Best Winter Sleeping Bags for Backpacking 2024

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Best Winter Sleeping bags

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This is a gear review about the Best Winter Sleeping Bags for Backpacking 2024.

When the temperature drops well below freezing finding the best cold-weather sleeping bag can be a balancing act trying to find the winter sleeping bag most suitable for you and your needs. All the 4 Season Sleeping bags in this review are best suited for trekking in the mountains in winter, backcountry skiing, arctic expeditions, high-altitude mountaineering, and more. Let’s take a look at which one is best for you.


How We Tested

All the Winter Sleeping Bags in this review have been extensively evaluated and researched by the expert author who has many years of experience in Thru-Hiking, Backpacking, and Hiking. The research, testing, and experience of the author have combined to come up with the Best 4-Season Sleeping Bags for 2024. Read the Review Policy for further details.


Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bags for Backpacking & Mountaineering 2024

The 4-Season Sleeping Bags for Backpacking & Mountaineering in 2024 are:

Best Sleeping Bag for Winter 2024 – Overall

Feathered Friends Snowbunting EX 0

Feathered Friends Snowbunting EX 0 sleeping bag

Pros:
> 900 FP Down
> 100% Responsible Down Standard (RDS) Certified
> Pertex Shield EX Outer Fabric is water resistant, breathable, and Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treated
> Draft tube, hood, and draft collar with continuous baffles
Cons:
> No stash pockets or extra room, a tight fit for some

The Feathered Friends Snowbunting EX 0 sleeping bag is an extremely weather-resistant winter sleeping bag and is suitable for the most arduous of treks into the cold mountains. The Pertex Shield EX provides a breathable, water-resistant shell that is coated with DWR (Durable Water-Resistant) for added protection against the elements.

The highest quality 900 Fill power will keep you warm in harsh, freezing environments, whilst the draft collar, hood, and collar will provide extra heat retention.

The 3D contoured hood adds extra insulation around the user’s head, whilst the continuous baffles allow for the adjustment and moving of the goose down when needed. The two-way zipper allows for easier access and movement.

It could be a tight fit for bigger people, and the snug fit doesn’t allow for a stash pocket like many other bags on the market.

Overall, the Feathered Friends Snowbunting EX 0 ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to lightweight winter sleeping bags for winter camping. Very impressive.

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Best 4-Season Sleeping Bag 2024

Sea to Summit Alpine Apii

Sea to Summit Alpine Apii Winter sleeping bag

Pros:
> 850 FP of RDS Loft Goose Ultra-Dry down
> It comes in two sizes of 183cm and 198cm
> ‘Expedition Sized’ to allow the wearing of further clothing
> 100% Responsible Down Standard (RDS) Certified
> Contoured Mummy Shape
Cons:
> Zipper prone to snagging

The Sea to Summit Alpine Apii mummy bag has been designed for use in the most extreme environments one could face, challenge yourself in high altitude and arctic conditions whilst still staying warm. The 850 Fill power of RDS-certified Ultra-dry goose down provides warmth at lows of –4F.

The ‘Expedition Sizing’ is a great feature, as it allows the user to wear added layers of clothing whilst inside. The anatomically shaped foot box is oversized to allow for comfort, movement, and even the wearing of boots in those harshest of locations.

The Sea to Summit Alpine Series of Sleeping Bag also has an expedition sleeping bag with a temperature rating down to -40F / -40C so if you need an extreme cold weather sleeping bag that gives you more warmth than all the bags in this review, they have you covered.

It has a large internal security pocket for keeping your valuables safe and secure.

Overall, the Sea to Summit Alpine Series bags is some of the best 4-season sleeping bags for expeditions on the market.

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Best Winter Sleeping Bag for Australia and New Zealand 2024

Macpac Serac 1000

Macpac Serac 1000 Winter Sleeping Bag

Pros:
> 800 FP of HyperDRY RDS goose down
> Pertex Quantum Shell
> 100% Responsible Down Standard (RDS) Certified
> Cool zips to allow only your arms to come out of the bag, great for inside the tent
Cons:
> Only Available in Australia and New Zealand

Stay warm in extreme temperatures thanks to the 800 Fill Power HyperDRY RDS goose down. The 100% Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certification shows the manufacturer is environmentally conscious.

The Macpac Serac 1000 is made with Pertex Quantum fabric, it is lightweight, durable, windproof, and weather resistant. A Twin Chamber Directional draft tube increases insulation and protects against air seeping in via the zipper. The draw-cord collar ensures added comfort and heat retention at your head.

If you are going to Mount Everest Base Camp, Mt Kilimanjaro or winter ski touring then you should know this is the ideal winter sleeping bag for you.

My personal cold-weather sleeping bag is the older version of this bag, the Macpac Epic 1000 which is a great bag. This upgraded Macpac Serac 1000 is much lighter and better.

The Macpac Serac 1000 has been tested according to international ISO 23537-1 standard and temperature rating of Comfort Rating -10°C / Limit -17°C / Extreme -40°C.

Overall, the Macpac Serac 1000 is the best winter sleeping bag for winter camping in Australia and New Zealand.

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Other great Cold Weather Sleeping Bags

Nemo Sonic 0F 800-Fill Down

Nemo Sonic 0F Winter Sleeping Bag

Pros:
> 800 FP down
> 100% Responsible Down Standard (RDS) Certified
> Waterproof resistant, spacious, and breathable
Cons:
> Exterior Pocket not big enough for most larger phone models

Guaranteed to keep you warm in the harshest of environments. The Nemo Sonic 0 F 800 is an award-winning cold-weather sleeping bag stuffed with 800 FP (Down Fill Power) hydrophobic down that will keep you cozy. There are two expedition cold weather sleeping bags with a Comfort temperature rating of 0F and -20F.

It is 100% Responsible Down Standard (RDS) Certified, ensuring that throughout the supply chain there is humane treatment extended to any animals involved. To allow maneuverability and comfort, the knee area is built with stretch construction.

The waterproof Toaster foot box provides breathability and comfort. The internal draft collar and draft tubes keep the heat in and the cold out. The Adjustable Thermo Gills vent body heat at your core without letting the cold air sneak into your bag.

The Nemo Sonic 800 has a waterproof contoured hood with a drawstring that helps to protect your face from the elements and keeps you as snug as a bug in a rug. Lightweight and easily compresses down small for storage and easy carry.

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The North Face Inferno 0 Sleeping Bag

The North Face Inferno 0F 4-season Sleeping bag

Pros:
> Lightweight
> 100% recycled shell
> Water resistant 800 loft down
Cons:
> Zipper snags a little bit more than some of the other bags on this review

The North Face Inferno 0 is an impressive sleeping bag for winter conditions from the well-known brand, The North Face.

This cold-weather sleeping bag uses high-quality 800-fill power weather-resistant down. Combined with 100% recycled 15D nylon material. It has a comfort rating of 15F and a Temperature Rating of 0F.

It is a good quality option that is also lightweight, weighing 1 lb. 13 oz / 822 grams. If you are looking for a lightweight 4-season sleeping bag then this is a good option.

Overall, The North Face Inferno 0 is a good quality lightweight 4-season sleeping bag from The North Face.

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Marmot Lithium 0F

Marmot Lithium 0F Winter Sleeping Bag

Pros:
> 800 FP goose down
> Pertex Microlight shell and lining
> Down Defender – Improved water resistance, loft, and drying time
Cons:
> Stuff Sack is small considering the size and loft of the sleeping bag

With a Fill Power of 800, the Marmot Lithium 0F 4-season sleeping bag is designed with the most extreme climates in mind. The Pertex Microlight is an ultra-light fabric used for the shell which is also treated with a Durable Water-resistant (DWR) coating, ensuring durability and protection from the elements.

The lining is durable yet soft on the skin for increased comfort. The Down Defender offers improved water resistance in wet conditions, meaning improved loft and faster drying time.

Stuffed with high-quality goose down to ensure a warm night’s sleep and reduced cold spots whilst still being incredibly lightweight. The snag-less draft tube and two-way anti-snag zipper protect against damage.

Nautilus Multi-baffle draw-cord hood and smooth-curved baffles reduce downshifting and aid heat retention.

Overall, the Marmot Lithium 0F is a good option as a cold-weather sleeping bag that is lightweight and packs up to a compact size.

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Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0F

Mountain Hardwear Phantom Winter Sleeping Bag

Pros:
> 850 Fill Power goose down
> Durable, water-repellent, and lightweight
> Ease of access and use of hands outside the bag
> 100% Responsible Down Standard (RDS) Certified
Cons:
> Incredibly snug fit could feel rather restrictive for some users

The Mountain Hardwear Phantom GTX 0F down sleeping bag combines durability and comfort with lightweight and quality materials. Insulated with Responsible Down Standard 850 Fill Power goose down to keep the warmth in and the user comfortable.

Durable Nylon Ghost Ripstop shell is super lightweight and made from 30 Denier Gore Windstopper material. If you find yourself sleeping in a damp site or an open alpine bivy then this bag is one of the best. It is water-repellent and easy to compress for storage and movement. Designed to follow the contours of the body to improve heat retention and minimize heat loss.

Dual-sided anti-snag zippers with glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls are convenient and improve ventilation and ease of access. The anatomically contoured footbox accounts for a natural foot position for optimum comfort and warmth.

Overall, the Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0F is yet another good option for winter hiking.

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RAB Ascent 900

Rab Ascent 900 Winter Sleeping Bag

Pros:
> Budget price winter sleeping bag option
> Pertex Quantum Fabric which is water-resistant and durable
> Semi-rectangular foot area for improved movement and comfort
> 100% Responsible Down Standard (RDS) Certified
Cons:
> Not suitable for taller individuals
> 650FP down

The Rab Ascent 900 uses Pertex Quantum fabric and has a Durable Water-Resistant coating to ensure moisture isn’t absorbed into the bag whilst protecting you from the wind. The 650 Fill Power Nikwax hydrophobic duck down will keep you warm whilst improving resistance to damp conditions.

Although a mummy-style bag, this is a wider fit that includes a semi-rectangular foot area, giving you more wiggle room and less restriction of movement than the conventional mummy style.

The three-quarter length anti-snag zipper allows for ease of access whilst keeping the heat in at your feet. The internal stash pocket allows you to keep personal possessions warm, safe, and dry.

Overall, the Rab Ascent 900 is a good budget cold-weather sleeping bag.

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RAB Neutrino 800

Rab Neutrino 800 4-season sleeping bag

Pros:
> 800 FP of hydrophobic goose down
> 100% Responsible Down Standard (RDS) Certified
> Pertex Quantum – High-quality, lightweight, and weather-resistant fabric
Cons:
> It’s only available in one size, so for the taller adventurer it could be limiting

The Rab Neutrino 800 is the highest-specification model in the Rab Neutrino range. It’s filled with 800 FP of ethically sourced, hydrophobic goose down that is traceable under the European Down & Feather Codex. It will keep you warm to lows of –7.6F.

The chevron-shaped baffles ensure the fill remains over the chest whilst eliminating cold spots. The Perspex Quantum fabric is durable, lightweight, and weather-resistant, whilst the insulated draft tube will keep the cold at bay.

Overall, the Rab Neutrino 800 packs down small, and its lightweight ensures it’s easy to carry, as well as providing a high warmth-to-weight ratio.

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Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bag 2024

Western Mountaineering Kodiak

Western Mountaineering Kodiak

Pros:
> 850 FP down
> A massive 66 inches of shoulder width and 41 inches of foot girth
> 4-season bag with draft collar, full down collar, secure hood, and continuous baffles
Cons:
> Not Hydrophobic Down

A mighty impressive down-filled mummy sleeping bag, with 850 Fill Power, will keep you warm with a comfort temperature rating down to 0F. The Western Mountaineering Kodiak is a 4-season sleeping bag suitable for use year-round, with excellent heat retention via the draft collar, secure hood, full-down collar, and continuous baffles.

These baffles allow the user to move the high-quality down fill around the bag when needed. The Gore Windstopper material is durable, lightweight, and provides incredible weather resistance.

It’s suitable for even larger people, as it has an ultra-large shoulder width, whilst providing plenty of room for your feet.

Overall, the Western Mountaineering Kodiak is one of the best cold-weather sleeping bags for winter camping and is highly rated.

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More Cold Weather Sleeping Bags

Here are a couple more 4-season sleeping bag options:

  • Kelty Cosmic 0: The Kelty Cosmic 0 is one of the better cold-weather sleeping bags that come with a budget price. They have yet to be tested and may added to the list soon.
Looking for a 3-season sleeping bag that will be comfortable in warmer weather around 32F / 0C? Take a look at the guide to the Best 3 Season Sleeping Bags.

Winter Sleeping Bag Comparison Table

BrandWeightTemp ratingDown Fill
Feathered Friends Snowbunting EX 02 lb 13 oz0 F900
Sea to Summit Alpine Apii2 lbs 15 oz-5 F850
Macpac Serac 10003 lbs 4 oz1 F800
Nemo Sonic 0F3 lbs 4 oz0 F800
The North Face Inferno 0F2 lbs 10 oz0 F800
Marmot Lithium 0F3 lbs 5 oz9 F800
Mountain Hardwear Phantom Alpine3 lbs 5 oz0 F850
RAB Ascent 9003 lbs 6 oz0 F650
RAB Neutrino 8002 lbs 11 oz– 10 F800
Western Mountaineering Kodiak2 lbs 12 oz0 F850
Source: Manufacturers


Environment

When purchasing a winter sleeping bag for cold temperatures, it’s important to carefully consider when and where do you intend to use it. Taking into account the weather conditions and the environment in which you will take your trip is imperative to finding the right one for you.

Winter Camping can be quite a challenge, with cool or freezing temperatures, strong winds, maybe heavy rain, or a huge dump of snow possible. Ensure that you choose a sleeping bag that will keep you warm no matter what the conditions you’re in.

A good Winter sleeping is needed when camping in the snow

Shape

The two most common that can be found are the mummy sleeping bag and rectangular. Mummy sleeping bags are designed with heat retention in mind, whilst being smaller and more convenient to carry on your bag as you enjoy your trip.

Mummy bags follow the contours of the body to keep you wrapped up warmly, which, whilst being the optimum shape for heat retention, does mean that there is less room for maneuver.

The hood on these ensures that you can stay warm in the harshest of climates, whilst those with a drawstring help to protect your face from the elements.

Rectangular bags are much wider from head to toe, allowing a more relaxed fit, with more wiggle room for the user. Incredibly comfortable and suitable for those who are bigger or taller. But not suited for cold weather camping and is not really featured in the winter sleeping bags review.

They can often be bulkier to account for the additional material, as such, they can weigh more, which can be an issue if you’re engaging in a long or challenging trip.

The hood on these can vary, though often they include a half-circle mummy-style hood, which increases the comfort and protection from the elements.


Temperature Rating

Most manufacturers will explicitly state the temperature range and suitability of their products. This makes it easier to select the most appropriate sleeping bag for your needs. Often they are labeled one, two, three, or four seasons, but what does this mean?

When buying a winter sleeping bag, you should aim for a four-season product. The Winter sleeping bags in this review have a comfort temperature rating of around 0F / -18C or lower. And they are all mummy-style sleeping bags. Some people already have a warm sleeping bag and could get by using an insulated sleeping bag liner to add just enough warmth to their current sleeping bag.

Most of the sleeping bags for winter camping in this review have options for much colder models if needed. If you suffer from cold feet, you could consider a pair of Down Booties to keep your feet warm.

The winter bag is designed with extreme temperatures in mind, with durable, water-resistant outer shells and a down or synthetic insulation-down filler.

A high-quality sleeping pad is needed when winter camping as part of your overall sleep system. If you go winter camping with one of the high-quality down bags and fail to take a well-insulated sleeping pad, you may not be warm. be sure to check the r rating of all the best-insulated sleeping pads to ensure they will keep you warm in winter. Many people still use a foam pad underneath the winter bag rather than an inflatable pad. The foam pads offer good insulation with minimal weight.


Lining Fabrics

The lining fabric plays a big part in both the retention of heat and the comfort of the user. Often they are lined with nylon or polyester which are soft to the touch, breathable, and smooth, ensuring comfort when nestling down for the night.

Sleeping bags for use in more extreme climates all use a lightweight, strong lining fabric.


Shell Fabrics

Nylon or polyester is also used for the outer shell of the sleeping bag. Although these are comfortable and breathable they might struggle in wet conditions.

Ripstop is a reinforced fabric that is widely used, it’s still light enough to remain breathable whilst increasing the durability and therefore lifespan of the sleeping bag.

Pertex seems to be the best standard for outer face fabrics on most cold weather sleeping bags.


Fill Material

Synthetic

Synthetic sleeping bags are not as common as most high-end lightweight 4-season sleeping bags. Often a supplier will use a mixture of fabrics and manufacturing techniques to aim to provide suitable insulation even in more challenging environments.

Some of these materials can be on the heavier side, which may affect your choice if you’re embarking on a bigger adventure.

Overall, synthetic bags might be cheaper and offer the same warmth but they are not better. They are best used on winter sleeping bags for car camping.

Down

This is the plumage underneath the outer layer of feathers on birds, usually in sleeping bags goose or duck down is used. These keep the birds warm in cold weather, therefore they are perfect for ensuring a warm night’s sleep.

This insulation strikes a balance between being incredibly warm as well as lightweight, with a better warmth-to-weight ratio than synthetic insulation filling.

More expensive sleeping bags use high loft down to ensure the highest level of warmth and heat retention. These bags are easily compressed and great for the backcountry.

All the best Winter Sleeping Bags use high fill power down. A down bag is best for its warmth to weight ratio.

Pro Tip: Take a look at How to Wash a Down Sleeping Bag so you can look after your Winter Sleeping bag for years to come. Use a Sleeping Bag Liner to keep your winter sleeping bag clean.

Zips

Winter Sleeping bags have either one or two-sided zips, whilst some may also unzip at the bottom near the feet but this is more common on 3-season sleeping bags. Zips can be a source of cold air sneaking into the sleeping bag, however, most quality manufacturers ensure that they include draft tubes to prevent this from happening.

Look out for products that contain anti-snag zips, as these ensure that you won’t accidentally damage the inner lining or outer shell of the sleeping bag. Even the best quality winter bag will sometimes snag the zips when opening and closing.

One-sided zips may well retain heat more efficiently, though two-sided zips allow for greater ventilation and faster drying when hanging up. Zips at the bottom or feet allow ventilation and breathability if you are overheating at night.


Water Resistance

When winter camping, it is essential to take into account the possibility of extreme cold. A high-quality winter sleeping bag will often have a DWR, or, durable water-repellent. This can save you, your belongings, and your sleeping bag from becoming damp in wet weather and difficult to dry.

After extensive use, the DWR coating will wear off, and you might notice that water is seeping into the bag, or perhaps it’s taking longer to dry. You can buy a specifically designed spray to reinforce the water resistance of the bag.

Some down fill is also treated to be hydrophobic, to increase water resistance and allow faster drying, which can be essential when you’re outside braving the elements. Hydrophobic down is becoming standard on most winter sleeping bags nowadays as it can keep you warm even when it is wet.

The synthetic insulation on a synthetic bag offers better weather resistance to water and can keep you warm even if it gets wet.


Draft Tube

This is an insulated tube that keeps warm air in and prevents cold air from entering the sleeping bag along the length of the zipper. These are essential when camping in colder or more extreme cold climates and environments. Good draft tubes like the ones on all the bags mentioned in the review above have quality draft tubes that work in tandem with snag free zips to keep you warm by stopping drafts from entering the bag.


Baffles

Either horizontal or vertical, baffles keep the down-fill insulation distributed evenly throughout the sleeping bag. They greatly aid in the retention of heat and stop any cold spots from forming.

Shoulder baffles are designed to seal the bag around your shoulders and neck, ensuring that there is maximum heat retention.


Pockets

Many winter sleeping bags include pockets, external, internal, or a combination of the two. These are incredibly convenient as a safe space to store any valuables or essential amenities. The sizes can vary greatly, so it’s important to ensure that they will be a suitable size for your needs.

External pockets will include a zip for added security, whereas internal pockets will usually be sealed with Velcro for easy access.


Footbox

Sleeping bags with a foot box are designed to provide more room and maneuverability for your feet. Instead of adjusting your sleeping position, you’re able to sleep with your feet in a more natural position, providing comfort, a good night’s sleep, and limiting any possible circulation issues.


Compression Sack

These are designed for convenient storage and travel, removing the need to meticulously roll up the sleeping bag and attempt to fit it into the bag.

With these, the winter sleeping bag can be stuffed inside and held in place with a drawstring. Often they have straps to allow easy attachment to your backpack or camping bag.


Conclusion

The Best Winter Sleeping Bags for Backpacking in 2024 are:

Another one of the Best Backpacking Gear Reviews from BikeHikeSafari.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know The Temperature Rating Of My Sleeping Bag?

Most manufacturers will explicitly state the temperature rating of their product. They will often provide a wide temperature range in which the user will still maintain comfort and warmth.

What Is The Warmest Sleeping Bag Lining?

A down or down/synthetic sleeping bag combination will provide you with the warmest sleeping bag. Using the birds’ plumage and natural defence against the cold to retain heat and provide comfort even in harsh environments.


BikeHikeSafari Gear Review Process

The author, Brad McCartney from BikeHikeSafari is a small independent adventurer and outdoor gear tester who owns and runs BikeHikeSafari.com.

BikeHikeSafari is not part of a large blog network and is proudly independent. All reviews on this site are independent and honest gear reviews of outdoor products by the author.

The author, Brad McCartney is a very experienced triple crown thru-hiker, adventurer, and bike tourer having spent 1000s of nights sleeping in a tent and sleeping bag (Read more). He was a manager of an outdoor retail store and is very experienced in what is important when using and testing gear for reviews like this.

BikeHikeSafari will never receive any money for reviews and they do not accept sponsored reviews on this website. All the comments about the gear reviews are from the author based on his years of experience. Hope this independent review was helpful for you.

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Chile.

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