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Sleeping bag is too cold

Q. I have a 20-degree-rated sleeping bag that I use with a fleece liner, but in late fall and early winter, I’m still cold. I’ve tried everything — what should I do?
— Shivering Ethan, Esmond, R.I.

A. Since I don’t know everything about your situation, Ethan, I’m just gonna have to give you some basic advice.

If your sleeping bag is a basic rectangle shape, try a mummy-shaped bag instead. Those fit closer to your body, so there’s less room inside the bag for your body to heat up. The fleece liner is a good idea, as that can add some valuable extra warmth to your bag. You might also try sleeping in your clothes, and wear a stocking cap — lots of your body’s heat escapes through your head. Maybe try a down sleeping bag. No synthetic insulation can match its weight to warmth ratio (but it’ll be more expensive).

You mentioned your 20-degree bag not being warm enough. Those ratings are just a general guide to what temperature you could sleep comfortably in. If you’re a cold sleeper, and it sounds as if you are, go for a sleeping bag that’s rated for much colder temps, like a 0-degree bag.

Finally, make sure you are sleeping on a sleeping pad, because the cold ground can quickly suck valuable heat from your body. Much like sleeping bags, pads are rated for colder temperatures, and using one would definitely help you sleep warmer.


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15 Comments on Sleeping bag is too cold

  1. i curl into a ball & put my clothes in my bag 1)my clothes are warm in the morning 2)they
    act as insulation.

  2. The same thing happens to me and I sleep in atleast three layers of clothing on cold campouts

  3. Well get a mummy bag. Get a lower degree sleeping bag or get some extra covers.

  4. If it’s real cold out, I place a long piece of cardboard on the ground and then my closed cell pad on top of it followed by an old comforter cut down to size and then my bag on top. This eliminates 90% of my heat loss. Add a hat and socks and you’re set. When in the snow, a quinzee will keep you warm compared to a tent or under the stars.

  5. The reflective sheet is a good idler BUT use it underneath you between you and the air mattress that is where your heat loss is, if you have an extra bag unzip it and use it as a quilt over you.

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