Getting your hands one of 2023’s best sleeping bags for your deer or elk hunt will stop cold and restless nights dead in their tracks. Whether you’re out there for the early or late seasons, hunkering down in your tent should be a calm and restful experience that recharges your battery.
That’s why finding the right sleeping bag for your hunt is vital. Poor sleep leads to sluggish and unfocused days in the field, which could lead to missed opportunities and unfilled tags. Why wait all year for hunting season just to toss, turn, and shiver once you’re out in the thick of it?
In this article, you’ll find a range of sleeping bags that’ll keep you comfortable whether you’re a September bowhunter in Arizona or you’re trying to fill your tag in the snow-covered Rockies of Colorado in late November.
The ten bags we recommend are rated for temperatures between -22° and 32° Fahrenheit, so you can rest assured there’s an option or two on this list suited for your hunt. And if you’re unsure of what temperature rating your future bag should be, click here and I’ll point you in the right direction.
I’m not here to recommend the bulky behemoths you slept in as a child. Instead, I’ll point you towards some of the industry’s most efficient and highly-rated bags. Because I’ve spent enough nights camping in lousy weather to know that cutting corners with a subpar sleeping bag is a bad idea.
From NEMO to Mountain Hardware to The North Face, I’ve included an array of bags from the most trusted brands in the industry. Whether you’re looking for a high-end down bag or a budget-friendly synthetic option, we’ve got you covered.
Ready to tuck into one of 2023’s best sleeping bags for deer and elk hunting?
Let’s get started.
Best Overall Hunting Sleeping Bag for Mid Seasons
NEMO Disco 15
Temp Rating: 15° F | -9° C
Fill: 650-fill hydrophobic down
Weight: 2 lb 11 oz
Built with extra wiggle room for side-sleepers in the elbow and knee areas, the NEMO Disco 15 is our best overall hunting sleeping bag of 2023. Its efficient, compact, and clever design will serve you well as you hunker down in your tent and rest up for a new day searching for your next freezer filler.
Stuffed with 650-fill hydrophobic down and rated for 15 degrees, this bag will repel condensation and keep campers warm well into shoulder seasons. Its Thermo Gill zippers help vent body heat when it gets a bit too clammy, and it can even zip together with a Women’s Disco 15 bag to create a super cocoon for you and your lady.
There’s a lot to love about the NEMO Disco 15, as is evident by its glowing reviews found all over the internet. Hunters, campers, and backpackers worldwide swear by this bag, and for good reason. It’s everything you need to catch a good night’s rest in the backcountry.
- Pros: Extra room in elbow and knee areas for side sleepers, vents allow for precise temperature control, can zip together with Women’s Disco 15, internal zip pocket is handy
- Cons: 650-fill power isn’t super lofty
0-Degree Bag for Late Seasons
Mountain Hardware Bishop Pass
Temp Rating: 0° F | -18° C
Fill: 650-fill down
Weight: 3 lb 2 oz
Late-season hunting in the chill of winter can get miserable in a hurry if you don’t pack the right sleeping bag. Luckily, the Mountain Hardware Bishop Pass is built for the bitter cold of November and December and will earn its keep as temperatures plunge well below freezing.
Though this bag doesn’t have as much wiggle room as the Disco 15, it sports a more efficient design meant to trap your body heat to keep you warm and toasty. Its insulation is evenly spread to prevent hot and cold spots, making it as cozy and comfortable as they come.
The no-frills Mountain Hardware Bishop Pass 0-degree bag will excel in the unforgiving temperatures you’re bound to encounter during late-season hunts. Grab one and throw it in your pack if your old winter bag just isn’t cutting it anymore.
- Pros: Very warm and comfortable, packs down small for a 0-degree bag, built for winter camping, extremely well-reviewed
- Cons: Footbox may be a bit narrow for those with broad stature, 650-fill down isn’t super lofty
Roomy 30-Degree Option for Early Seasons
NEMO Riff 30
Temp Rating: 30° F | -1° C
Fill: 800-fill down
Weight: 2 lb 3 oz
The NEMO Riff 30 is strikingly similar to our top overall choice for mid-seasons, the Disco 15, and will thrive in early elk and deer hunting seasons and warmer climates all the same. It even boasts a higher 800-fill power and an integrated pocket to stash your down jacket and create a pillow.
Like the Disco 15, the Riff 30 has extra room in the knee and elbow areas for side-sleepers who feel constricted in traditional mummy-style bags. It packs down extremely small, has DWR-treated down to protect against condensation, and sports Thermo Gills to vent heat when you’re getting too warm.
Thanks to the Riff 30’s impressive set of features, it stands tall as one of the best bags in the outdoor industry. It’ll undoubtedly be up to the task for early season hunting trips when you want to keep your pack weight down and your comfort levels up.
- Pros: Extra room in elbow and knee areas for side sleepers, vents allow for precise temperature control, 800 fill-power, pillow pocket is clever and useful
- Cons: None that I can think of
“As Cold as it Gets” Dead of the Winter Bag
RAB Expedition 1000
Temp Rating: -22° F | -30° C
Fill: 850-fill hydrophobic goose down
Weight: 3 lb 9 oz
Some hunters like to punish themselves with the most extreme winter conditions possible when pursuing elk, deer, moose, and other elusive creatures. If you’re one of those hunters, consider the RAB Expedition 1000 -20-degree down bag to ensure you don’t freeze solid while you’re trying to catch some shut-eye.
If your hunt takes you to Canada, Alaska, Northern Minnesota, or some other bone-chilling late-season terrain, you’ll need a bag that protects you when temperatures creep below zero. The RAB Expedition 1000 and its 2+ pounds of 850-fill down insulation will do just that. It’s nothing fancy, just a burly mummy bag that’ll keep you alive and well in the harshest of winter conditions.
In most hunting environments, a -22-degree bag would be overkill. But if you’re the special type of hunter who dabbles in the most challenging temperatures, the RAB Expedition 1000 might be the bag for you.
- Pros: Incredibly warm, high fill-power, very efficient design, extremely lightweight for its temperature rating
- Cons: Too much warmth for anything outside of winter conditions
15-Degree Ultralight Quilt for Mid Seasons
Katabatic Gear Sawatch 15
Temp Rating: 15° F | -9° C
Fill: 850-fill HyperDRY duck down
Weight: 1 lb 10 oz
I’ve used my trusty Katabatic Gear quilt for over 1,000 miles of rugged ultralight backpacking, and it has never let me down. It’ll undoubtedly serve me well for the upcoming elk hunting bow and rifle seasons in Colorado’s daunting San Juan Mountains.
This is a quilt style-bag, meaning it forgoes a traditional “mummy” hood and a zipper to save weight. No big deal — instead of using a hood, I wear my beanie, and instead of using a zipper, I clip my bag to a paracord that’s wrapped snugly around my sleeping pad. Doing so traps my body heat against the pad and allows me to adjust the clips to control the temperature inside my bag.
Elk hunters who cover big miles with their entire setup on their back would find a lightweight and compact quilt like the Sawatch 15 very useful. As an avid backpacker, its ability to keep me warm while saving significant weight has been an absolute game-changer in the backcountry.
- Pros: Very lightweight and compact, uses hydrophobic down with great fill-power, easy to adjust clips to dial in temperature inside the bag
- Cons: Lack of a mummy hood could be an issue for some, pricey
0-Degree Ultralight Quilt for Late Seasons
Enlightened Equipment Revelation 0
Temp Rating: 0° F | -18° C
Fill: 850-fill down
Weight: 1 lb 14 oz
The Enlightened Equipment Revelation quilt has a similar design as the Sawatch 15 above but is available in a 0-degree version for cold-weather hunting trips. It’s one of the lightest and most compact bags of its kind on the market.
The Revelation is an extremely customizable bag, as campers can choose between 850 and 950 down fill power, four different lengths and widths, and four different colors. It’s also available in 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50-degree versions if you’re in the market for a mid or early-season bag.
It sports an adjustable foot box with a zipper and shock cord that allows campers to vent their feet if they’re too hot. It can also lay open as a blanket, extending its usefulness in warmer weather and allowing hunters to lounge around with it at camp. No other sleeping bag on this list can say that.
This bad boy will get the job done for those late-season backcountry hunters who need to keep their pack weight down in those frigid winter hunts. It’s doesn’t get more efficient and versatile as this.
- Pros: Very lightweight and compact, extremely customizable, adjustable footbox is extremely useful, can be used as a flat blanket
- Cons: Lack of a mummy hood could be an issue for some, pricey
Budget 20-Degree Mid-Season Option
The North Face Cat’s Meow
Temp Rating: 20° F | -7° C
Fill: Heatseeker Pro synthetic
Weight: 2 lb 9 oz
Not all elk and deer hunting sleeping bags have to cost an arm and a leg, so we wanted to recommend a few of the best budget options on the 2023 market. Our first of the bunch is The North Face Cat’s Meow, a 20-degree synthetic bag that has become a fixture in the outdoor community.
Ringing in just over 100 bucks, this rock-solid mummy bag rocks a full-length zipper, efficient Heatseeker Pro insulation, and a durable nylon ripstop shell. Considering its features, that’s a pretty great price tag compared to some of the more high-end options on this list.
And, though it’ll be a bit bulkier, heavier, and less roomy than down bags like the NEMO Disco 15, the Cat’s Meow will keep money in your wallet for, you know, more awesome hunting gear.
- Pros: Affordable, very durable fabric, comfortable, well-reviewed
- Cons: Not as efficient or lightweight as down bags,
0-Degree Late-Season Budget Buy
Temp Rating: 0° F | -18° C
Fill: Spirafil 120 synthetic
Weight: 4 lb 10 oz
If you’re a cold-weather hunter looking to save some cash, the Marmot Trestles 0-degree bag represents an incredible value. Ringing in at roughly a third the price of the Bishop Pass we recommended earlier, it’ll still keep you warm as you grip your coffee and watch your breath from inside your frosty tent.
Because it uses synthetic insulation, it’s not as lightweight or compact as the Bishop Pass. But if counting ounces and mapping out the cubic inches in your backpack isn’t your thing, then this bad boy might suit you well. It’s well-reviewed and widely known as one of the most comfortable budget bags today.
I’d recommend the Marmot Trestles to cold-weather hunters who camp close to their truck and won’t have to lug their camping gear very far. Hike-in backcountry hunters might want to consider something more compact and lightweight, as this will take up considerable space in their pack.
- Pros: Affordable, warm, comfortable, well-reviewed, stash pocket is pretty handy
- Cons: Not as lightweight or compact as down sleeping bags, some users feel it’s tight around the legs and feet
32-Degree Early-Season Budget Bag
Temp Rating: 32° F | 0° C
Fill: 90% duck down, 10% cotton
Weight: 2 lb 7 oz
The previous two budget bags we recommended use synthetic insulation, but this 32-degree bag from OneTigris uses 90% down filling. As a result, the bag is more lightweight and compact than you might expect for its sub-$100 price tag. That’s a good thing.
Another good thing is this bag’s slick camo ripstop nylon outer shell. Though the camo’s stealthiness won’t matter inside of your tent, it should come in handy at camp when airing out the bag while trying to remain undetected. By many accounts, this seems like a solid sleeping bag for hunting.
But I have read some mixed reviews on this bag. Most owners gush about it, but others claim it’s not as warm as its 32-degree rating or that it’s made from cheap materials. Keep this all in mind before you pull the trigger, and be ready to return it if you have any doubts.
- Pros: Very affordable, quite lightweight and compact for its price, camo shell, down filling
- Cons: Mixed reviews on Amazon, 10% cotton filling raises questions
Camo Sleeping Bag Suit with Arms/Sleeves
Temp Rating: 30° F | -1° C
Fill: Down/synthetic blend
Weight: 4 lb 10 oz
Yes, that’s a sleeping bag, and yes, it’s also a goofy-looking jacket/blanket hybrid. But no matter how unsexy it may look, it’s built for function and should keep you warm both inside and outside of your tent. And, from what I can gather, it’ll do just that.
It’s not made from futuristic materials or filled with super lofty down, but that’s not the point. It’s built to serve multiple purposes and keep hunters warm all day long. The more I think about it, the more this thing makes sense. Who wants to leave their warm sleeping bag at dawn to go wait for deer in a frosty tree stand anyway?
If you’re looking for a multi-functional piece of gear that can keep you warm at camp and in the field, you may have just found it. This camo suit may not rev your wife’s engine, but it’ll keep yours running smoothly, and sometimes that’s all you need to take down an animal.
- Pros: Affordable, functional, built specifically for hunters, camo pattern is useful, water-resistant
- Cons: Not exactly a chick magnet, bulky and heavy for a 30-degree bag
Temperature ratings can be tricky to understand, so let’s dive into what a rating entails.
The temperature rating of a sleeping bag refers to the lowest temperature in which sleepers can expect to feel comfortable inside the bag. Companies must have their bags tested and assigned ratings by independent labs, ensuring consistency across the industry.
But feeling comfortable in a sleeping bag doesn’t necessarily mean feeling warm and toasty. Everybody’s body self-regulates heat differently, and everyone’s idea of comfort is different from the next.
“Warm sleepers” might feel warm and comfortable sleeping in a 30-degree bag when it’s only 20 degrees out, whereas “cold sleepers” might shiver and feel miserable in the same situation.
In my experience as a “standard sleeper,” if you want to stay warm inside your sleeping bag wearing only your underwear, aim for a bag that’s rated for 10-15 degrees lower than the coldest temperature you expect. For example, if you expect temperatures to be between 10 and 20 degrees at night, opt for a bag rated between 0 and 10 degrees.
If you want to stay warm as you sleep while wearing full-body long underwear and a beanie, aim for a bag that’s rated near the lowest temperature you expect on a nightly basis. A 30-degree bag will work well for 30-degree weather, and so on.
You must also consider that wind, rain, humidity, and other factors will affect the rating of your sleeping bag. For more information on the subject, check out REI’s in-depth article on understanding sleeping bag temperature ratings.
Keeping warm and comfortable on that backcountry deer or elk hunt is no small task, and there’s a lot to consider when choosing your sleeping bag. That’s why we’ve considered the following six factors when picking out and recommending the best sleeping bags for the 2023 season.
From the outer fabric to the insulation to the stitching, your hunting sleeping bag must be made from quality materials to get the job done season after season. That’s why we’ve done our best to include bags made from top-notch materials that won’t rip, tear, or fail you when you need them most.
Down vs. Synthetic Filling
When choosing your next bag, it’s vital to understand the main differences between down and synthetic filling. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each will help guide you towards the bag that works best for you and the conditions you expect.
Down filling, or feathers from ducks or geese, is typically more lightweight and expensive than synthetic filling. It has a higher weight to warmth ratio, but it loses its insulation properties much faster than synthetic once it becomes wet. The warmest and most high-end bags are usually made with down filling.
Synthetic filling, or artificial insulation, is typically heavier and less expensive than down filling. It has a lower warmth-to-weight ratio but will retain insulation properties better than down once it becomes wet. We recommend synthetic bags if you plan to be camping in wet and/or humid conditions.
For sleeping bags with down insulation, fill power is a measurement of the loftiness of the feathers inside. The higher the loftiness (or fluffiness) of the down, the more warm air it’s capable of trapping. The more warm air your down insulation can trap, the less filling you’ll need to keep warm.
In other words, sleeping bags with higher fill power require less down to keep you warm and weigh less. For hike-in backcountry hunters where every ounce matters, considering fill power is essential for keeping pack weight down. If you’re a car camper who doesn’t have to carry their sleeping bag far, fill power shouldn’t matter much.
Synthetic sleeping bags aren’t rated for fill power, for what it’s worth.
If you’re an elk of a deer hunter who hikes into the backcountry for miles to find the perfect campsite that’s close to the action, you’re probably aware that the weight of your pack matters. That’s why we’ve considered the overall weight of the sleeping bags we recommend in this article.
If you’re camping just a few steps from your truck, however, the weight of their sleeping bag won’t mean quite as much.
Sleeping bags that tear easily or let insulation escape through their outer fabric aren’t going to do you much good. That’s why we’ve done our best to recommend bags from trusted brands that will hold up to the hunting’s harsh conditions, season after season.
From your spotting scope to your GPS device to your boots, hunting can get downright expensive. Sleeping bags aren’t known to be an exception, either, so we’ve done our best to recommend a wide array of products at several different price points.
We hope we’ve helped you find the best possible sleeping bag for your 2023 deer and elk hunting adventures and beyond. Because none of us want to wait all year for hunting season just to suffer through cold and restless nights once we’re out in the thick of it.
So, whether you’re an early-season elk hunter camping in warm weather or hunting deer in the chill of late-season in temperatures well below freezing, we hope you find a bag that suits you. And, with products rated for temps between -22° to 32° Fahrenheit, we’ve got you covered for all four seasons.
With an array of down and synthetic bags from trusted brands like NEMO, Mountain Hardware, The North Face, or RAB, we’ve done our best to point you in the right direction. Because we don’t have time for chilly nights in subpar sleeping bags, and neither should you.
So, which of 2023’s best sleeping bags will you pull the trigger on for your deer and elk hunting season?
Whatever you choose, may it be as warm, lofty, and comfortable as you’ve ever dreamed of.
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- Hunting Sleeping Bags for Deer & Elk Hunters
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- Elk Hunting Boots: Reviews from a Colorado Elk Hunter
- Hunting Socks [Cold Weather, Heated, Stalking & More]
- Coolers for Camping [YETI, RTIC, Igloo & More]
Last Updated on August 16, 2023