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Marmot Col -20 Review

This bag is a good choice for expeditions in cold environments
marmot col -20 sleeping bag down cold weather review
Credit: Marmot
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Price:  $830 List
Pros:  Very warm, plenty of room inside, basecamp ready
Cons:  Heavy, zipper touches chin, heat loss from excess zippers and space
Manufacturer:   Marmot
By Brian Smith ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 24, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 14
  • Warmth - 20% 9.0
  • Weight - 20% 3.0
  • Comfort - 20% 6.0
  • Packed Size - 15% 5.0
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 6.0
  • Features - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Marmot Col is a hulking behemoth of loft and warmth. Possibly the warmest bag in this category, the Col boasts a tough weatherproof shell, vertical baffles to keep the down over your core, and loads of features that make it a good choice for expeditions and long trips where you could be hunkered down in foul weather for extended periods.

Product Updates
Marmot has made a few updates to the Col. Our review reflects the findings of the updated model.
November 2022

Compare to Similar Products

 
marmot col -20 sleeping bag down cold weather review
This Product
Marmot Col -20
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $830 List$805 List$650 List$600 List
$589.95 at Backcountry
$315 List
$315.00 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
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74
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72
62
Star Rating
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Pros Very warm, plenty of room inside, basecamp readyWarm, awesome comfort, great warmth to weight ratioOne of the warmest bags in the test, lightweight, compression sack includedVery warm, comfortable, and lightweightDWR shell fabric, glow in the dark zipper, large draft tube, inexpensive
Cons Heavy, zipper touches chin, heat loss from excess zippers and spaceExpensiveLack of hydrophobic down, missing top hood cinch, snug fit not everyone's favoriteZipper catches, cinch strap loosens easilyHeavy, static drawstring around the face
Bottom Line This bag is a good choice for expeditions in cold environmentsFor temps down to zero degrees, you can't beat this lightweight but very warm bagA truly supreme sleeping bag that stands out for impressive weight savings without missing out on warmthA lofty, very comfortable sleeping bag that is amazingly warm, lightweight, and has an effective, minimalist designAn inexpensive bag that offers excellent warmth and weather resistance, albeit heavier than most in our fleet
Rating Categories Marmot Col -20 Western Mountaineer... Mountain Hardwear P... The North Face Infe... Mountain Hardwear B...
Warmth (20%)
9.0
8.0
8.1
8.0
7.0
Weight (20%)
3.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Comfort (20%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
Packed Size (15%)
5.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
Weather Resistance (15%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Features (10%)
9.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Marmot Col -20 Western Mountaineer... Mountain Hardwear P... The North Face Infe... Mountain Hardwear B...
Measured Weight (size Regular) 4.5 lbs (used to be 4.08 lbs, so heavier by .42 lbs) 2.85 lbs 2.68 lbs 2.68 lbs 3.13 lbs
Fill Weight 44.0 oz 30.0 oz 29.6 oz 35.0 oz
Type of Down Fill Goose Down Goose Down Goose Down RDS Cert/Fluorine Free Down RDS Certified Down
Fill Power 800 850 850 800 650
Material Weight (excludes down filling) 21.3 oz 15.7 oz 13.3 oz 15.1 oz
Temperature Rating -20°F 0°F 0°F 0°F 0°F
Pocket Yes No Yes No Yes
Shoulder Girth 64" 66" 58" 64" 62"
Hip Girth 61" 57" 52" 60" 53"
Foot Girth 44" 41" Not listed 44" Not listed
Shell Material Pertex Microlite 30 Denier MicroLite XP 10D Nylon Ghost ripstop, DWR finish 15D recycled nylon, 30D nylon taffeta 20-Denier ripstop nylon
Continuous Baffle Yes Yes No Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

This big burly bag is super spacious and warm, making it ideal for hanging out in base camp while the weather is foul. A newly designed center zipper allows ease of entry and exit, while two side zippers let you use your arms outside the bag. All that space and durability comes at a cost, and the Col is one of the heavier bags in our review.

Performance Comparison


marmot col -20 sleeping bag down cold weather review - biggest, heaviest, and warmest in this bunch of bags
Biggest, heaviest, and warmest in this bunch of bags
Credit: Brian Smith

Warmth


The Col is packed with 800 fill down, giving it incredible loft and insulative powers and a good warmth-to-weight ratio. While the abundant down between you and the elements keeps most of the cold out, the three zippers and extra space allow a small amount of air to sneak into this new design, even though lofty baffles surround the beefy zippers. The extra space accommodates more layers, along with other stuff you might want to keep from freezing solid, like water and your boots.


When sleeping on your back with the hood completely cinched tight, the air hole is suspended several inches above your face, so you can still breathe without your nose freezing off. A thick draft collar with a dedicated cinch cord keeps out any drafts that make it past the hood. While the three zippers add convenience, they allow more entry points for stubborn, cold air to seep in. Fortunately, baffles adjacent to each zipper trap most of these small amounts of cold air.

marmot col -20 sleeping bag down cold weather review - big, burly, heavy, and warm.
Big, burly, heavy, and warm.
Credit: Brian Smith

Weight


The robust shell fabric, wide cut, and amount of down make the Col the second heaviest bag in this review. In a backpack, 4 lbs 8 oz is a lot of sleeping bag to haul around. If you're carrying this bag into the snowy wilds on a sled or snowmobile, the warmth, space, and features easily make up for the extra weight.


4 pounds, 13.7 ounces minus the compression sack...
4 pounds, 13.7 ounces minus the compression sack...
...equals 4 pounds, 8.4 ounces
...equals 4 pounds, 8.4 ounces
4 pounds, 13.7 oz with the compression sack, and 4 pounds, 8.4 oz without it.

Comfort


The Col gets a pretty solid score for comfort because there is so much room to move around, change clothes, and burrow down inside the bag. This is essential if you spend many hours inside this bag, waiting out bad weather. The Col gains and then loses a few comfort points for the zippers and cinch cords. While the center zipper located on top allows you to enter and exit easily, sit up and easily unzip, the zipper pull was uncomfortably touching our chin while sleeping on our backs. The side zippers let you drink, eat, or read a book, all from the comfort of your sleeping cocoon.

marmot col -20 sleeping bag down cold weather review - look, dad, now please pass the hot cocoa
Look, dad, now please pass the hot cocoa
Credit: Brian Smith

Unfortunately, all these zippers add weight to an already hefty bag and can allow cold air to seep in. Baffles around the zippers block that cold air somewhat, but not entirely. The cinch straps are easy to locate inside the hood, but they're right in your face. Also, there is thick material around the inside of the foot box that some testers didn't like against their feet. This problem is easily mitigated with a down jacket and a pair of socks.


Packed Size


All that down and shell material makes for a relatively large packed size. The Col still holds its own against similarly rated bags. Due to high-quality materials, the Col still manages to pack down small enough in a 60-liter pack to allow room for other winter gear.


marmot col -20 sleeping bag down cold weather review - a nice compression sack allows you to pack this gargantuan bag along...
A nice compression sack allows you to pack this gargantuan bag along on winter excursions
Credit: Brian Smith

Features


This contender is designed for extended winter trips. The features are on point with what our testers who've lived and worked in cold climates like to see. The inside of the foot box is reinforced with a thicker shell fabric to protect the bag from your boots. There is enough room in the foot box to sleep with your boots on or leave them down in the bottom of the bag, so you don't have to thaw your boots out, making it way easier to get up in the morning. Draft tubes prevent most cold air from entering through the zippers, and the zipper configuration allows you to enjoy a hot drink or read a book while keeping most of your upper body inside the bag. The three zippers are also useful for venting if you get too hot in this bag (we sure did).


marmot col -20 sleeping bag down cold weather review - side zippers let you use your arms while staying warm and cozy inside
Side zippers let you use your arms while staying warm and cozy inside
Credit: Brian Smith

Two cinch straps, one for the neck baffle and one for the hood, are great for sealing out cold air. The problem is they are too close to your face. There are five internal stow-away pockets, one of which has a zipper and is almost hidden. The zippered pocket is important for not losing important items like headlamps and spare batteries. The non-zippered pockets are perfect for stashing things like gloves and spare socks to dry without moving around while you sleep.

marmot col -20 sleeping bag down cold weather review - two cinch straps help keep cold air out, but the cords are in your...
Two cinch straps help keep cold air out, but the cords are in your face
Credit: Brian Smith

Weather Resistance


We subjected the Col to rigorous testing by dunking the middle section of it into a bathtub. Now, unless you're planning on swimming while inside this sleeping bag, it's unlikely you'll ever put it through this amount of moisture. In our submersion test, we fully dunked the bag underwater and tried our best to squeeze out all the air so that the bag could absorb as much water as possible. We found that the Col absorbed water, and a lot of it. Most likely, the water snuck in through one of the three closed zippers.

marmot col -20 sleeping bag down cold weather review - while the water beaded up on the fabric, it still snuck through the...
While the water beaded up on the fabric, it still snuck through the zippers
Credit: Brian Smith

marmot col -20 sleeping bag down cold weather review - we placed a paper towel inside and it got soaked
We placed a paper towel inside and it got soaked
Credit: Brian Smith


We also tested the Col while it was snowing outside. The snow bounced right off the Pertex Shield Fabric and kept us dry. So, unless you're going swimming in it, that down probably isn't going to get wet. A simple lean-to, lightweight tent or snow cave will block the high winds, and the Col will take most likely take care of the rest. Of course, with a sleeping bag this heavy, you're more likely to be base camping in a burly 4-season winter tent.

marmot col -20 sleeping bag down cold weather review - the snow melted on our faces but bounced right off the pertex®...
The snow melted on our faces but bounced right off the Pertex® Shield Fabric
Credit: Brian Smith

Should You Buy the Marmot Col -20?


The Col is designed for cold weather and base camping. The features that facilitate waiting out long periods of chilly weather are the same features that add weight and bulk. If weight isn't an issue, you want a really roomy sleeping bag, and you like the dual side zips for using your arms while still inside a sleeping bag, the Col might be just right for you. However, if you're looking for a lightweight bag with a simple design, then check out some of the other bags in our lineup.

marmot col -20 sleeping bag down cold weather review - big, warm, and spacious, the col is meant for base camping
Big, warm, and spacious, the Col is meant for base camping
Credit: Brian Smith

What Other Winter Sleeping Bags Should You Consider?


For a lighter bag, check out the Western Mountaineering Kodiak MF for its incredible comfort, warmth, and compressibility. The Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0 is another high-quality, snug-fitting winter bag with an awesome compression sack.

Brian Smith
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