Which zero-degree sleeping bag is best?
No camping trip or expedition is complete without a reliable sleeping bag to get you through the night. And when you need superior cold-weather protection, a zero-degree sleeping bag is a must-have for winter camping.
There are plenty of styles, designs and brands to choose from, which can be overwhelming. The best way to narrow your choices is to consider insulation type, warmth rating and additional features. The Marmot Never Summer Sleeping Bag is highly durable and designed to keep you warm in below-freezing conditions.
What to know before you buy a zero-degree sleeping bag
Before choosing a sleeping bag, consider the type of environment you’ll be camping in. While a zero-degree sleeping bag makes the most sense for alpine expeditions, high elevations and cold weather treks, they may be too warm for summer camping. Sleeping bags designed for higher temperatures are more convenient for warm weather, saving you weight and bulk.
The size of your sleeping bag is important, especially for taller individuals and those who don’t want to feel restricted when they sleep. Many zero-degree sleeping bag models come in short, regular and long options. Take time to review product specifications so you find the right length for your preferences and height.
The type of insulation you choose plays a major role in overall warmth, comfort and convenience. Down-filled sleeping bags are typically the warmest and most compact. However, they do tend to lose their insulating properties if you expose them to too much moisture.
Synthetic insulation is slightly heavier and bulkier, but it’s often less expensive. Synthetic materials tend to dry more quickly, so they can keep you warm even when it’s wet.
What to look for in a quality zero-degree sleeping bag
The best zero-degree sleeping bags utilize heavy-duty nylon or durable polyester to prevent rips or tears. Some may even sport recycled materials in order to limit their environmental impact. If you plan on camping in damp conditions, look for a model with a waterproof coating or water-resistant insulation.
Anyone who travels long distances with their sleeping bag knows how important overall weight and portability can be. While down options are usually very light, you can often compress many synthetic sleeping bags for easy storage in a pack.
While the color of your sleeping bag mostly comes down to personal preference, brightly colored bags are easier to spot in case of an emergency situation. Some prefer darker colors because they dry more quickly when placed in direct sunlight.
Some sleeping bags sport additional helpful features, such as a stuff sack, double zippers for easy access and ventilation, storage pockets for phones or other belongings and even additional insulation for your feet.
How much you can expect to spend on a zero-degree sleeping bag
You should expect to spend approximately $100-$250 for a quality zero-degree bag. There are budget options available for as little as $50 and more advanced models that cost $600 or more.
Zero-degree sleeping bag FAQ
What is the best way to wash a down sleeping bag?
A. If your down sleeping bag appears too dirty for spot cleaning, you can usually put them into the washing machine on a gentle wash cycle. Make sure to use a detergent that works with down material. When drying your down sleeping bag, dry it on low and add a few laundry balls or tennis balls to increase loft and prevent clumping.
How long will a zero-degree sleeping bag last?
A. It depends on the material, filling and care. Down sleeping bags tend to last longer than synthetic options. However, if you take good care of them and store them properly, they can last a long time. You can expect a down sleeping bag to last well over ten years, while a synthetic sleeping bag has a lifespan closer to seven years.
What’s the best zero-degree sleeping bag to buy?
Top zero-degree sleeping bag
What you need to know: This well-built model is perfect for those heading out into frigid temperatures and rugged conditions.
What you’ll love: The 650 fill-power down insulation makes this bag lightweight and easy to pack for longer trips. It has a snag-free zipper and DWR nylon outer lining to provide comprehensive protection and hassle-free operation.
What you should consider: There have been a few rare instances of quality issues with the included stuff sack.
Top zero-degree sleeping bag for the money
What you need to know: This relatively affordable zero-degree sleeping bag uses synthetic insulation to provide warmth in a variety of conditions and environments.
What you’ll love: It’s ideal for campers who need a sleeping bag for car camping and backpacking in harsher conditions. The Spirafil 120 insulation provides warmth without too much bulk, and the stuff sack features hanging straps making this bag easy to transport and store.
What you should consider: Some people thought this bag was too heavy to carry for long distances.
Where to buy: Sold by Backcountry
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This lightweight, packable down sleeping bag is great for backcountry adventures in cold climates.
What you’ll love: It has a water-resistant shell and hydrophobic fibers, so you won’t have to worry about the insulation getting wet. There’s plenty of interior room and a useful sleeping pad sleeve built into the underside of the bag.
What you should consider: Some people noticed issues with the quality of the zippers.
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Matthew Young writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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