The snow gently falls as you zip up the tent. The forecast suggest a night of around 0 degrees C. By 3am, the lake will be frozen, turning bright white as the moon reflects off the ice. Winter camping is a joy. Little beats the sound of the ice crackling off the tent in the morning, and the taste of hot coffee in the morning. The world is different in winter, somehow more serene.
However, a freezing night in an inadequate tent and not enough insulation is probably one of the least pleasant experiences you can ever have in the outdoors. Absolutely essential to comfort, perhaps the most important factor, is the sleeping. And sleeping bags are not created equally. Not by a long way.
“A cold weather sleeping bag needs to be perfect. The Marmot Quark has been chosen for the Outdoor 100 because it is pretty much perfect.”
There are many considerations when choosing a sleeping bag that is fit for purpose. Warmth is the obvious factor. Sleeping bag manufacturers use a fairly standard sleeping bag rating. The comfort limit should be well within what you expect to be using it in. Then there’s the material. Even with the the amazing advances in synthetic insulation, no man made materials come close to the warmth vs. weight ratio of down.