Bags for Cold Nights

Bags for Cold Nights

Sleeping bag designers generally agree that a cold weather bag must have the following features to keep the occupant really warm.

  • Zipper draft tubes and shoulder collars
  • Hoods that cup the head and insulate without being claustrophobic
  • A temperature rating of 0 Fahrenheit or below (in the winter it is far better to err on the side of warmth)

What insulation do designers prefer? Down, with a 650-power fill rating or above, is best for weight-to-warmth ratio and longevity. The fill power of down indicates the amount of actual downy feather and quill. The lower the fill number, the more quill and less feather there is; the higher the number, the fewer quills, and more feathers.

How big should a winter bag be? Buy it long.

Most mountaineers advise against regular-sized bags and opt for bags that offer at least an extra 8 to 10 inches of space at the foot after you are nestled comfortably inside. Those extra inches provide adequate space to store cameras, water, boots, and such items that you don’t want to freeze. Also, bags with a wider cut can offer more warmth because they give you room to add clothing without constricting the bag.

No matter what type of sleeping bag you choose, it’s important to make sure it’s the best choice for your sleeping needs. As long as you take care of your sleeping bag, much like your tent and backpack, it should last you a very long time.