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There’s nothing quite like being in the great outdoors. As we have (and continue!) to spend a lot of our time inside, getting the chance to stretch our legs and head out in the unknown feels more and more like a gift. The ultimate version of this is backpacking and spending the night outside, gazing at the stars over a warm campfire. But as you retire to your tent for the evening, it’s critical to have a cold-weather sleeping bag that can keep you warm while the fire flickers out. In particular, we love the cozy warmth provided by the best down sleeping bags.
Down is one of the world’s best materials for insulation, as it’s both super lightweight and super warm. Stuffing a sleeping bag full of down is a no-brainer. It doesn’t add a lot of extra weight to your backpack and keeps you warm when it matters most. And while they might look a little too garish or techy, they’ll be a huge advantage in helping you fight against the cold.
With that in mind, here are some of our favorite down sleeping bags for sale online, rated across a variety of temperatures, to help ensure you can enjoy the best of what Mother Nature has to offer.
First, A Note on Genuine Goose Down
Down refers to down feathers, which are actual feathers taken from geese. If you’ve ever wondered how geese are able to lazily swim around in freezing cold waters, it’s thanks to the insulating properties of down feathers, which keep them warm and dry no matter the temperature. When used in bedding products such as pillows and sleeping bags, down feathers have two main advantages — comfort and warmth. Even in the modern age, down offers superior insulation to most synthetic alternatives.
However, for a variety of reasons, some outdoor gear companies are moving away from genuine down feathers and toward synthetic down. Synthetic down can work just as well or better than the real thing and can be more cost-effective. In addition, animal rights activists have shown that harmful practices such as live-plucking are still practiced in some parts of the world. A lot of outdoor enthusiasts are also vegan or vegetarian, and if you prefer to avoid all animal products, you’ll want to buy synthetic down sleeping bags such as the Marmot Trestles 30 Sleeping Bag, which is made with synthetic SpiraFil down-style insulation.
If you only want to buy products with ethically-sourced goose down, you can also look for products that contain RDS-certified down. RDS stands for Responsible Down Standards certified, and products that earn this label have demonstrated that the materials were collected without subjecting animals to unnecessary harm. We’ve noted below which products are RDS-certified.
When shopping for the best down sleeping bags, you’ll also find that products are described with numbers like 850-fill or 650-fill down. This is a rating similar to thread count; the higher the number, the higher the quality of the down.
1. Western Mountaineering MegaLite Down Sleeping Bag
With a temperature rating of up to 30° F, the MegaLite Down sleeping bag from Western Mountaineering is going to be an excellent choice for a fall and spring sleeping bag. The temperature rating won’t get quite warm enough for those brutal winter nights and will definitely be too warm for summer camping, but everything in-between should be covered nicely. Basically, it’s the perfect sleeping bag for most camping trips, and it’s made in the USA. The mummy-style bag offers a top collar to trap warmth. It’s also super lightweight at under two pounds thanks to the premium, 850-fill down insulation.
2. Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass Down Sleeping Bag
With a temperature rating of 15° F, Mountain Hardwear’s Bishop Pass down sleeping bag starts to get you closer to a true cold weather-ready bag thanks to its 650-fill down material. The extra down lightly increases the bag’s weight to about 2.5 pounds (including the stuff sack) but provides excellent warmth retention thanks to its two-way zipper and mummy-performance shape. Plus, the rip-stop exterior provides a bit of DWR protection should it rain on you and is also abrasion-resistant.
3. Big Agnes Anvil Horn Down Sleeping Bag
Don’t let the funny name fool you; when it comes to providing warmth in the cold, Big Agnes is the real deal. The huge feature here is an included flex pad sleeve that stretches and unfolds along with your bag, providing a built-in sleeping pad that won’t slide around on you while you’re sleeping. That provides a more comfortable experience, which can make all the difference when you’re quite literally sleeping on the ground. The 650-fill down is good up to 15° F, and the bag weighs about 3 pounds.
4. Therm-a-Rest Polar Ranger -20 Down Sleeping Bag
BEST SUB-ZERO DOWN SLEEPING BAG
Planning on doing some really cold weather camping? Grab the Therm-a-Rest Polar Ranger down sleeping bag. Rated for temperatures down to -20° F, the Polar Ranger will ensure you’re warm even when it’s below zero. A snorkel-style hood helps to control the build-up of frost by removing cross drafts, and a pocket at the bottom of the bag helps to keep your feet warm when you first get into the bag. A special connector also lets you pair the bag with one of Therm-a-Rest’s excellent pads. Inside this sleeping bag you’ll find 800-fill down that’s RDS-certified.
5. L.L.Bean Rectangular Down Sleeping Bag
For casual campers who prefer an open, rectangular sleeping bag to a mummy-style bag, we recommend the L.L.Bean Down Sleeping Bag for adults. This sleeping bag is filled with RDS-certified 650-fill DownTek that will keep you warm and dry in temperatures as cols as 20° F. Weighing in at 2 pounds and 10 ounces, it’s a lightweight sleeping bag that’s great for camping and three-season backpacking. If you prefer the mummy-style, check out the L.L. Bean Mummy Down Sleeping Bag instead.
6. Sea to Summit Traveller TrI 50 Down Sleeping Bag
BEST FOR WARM WEATHER
This Sea to Summit down sleeping bag is the only option here that’s rated to 50° F, and so it’s great to use as a spring and summer sleeping bag. The tapered style is a little boxier at the top, which makes it a little easier for air to get in when it’s warm outside, helping with ventilation. Additionally, the bag is just over one pound, which makes it great to carry around, meaning you could even use this as a down blanket if you needed to do so. Inside you’ll find 750-fill RDS-certified down.
LOW IN STOCK!
7. REI Co-op Magma 15 Down Sleeping Bag
REI does more than sell other brands, as they have their own (extremely quality!) in-house brand, too, courtesy of their REI Co-op line. Their Magman 15 down sleeping bag makes for a good three-season bag, with a temperature rating of 15° F thanks to its 850-fill RDS-certified down. The toe box’s shape and angle allow for comfort and plenty of room, while the zipper cover helps make it so your zipper doesn’t get stuck opening and closing the bag. Additionally, an insulated yoke helps to cover your neck and shoulders better not to lose any heat.
8. Nemo Disco 15 Down Sleeping Bag
BEST FOR SIDE SLEEPERS
What immediately stands out about Nemo’s Disco 15 down sleeping bag is that it’s designed for those who like to sleep on their side, thanks to an extra allowance of material in the elbows. Sleeping bags can sometimes feel restrictive, so the Disco provides more space for you to move and adjust throughout the night. Inside, the 650-fill RDS-certified down is capable of withstanding temps of 15° F, while the “Thermo Gills” on the bag can open up and help to better vent your body temperature without making you too cold.
9. Marmot Trestles 30 Mummy Down Sleeping Bag
Another solid option for a spring/fall sleeping bag, the Marmot Trestles 30 Mummy down sleeping bag is rated for 30° temperatures, but at a price point that’s really friendly to those new to outdoor camping. The synthetic SpiraFil down makes it slightly heavier than other bags, but it still manages to be a lightweight (and affordable) option for your backpack. Additionally, the fold-down zipper can really help to provide good ventilation if you need to cool down during the middle of the night.