Do You Need a Woman’s Sleeping Bag? (Are You Sure?)

Not everyone knows that some brands of sleeping bags have woman-specific models, but it’s a good thing to know — even if you’re not a woman.

The thinking behind the woman-specific bag is that women have different needs than men do, when it comes to temperature.Women have slightly higher core temperatures than men do. About three tenths of one percent higher, to be precise.

And yet, since women also tend to have more body fat than men, they are also likely to have colder extremities. In other words, their hands and feet and other outside bits are colder even when their core temperature is higher. According to the British Medical Jouranl Lancet, a woman’s hands may be almost three degrees colder that a man’s. They also tend to be smaller than men, so they have a higher surface-area-to-volume ratio and are more likely to lose heat faster in cold temperatures.

Women therefore tend to produce less heat than men. A sleeping bag keeps you warm by trapping your own body heat as insulation for you as you sleep. Brands like Kelty, Marmot, and Sierra Designs have therefore created women’s sleeping bags. They have a little more hip room but the biggest difference is extra insulation.

There’s one more thing you need to know before we get to the punchline. Sleeping bags have temperature ratings. A rating of 30, for example, means that the manufacturer figures the average guy will be comfortable in this bag when it’s 30 degrees out. Lower ratings make for higher prices.

But the “average guy” is not a woman. So you may be able to buy a 30-rated woman’s bag and get a warmer bag for the price.

That won’t work if you’re a really massive guy (or woman), but think about it if the size of the woman’s bag seems good for you.

At Uncle Sam’s, you can talk with people who are active outdoors; knowledgeable staff make it worth driving in rather than ordering online. You’ll enjoy visiting our store, too. We have all kinds of great gear to make your outdoor adventures more comfortable and fun. See you there!

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