When it comes to snoozing under the stars, the right down sleeping bag goes a very long way. Sure, you might be able to get away with a thinner model during the summer, but winter demands a quality down sleeping bag, especially out in the backcounty. Even when car camping, which arguably provides more shelter and warmth, the wrong sleeping bag can turn a dreamy night of sleep into a nightmare.
Below, we break down what to look for in a camp-friendly down sleeping bag, one that will keep you warm on even the coldest nights—be it at your local campground or totally off the grid.
What to look for when shopping for a down sleeping bag
Sussing through the avalanche of down sleeping bags on the market can be daunting. Before you start shopping, here are four key factors to consider:
- Temperature rating: When shopping for a sleeping bag, look out for the temperature rating, which is a standard of warmth that's measured in Fahrenheit. In warmer climates and lower elevations, a 32°F bag should do the trick. In cold-weather, however, you're going to want to aim for 20°F and below, which are snugger on colder nights. Most of the bags on this list are 20°F, ideal for winter camping.
- Insulation type: Sleeping bags are stuffed with either down, AKA bird feathers, or synthetic down, AKA fake bird feathers. Both have pros and cons. For example, real down is considerably warmer and way more packable, thanks to its (literally) featherlight features. It's considerably more expensive though, and doesn't perform well if it gets wet. Synthetic down is more sustainable and vegan-friendly, not to mention fast-drying when it gets wet. It's a bit heavier, though, and some blends aren't as warm as the real deal.
- Fill power: Besides temperature rating, most sleeping bags are marked with a number between 600-950. This is the fill power, which refers to the fluffiness, or the loft, of the fill. It's a bit confusing, but a higher fill power doesn't necessarily mean the product is warmer—it indicates how lofty the fill is, and how well it compresses. Read more on fill power, here.
- Shape and weight: Finally, the shape and weight of your sleeping bag are worth your attention, too. As for shape, more space isn't exactly better—extra room to roll around in doesn't store body heat quite as well. If thermal efficiency is your goal, aim for a mummy shape with a hood, which is designed to keep heat in and cold air out. As for weight, the lower you go in temperature rating, the heavier the product will likely be (more down = more warmth). Depending on your hiking and camping preferences, you'll want to take this into consideration, too.
Ready to get shopping? Here are our picks below, designed to keep you warm and cozy on and off the trail.
The Phase 20 Sleeping Bag by Marmot is a surefire bet for staying snuggly on cold, winter’s nights. It’s rated for 20-degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s still warm without being bulky or too heavy to carry. It’s insulated with 850-fill power down that’s designed to fend off moisture, while the mummy shape (complete with a wraparound hood and footbox) minimize heat loss. It’s a bit pricey, but worth every penny.
What customers say: We bought this sleeping bag and the women’s Phase 20° sleeping bag and are so happy with them. We live in Alaska and are able to use them for Spring, summer and fall camping. We love the hood feature and are warm from our head to our toes.”
- Super lightweight and packable
- 850+ fill goose down
- Temperature rating of 20°F
Similarly, this Kelty version offers a premium quality at more than half the price of the Marmot model. This sleeping bag is filled with 800-fill duck down that’s also hydrophobic and fast-drying. It’s shaped similarly, complete with trapezoidal baffles (the horizontal stripes that keep the down in place) to retain body heat. Just note, the regular size is fitted for people 5’8″ or below, so if you’re taller, size up.
What customers say: “This sleeping bag is everything I expected and more… When packing up, it’s extremely compressible, and takes up very little room in my backpack. I would definitely purchase this again.”
- 800 fill
- Temperature rating of 20°F
- Two locking zippers, including one at the bottom of the sleeping bag
- Zippered internal stash pocket
- Regular size only fits people 5’8″ and under
Sea To Summit knows there’s a lot more that goes into a good sleeping bag than just fill power. The brand’s design team takes everything into consideration, from roominess and shape to the difference in men’s and women’s sleeping styles.
The Ascent is light and compact, making it easy to pack on and off the trail. Between the hood, oversized draft collar and zipped draft tube, it’s guaranteed to keep body heat where it should be. Paired with the brand’s matching sleep pads, and you’ve got yourself a sleep system you’ll never want to leave.
What customers say: “This is a very comfortable and lightweight backpacking bag. The multiple zippers prevent mummy-bag-claustrophobia, and they provide enough ventilation to make this suitable for all four seasons. I especially appreciate the foot zip so I can keep my feet flexed when sleeping.”
- More room between hips and knees compared to a mummy sleeping bag
- Internal pocket
- Temperature rating of 0-25°F depending on model
- 750+ Fill, down certified Responsible Down Standard (RDS)
- Some reviewers claim zipper pulls are small
This budget-friendlier down sleeping bag is another great option for fall and early winter camping trips. It features the brand’s recycled 600-fill down that stays warm while leaving behind a limited carbon footprint.
As for the features, there’s a cinch-able hood, a vaulted footbox, and extended space at the knees for more room. It’s available in short, regular, tall and extra tall sizes, too.
What customers say: “Nice construction and it fluffed up immediately. I’m 5′ 11” inches and the regular fit me perfectly. Any taller and I would get the larger one. I will likely order another one soon.”
- 75 percent recycled materials
- Temperature rating of 20°F
- Extended width at knees
- Only one zipper, and it doesn’t extend all the way to the feet
Feathered Friends is a trusted brand in the outdoors industry for its high-quality and long-lasting line of down products. The Egret is no different—it’s filled with 900+ premium goose down (that’s ethically sourced and traceable) that’ll keep you warm and cozy on even the coldest nights. Like the others, it’s featherlight and packable while never compromising warmth.
What customers say: “Even in the coldest temperatures, this bag works well just thrown over me as a blanket (and I like to sleep warm). It breaths well and doesn’t weigh me down. I’m 5’1’’ and fit well into a small. I love not having to carry the extra length. I wouldn’t sleep with anything else.”
- Temperature rating of 20°F
- 900+ fill power goose down, extra down in the footbox and around the chest
- Extra room around elbows and knees
- Shallow hood
- No draft collar
- Larger size only accommodates people up to 5’9″
The trouble with mummy sleeping bags is they’re not designed to accommodate side sleepers. Enter: the Disco by Nemo Equipment, which harnesses a curvy spoon-shape to let side-sleepers snooze comfortably.
As for warmth, the 600-fill ethically sourced down is rated for 30-degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s ideal for warmer temperatures. It’s also feature-friendly, crafted with details that make a difference, like its Thermo Gills, which maximize airflow without letting drafts in, or its built-in Fillo, which can be stuffed with clothes and other soft valuables and used as a pillow.
What customers say: “Just spent 2 nights in it this weekend and it’s the best sleep I’ve got in a sleeping bag. Very warm, extremely comfortable with the hood and built in pillow holder. It also packs down very small and it responsibly light weight! 10/10 would buy again.”
- Spoon shape is ideal for side sleepers
- Waterproof and breathable footbox
- Integrated pillow pocket
- Doesn’t have as low of a temperature rating as some of the others
Double-down on snuggliness with this double sleeping bag by Big Agnes. It’s designed to fit over your matching sleeping pad for warmth, complete with a stretchy sleeve that keeps your pad in place while maximizing thermal regulation.
As for the bag itself, the temperature rating starts at 40 degrees (but the extra body heat from your partner will likely add warmth.) Or, if you’re alone, it’s large enough to wrap around yourself for twice the comfort.
What customers say: “We only wish we had bought this sooner! It fits perfectly around our two big agnes sleeping mats and holds them together so tightly that there is no gap in between. Super warm at night and if it gets too warm, it easily zips on each side to hang a leg out,” Moosejaw customer
- Feels more like a bed than a traditional sleeping bag
- Can be used as a sleeping bag or unzipped as a quilt
- Comes in single or double sizes
- Bigger and less fitted around the body
- No hood and wide neck area
- Only for slightly warmer temps
The Magma 15 from REI is a favorite amongst campers and backpackers, thanks to its ability to pack light without compromising comfort at night. The 850-fill is stabilized by the baffling which keeps it in place to maintain comfort all night long. It’s also loaded with features that aid in sleep quality and convenience, like the internal stuff stack for storing personals and anti-snag zipper for better zipping.
What customers say: “This sleeping bag is awesome! It packs small and keeps me toasty. Went backpacking in damp ~30F weather and it kept me warm. I especially like the little scarf near the neck to keep cold air out.”
- 850-fill goose down
- Temperature rating of 17°F
- Two hood drawcords
- Easy zipper access along shoulders and torso
- Narrow around shoulders and hips
Technically, the Vesper isn’t a sleeping bag—it’s a quilt that snaps around your body while the built-in foot box keeps you snug. The 900-fill is hydrophobic and quick-drying, while the internal lining reflects body heat, preventing heat from escaping. Best part is, it rolls down to the size of a water bottle, making it ridiculously easy to pack out on hikes where space (and weight) is limited.
What customers say: “Best nights of sleep I’ve ever had in the Sierras. Spent four nights in the Kings Canyon area in late June. We had relatively warm nights, except for the night we spent at about 10,500′. Even that night I just layered clothing and slept like a baby.”
- 900-fill down
- Super lightweight (under one pound) and compact
- ThermaCapture lining reflects body heat
- Water-resistant shell keeps it lofty even in wet weather
- Only for use in warmer temps (temperature rating of 41°F)
- No hood or draft collar
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