I absolutely flippin’ love winter camping, but only when I have a good winter sleeping bag! Here’s our guide to 5 of the best ones under $600 in 2020.
Summer’s ok and all, but who wants to crawl into a nylon sauna at the end of the day! There’s no amount of undressing that’ll cool you down and if that fresh breeze doesn’t appear overnight you’ll be waking up in a puddle of your own sweat.
No thank you. Give me a frigid ice box of a tent any day of the week. There’s nothing like climbing into a cold tent knowing that in just a few moments you’ll be crawling into the womby comfort of your winter sleeping bag. All that’s left to do is cinch the hood tight and you’re off to the land of the nod.
But seriously, if you’re going to go camping in winter, investing in a decent winter sleeping bag is super important. They’ll cost a bit more than a summer bag, but believe me, spending a few extra dollars on a warm night is one thousand times better than a cold night of camping. So do your winter-self a favour and make this the year you treat yourself to a proper cozy winter sleeping bag.
Sierra Designs Nitro 800
If you want to be ultra cozy, and let’s face it who doesn’t, then this puffy boi from Sierra Designs is the bag for you. Using 800 fill dridown and 5” baffle spacing, this bag delivers one of the highest warmth ratings of our selection. Boasting -9°C of comfort, it looks like the kind of sleeping bag James Bond would pull out after casually skiing down a mountain disposing of evil henchmen.
Features I’m loving in this bag are the ‘draft-dodger collar’ and the ‘self-sealing foot vent’. Not just because I’m a fan of jazzy names, but because having an easy way to regulate face and foot warmth is a massive boon for a bag this toasty.
Downside of the bag, it only comes in the movement-restricting mummy shape, which isn’t everybody’s cup of tea.
Price: $549.50 (save $80)
Comfort rating: -9°C
The North Face ECO Trail Down 20
We always love it when big brands deliver high on the ECO scale, and this sleeping bag from the legends at The North Face is delivering big – 100% recycled baby! The 600 fill recycled (yay recycled) down will keep you comfy to -7°C, so you should be all set for an Aussie winter in all but coldest Alpine conditions.
Not quite a full-mummy, the extended width around the knees gives you a little more wiggle room while the aesthetically pleasing J-zip helps you enter and exit the bag the same way one would enter a space capsule (or so I imagine).
Again, the mummy isn’t for everyone, but the extra width might help tempt some of you away from your regular rectangular bag.
Price: $405 (save $45)
Comfort rating: -7°C
Sea To Summit Ascent 3 Down
For a reasonably lightweight bag, this toasty number from Sea to Summit scores super high on the comfort scale. There’s a heap of features crammed in that’ll keep you warm when you need it, but add a little more versatility and freedom when the nights are warmer than expected. The design is a tapered rectangle, but 3 different zip options allow maximum freedom for fidgety limbs. With an extra half zip hanging out on one side, opposite a full-length zip on the other, you can free both arms for greater movement and even fold down the front if it gets real warm.
Other snazzy comfort focused features include the oversized draft tubes around the neck and around the zippers to help keep that body heat inside the bag, and the anatomical footbed to keep those feet toasty.
-11°C of comfort is a decent return for the packweight and is even better when you can snag it on sale as the retail price is up and over $600.
Price: $527.95 (save $131)
Comfort rating: -11°C
Marmot Never Summer
The Marmot Never Summer sounds like my dream bag. Just looking at it makes me feel warmer and the ultra-puffy baffles are filled with 650 fill Power Down. The down-filled collar and multi-baffle hood will keep your ears warm and the extra side zipper means you can fold down the top when it gets too toasty.
Marmot’s gone full mummy on this one, but the anatomical wrap-around footbed still gives your toes plenty of wiggle room. There’s also a full-length zip if you just have to open her up and breathe.
The only downer on this one is that it is the heaviest bag in our selection by about 100g, but you are getting -18°C of comfort rating for the weight, so you do the math.
Price: $539.95 (save $60)
Comfort rating: -18°C
NEMO Kayu 15 & NEMO Aya 15
While the Kayu and the Aya are essentially the same sleeping bag, NEMO has tailored them slightly differently as men’s and women’s models. They’re both stuffed with premium 800 FP down and offer a comfort rating towards -9°C. These are the lightest bags in our selection and weigh in around 860g; making them the top choice for ultralight backpacking.
These sleeping bags have the most tailored shape to them and this is particularly noticeable in the street-styled hood. These snug fitting hoods are great for trapping heat but may well be aesthetically divisive.
Other snazzy features are the heat regulating Thermo Gills on the chest and the external stash pocket.
Price: $399.95 (save $50)
Comfort Rating: -9°C
Feature photo by @mitchell.quinn