Below Zero Winter Sleeping Bag

Yvonne

I lava it!!!
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
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I'm looking into buying a below zero winter sleeping bag for some winter ski and snowshoe overnight trips. Yellowstone ski camping is one of the future adventures I wanna go to, so I definitely want to invest in a good below zero bag which is compressible really nice.

I looked into Western MountaineeringLynx and Puma series as well as the cheaper Nemo Sonic -20.

Does anyone have experience with below zero bags? Before I spent a whole lot of money I really want to be sure that it will be the right bag for me. This winter I plan on several ski backpacking trips to Kolob Reservoir, maybe Lava Point and Cedar Mountain
 
Yvonne, glad to read you are planning some winter trips to Yellowstone. Once away from the road (the wolf groupie hangout), the place is yours. Can't wait to see your photos from a winter trip into Yellowstone.

I have owned several below 0 bags and have a few words that may help.

First, my experience with the dri-down bags has been disappointing. At first they are great but after a short period (1-2 years) the down shifts a lot and cold spots develop. Seems more like a design problem than a "dri-down" problem but... There are a lot of high quality down bags that are a fraction of the price of the Western Mountaineering/Feathered Friends varieties. North Face, Mountain Hardwear, etc make excellent down bags that are less expensive. I will readily admit that my friends that own WM & FF bags absolutely LOVE them.

For years I was a die-hard synthetic fill buyer, primarily due to the concern about having a down bag become wet or extremely damp while out on an extended winter trip. That concern is still alive and I think my next winter bag purchase will be a synthetic bag. As technologies continue to develop, the synthetic bags become lighter and more compressible. I have a 0 degree MH Lamina that I love. I've had it for 6-8 years. It is light and compresses well for a synthetic.

Anyway, good luck on the purchase!
 
I have the Puma MF and have used it above treeline in the winter. Works as advertised. Takes up a lot of pack space.
 
Yvonne, glad to read you are planning some winter trips to Yellowstone. Once away from the road (the wolf groupie hangout), the place is yours. Can't wait to see your photos from a winter trip into Yellowstone.

I was skiing in Yellowstone last Christmas and loved it. I hope I can go back this winter, still hoping that COVID is not canceling my winter trip to Yellowstone
Future winter trips will definitely include overnight ski trips but this year I do not plan on doing it. I will be more than happy if I luck out and can go to Yellowstone. But that doesn't mean I'll stay on the roads. I'll ski into the backcountry.



I have owned several below 0 bags and have a few words that may help.

First, my experience with the dri-down bags has been disappointing. At first they are great but after a short period (1-2 years) the down shifts a lot and cold spots develop. Seems more like a design problem than a "dri-down" problem but... There are a lot of high quality down bags that are a fraction of the price of the Western Mountaineering/Feathered Friends varieties. North Face, Mountain Hardwear, etc make excellent down bags that are less expensive. I will readily admit that my friends that own WM & FF bags absolutely LOVE them.

For years I was a die-hard synthetic fill buyer, primarily due to the concern about having a down bag become wet or extremely damp while out on an extended winter trip. That concern is still alive and I think my next winter bag purchase will be a synthetic bag. As technologies continue to develop, the synthetic bags become lighter and more compressible. I have a 0 degree MH Lamina that I love. I've had it for 6-8 years. It is light and compresses well for a synthetic.

Anyway, good luck on the purchase!

well, your experiences are one of the reasons I haven't decided yet what to buy. It will be a huge investment and I definitely want to have the bag for a long time.

I have a WM 45-degree bag for summer trips and absolutely love it. I also own a 15 degree Mountain Hardwear bag. It's nice and I have it since 2008. But I still do not love it as much as my WM bag. It will be a tough decision
 
good to know but I guess all the below zero bags will take a lot of space, I guess.
I might have to invest in a sled as well so I pull my gear on it

Is there something specific you are interested in re: determining the right bag for you?
 
Is there something specific you are interested in re: determining the right bag for you?
how much space does your bag use? What stuff sack do you use?
REI will have a sale with 20% off starting in a few days, it would be a perfect time to get a new bag.
I bought a winter backpack which is super big with 45 L (big for me as my biggest bag was 40L and was good for a week-long trip).
I mostly try to keep the pack weight down and of course, need a good winter sleeping bag because I'm a cold sleeper.

I guess at one point you can't get both and there is always the possibility I can pull my gear on a sled instead of carrying it. Winter is amazing, it opens so many options, and no need to stop exploring and camping because of snow and cold temps
 
how much space does your bag use? What stuff sack do you use?
REI will have a sale with 20% off starting in a few days, it would be a perfect time to get a new bag.

About 1/3rd the space in a Xenith 75L pack. I have the 6'6" length so it smashes down about 10x18 or so by really cranking hard on the stuff sack straps. Sea2Summit eVent compression sack. Bulky and then I have to fight the thing back out of the backpack lol.

Don't know where the backcountry.com internet rage needle sits these days, but they're also running a 20% off one item purchase thing or so says the endless stream of spam. They carry WM bags if you decide to go that route.

45L for winter trips is pretty impressive. Between the bag and a 2-person hilleberg I'd have that damn near max'd out.
 
About 1/3rd the space in a Xenith 75L pack. I have the 6'6" length so it smashes down about 10x18 or so by really cranking hard on the stuff sack straps. Sea2Summit eVent compression sack. Bulky and then I have to fight the thing back out of the backpack lol.

Don't know where the backcountry.com internet rage needle sits these days, but they're also running a 20% off one item purchase thing or so says the endless stream of spam. They carry WM bags if you decide to go that route.

45L for winter trips is pretty impressive. Between the bag and a 2-person hilleberg I'd have that damn near max'd out.


Not sure if I can make this work out. But that's the biggest bag I have so far. I might consider pulling a sled so I can strap all the gear on it. But I went with a 40L bag and a camp chair plus tripod on a 5-day backpacking trip into the Winds and still had space in my bag. The 40L was borderline for the Winds, but when I place an emergency blanket underneath the pad, it gives me a lot of extra warmth. And that blanket does not take up any space or weight anything.
I still have a 3-season 1-person tent which has worked great since 2010. I'll have to see how this all works out when I finally get the sleeping bag.
I just figured since I love snow and winter so much, why not go and backpack as well
 
Don't know where the backcountry.com internet rage needle sits these days
That got a good laugh from me. I think most people are over it because they dropped all the lame copyright and trademark stuff they were pursuing.
 
In some terrain a sled seems to be a bother, but I have wanted to try a sled with skis.

On a trip one of the people we were with had either a 0d or -10d WM. He said he loved it and he did look like he was enveloped in a hug from a blue StayPuff Marshmallow man with just his mouth peeking out.
That price though...
 
I'm looking into buying a below zero winter sleeping bag for some winter ski and snowshoe overnight trips. Yellowstone ski camping is one of the future adventures I wanna go to, so I definitely want to invest in a good below zero bag which is compressible really nice.

I looked into Western MountaineeringLynx and Puma series as well as the cheaper Nemo Sonic -20.

Does anyone have experience with below zero bags? Before I spent a whole lot of money I really want to be sure that it will be the right bag for me. This winter I plan on several ski backpacking trips to Kolob Reservoir, maybe Lava Point and Cedar Mountain
Get two bags.... Put one in the other then they can both be lighter and
used at another time
 
In some terrain a sled seems to be a bother, but I have wanted to try a sled with skis.

On a trip one of the people we were with had either a 0d or -10d WM. He said he loved it and he did look like he was enveloped in a hug from a blue StayPuff Marshmallow man with just his mouth peeking out.
That price though...
So true, in the right terrain, flat to rolling, a sled is awesome. Under the wrong, such as side hilling, a sled will make you consider abandoning your gear.
 
I like the idea and will test and see if both together will fit into my 40L and 45L pack. It definitely should keep me warm enough
I have a 200-wt fleece sleeping bag liner that adds little weight but lowers the comfort rating of whatever bag I'm using by about 20 degrees F.
 
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