for comfort
  • Made of high quality ripstop fabrics
  • Best for winter camping
5

Western Mountaineering 10 Degree Versalite Sleeping Bag

Temp Rating: 10F

4. Western Mountaineering  Sleeping Bag

  • Perfect for the ultralight backpacker
  • The comfiest bag in the review
  • Heavy duty and highly durable
4.5

Temp Rating: 0F

5. Coleman Mummy Sleeping Bag

  • Best pick for money
  • Provides excellent warmth as compared to other bags in this price range

We've created a comprehensive Sleeping Bag buying guide along with the best ways to take care of a sleeping bag. 

How to choose the best sleeping bag?

Price

Your sleeping bag will probably be one of the most expensive items in your backpack, apart from tents, so by choosing a good one, it can easily become your favorite piece of gear.

Budget sleeping bags are in the $150 – $200 range and high-end sleeping bags can easily top $500.

Weight

Sleeping bags are one of the four heaviest items in your backpack – among tents, backpacks and sleeping pads.

Bags that are ultralight are great for backpacking. They are costly since they are made of high quality delicate materials to cut down weight. Also, by going for ultralight options, you might be compromising on something – be it warmth, safety or comfort.

So it’s critical to strike a balance between all of them.

If you aren’t too keen on ultralight options, lightweight bags that are a good mix of features & weight solve the purpose.

Since this article focuses on sleeping bags for cold weathers, warmth has been our primary consideration followed by weight.

Warmth

Sleeping bags don’t generate warmth, your body does. The bags trap the heat from your body from getting out, thus keeping you warm.

Sleeping bags that are better insulated, trap more heat, and keep you warmer. That’s also one of the reasons Mummy bags are cozier and warmer than quilts. Quilts have a large area and since the heat spreads across it, it doesn’t keep you as warm.

Fit – Mummy bags or Quilts?

Mummy bags

  1. Keep you cozy & warm
  2. Come with & without hoods
  3. Best for cold weathers
  4. Restricting space
  5. Zipper can be snaggy at times

Quilts

  1. Less restrictive
  2. Less warmer
  3. No zipper issues
  4. Less bulkier comparatively
  5. Does not come with hoods
  6. Cheaper

Fill material – Down or Synthetics?

Bags with a down insulation have an excellent weight-to-warmth ratio and compress more easily. For anyone who is going to backpack, down is the best choice.

Synthetic sleeping bags on the other hand, are bulkier and cheaper. They perform slightly better than down bags when wet by retaining heat more. It might be a good choice for car camping.

Temperature Ratings

This is explained in the below section.

Are temperature ratings real?

EN Ratings

European Norm (EN) is to standardize the temperature ratings of sleeping bags. It keeps ratings consistent across the industry, but not all companies use EN ratings.

The EN Rating specifies 4 limits according to gender, but the most common one is the EN Lower Limit. It’s defined as the temperature at which a standard male can sleep for eight hours in a curled position without waking.

Fancy terms to standardize temperatures, but how do they translate to us?

What does a sleeping bag with a lower limit of 20F mean?

In simple terms, it means that it keeps you alive till 20F, and not that you’d be warm at 20F. So, there’s no exact science of choosing a temperature rating.

The rule of the thumb, to go by here is to choose a sleeping bag that’s warmer than you want it to be at the campsite.

Increasing the temperature rating

While it’s true that choosing the temperature rating isn’t always accurate, always know that you can increase the warmth of the sleeping bag by using a sleeping pad, jackets and liners, etc.

If you know you’d be in for a cold night, carry one of them to increase the warmth.

While it’s wise to go with bags with EN ratings, cheap bags may advertise temperature ratings lesser than what they actually withstand. So it’s crucial to invest in a good quality sleeping bag.

What’s the best way to use Sleeping bags

Sleeping bag liner

Consider using a liner on the sleeping bag, of any material say cotton, polyester, silk, etc. Anything thin & lightweight will do.

This ensures that the sleeping bags don’t get dirty because now there’s a barrier in between.

Air out the Bags

During the camp, make sure to air out the bag once a day. It dries out the moisture if any.

Make sure it’s not exposed to harsh sun as it might damage the outer layer of the sleeping bag. Mild sunlights work best.

Handling zippers

This may seem a trivial aspect but if it snaps, it might ruin a night’s sleep and make the bag unusable. Not every sleeping bag comes with high quality zippers, and if handled hastily & roughly, they tent to snap.

Gentle care

Be conscious when you take the sleeping bag near fire, a campfire for example. Make sure kids don’t jump on the bags, it might cause the down material to get distributed unevenly inside the bag. That makes it difficult to sleep on it.

Handling it with a little extra care makes the sleeping bag durable for a long time.

Store it when dry

Make sure the sleeping bag has dried well before you store it in a compression bag. Even a little bit of moistness in the bag will damage the material, and also cause bad odors.

Top 5 Sleeping bags for cold weather

1. Hyke & Byke Down Sleeping Bag

Pros

  • Filled of hydrophobic down that keeps you  warm down to 15F
  • Lightweight as compared to other bags in the price range
  • Has zipper baffles and draw cords at the hood and shoulders
  • Packs down easily into the stuff sack
  • Perfect even for individuals even over 6′ feet
  • Reasonably priced
  • Comes in 3 different sizes and 5 colour options

Cons

  • The fill could have been fluffier
  • Mummy style design can  feel constrictive

Bottomline

A sleeping bag that perfectly balances out warmth, comfort, weight and price equally.

2. TETON Sports Polara 3-in-1 Sleeping Bag

Pros

  • All season sleeping bag
  • Not restricting space
  • Best for car camping
  • Two of the same bag can be zipped together to make a double sleeping bag
  • Made of high quality polytaffeta & double coated
  • Toasty warm in cold weathers – 0F temp rating

Cons

  • Bulky for backpacking
  • Small compression bag

Bottomline

A bag that’s best deemed for car camping. Affordable, durable and of good quality.

3. ALPS Mountaineering Desert Pine 0-Degree Sleeping Bag

Pros

  • Made of high quality ripstop fabrics
  • Best for winter camping
  • Provides excellent warmth in single degree weathers
  • Has a double layer construction that improves insulating loft and eliminates cold spots
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Big & Bulky
  • Snug for bigger people

Bottomline

A solid sleeping bag for winter nights, at an affordable price.

4. Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bag


Pros

  • Has a fluffy loft which makes it the comfiest bags in the review
  • Keeps you warm even beyond the specified 10F
  • Heavy duty zippers that don’t snag
  • The size around the neck is widened for comfort
  • Has a full length zipper
  • Weighs only 2 lbs that makes it a great choice for backpacking

Cons

  • Expensive

Bottomline

A heavy-duty sleeping bag for  backpacking, also one of the warmest and most comfortable in the review.

5. Coleman 0°F Mummy Sleeping Bag

Pros

  • Cheapest among the 5 products
  • Made of Synthetic fill
  • Comes with a semi sculpted hood
  • Provides excellent warmth as compared to other bags in this price range
  • Comfortable
  • A good option for car camping

Cons

  • Bulky for backpacking
  • Not very durable

Bottomline

Chosen as an economical option for car campers.

Conclusion

Our pick from the lot is the Hyke & Byke Quandary Sleeping Bag.

As compared to the other sleeping bags, it comes with a good quality down insulation and hence is perfect for cold weathers. It is also lightweight and perfect for backpacking.

It’s spacious, comfortable and serves 3 seasons. Go for it and you won’t be disappointed.

Which one did you pick? Let us know in the comments 🙂

Mark Bennett
 

I have a serious thing for travel, outdoors and wilderness. I grew up in Oregon and camping outdoors with my father was one of the fondest memories of childhood. I enjoy camping and hiking and love to share what I've learnt over these years.