Finding the right cold-weather sleeping bag.
I don’t do an immense amount of cold-weather camping but I do enough that I can’t just use my summer sleeping bag and seven hand-warmers shoved down the bag at night to keep warm. At least I can’t do that anymore. (Man, I miss my 20’s!)
Anyways, I think everyone who camps in cold weather will agree that it’s hard to put a price on warmth and comfort. It simply a whole lot more fun to be outdoors and on multi-day trips when you get a good night’s sleep and have that cozy place to look forward to after each day’s adventure. Not everyone needs a $600 extreme bag and if you’ve tried one, I don’t think the $35 “zero-degree” bags are quite up to snuff.
The great news is that there are numerous cold-weather bags that won’t set you back a fortune and they all have different qualities that will fit your specific needs. From being extra-long or narrow to keep you snug like King Tut to wide and spacious so you can roll around all night; there are options for everyone and Campman has them.
When it came to trying the new cold-weather bag for myself, I went with the Whiskey Park 0° (*Long) from Big Agnes. It was right in my price range and seemed to have everything else that I was looking for including width to toss and turn and extra length to fit my 6’5” frame. (And yes, the name didn’t hurt either as I’ve been known to enjoy some whisky around the campsite every now and then after a day in the backcountry or on the river.)
It turns out that after this trip, I am not just a fan of American, Canadian, Irish, Kentucky and Montana whisky, but now I am a HUGE fan of Colorado whisk-EY! This Whiskey Park from Steamboat Springs, CO might be the smoothest and warmest I’ve ever had at camp!
There’s always that moment of “what if” when you try new gear for the first time. Even though I had it out at home, I still wondered as I rolled it out at camp if I was going to be cozy and comfy with my legs out straight, or if I’d be playing the part of “little spoon” with my legs bent in all night?
Turns out, it was even more comfy on my Helinox Cot Lite than it was at home on my bed. Perhaps the other whisky in the tent had something to do with that, but hey, I was set! The Thermolite Extra material was light and extremely warm. Easy to say that I had finally found the perfect bag for the cold-weather adventures I take.
From hunting in the fall and winter backcountry cross-country skiing to my spring fishing trips, this bag will be a big part of my trip planning and overall success.
A couple of bonuses that I found handy were the zippers on both sides of the bag so I could roll out either side in the morning cold to make coffee and the hand pockets in the top corners that as stated, made me feel like I was curling up in my favorite comforter at home. Add in "pillow barn" and a full pad sleeve and my BA sleeping pad and pillow stayed under me all night.
Now you won't be packing this bag on long backcountry trips in your pack, but for any trip in which the size or amount of gear isn't the most important factor, this is an amazing bag. From hunting, fishing or base camps, to the car-camper extraordinaire, this bag highly recommended for the money, size and comfort.