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I would like to winter camp in a 4-season tent but am interested in alternatives to mummy sleeping bags. I want to avoid that shape.

What alternative sleep systems do people use that are appropriate for winter camping?

Expected conditions:

  • Self-inflating sleeping pad with foam core, R value = 4
  • Daytime temperatures below 32F/0C
  • Nighttime temperatures bottoming out around -15F/-26C
  • Precipitation, sometimes heavy, almost always snow
  • Moderate winds
  • Is it the mummy bag or the down you want to avoid? If, for example, you're vegan you could simply buy a non-down mummy bag. Synthetic fillings are quite good these days – Chris H Oct 24 '18 at 11:53
  • @ChrisH I want to avoid the mummy bag shape. I'm a side sleeper and find most of them uncomfortable. – birch Oct 24 '18 at 13:26
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    Fair enough. I'm also a side sleeper and have a tapered bag with a hood, but not as tight as some mummy bags. Shoulders are the issue for me as I tend to leave the hood loose – Chris H Oct 24 '18 at 13:47
  • I've always used my mummy bag as a quilt though not many would use quilts at that temp perhaps. The other thing to do is using vapor barrier clothing (especially if main insulation is down) as the freezing point will be somewhere within the insulation. Fine for a couple nights but not for extended trips unless you can dry it. – topshot Oct 26 '18 at 11:58
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If you need extra insulation with a regular sleeping bag you can,

  • Wear long johns, a sweatshirt and a stocking cap to bed.

  • Hot water bottle in your sleeping bag.

  • Put your extra clothes inside the sleeping bag so there isn't any empty space.
  • Go to bed earlier before it gets real cold and stay in longer.

With that said -15F/-26C is not all that cold, you will find plenty of non mummy sleeping bags that are rated to -20F.

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