One is safety. Winter weather can be unpredictable, and exposure to cold temperatures, especially for long periods of time, can lead to hypothermia and worse.
Another reason to have a good winter sleeping bag when going out in to the wilderness in cold temperatures is your own comfort. Shivering all night is no fun, and you will want to be toasty warm after a long day.
Winter Sleeping Bag FeaturesThere are a few things that will make for a good winter sleeping bag.
- Goose Down - It's true that synthetic insulation does better than down when it gets wet, but this does not mean that you should abandon down all together when looking at winter sleeping bags. There are sleeping bags that have waterproof outer layers (the Western Mountaineering Bison Gore below, for instance) and keeping a sleeping bag dry is not too much work, provided you know what you are doing.
- Temperature Rating - This should go without saying, but when looking for winter sleeping bags, you should first get an idea of what kind of temperatures you will be going in to. Then, when you know what temperature rating to look for, find a winter sleeping bag that matches. The misery that is shivering all night long in your sleeping bag cannot be reinforced enough.
Winter Sleeping BagsHere are a few cold weather sleeping bags to consider. Consider also taking a look at the sleeping bags list to compare sleeping bags by features like temperature rating, weight and more. Also, head over to the winter sleeping pads page to find a good winter sleeping pad to go along with your winter sleeping bag.
- Western Mountaineering Bison Gore - If you're looking for a winter sleeping bag that will keep you warm on even the coldest nights, then this -40 sleeping bag is a good choice. It features top of the line 850 fill down, along with a wind stopper shell to keep you toasty no matter what the weather decides to do. It's not light, and it's not terribly cheap either, but it gets good reviews, and Western Mountaineering is an excellent sleeping bag manufacturer that offers a lifetime warranty, so this will be the last winter sleeping bag you ever have to buy.
- Mont Bell U.L. Super Spiral Down EXP - This is a -20 winter sleeping bag from Japanese manufacturer Mont Bell, who are well known for making excellent down products. This winter sleeping bag comes with 800 fill down and a unique and innovative diagonal construction technique that adds warmth and longevity without adding weight. This is a cold weather sleeping bag definitely worth considering in the -20 range.
- Mountain Hardwear Phantom - This is one of the lightest winter sleeping bags on the market at the 0 temperature rating. It comes with 800 fill down so you get a good weight to insulation ratio, as well as a snug fit to save on weight. If you're looking for a lightweight winter sleeping bag, consider the Phantom.
- Mont Bell Warm Up Sheet - If you're heading in to cold weather that is only a few degrees outside of your cold weather sleeping bag's temperature rating then you should consider a sleeping bag liner. There are a number to choose from, but Mont Bell makes a good one that gets great reviews and is lightweight too. It also doubles as a summer sleeping bag for really warm nights.