It comes as no shock that winter nights spent on the bank are somewhat cold. The only way to get a good night’s kip is with the help of some decent gear. Now we’re not taking about anything dodgy or illegal, far from it. What we’re talking about is bedchairs, shelters and, above all, a warm sleeping bag.

There are masses of winter bags on the market, all filled with various fibres and paddings and all claiming to be better than the next. To sort the men from the boys, so to speak, Total Carp got hold of 17 top-of-the-range winter sleeping bags and tested them out. All the companies were asked to do was submit, what they saw as, their warmest bag. We then subjected them to a few tests of our own to find out which ones made the grade.

A massive area of confusion with sleeping bags is the temperature rating that they’re given. Tackle companies seem to rate their sleeping bags as three, four or five-season bags. First of all, if anyone can offer an explanation as to what the fifth season is then please drop us a line, we’re dying to know the answer to that one!

We were very impressed with the bags that were sent in and it seems that there are some serious ones out there for the hardened, winter carp angler to spend his money on.

There are bags with linings that can be removed, fleece linings, cotton linings, crash-out zips and even built-in pillows. Duvet bags, which are the biggest, can fit even the largest angler inside (no offence intended editor!) and the there are the mummy-style bags that allow you to be completely wrapped up inside.

As always, there’s a huge range in price and performance. The only way to decide which one suits both your style of angling and your wallet is to read on…


Chub X-Pedition 5
Style: Duvet
Size: 7ft x 2ft 4in
Weight: 7lb 12oz
Rating: Minus 10ºC
Waterproof: Shower resistant
Stuff time: 51 seconds
RRP: £79.99
Contact: Chub on 0870 7702944
Due to the generous size of the X-Pedition 5 there’s plenty of room inside it, even for the slightly larger anglers among us. It has plenty of padding and is fleece lined, but with no removable lining this is definitely an out-and-out winter bag. The outer material is shower resistant, so there are no worries about any condensation from the inside of your bivvy seeping through, and with a rating down to minus 10?C it’s plenty warm enough. Put simply, it’s a good bag at a reasonable price.
Performance 8/10
Value for money 8/10


Nash Frostbite 5
Style: Duvet
Size: 6ft 6in x 2ft 9in
Weight: 11lb 7oz
Rating: None given
Waterproof: Yes
Stuff time: 2 minutes 4 seconds
RRP: £99
Contact: Nash on 01702 233232
Like many of the other well-padded bags the Frostbite is a bit on the weighty side. However, this is somewhat irrelevant when you consider what you’re getting. It comes supplied with an extreme-cold liner that ensures you do not feel the chill. This fastens into the bag via Velcro strips. The inside of the bag and the extreme-cold liner both have a cotton lining, which will appeal to those of you who prefer this to fleece-lined bags. It features one crash zip and can be fastened to your bedchair on either side, to allow left or right exit.
Performance: 9/10
Value for money: 9/10


Carp-Tech Goliath
Style: Duvet
Size: 6ft 7in x 2ft 10in
Weight: 6lb 9oz
Rating: None given
Waterproof: Showerproof
Stuff time: 24 seconds
RRP: £149.99
Contact: Carp-Tech on 01728 688555
The first thing that strikes you about this bag is that it’s thinner than most others on test. The upshot is that it’s easy to transport and will fold inside a bedchair. But don’t misled into thinking that because it’s so thin, it isn’t as warm. The inner lining can be removed, which is a bonus, but it’s secured in place with four ties. Unfortunately, this means the inner lining can move and crease up when you’re inside it, which can prove uncomfortable. The Goliath fastens to a bedchair at the head and foot of the bag and features a crash zip down one side.
Performance: 8/10
Value for money: 7/10


Gardner Smokey Branch
Style: Duvet
Size: 6ft 11in x 3ft
Weight: 11lb 1oz
Rating: None given
Waterproof: Yes
Stuff time: 39 seconds
RRP: £99.99
Contact: Gardner on 01483 454678
There are no fancy extras or special features here but, as such, there’s very little that can go wrong. This Gardner bag is well padded and there’s plenty of room once you’re inside it. Two fastening points at the head of the bag secure it to the bedchair, but the lack of fastening points along the rest of the bag means it can move around on the bedchair. The zip stretches down one side and along the bottom, which enables the bag to be opened fully. The Smokey Branch is one of the few bags that come with a decent-sized stuff bag genuinely big enough to return the bag easily. This is a very good all-rounder.
Performance: 8/10
Value for money: 8/10


Aqua Ultra
Style: Mummy
Size: 6ft 10in x 2ft 8in
Weight: 10lb 12oz
Rating: Minus 20ºC
Waterproof: Yes
Stuff time: 1 minute 35 seconds
RRP: £79.99
Contact: Aqua on 08451 259399
The first thing to be aware of with this bag is that there are only a limited number left on the market. It’s a great bag, but Aqua is in the process of making the same bag using its unique Aquatexx material. The difference is that the new bag will cost around £130. So if you want a bargain get down to your shop – quick. The Ultra features a detachable cotton lining and there’s an optional fleece lining too, although this will set you back 35 notes. It is a struggle to get back into its stuff sack, but then most of the bags on test were too.
Performance: 8/10
Value for money: 9/10


Trakker Big Z Peach Skin
Style: Duvet
Size: 7ft 1in x 2ft 8in
Weight: 11lb 6oz
Rating: Minus 20ºC
Waterproof: Showerproof
Stuff time: 43 seconds
RRP: £159.99
Contact: Trakker on 01142 727783
There is no way you’re getting cold in this bag. It’s extremely well padded and exceptionally warm, with a comfortable, fleece lining. Because of the generous size and masses of padding, this bag is a bit on the heavy side and too big to fold up inside a bedchair. That said; carrying a bit extra gear is well worth the effort if it means you’ll be as warm and comfortable as this bag will make you. The sleeves at the head and foot of the bag, and the strap in the middle, secure it to the bedchair and ensure it doesn’t move. It’s worth checking around for deals on this bag because they sell for well below the RRP.
Performance: 9/10
Value for money: 7/10


Ultimate Pro Tech
Style: Duvet
Size: 6ft 7in x 3ft
Weight: 8lb 3oz
Rating: None given
Waterproof: Water resistant
Stuff time: 20 seconds
RRP: £69
Contact: Ultimate Hengelsport on 01132 704945
The Pro Tech is lightweight, warm and very comfortable. If you need a new winter bag then check this out. The fine, fleece lining is a nice touch and there’s even a zipped, pillowcase built into the lining. This bag can be securely fastened to a bedchair and the crash zips on both sides ensure a quick and easy exit when the need arises. A huge bonus is the reasonable-sized stuff sack. The Pro Tech can be packed away into the stuff sack in just 20 seconds. If you’re not looking at spending a fortune on a new bag then this is a good bet.
Performance: 8/10
Value for money: 8/10


Shakespeare Cypry
Style: Duvet
Size: 6ft 7in x 2ft 5in
Weight: 6lb 4oz
Rating: Below 0ºC
Waterproof: Water repellent
Stuff time: 27 seconds
RRP: £32
Contact: Shakespeare on 01527 510570
Although warm, the Cypry is nowhere near as padded as a few of the ultra-warm bags on test. However, this bag is aimed at a completely different market. It’s great value for money and even boasts some of the same features as bags worth three times the price. There are two crash zips, one on either side, and fastening points at each end of the bag. The inside is cotton lined but there’s no removable lining, which does limit the bag’s applications. This was not the top performer, but at £32 you could buy two for less than most of the others on test!
Performance: 7/10
Value for money: 9/10


ProLogic
Style: Duvet
Size: 7ft x 3ft
Weight: 16lb 10oz
Rating: None given
Waterproof: Water resistant
Stuff time: 1 minute
RRP: £119.99
Contact: Svendsen Sports on 02920 791700
Once you’re inside this bag you won’t get cold. It’s very warm and padded, making it ideal for those chilly winter sessions. Although not exactly the lightest bag on test, it still retains its quality. The ProLogic is also water resistant, keeping you dry from any raindrops or condensation. The price is a little bit steep but you do get a lot of bag for your money!
Performance: 8/10
Value for money: 8/10


JRC Stealth 5
Style: Duvet
Size: 6ft 11in x 3ft
Weight: 8lb 10oz
Rating: Minus 20ºC
Waterproof: No
Stuff time: 32 seconds
RRP: £89.99
Contact: JRC on 01379 890930
The JRC Stealth has a five-season rating and is aimed at the top end of the sleeping-bag range. It is tailor made to fit the Stealth bedchair and super lightweight. The bag is fully micro-fibre, fleece lined, with baffled, heavy-duty, twin crash zips. The stealth is also a good size, making it roomy and airy. With a temperature rating of minus 20oC it’s one of the warmest bags on test. The Stealth also comes with its own removable fleece pillow, for all you anglers that like your home comforts. A top bag at a very affordable price!
Performance: 9/10
Value for money: 9/10


Fox Xtreme 5
Style: Duvet
Size: 7ft x 3ft
Weight: 11lb
Rating: Minus 15ºC
Waterproof: Water resistant
Stuff time: 50 seconds
RRP: £169.99
Contact: Fox on 0208 559 6500
A couple of the TC boys have owned one of these bags at some stage and they’ve all given it the thumbs up. The removable fleece lining means that it can be downgraded from the five-season rating to a bag more suitable for use in autumn and early spring. The Xtreme fastens easily to any bedchair and even features a built-in pillow. If you don’t want it rolled the way it is when purchased, then this’ll go back in the stuff sack without too much fuss.
Performance: 9/10
Value for money: 8/10


BEST ON TEST
Rod Hutchinson Deep Sleep 2

Style: Duvet
Size:  7ft 1in x 3ft
Weight: 9lb 5oz
Rating: Five-season
Waterproof: Yes
Stuff time: 30 seconds
RRP: £99.99
Contact: Sharpe’s Group on 01985 214551
This bag has everything going for it and has just beaten the others to ‘best on test’. The first thing that strikes you is the dedicated holdall that it is supplied in, that is very easy to get the bag in and out of. The sleeping bag itself is a good size and very warm. Marc particularly liked this one as he doesn’t like fleece-lined bags because they can be a bit restrictive if you are a big ’un! Our only gripe was the garish logo on the front, but that’s not such a big deal really.
Performance: 10/10
Value for money: 9/10


Quantum Mummy
Style: Mummy
Size: 6ft 6in x 2ft 4in
Weight: 4lb 11oz
Rating: Minus 15ºC
Waterproof: Water resistant
Stuff time: 34 seconds
RRP: £61.99
Contact: Zebco on 08707 502325
This mummy-style sleeping bag is suitable for outside temperatures reaching minus 15oC, so is not the warmest bag on test. However, when are you going to need a bag that’ll withstand temeperatures below minus 15? You’re certainly not going to in the UK! The bag is filled with Northguard Pro making it very comfortable and warm. A stuff time of 34 seconds makes it one of the easiest and quickest to put away, although the price is a little on the high side!
Performance: 8/10
Value for money: 7/10


Lureflash Theseus Autumn & Winter
Style: Duvet
Size: 7ft 3in x 3ft 3in
Weight: 10lb 4oz
Rating: None given
Waterproof: No
Stuff time: 42 seconds
RRP: £35.25
Contact: Lureflash on 01709 724700
Lureflash is a new brand in carp fishing and offers some excellent value for money on many ranges. This sleeping bag is no exception. It is specifically designed for autumn and winter fishing and will keep you warm, provided you don’t go on any polar missions! You get a good-sized stuff sack with the bag, so it’s hassle free to put away, although it won’t fold inside a sleeping bag. To be fair though, nor will most of the bags we tested.
Performance: 8/10
Value for money: 9/10


Fishrite Deep Heat
Style: Duvet
Size: 7ft 5in x 3ft
Weight: 9lb 4oz
Rating: None given
Waterproof: Yes
Stuff time: 40 seconds
RRP: £99
Contact: Fishrite on 01942 675020
This is a bag that Marc used to use and he has always raved about it. He only stopped using it because he likes a bag that folds inside his bedchair and he also fell out with the fleece lining. However, this is a very warm bag and boasts ample room inside. A similarly made stuff sack that the Deep Heat fits back into easily matches the waterproof outer. Overall, this is a very good bag and was a close runner-up to the Hutchy one.
Performance: 9/10
Value for money: 9/10


Badger Big Bag
Style: Mummy
Size: 6ft 8in x 2ft 10in
Weight: 4lb 10oz
Rating: Minus 10ºC
Waterproof: Showerproof
Stuff time: 21 seconds
RRP: £34.99
Contact: Badger on 01472 828666
Now, even though it’s described as a big bag, it’s not the largest on test. Nevertheless, the advantage of this is that it can be packed down extremely small, making it very easy to transport. Provided you are not a giant, there’s still a bit of room inside. It has a showerproof material, so is ideal for an angler who likes to be mobile and sleep under an oval brolly. Carp fishing on a budget? Check this out.
Performance: 7/10
Value for money: 9/10


Wychwood MAXimiser Extreme 5 Season
Style: Duvet
Size: 7ft 9in x 2ft 10in
Weight: 13lb 4oz
Rating: None given
Waterproof: Yes
Stuff time: 1 minute 26 seconds
RRP: £119.99
Contact: Wychwood on 01527 587401
This fleece-lined bag is an out-and-out winter option. This lining is not removable so this’ll be a bit of a hot one in summer. Similar in design and appearance to the Trakker bag, this will definitely be a bit of a favourite with winter carpers. There’s ample room inside too, but you pay for that luxury with the extra weight. We said at the beginning that there are lots of good bags out there and this one from Wychwood is exactly that.
Perfomance: 9/10
Value for money 8/10

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