Are you thinking of weathering the winter storm by camping in the snow and ice? You need to take extra precautions and the right equipment. What is a zero-degree sleeping bag, and do you need one to stay warm?
A zero-degree sleeping bag is rated to keep you warm to zero degrees Fahrenheit and below. Look for models with draft collars, drawstring hoods, and draft tubes to prevent cold air from getting in. Sleeping bags filled with down are warmer and lighter, but synthetic versions are less expensive.
To learn more about whether a zero-degree sleeping bag is right for you, here is a breakdown of what you’ll need.
What Should You Know About Zero-Degree Sleeping Bags?
Campers who plan to brave the winter elements must take every precaution to stay warm. Hypothermia can set in quickly, especially at night when temperatures drop.
One way to make sure that you protect yourself is to invest in a zero-degree sleeping bag. What is this type of gear, and do you need one?
A zero-degree sleeping bag is a bag rated to keep you warm from zero degrees Fahrenheit and even lower.
One of the benefits of using a zero-degree sleeping bag is that you don’t necessarily need a heavy-duty sleeping pad or extra blankets when using this type of gear.
While those accessories may be able to make you feel warm and toasty, they aren’t must-haves. If you can only invest in one item for your winter camping, ensure it’s a zero-degree sleeping bag.
Features of a Zero-Degree Sleeping Bag
Zero-degree sleeping bags come with unique features designed to keep you as warm as possible.
While you may still want to wear some warm layers to bed, features like draft collars and drawstring hoods promise added warmth.
1. Draft Collar
You should invest in a sleeping bag with a draft collar. This feature is found almost exclusively in sleeping bags rated for extremely low temperatures.
Draft collars protect the neck and around the head to keep precious warmth from escaping the sleeping bag. Most of the time, it’s packed with down.
2. Draft Tube
Some bags even come with a draft tube. This similar feature is situated along the zipper of the sleeping bag.
When the cold winds come cutting through your tent, it prevents the cold air from entering through the teeth of the zipper.
3. Drawstring Hood
A drawstring hood is a must-have on a zero-degree sleeping bag. Most of the heat in your body is lost through your head.
While you might feel silly sleeping with your head bundled up in the hood of a bag and cinching it tight, you’ll be glad you did when it keeps you warm all night long.
Make sure you get a zero-degree sleeping bag that’s water-repellant, as this can keep you dry when it comes to condensation inside the tent.
It also prevents you from getting wet with dew in those early mornings.
Zero Degree Bags – Build, Effectiveness, and Useful Tips
1. What are Zero-Degree Sleeping Bags Made From?
The good news is that you have plenty of options regarding the materials that make up your new zero-degree sleeping bag.
Many are down sleeping bags designed to take up less space and provide enhanced warmth.
If you’re trying to squeeze every last inch of space out of your pack, then a down sleeping bag is the better fit for you.
Pay attention to the fill power if you go with a down-zero-degree sleeping bag. The higher the fill power rating, the lighter the sleeping bag will be.
These sleeping bags tend to be a bit more expensive when making the initial investment, but it’s well worth it. A down sleeping bag could last ten years or more when properly taken care of.
While it may sometimes clump and lose a bit of its warmth, you can always correct this by beating it or drying it with tennis balls in the dryer.
Plus, many manufacturers will add more to these sleeping bags if they need them years later.
On the other hand, you might not want to invest the money into a down sleeping bag if you aren’t sure how often you’ll use it for winter camping.
You’ll also find plenty of synthetic zero-degree sleeping bags that are a bit less expensive.
However, it’s important to note that these bags won’t usually last as long and may not be as warm as their down counterparts.
2. Will a Zero-Degree Sleeping Bag Keep Me Warm?
Zero-degree sleeping bags keep you warm in even the coldest temperatures. If you plan to go camping and know the temperatures will drop to zero degrees, you’ll need one of these sleeping bags.
Remember that your comfort level determines what other features you’ll need to stay warm in the winter, regardless of your sleeping bag rating.
Most people still sleep with plenty of thick wool layers and wind-resistant coats.
While it isn’t entirely necessary, sleeping with a high R-value pad will also prevent any heat transfer from your body or sleeping bag to the cold ground beneath your tent.
You also won’t need any additional blankets to give you that warm feeling, but they won’t hurt either.
If you know you tend to run cold and want to bundle up for warmth, go ahead and bring that thick quilt from home. You’ll feel just as comfortable and cozy as you feel in your bed at home!
3. Tips to Make the Most of a Zero-Degree Sleeping Bag
Make sure that your sleeping bag is appropriately fluffed, especially if you’re using a down sleeping bag. If any part of the sleeping bag is compressed, you’ll have difficulty getting it to lock in your body heat.
Don’t forget to wear many layers and a wind-resistant outer layer to bed if you want to keep toasty.
You may still want to take other precautions to help keep yourself warm such as sleeping with hot water bottles or using a candle tent heater to provide extra warmth.
Make sure that these tools are safe for indoor use before using them to heat your tent in combination with a zero-degree sleeping bag.
A zero-degree sleeping bag is an essential item for people who will be camping in freezing temperatures this winter.
It can keep you as warm and comfortable as your bed at home as long as you take the necessary precautions and purchase a high-quality sleeping bag.
Down tends to be more efficient as a filler for zero-degree sleeping bags, but synthetic offers a lower price point. Be sure to invest in a quality sleeping bag if you’ll use it during the winter!