5 Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bags for Sub-Zero Survival

  • By: Thorsten Meyer
  • Date: April 19, 2022
  • Time to read: 20 min.

5 Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bags for Sub-Zero Survival – 2022 Edition

Sleeping bags are one of the most important pieces of gear for any camping trip, but they are especially important for cold weather camping. A good cold weather sleeping bag will keep you warm even when the temperature dips below freezing.

In this article, I will go through five of the best cold weather sleeping bags on the market, ranging from sub-zero, bone-chilling cold to barely sub-freezing conditions.

5 Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bags for Sub Zero Survival 1
5 Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bags for Sub-Zero Survival

Whether you’re planning a winter camping trip or just want to be prepared for an unexpected cold snap, one of these sleeping bags will keep you warm and comfortable all night long.

5 Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bags for Sub-Zero Survival

Let’s take a look at five of the greatest cold weather sleeping bags on the market, with all of these things in mind. The following is a more thorough account of our evaluation.

Mother Nature Doesn’t Play Games

If you’re going to be camping in harsh weather, you’ll need one of our top 10 best cold weather sleeping bags. When it comes to staying warm in cold weather, there is no substitute for a good sleeping bag.

Whether you’re camping in the mountains or just in your backyard, a cold-weather sleeping bag will help you stay comfortable all night long. But with so many different brands and models on the market, how can you know which one is right for you?

Our selected best cold weather sleeping bags list will help you narrow down your choices and find the perfect bag for your needs. From down-filled bags to synthetic bags, we’ve got everything you need to stay warm this winter.

The 5 Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bags

The 5 Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bags for Sub-Zero TemperaturesDid you realize that it only takes around 10 minutes for frostbite to occur in low temperatures with just a little wind?

When temperatures drop below freezing, it’s important to have the right gear to stay warm. That’s why a good sleeping bag is essential for anyone spending time in cold weather.

Sleeping bags are rated according to their “temperature rating,” which indicates the lowest temperature at which the bag will keep you comfortable.

For sub-zero temperatures, you’ll need a bag with a temperature rating of 0°F or below. Now imagine 8 hours of unrelenting cold overnight.

Sleep System Last Line of Defense 

Your sleep system is your last line of defense against injury and (in some cases) even death. It’s a well-known fact that people who get enough sleep are less likely to get injured, but what many people don’t realize is that your sleep system is also your body’s final line of defense against potentially deadly pathogens.

When you’re asleep, your immune system goes into overdrive, producing more antibodies and white blood cells to help fight off infection. At the same time, your nervous system slows down, allowing your body to heal from the day’s wear and tear.

Sleep System Last Line of Defense
Sleep System Last Line of Defense 

In other words, getting a good night’s sleep is essential to both your physical and mental health. So if you’re feeling run down, make sure to get some rest, and back to the article today stay warm by any means. I’m not kidding.

Five of The Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bags

In this post, I’ll go through five of the best cold weather sleeping bags, ranging from near-freezing to sub-zero temperatures.

When you camp in cold weather, a warm, comfortable sleeping bag is crucial. But with so many different types and brands on the market, choosing the right one can be tricky. Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting a cold-weather sleeping bag. First, consider the temperature range you’ll be camping in. Sleeping bags are typically rated for specific temperature ranges, so you’ll want to choose one that will keep you warm in the conditions you’ll be facing.

Next, think about the weight and packed size of the sleeping bag. If you’re backpacking, you’ll want to choose a lightweight option that packs down small. However, if weight is less of a concern, you may prefer a roomier bag that’s more comfortable to sleep in.

Finally, consider the type of insulation. Down is typically lighter and more compressible than synthetic insulation, but it’s also more expensive and loses its insulating properties when wet. Synthetic insulation, on the other hand, is less expensive and still works when wet, but it tends to be heavier and less compressible.

Not only that, but I’d want to show you how to pick the finest cold-weather sleeping bag for you, taking into account your unique set of circumstances.

  • Your style of camping
  • Your needs
  • Your price range

How to Choose the Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bag

When it comes to choosing a cold-weather sleeping bag, temperature rating is just one of the factors you need to consider. Here are six others:

  • Temperature Rating: What’s the lowest temperature you’ll be camping in?
  1. Insulation Material Type: Down or synthetic?
  2. Sleeping bag shape: Mummy, rectangular, or semi-rectangular?
  3. Zipper Design & Location
  4. Sleeping bag weight and packed size: How much does it weigh, and how small does it pack down?
  5. Sleeping bag size: Do you need a women’s-specific option?
  6. Price: How much are you willing to spend?

Temperature Rating

When choosing a sleeping bag, temperature rating is an important consideration. Sleeping bags are rated for temperature using a standardized process that takes into account several factors, including the materials used, the bag’s design, and the user’s body type.

The two most commonly used methods for rating sleeping bags are EN 13537 and ISO 23537. Both of these methods use similar factors to arrive at a temperature rating, but there are some important differences between them. EN 13537 is focused on the thermal comfort of the user, while ISO 23537 takes into account both the thermal comfort of the user and the dangers of hypothermia.

As a result, ISO 23537 is generally considered to be more accurate than EN 13537. When choosing a sleeping bag, it’s best to look for one that has an ISO 23537 rating.

What exactly is this procedure?

A manikin set up with thermal sensors is utilized in a controlled setting to evaluate the insulation capability of a sleeping bag. Sleeping bags that are certified under EN 13537 or ISO 23537 can be compared to one another since a typical technique is used each time.

Good to know: In 2016, ISO 23537 replaced EN 13537 as the industry standard. Previously, the standard was EN 13537. If you’re looking for a sleeping bag for chilly weather and come across EN 13537 ratings, keep in mind that it’s comparable to but still essential.

Sleeping bags can be stored at temperatures ranging from -10°F to 140°F. They’re also equipped with insulation and a waterproof shell, so you may use them right after opening without fear of damage or deterioration. The three processes for sleeping bags are as follows:

Comfort Temperature

The ideal temperature for sleeping is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Sleep Foundation. This range is known as the comfort temperature. It is the lower limit of the temperature range that a sleeper in a relaxed position will find comfortable.

The upper limit of the comfort temperature range will vary depending on individual needs. Some people may find that they sleep comfortably at a higher temperature, while others may need a cooler environment in order to sleep well.

The best way to determine the ideal temperature for your own sleep comfort is to experiment with different settings and find the one that works best for you.

Limit Temperature

The lower limit of the comfort range for a curled-up sleeper is 36 degrees F. This is based on the average body surface temperature of 93.5 degrees F, with a core temperature of 98.6 degrees F.

The temperature at which someone would begin to feel cold is determined by a variety of factors, including age, gender, body size, and metabolism.

In general, the older we get, the more sensitive we are too cold temperatures. Women tend to feel colder than men, due to their smaller size and higher body fat percentage.

And people with higher metabolisms burn calories faster and generate more heat, making them less sensitive to cold temperatures. So if you’re looking to snuggle up under the covers this winter, make sure the temperature in your sleeping bag is at least 36 degrees F.

Extreme Temperature

The extreme or survival temperature is the lowest temperature at which an average person can survive for eight hours without risk of hypothermia. This is based on the assumption that the person is wearing minimal clothing and is not exerting themselves.

The extreme temperature for a sleeping bag is typical. The sleeper will feel chilly, yet he or she will survive.

Shopping for The Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bag

When choosing a sleeping bag, it is important to consider the temperatures you are likely to encounter on your camping trips. The Limit Temperature is the lowest temperature at which the sleeping bag will keep you warm, while the Comfort Temperature is the temperature at which you will be comfortable.

Ideally, you should choose a sleeping bag with a Limit Temperature above the coldest temperature you are likely to encounter, and a Comfort Temperature above the lower end of the temperature range you are likely to encounter. This will ensure that you are comfortable and warm regardless of the conditions you face while camping.

When You Don’t Want to Buy that Sleeping Bag

When you’re planning a camping trip, one of the most important pieces of gear you’ll need is a good sleeping bag. After all, a comfortable night’s sleep is essential for enjoying the great outdoors.

Sleeping bags are typically rated by their “limit temperature,” which is the lowest temperature at which the bag will keep you warm.

If there’s even a remote chance that the temperature could drop below the limit temperature for your sleeping bag, it’s best to err on the side of caution and choose a different bag.

After all, there’s nothing worse than being cold and uncomfortable all night long. By choosing a sleeping bag with a lower limit temperature, you can rest assured that you’ll be warm no matter what the temperature is outside.

 If the temperature is expected to drop below the Limit Temperature, you will need to find a sleeping bag that is rated for colder temperatures. Otherwise, you run the risk of waking up in the middle of the night feeling cold and uncomfortable.

In short, always make sure to check the Limit Temperature before purchasing a sleeping bag. That way, you can be sure you’ll be cozy and warm all night long.

Classification Such as Summer or 3-Season

Sleeping bags are an essential piece of gear for any camping trip, but choosing the right one can be tricky. In addition to considering the type of trip you’re taking and the weather conditions you’re likely to encounter, you also need to think about the temperature rating of the bag.

If a bag doesn’t have a specific rating, it may be classified as “Summer” or “3-Season.”

While these terms are somewhat vague, REI has a guide that can help you determine approximate temperature ranges. For example, a “Summer” bag is typically best for temperatures above freezing, while a “3-Season” bag can be used in a wider range of conditions.

Insulation Material Type

  1. Synthetics, commonly polyester
  2. Down feathers, naturally duck or goose (duck is adequate)

Synthetic insulation is made of polyester fibers and is often used in sleeping bags. This type of insulation is lightweight and easy to compress, making it a good choice for backpacking.

Synthetic insulation also has the advantage of being hydrophobic, meaning it resists moisture and dries quickly if it does get wet. However, synthetic insulation is less durable than down and tends to lose its insulating power over time. As a result, it’s not the best choice for long-term storage or for use in very cold weather.

Down insulation is made of goose or duck feathers and is the traditional fill used in sleeping bags. Down has a great warmth-to-weight ratio and is very compressible, making it an excellent choice for backpacking. Down is also hydrophobic, meaning it resists moisture and dries quickly if it does get wet. However, down is more expensive than synthetic insulation and needs to be treated with care. It’s also not the best choice for long-term storage or for use in very cold weather.

When choosing a sleeping bag, it’s important to consider the type of insulation used. Synthetic insulation is lightweight and easy to compress, making it a good choice for backpacking. However, synthetic insulation is less durable than down and tends to lose its insulating power over time.

Insulation Material

Anyone who has ever gone camping knows that a good sleeping bag is essential for a comfortable night’s sleep. Sleeping bag insulation can be made of two different materials: synthetic fibers or down feathers.

Synthetic fibers are typically less expensive than down feathers, but they are also less effective at insulating against cold temperatures. Down feathers are more expensive, but they are much better at trapping body heat and keeping you warm.

When choosing a sleeping bag, it is important to consider the climate in which you will be using it. If you plan to camp in cold weather, a down-filled sleeping bag will be your best bet. However, if you are only planning to use your sleeping bag in milder conditions, a synthetic-filled bag will be sufficient.

Both materials have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. Down is a great choice for lightweight, packable bags as it provides an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio. However, down does not perform well when wet and can be more expensive than synthetic insulation.

Synthetic insulation, on the other hand, is a great choice for wet conditions as it retains its insulating properties even when wet. Synthetic bags are also usually less expensive than down bags. So, which is the right choice for you? It depends on your needs and budget. If you’re looking for a light and packable bag, down is the way to go. However, if you’re looking for a bag that performs well in wet conditions or is more budget-friendly, synthetic is the better choice.

Advantages of Synthetic Sleeping Bags

  • Dry quickly – One advantage of synthetic sleeping bags is that they dry more quickly than down sleeping bags. If you are camping in a wet environment, a synthetic sleeping bag is a better choice than a down bag. Synthetic insulation also tends to hold its insulating properties longer than down insulation, making it a good choice for long-term use.
  • Non-allergenic is a quality that is important to many people. If you are looking for a sleeping bag that is non-allergenic, synthetic insulation is the better choice. Down insulation can cause allergic reactions in some people, while synthetic insulation does not.
  • Better insulation in wetter conditions. One advantage of synthetic sleeping bags is that they perform better in wetter conditions than down sleeping bags. Down insulation can lose its ability to insulate when wet, while synthetic insulation does not. This makes synthetic insulation a better choice for camping in wet environments.
  • Usually less expensive- Synthetic insulation is usually less expensive than down insulation, making it a more affordable option for those on a budget. Down insulation is more expensive but provides better insulation than synthetic insulation.

Advantages of Down Sleeping Bags

  • Much lighter for the same temperature rating. When choosing a sleeping bag, weight is often a key consideration. While all sleeping bags are designed to keep you warm, some are much heavier than others. Down bags, for example, tend to be significantly lighter than synthetic bags. This is because down is an extremely efficient insulator, meaning that less material is required to achieve the same temperature rating. While down bags typically cost more than synthetic bags, they can be a good choice for backpackers and other outdoor enthusiasts who are looking to reduce the overall weight of their gear.
  • Compress more easily – A down sleeping bag is a type of sleeping bag that is filled with feathers. The feathers are usually from ducks or geese, and they provide a high level of insulation. Down sleeping bags are often considered to be the best type of sleeping bag for backpacking because they compress well and are very lightweight. One downside of down sleeping bags is that they can lose their loft (the ability to trap heat) when wet, so it is important to choose a water-resistant bag if you plan to use it in wet conditions. Overall, though, down sleeping bags offer a great balance of warmth, weight, and compressibility, making them an excellent choice for backpacking trips.
  • Better insulation in dry conditions – Down sleeping bags are popular among backpackers and campers because they offer superior insulation in dry conditions. Unlike synthetic fill, which can clump and lose its loft when wet, down retains its insulating properties even when damp. As a result, down sleeping bags are often the best choice for camping in cold, dry climates. However, they are not as effective in wet conditions, as the down can absorb moisture and lose its ability to trap body heat. In addition, down is more expensive than synthetic fill, and it requires more care to maintain its loft. For these reasons, down sleeping bags are best suited for dry conditions where temperatures are cold enough to warrant their use.
  • Longer lifespan, when treated reasonably- Taking care of your sleeping bag, is essential if you want it to last. Just like any other piece of gear, sleeping bags need to be cleaned and stored properly to stay in good condition. Sleeping bags should be washed in a front-loading washing machine using a mild detergent designed for delicate fabrics. Down sleeping bags should be washed on the gentle cycle and then air-dried. Synthetic sleeping bags can be tumble-dried on low heat. Once your sleeping bag is clean, it’s important to store it properly to prevent moisture and insects from damaging the fabric. Sleeping bags should be stored in a cool, dry place, ideally in a breathable storage bag. With proper care, your sleeping bag will provide years of comfort on your adventures.

Down sleeping bags are a great choice for backpackers and other outdoor enthusiasts who are looking to reduce the overall weight of their gear. Synthetic sleeping bags are usually less expensive than down sleeping bags, making them a more affordable option for those on a budget. Down sleeping bags offer superior insulation in dry conditions, but they are not as effective in wet conditions. With proper care, your sleeping bag will provide years of comfort on your adventures.

Sleeping Bag Shape: Mummy, Rectangular, or Semi-Rectangular

Sleeping bags are one of the most essential pieces of camping gear, and there is a wide variety of bags to choose from to fit any need. They come in four different shapes: rectangular, semi-rectangular, mummy, and double-wide.

Rectangular bags are the most versatile, as they can be used for both camping and backpacking. Semi-rectangular bags are ideal for backpacking, as they are lighter and more compact than rectangular bags. Mummy bags are the warmest option, making them ideal for cold-weather camping.

Double-wide bags are perfect for couples or families who want to camp together. It is easy to find the perfect sleeping bag for any adventure with so many options available.

  • Rectangular sleeping bag
  • Semi-rectangular sleeping bag (ends taper inwards)
  • Mummy sleeping bag
  • Double-wide sleeping bag (rectangular for two people)

The first three are the most comfortable/spacious, followed by the least. In contrast, roominess has an inverse relationship with insulation effectiveness. As a result, a mummy sleeping bag will be the greatest cold weather sleeping bag.

Sleeping bags Zipper Design & Location

When you’re looking for a sleeping bag, the zipper is one of the most important features to consider. The zipper is the weak point in a sleeping bag, and it’s where the insulation tapers off, giving way to a potential avenue for warm air to escape. That’s why it’s important to focus on three aspects of the zipper when you’re looking for the best cold weather sleeping bags: durability and quality of construction, length, and location. 

  • Durability and quality of construction
  • Length
  • Location

A durable and well-crafted zipper will last longer and stand up better to repeated use than a cheaply made one. Likewise, a longer zipper will give you more options for venting than a shorter one. And finally, the location of the zipper can make a big difference in how comfortable you are in your sleeping bag. A zipper that runs along the side of the bag will be more comfortable than one that runs across the top, as it won’t put pressure on your shoulders when you move around in your sleep.

Durability and quality are important (obviously) because a well-designed, well-made zipper will allow less warm air to escape and is much less likely to break. A stuck zipper that won’t properly seal your sleeping bag is a recipe for disaster.

While length is important, it’s not the only factor to consider when choosing a sleeping bag. Sleeping bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, mummy-style sleeping bags are designed to keep you warm by trapping your body heat. However, this can also make them too hot to sleep in if the temperature outside is warmer than expected.

On the other hand, rectangular sleeping bags offer more room to move and are more versatile in terms of temperature regulation. They can be opened up to let in cooler air or zipped up tightly to trap heat. Ultimately, the best sleeping bag for you will depend on your needs and preferences.

When you’re trying to decide on the perfect sleeping bag, zipper length is an important consideration. Shorter zippers reduce the risk of warm air escaping, making them ideal for cold weather camping. However, they can make it difficult to regulate your body temperature in warmer weather.

Many mummy-style sleeping bags feature half-zip zippers with fully-enclosed feet. While this provides excellent warmth retention in cold temperatures, it can be uncomfortable in warm weather. You can’t just stick your feet out to cool down. If you’re planning on camping in a wide range of temperatures, look for a sleeping bag with a long zipper that will allow you to vent as needed.

A sleeping bag’s zipper location can be important, depending on what you need the sleeping bag for. If you are looking to connect two sleeping bags to make one larger sleeping bag, you’ll want to choose one left-handed zipper bag and one right-handed zipper bag, making sure the zippers are the same length.

This way, you can zip the two bags together without any issues. However, note that the major downside here is you are likely to lose some insulation power. Having shared body heat can mitigate that, though. all in all, it is important to consider what you need a sleeping back for before making a purchase. Sleeping bag zipper location can make a difference in whether or not the sleeping bag meets your needs.

Sleeping Bag Weight and Packed Size

Weight is often a key consideration when choosing a sleeping bag, especially if you are planning to backpack with it. Obviously, you want to avoid carrying any unnecessary weight, but it is also important to choose a bag that is appropriate for the conditions you will be facing. Heavier bags are not necessarily warmer, as synthetic fillers can provide just as much insulation while weighing less. Down fillers tend to be lighter but lose their insulating properties when wet. Ultimately, the best sleeping bag for you will be the one that strikes the right balance between weight and warmth.

Sleeping bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, mummy sleeping bags are designed to be lightweight and compact, making them ideal for backpacking and other outdoor activities. However, their narrow shape can make them somewhat uncomfortable, and they may not be suitable for everyone. Semi-rectangular sleeping bags, on the other hand, are wider and more comfortable, but they also tend to be heavier and take up more space. Consequently, it is important to consider your needs before choosing a sleeping bag. If you are looking to save weight, a mummy bag may be the best option. However, if comfort is your priority, a semi-rectangular bag may be a better choice.

When it comes to choosing a sleeping bag, one of the most important considerations is packed size. For backpackers and other adventurers who need to conserve space, a sleeping bag that packs down small is essential.

Luckily, there are now many sleeping bags on the market that are designed with packed size in mind. These bags use high-quality materials and innovative construction techniques to minimize bulk without sacrificing warmth or comfort. So whether you’re planning a backpacking trip or simply want to be able to store your sleeping bag in a small space, look for a bag with good packed size. You’ll be glad you did when you’re able to pack your bag into a tight space on the trail or in your closet.

5 Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bags

There is more to selecting the finest cold weather sleeping bag than simply looking at the temperature rating, but at a high level, here are our top 5 choices, starting with the most to least warm.

Here are five of the best cold weather sleeping bags on the market:

ALPS Mountaineering Blaze -20° Mummy Sleeping Bag

ALPS Mountaineering Blaze -20° Mummy Sleeping Bag

Blaze through cold weather with ALPS Mountaineering’s TechLoft Silver-insulated mummy sleeping bag. With a durable outer shell and polyester lining, this two-layer offset construction bag will keep you warm all night long. Featuring insulated chest and zipper baffles to eliminate cold spots, long lasting #8 separating zippers, and a standard stuff sack, the Blaze is perfect for your next extreme outdoor excursion!

Nemo Sonic 800-Fill Down Sleeping Bag, 0F Degree, Regular

Nemo Sonic 800-Fill Down Sleeping Bag, 0 Degree, Regular

The Nemo Sonic 800 is the perfect sleeping bag for those who need to regulate their temperature in variable mountain climates. With adjustable thermo gills, you can vent body heat at your core without letting cold air rush in. The stretch construction at the knees allows for side sleeping, and the minimum weight is just 3lb 0oz. The temp rating is 0F, making it perfect for colder temperatures.

Marmot Ironwood 20 Degree Mummy Lightweight Sleeping Bag

Marmot Ironwood 20 Degree Mummy Lightweight Sleeping Bag

Looking for a reliable, mummy-style sleeping bag that won’t weigh you down? The Marmot Ironwood is perfect for cold nights in the outdoors. It’s EN tested to provide warmth in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can rest assured you’ll be cozy all night long. The anatomically shaped foot box ensures optimum warmth and comfort, while the snagless insulated draft tube and full-length, locking YKK two-way zipper with anti-snag slider keep the heat in. Plus, there’s an internal stash pocket for easy access to small gear. Get a good night’s sleep in the great outdoors with the Marmot Ironwood Sleeping Bag.

Nemo Disco Insulated Down Sleeping Bag (15 & 30 Degree) – Men’s & Women’s

Nemo Disco Insulated Down Sleeping Bag (15 & 30 Degree) – Men’s & Women’s

Looking for a cozy and practical sleeping bag that will keep you warm even when damp? Look no further than the Nemo Disco Insulated Down Sleeping Bag. Made with 650 fill power hydrophobic responsible-sourced down, this bag is feather-light and toasty warm. The unique spoon shape is designed with extra room at the elbows and knees, making side sleeping comfortable. Plus, the hermoGills unzip to let out warm air, allowing superior temperature control. A waterproof, breathable footbox protects from condensation so your feet stay warm and dry.

TETON Sports TrailHead Sleeping Bag for Adults; Lightweight Camping, Hiking

TETON Sports TrailHead Sleeping Bag for Adults; Lightweight Camping, Hiking

The TETON Sports TrailHead Sleeping Bag is a great choice for your next camping or hiking trip. It features an innovative fill that packs down without sacrificing performance, and a roomy footbox that provides plenty of space for your feet. The zipper draft tube keeps the cold air out, and the soft liner provides a comfortable night’s sleep. The bag is lightweight and lofty, so it’s easy to carry, and it comes with hang loops for long-term storage.

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