This is another post based on one of our reader’s questions. Basically, the lady has written to inquire as to what a zero degree backpacking sleeping bag is? Now, if you look at the individual words, obviously, the backpacking part will include traits like being lightweight, easy to pack or roll up, warm if needed, and the right size for your body shape and length or height. I think the area where people are not sure about is the zero part. What exactly does that mean?
Well, first of all, most people do understand that sleeping gear for the outside usually comes with a temperature rating. And although, individuals feel warm and cold at different stages, the guidelines do help you to pick the right bag for the right season. So, if you are camping somewhere really hot, you don’t want something that is made for extreme cold. Simply, put, it would be way to hot to keep your body covered.
Further, it is generally agreed that you should buy a bag that is rated at least ten degrees lower than the anticipated temperature. For example, if you know that the temperature will be a consistent thirty-five to forty-five degrees, getting something rated at about twenty-five degrees is best. That way you have a bit of leeway if it gets a shade cooler during the night.
Plus, when you are laying down and not doing any physical movements, you will be colder. Remember, also, that things change depending on the person and what accessories they use such as a sleeping bag, an inner liner sheet, and clothing worn.
I can see, though, where things get confusing because zero on the Celsius scale is freezing and thirty-two Fahrenheit is the equivalent. So back to the question of what a zero degree sleeping bag is? Well, various tests suggest that it will not keep you warm in frosty cold climates. You will definitely need something that is rated below zero. In other words, a degree with a negative sign in the front of it such as -30.
Another thing I noticed is that plenty of users said that the zero degree was more of a general bag meaning that it could be used for the three warmer seasons. It wouldn’t suffice at all for cold weather and possibly during the early spring and late fall, something more substantial would be better.
No matter how you look at, it seems that it is not at all recommended for really cool temperatures. If the thermometer dips, you might be in for an uncomfortable rest.
One point that I never knew about, but apparently, there are differences in a bag made for women, children and men. Reading the manufacturers’ specs, I found that the same degree bag is warmer for ladies and kids as opposed to guys. This is because metabolically, men are warmer when they sleep, thus needing less in the way of blankets.
My last thought on this is direct at other inquiries I saw. Specifically, should buyers go for the bag that is rated much colder just in case. Most others have said that unless you backpack or camp in the extreme colds as a regular activity, you should save your money due to the added cost of a thicker bag, and use the zero degree backpacking sleeping bag instead which will work for more scenarios and is considerably less expensive.
To add a bit more to the discussion, this lady shows a specific bag to give you an idea of how they work.