Get to Know Your Gear’s weekly update will get you familiar with 0°F Sleeping Bags & Liners.
What is a 0° Sleeping Bag & Liner? – 0° sleeping bags and liners are, as their name’s imply, very cold weather sleeping bags and liners to keep an outdoor enthusiast safe and warm when camping in frigid winter conditions. These sleeping bags are made of different materials depending on the needs of the camper, varying from heavy to ultra-light. Liners specifically are used to line the inside of the sleeping bag as another layer of insulation.
How do they work? – 0° sleeping bags can vary in type and material, but they work to keep body heat in and the cold air out. The outer shell of the sleeping bag is typically made of nylon, which is used to protect the outside of the bag from the environment. Inner shells are often made or nylon also, but can be a type of polyester blend. Both the inner shell and outer shell are both good at keeping air from penetrating their exterior. The inside of bags (fill) is often filled with down, polyester blends, or synthetic materials made to insulate the bag. This combination of fill, inner, and outer layers keeps body heat within the bag while protecting the user from the cold outer air. Liners are often a fleece or microfiber material used to add an additional layer of insulation within the sleeping bag. While liners are not made to deflect air, they are an insulator within the bag, retaining body heat keeping the user warmer. I personally have a bag with nylon exterior and interior shells with 800-fill goose down insulation and a fleece liner. They keep me nice and toasty at night during my winter hiking and camping adventures.
When should you use them? – 0° sleeping bags and liners are designed to be used in extreme winter weather conditions. Some sleeping bags are rated even colder than zero degrees Fahrenheit, but the conditions of use are basically the same, if it’s going to be freezing cold, you need a cold weather bag and likely a liner. Depending on the conditions of use, camping, ice climbing, mountaineering, etc., will determine the type and size bag and liner to use. For very strenuous activities, lighter bags and liners are recommended, while light/no-exercise camping can be accompanied by heavier bags and liners. Since everything has a price tag attached to it, typically, the lighter the bag, the higher the price if the temperature rating is the same. I tend to use a bag that is rated about 10° to 20° colder than the predicted overnight low temperature to make sure I am not a gnome-sicle in the morning.
With winter weather still hanging around, you now know what 0° sleeping bags and liners are, how they work, and when to use them. If you are planning on doing some winter camping, whether at a park or on a summit of some mountain, you have the knowledge of what type of bag and liner to use. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about shelling out big money to buy these items because you can come visit me at the Outdoor Recreation Center and rent both sleeping bags (wide range of temperatures) and liners. Don’t let the cold weather stop you from enjoying the beauty of the outdoors!