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How To Stretch Your Sleeping Bag’s Temperature Rating

What steps can I take to make a 28°F sleeping bag stretch into colder temps than it is designed?

Question:

What steps can I take to make a 28&degF sleeping bag stretch into colder temps than it is designed for? Looking like low 20s is a possibility!

Submitted by - Josh - San Diego, CA

Answer:

There are lots of tricks you can put up your sleeve to make a bag warmer. Here are a few of my favorites.

1) Make sure to use a warm pad to prevent cold seeping up from the ground. Here are two we love: http://www.backpacker.com/gear-guide-20120-big-agnes-insulated-q-core-sleeping-pad/gear/16400 and http://www.backpacker.com/editors_choice_thermarest_neoair/videos/71.

2) Add a liner to push your bags 10+ degrees warmer. A couple good onesare The North Face Mercurial and the Thermolite Reactor Plus.

3) Cuddle with a hot water bottle. This is my favorite trick; I rarely go to bed without one in fall through spring trips. Just boil some water before bed, make sure your bottle is totally leakproof, and snuggle up (move it around to warm various body parts throughout the night.

4) Don’t overdress. If you wear too many bulky layers to bed, your bags insulation can compress, and then it can’t do it’s job. Wear just enough to take up all the extra space in your bag (long johns and a light puffy jacket or vest usually do me just right).

5) Wear a hat and cinch up the hood. Make use of those drawcords around your face to make a nice tight seal and create a breathing blowhole.

6) Eat a good dinner and have a snack before bed so your inner furnace is cranking throughout the night.
Sweet dreams!

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