Best Winter Sleeping Bags of 2024

Best Winter Sleeping Bags: Close-up of a hiker sleeping in their tent in a warm ultralight winter sleeping bag

In this post, we'll take a look at:

Winter backpacking presents challenges to staying warm in cold conditions. With temperatures dropping at night, a reliable sleeping bag is crucial insulation against the cold.

However, the many options can make choosing one difficult.

When selecting a winter bag, consider factors like withstanding extreme cold without excess weight or bulk. The insulation type and construction quality significantly impact performance. Neglecting temperature rating, fill material, weight, or durability can result in uncomfortable nights.

However, not to worry, we’ve tested this year’s top bags to help you choose the ideal companion for snug, cold-weather nights under the stars.

Let’s get started.

What Are the Best Winter Sleeping Bags?

  1. Most Ultralight: Sierra Designs Nitro 0° (2lb 8.2oz/1140g)
  2. Best Overall: Therm-a-Rest Questar 0F Down Sleeping Bag (2lb 13.5oz/1290g)
  3. Best for Side Sleepers: Nemo Sonic Down Sleeping Bag (3lb 3.8oz/1470g)
  4. Mountaineering Option: RAB Andes Infinium 800 Down Sleeping Bag (2lb 15.6oz/1350g)
  5. Budget Option: Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 0F (3lb 2oz/1420g)

1. Most Ultralight
Sierra Designs Nitro 0°

Sierra Designs Nitro 0°

Key Specs

Weight: 2lb 8.2 ounces (1140 grams)
Limit Temp Rating: 0ºF | -17.7ºC
Price: $


✅ Ultralight

✅ Good for damp nights


❌ Zipper is a bit tricky

We’ve been testing the Sierra Designs Nitro 0 sleeping bag and have been impressed by its warm and lightweight construction. The hydrophobic 800-fill DriDown insulation retains heat even when our tents get damp inside from condensation.

The mummy shape and Draft Collar work well together to maintain our body heat, while the self-sealing foot vent provides ventilation relief without losing the warmth. The baffle spacing and sidewalls prevent down shift so heat stays consistent wherever we move inside the bag.

We’ve slept comfortably down to slight freezing temperatures using additional insulation from high R-value sleeping pads and base layers. The hydrophobic down also sheds moisture as expected when damp conditions occur in tents.

However, we did find the full length zipper cumbersome to use fully open or closed. While fine stopped around hip level, bringing it up over our shoulders or all the way down proved difficult.

Overall we think the Nitro 0 delivers a warm and comfortable shelter for cold weather camping. But those who appreciate easy in-and-out access through the night may prefer an alternative with smoother zipper operation.

2. Best Overall
Therm-a-Rest Questar 0F Down Sleeping Bag

Thermarest Questar 0F Down Sleeping Bag

Key Specs

Weight: 2lb 13.5 ounces (1290 grams)
Limit Temp Rating: 0ºF | -17.7ºC
Price: $$


✅ Hydrophobic down

✅ Small pack size


❌ Lacking toe box ventilation

The Questar provides practical comfort for frigid conditions through Therm-a-Rest’s proven design. As ultralight backpackers, we appreciate features like the compressible pack size and water-resistant fill.

On a recent snow camping trip where nights dipped just below zero, the Questar kept us warm, dry and toasty. Its roomy “W.A.R.M. Fit” allowed unrestricted side-sleeping and movement without sacrificing efficiency. Mesh walls maximized consistent loft of the 650 fill insulation.

After withstanding non-stop snow and successfully drying wet gear inside, the durable fabrics exceeded our expectations. Morning wake-ups felt refreshingly warm thanks to details like the draft collar and insulated footbox.

While increased ventilation would be welcome on warmer nights, overall comfort and practicality made the Questar a solid companion. Compression and storage sacks optimized our limited pack space.

All told, the Questar delivers incredible value for challenging winter adventures.

3. Best for Side Sleepers
Nemo Sonic Down Sleeping Bag

Nemo Sonic Down Sleeping Bag

Key Specs

Weight: 3lb 3.8 ounces (1470 grams)
Limit Temp Rating: 0ºF | -17.7ºC
Price: $$$


✅ -20ºF option available

✅ Great warranty


❌ Relatively heavy

The Nemo Sonic provides remarkable warmth and adaptability for sub-zero conditions. As backpackers, we appreciate its innovative features that enhance comfort and functionality in extreme weather, including Thermo Gill vents and use of recycled materials.

On recent winter trips where overnight lows reached zero degrees, the Sonic kept us comfortable with its generous insulation and spacious design.

Easy-to-use details like the cinchable hood and knee stretch kept drafts out while allowing freedom of movement. The chevron baffles trapped heat efficiently without cold spots developing.

While not quite as compressible as some competitors, its pack size remains reasonable given the impressive 0°F rating.

We did find that its roomy cut results in slightly less warmth than more form-fitting mummy styles. However, we appreciate the space for unrestricted side sleeping. Smooth fabrics and well-executed zippers complete a bag made for winter adventures.

All told, the Sonic delivers outstanding performance backed by NEMO’s lifetime guarantee.

4. Mountaineering Option
RAB Andes Infinium 800 Down Sleeping Bag

RAB Andes Infinium 800 Down Sleeping Bag

Key Specs

Weight: 2lb 13.5 ounces (1350 grams)
Limit Temp Rating: -2°F | -19°C
Price: $$$


✅ Extremely warm

✅ Small pack size


❌ Relatively expensive

The Rab Andes Infinium has exceeded our expectations in challenging sub-zero conditions. Its premium 800-fill goose down, heat-reflective TILT technology and GORE-TEX outer excel at retaining warmth without excess weight or bulk.

During a recent high altitude winter trip with overnight lows well below freezing and heavy frost buildup inside our single-wall tent, the Andes Infinium kept us toasty warm.

Its trapezoid baffles efficiently lofted the down fill for consistent insulation even as condensation deposited and dissipated off the tent walls.

Inside, the extremely comfortable lining material amplified warmth retention. We were impressed by its ability to insulate effectively while perspiring inside from layering down to our base layers. The quality construction feels solidly dependable for enduring extremely cold temperatures.

While its price is certainly higher than many competitors, the Andes Infinium earns it through exceptional performance proven over successive expeditions in harsh mountain conditions.

Overall, this bag meets the demands of serious winter alpinists through dedicated cutting-edge engineering.

5. Budget Option
Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 0F

Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 0F

Key Specs

Weight: 3lb 2 ounces (1420 grams)
Limit Temp Rating: 0°F | -17.7°C
Price: $


✅ Good quality

✅ Relatively affordable


❌ Relatively heavy

❌ Large pack size

We found the Bishop Pass provides decent warmth for winter camping, especially in frigid temperatures near freezing. Its roomier cut compared to standard mummy bags enhanced comfort.

During recent trips where overnight lows dropped into the single digits, the Bishop Pass kept us cozy and insulated. Smart features like the gasketed hood seal and contoured footbox effectively trapped heat.

However, its bulkier packing compromised our ability to bring extra layers and gear for longer ultralight trips. While durable of construction with a rugged zipper, stuffing down smaller proved more difficult than anticipated from a winter bag.

Overall, the Bishop Pass performs well as a budget-friendly option for car camping or shorter backpacking trips when packing light is not as critical. But its pack size presents limitations for more extended winter missions where ounce-counting really matters.

How to Select the Right Winter Sleeping Bag

Finding the right sleeping bag for winter camping starts with understanding key specifications that impact performance, weight and price. Let’s break it down:

  1. Temperature Rating: This number indicates the coldest weather a bag is designed to handle. For most winter campers, choose a limit temperature rating under 15 degrees Fahrenheit. To understand temperature ratings in more detail, check out our post here.
  2. Fill Material: Down or synthetic. High quality down is warmer for its weight but loses insulation if wet. Synthetics resist moisture better and dry quicker.
  3. Fill Weight: More down or synthetic fill means more insulation and warmth but also more weight to carry. Find the right balance for your needs.
  4. Shell and Lining: Get a bag with a durable, water-resistant outer shell and a softer inner lining for comfort.
  5. Features: Draft tubes, shoulder baffles and neck draft collars prevent body heat from escaping through gaps.
  6. Shape and Size: Get a bag suited for your body type and sleeping habits. Mummy bags are thermally efficient but restrictive. Rectangular bags allow more room to move.

Evaluating each specification will lead you to a winter sleeping bag retaining warmth while fitting your budget, performance preferences and tolerance for carrying weight into the cold backcountry.

If you’re unsure whether to choose a winter quilt or a sleeping bag, we recommend checking out our detailed post on the matter here.


How to choose the best winter sleeping bag?

When selecting a winter sleeping bag, consider the temperature rating to ensure it can handle conditions below 15°F, evaluate the insulation type between down or synthetic based on intended use and weather resistance needs, check the fill weight to find the right balance of warmth and packability, inspect the durable water-resistant shell and soft lining fabrics, look for useful features like draft tubes and cinch cords, determine the ideal shape and size fit for your body and camping style, and factor in extras like compression sacks – weighing these key criteria helps identify a bag tailored for your temperature limits, activity level, and backcountry objectives without overspending on unnecessary bulk or missing critical functionality.

Are down or synthetic sleeping bags better for winter camping?

When planning a winter hiking or camping season, outdoor adventurers must choose between down or synthetic insulation for their sleeping bag, with down providing greater warmth-to-weight but risking loss of performance if it gets wet, while synthetics retain insulation even when damp and dry more quickly – so those venturing into colder, wetter, or more extreme winter conditions may prefer a synthetic bag for its reliability in harsher elements, though dedicated ultralight hikers on drier trails could benefit more from down’s improved packability and energy efficiency on longer multi-day adventures in the snow.

What are the benefits of a mummy-style sleeping bag for winter use?

Mummy-style sleeping bags are ideal for winter use as their form-fitting tapered shape helps retain body heat by eliminating extra space around the edges that could lead to drafts and heat loss, keeping the warm air trapped closer to the body through an attached hood and draft flap that cinches tightly around the head and neck, along with dual draft tubes running along the full-length zipper to block cold spots, making mummy bags thermally efficient options that maximize warmth for minimal weight on frigid winter expeditions in the mountains or snowy forests.

Spread the word →

Why you should trust us

At Hikinglite, we're all about helping you hit the trails with lightweight and ultralight outdoor gear that won't weigh you down. Our crew of content creators? Real outdoor enthusiasts who've logged countless miles on the trails.

Leading the pack is our editor-in-chief, Alex Jardine – an ultralight evangelist who's hiked over 10,000 trail miles across the globe. He's basically a walking outdoor encyclopedia. This dude loves testing out the latest and greatest products, so you can trust his recommendations are always well-informed and reliable.

We treat all our suggestions like advice from close trail buddies. No fluff, just real insights from folks who live and breathe the outdoor life.

Have any questions?

More Insights

Suscribe to Our Newsletter

Stay smartly informed with our weekly newsletter

Follow us

hikinglite logo white
© 2024 Hikinglite - All rights reserved

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe now to stay ahead of the pack with the most up-to-date outdoor content.