Sleeping Bags for Deep Winter Camping

So you are going camping in the winter? That puts you into the rare club of deep winter campers. Deep winter camping requires unique skills and specialized gear. Whether you are snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, experiencing the winter night sky and the quietness of deep forest snowfields make the extra attention to skills and gear worth the effort. Getting a good night’s sleep in deep cold is a necessity to enjoy your time in the backcountry. A good bag that is up to the task of below zero temperatures will be a must for your camping experience.

Extreme Cold-Weather Sleeping Gear

Mountain Hardwear Lamina -15 Degree Sleeping BagsLuckily, there are a few options to choose from, to make sure you can stay warm while sleeping in cold weather. The Mountain Hardwear Wraith -20 Degree 800 Fill Down Mummy Sleeping Bag sets the standard for winter camping and mountaineering. The material on this sleeping bag is waterproof and is very breathable, and the mummy style makes it very efficient in retaining body heat. Another mummy bag that will work well on a deep winter night is the Mountain Hardwear Lamina -15 Degree Sleeping Bag.

You would think that a sleeping bag designed to keep you warm down to below 0° F temperatures would be heavy and too much to pack with your backpack, but these Mountain Hardwear bags are very durable, lightweight and perfect for packing. They are very efficient in their thermal capacity with 800 fill down insulation or Thermal Q synthetic insulation. Both sleeping bags have collars as well as a hood. The two-piece ergonomic collar breaks the escape of heated air from inside the bag and drapes naturally over the neck and shoulders for a comfortable and warm feel.

The -15 Degree Sleeping Bag from Mountain Hardwear also features double draft tubes along the zipper to prevent cold spots. Another cool (or should it be warm?) feature is the Comfort Foot box, which allows for a natural foot position in your sleep, despite its mummy-like encasing. The Mountain Hardwear Wraith bag fits people up to six feet, six inches in height.

If Weight Is Not An Issue

Slumberjack Esplanade Oversized -20 Degree Hooded Sleeping Bag RegularAnother top option for extreme cold weather gear is the Slumberjack Esplanade Oversized -20 Degree Hooded Sleeping Bag. Available at a lower price than the Mountain Hardwear Wraith and Lamina, the Slumberjack Esplanade is a bit heavier in weight and is bulkier to carry, but is known to be just as effective in very cold, sub-zero temperatures. This sleeping bag is loaded with features such as Slumberloft synthetic insulation and a water repellent shell. The Esplanade is a hooded rectangular bag, so you’ll enjoy a more spread out, less claustrophobic sleeping space.

This sleeping bag is sewn with two layers and has a differential cut that prevents cold spots from forming. The Slumberjack Esplanade also features a draft collar and flip-over hood which prevents heat loss in the head and neck area. The Slumberjack Latitude -20, like the Esplanade, is rated for deep winter temperatures and is easily packed due to its mummy shape.

Get a good cold-weather bag for a good night’s sleep, and the winter landscape will open up new vistas to explore, inspiring new stories to tell.

If you go deep winter camping, we want to know how you endure. Comment with your experience below!



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  • Comanche Brave

    I have a -20 Snow Mantle from REI that has served me well, including last years bitter below zero weather. And I always camp using different type of closed-cell sleeping pads, just in case a friend needs one.