It was December 27th 2009, 5am and our first time on the Mojave Road. It was also freaking cold and so was I. This was the trip I learnt not to skimp on the quality of my winter sleeping bag. Here’s our Magnificent Seven Resource Guide showcasing 7 winter sleeping bag options, ready to keep you toasty at night and happy on the trail. We’ll be testing several of these over the winter months and will feature our TAP Trail Tested results ASAP.

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Sea to Summit:

Ascent Down Sleeping Bag – AcII / 15F Regular ($399)

The Ascent down winter sleeping bag redefines what versatile means in a sleep system. Complex construction and high-quality down keep you warm when it’s cold outside, while the triple-zipper Free-Flow Zip system ensures you stay cool and ventilated when the weather warms.

Shaped to allow a natural sleeping position for comfort, the Ascent is light and compact enough to go everywhere your adventures may take you.

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Nemo Equipment:

Sonic™ 0 ($499.95)

  • 800 fill power down for extra warmth and packability.
  • Unique Thermo Gills™ allow you to vent body heat at your core without letting cold air rush in. Compared to unzipping the bag, the gills allow a better means of fine tuning comfort.
  • The 2-way zipper allows you to vent from the top or bottom or put your boots on from the comfort of your bag.
  • Stretch construction at the knees helps maintain bag shape, thermal efficiency and loft, while offering enhanced volume so you can sleep on  your side or with your knees bent. 
  • Reinforced footbox with heavier, breathable fabric handles boots, water bottles, and wet clothes. 
  • Shell is treated with DWR to protect from frost build-up.
  • 3 lbs. 

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Slumberjack:

RONIN -20 SLEEPING BAG ($89.95)

The new Ronin allows ‘arms out’ dexterity without leaving your winter sleeping bag. Read at night, grab a cold beverage, or organize gear without having to unzip. And the full-length dual zipper allows you to open the bag as wide as you want, so you can control ventilation and stay comfortable. It’s time to experience a solid night’s sleep – a rest that will leave you primed for the next day’s epic adventure.

  • Polyester Ripstop Shell improves durability
  • Polyester high filament liner feels like nylon and is soft to the touch
  • External Velcro Tabs Combined with Dual zippers create “arms out” functionality
  • Full length dual zipper design improves ventilation and comfort
  • Layered, offset construction prevents cold spots
  • Draft tubes along zippers keep out cold air and prevents heat loss
  • Soft touch liner for improved comfort
  • Heavy Duty #8 twin zippers with anti-snag protection
  • Compression stuff sack included
  • Contoured jacket style hood- can be inverted to create a pillow on warm nights
  • Color coded zippers and screen prints indicate temperature ratings
  • Slumberloft™ synthetic insulation

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Kelty:

Cosmic Down 20 ($179.97)

Kelty’s tried and true, best-selling winter sleeping bag on the market. The value is exceptional. One-of-a-kind value and comfort. The revered Cosmic, a 3-season superstar is made with environmental & health friendly PFC-free DWR & 600 fill DriDown. You won’t want to leave this buttery-soft and durable 20D nylon shell, polyester taffeta liner: like satin sheets on your skin. The Cosmic Down will keep the cold out and the heat in with draft collar & comfort hood. Packing made easy, stuff it on the go, sack included. Available in three temperature ratings 0, 20, and 40 degrees.

  • Environmental & health friendly PFC-Free DWR and 600 fill Dridown 
  • Soft, butter-like, but durable 20D Nylon taffeta shell
  • 50D Polyester taffeta liner that’s like satin sheets on your skin
  • 60 in. dual-slider, locking zipper with anti-snag design
  • Keep the cold out and the heat in with draft collar & comfort hood
  • Stuff it when you’re on the go-sack included
  • PFC-Free DWR coating is better for you and the environment 

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Therm-a-Rest:

Therm-a-Rest Questar 20F Regular ($279.95) 

This is the field-proven, feature-packed down bag you’ve always wanted. We’ve loaded this bag with the comfort features that Therm-a-Rest bags are known for. Our SynergyLink™ Connectors integrate the bag with your sleeping pad while allowing our Zoned Insulation to keep fill where you need it most. The fit of the bag has been perfected in our onsite cold chamber to create our W.A.R.M. fit that allows room for multiple sleep positions without compromising thermal efficiency. Stuffed with water-resistant 650 fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down certified by the Responsible Down Standard, the four-season Questar is ready for your next backcountry adventure. The Questar is offered in three sizes, and designed to fit both men and women. Compression sack and storage sack included.

  • 650 Fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down™: Absorbs 90% less water and dries 3 times faster without using dangerous PFCs.
  • W.A.R.M. Fit: With Additional Room for Multiple positions (W.A.R.M.) fit means this bag allows for various natural sleep positions while maintaining thermal efficiency.
  • SynergyLink™ Connectors: Integrate the bag with a pad for optimal comfort and thermal efficiency; removable for versatility.
  • Zoned Insulation: Maximizes warmth and saves weight by intentionally placing down where you need it most.
  • Box Baffled Construction: Uses mesh walls to maximize loft and minimize cold spots.
  • Toe-asis™ Foot Warmer Pocket: Baffled pocket of insulation rapidly warms cold feet.
  • Quilt and Blanket Loops: Customize your sleep system by layering our quilts or tech blankets for increased warmth.
  • Responsible Down Standard Certified: Certification that ensures that the waterfowl in the down supply chain are treated humanely.
  • Additional features: Heat-trapping draft collar, full-length zipper draft tube, snag-free zipper, cinchable hood and external zip pocket.

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Big Agnes:

Star Fire UL -20 (available in -20, 0, 20 and 30 degree options) ($629.95 for -20 degree)

These technical, ultralight bags are designed for adventures where every ounce counts, each nook and cranny in your pack is accounted for, and you depend on the performance of your sleeping bag like you would a harness, helmet, or beacon. The Star Fire UL series features the ultimate 850 fill power DownTek™ water-repellent down, and are built with a superlight, high-tear strength shell that also protects the inside footbox. Body-mapped baffle construction optimizes thermal efficiency creating the lightest, highly compressible bag for your most remote of overnight adventures.

  • Ultralight down mummy bags that feature 850 fill power 
    DownTek™ down and a Pertex® shell to create our most compressible, technical bags
  • Traditional mummy shape allows for lightweight and increased thermal value
  • Body mapped baffle construction optimizes thermal efficiency
  • 3-D anti-snag draft tube prevents heat loss along the zipper
  • Vertically structured sidewalls integrating contoured baffles trap heat closer to the body
  • Contoured hood baffles cradle the head for a more comfortable fit
  • Oversized interior anti-draft collar 
  • Ergonomic foot-box construction provides more loft and warmth 
  • Low-profile cordlock lets you un-cinch the hood with one hand
  • Insulated tube along upper hood opening seals out drafts when cinched 
  • Minimal zipper minimizes weight and reduces cold spots
  • 40″/102cm YKK #5 anti-snag zipper for a smooth, quick zip 
  • Zipper Garage
  • Interior fabric loops for sleeping bag liners
  • Streamlined exterior loops for hang drying or storage
  • Storage sack & stuff sack included 

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REI:

REI Co-op Down Time 0 Down Sleeping Bag – $239-$279

  • Water-resistant, 650-fill-power duck down insulation offers excellent loft and warmth and is certified to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) and bluesign® approved 
  • Ripstop nylon shell has a durable water repellent (DWR) finish to protect the down from moisture 
  • Relaxed fit from shoulders to hips gives you room to move in your sleep, but remains thermally efficient 
  • Contoured hood, oversized insulated face muffler and full-length draft tube hold in warmth 
  • Dual top/bottom neck yoke fully encloses your shoulders to prevent heat loss 
  • Differentiated drawcords let you adjust hood and neck easily in the dark 
  • Pad loops provide attachment points to keep your sleeping bag and pad together to avoid rolling off onto the cold ground (pad and straps not included) 
  • Comes with nylon stuff sack and nylon mesh storage bag 
  • Made in a Fair Trade Certified™ factory, which promotes safe working conditions and sustainable livelihoods 

Many sleeping bags are rated for temperature by an independent testing protocol. With both European Norm (EN) 13537 and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 23537 testing, each bag gets a Comfort (or T-Comfort) rating and Lower (or T-Limit) rating. The Comfort/T-Comfort rating is the lowest temperature at which the bag will keep the average “cold sleeper” comfortable, and the Lower/T-Limit rating is the lowest temperature at which the bag will keep the average “warm sleeper” comfortable. Ratings are based on a person wearing one long underwear layer and a hat, sleeping on a single 1 in. thick insulating pad. Many brands use the Comfort rating for women’s bags and the Lower rating for men’s and unisex bags. Everyone’s body and sleep comfort differ, so EN and ISO ratings are simply a guideline to help you compare products.

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