If you are hiking in 50 or 60 degrees then you may be confused if you need a sleeping bag or not. Don’t worry today I will answer one of the common question that a lot of hikers don’t have an answer to which is, Do I need sleeping bag at 50 degrees?
Do I need sleeping bag at 50 degrees?
It depends if you don’t have any alternative to a sleeping bag then you need a sleeping bag even at 50 degrees. Moreover, it also depends on what kind of sleeper are you? Are you familiar with cold temperatures or not? If you don’t bring a sleeping bag or any alternative in 50 degrees then, it can be dangerous and lead to hypothermia, or sleepless and shivering night. So always bring your sleeping bag or any other alternative with you even at 50 degrees.
Besides all that, there are other factors also that decide if you need to sleep in a sleeping bag at 50 degrees or not.
How to know if you need a sleeping bag at 50 degrees?
Is your body generates enough heat
Let’s be truthful, sleeping bags don’t provide you warmth, all it does is trap the heat of your body in the pores of the fiber. So, if your body doesn’t generate enough heat, then you surely feel cold at 50 degrees in some areas without a sleeping bag.
Now, it’s also true that temperature will not be constant throughout the night. The temperature fluctuates, and the darker it gets, the temperature will also come down.
How much your body will generate heat at night will also depend on how hydrated you are? And what do you eat?
If you are dehydrated or ate nothing then your body will not be able to generate that much heat.
What are you wearing?
Now, this is a decider in most cases if you need a sleeping bag or not in 50 degrees. I have seen a lot of people myself, and some told me that they survived the night comfortably at 50 degrees without a sleeping bag.
And I believe in them because they had worn the suitable or synthetic clothes that were doing the job of a sleeping bag. Clothes play a very important role. If you have proper insulating clothes for outdoors then you may survive the night easily, at 50 degrees, without any sleeping bag.
However, still, I would never suggest you go without a sleeping bag at 50 degrees to cut down some weight.
Though you have proper clothes for the night, still the weight of clothes will be more than some sleeping bag, and not forget clothes don’t protect you if you start feeling cold late at night or early in the morning.
Where are you hiking
Where you are camping or hiking is also the factor in cold and mild cold nights. If you are hiking in wet conditions then you should know that you will feel cold once you stop and relax at night.
Moreover, the temperature at night decreases in contrast to a day temperature. If you are hiking in mountains on high points then also, you may feel colder because of certain reasons.
So, it’s not the temperature that decides how cold or well you will feel in 50 degrees but the surroundings and how high you are hiking are some other factors.
Can you handle cold
If you are not adaptive to cold temperatures or your body is not familiar with cold then you should always bring a sleeping bag with you, doesn’t matter if the temperature is 50 degrees or 55.
There are people who can easily survive the 45 degrees night without a sleeping bag, but we should not forget that they are cold sleepers and have insulated clothes on them.
Alternatives to a sleeping bag in 50 degrees
The quilt is the best alternative to sleeping bags, at 50 degrees. They give more ventilation and let the air pass through if young feel suffocated in 50 degrees.
Moreover, you get more space in quilts than in sleeping bags. For more on quilts check out this article-Are quilts more comfortable than sleeping bags?
If you are wearing proper clothes that provide enough insulation then you can take a blanket with you.
It will provide you enough warmth inside at 50 degrees. But if the temperature gets down to 45 degrees in the early morning or during the night then you may start feeling cold or can get uncomfortable.
However, I would never suggest a blanket if you are not wearing insulated and warm clothes.
If still, you want to go with the blanket option then make sure the blanket is a wool blanket as wool is a natural insulated fabric that will keep you warm on cold nights.
Bag liners are usually to provide more warmth with sleeping bags, but you can use them without a sleeping bag when the temperature is above 45 degrees.
The best thing about bag liners is that they are soft and take less space in your backpack.
There are various bag liners available in the market but when you are going without a sleeping bag then make sure the liner is heavy enough to provide you warmth in cold.
What if you don’t have a suitable sleeping bag for 50 degrees?
How to increase the warmth of your sleeping bag
- Add sleeping bag liners
- Combine two sleeping bags
- Take heating pad
- Add bivi on the top
- Eat fat-rich diet
Do not shower or swim before sleeping
Never swim or shower before sleeping when you are outdoor hiking or camping. A lot of you may don’t know that remaining in water for long even if it’s warm as 50 degrees or more can lead to hypothermia.
So, if you indulge in any water activities at night you may start shivering even at 50 degrees or 60 degrees.
If you become wet in the rain then make sure to dry up your body first before getting to sleep.
Do I need sleeping bag at 60 degrees?
If your body can not bear the cold then you will definitely need a sleeping bag at 60 degrees. The mild temperature that seems not cold at night can get colder in the early mornings which may lead to bad sleep, or no sleep at all.
However, I have seen a lot of people who sleep at 60 degrees without a sleeping bag because their body is adapted to the weather and also their body generates more heat.
60 degrees is not so cold if you are walking or hiking but when you stay at one place, the temperature feels colder. So, always think about that before making your decision.
When to avoid bringing a sleeping bag with you
If you are going on one day trip
You can avoid sleeping bags if you are going on a day trip. You can survive one night in the cold also if you are adaptive to that temperature.
But more than one night is difficult as you may get sleepless nights.
If you are planning for one day trip in 50 degrees then make sure you can bear the two-three degrees less cold. Wear enough and properly insulated clothes.
How to choose a sleeping bag for 50 degrees?
Sleeping bags with temperature ratings make them easy to choose from or buy. However, there are some things you need to keep in mind if you are buying a sleeping bag based on temperature ratings.
Material is very important in any sleeping bag. The best material for sleeping bags is down while there is a sleeping bag that comes with different materials.
Besides down fill, sleeping bags come in synthetic material which is heavy than down but performs better in wet conditions.
Avoid, cotton-made sleeping bags because they hold the water easily and don’t keep you warm on cold nights.
Male or female sleeping bag
A lot of people make mistakes in this when they buy their first bag. But does this really that important? Well, no it’s not that important.
You can use the female sleeping bag if you are male and vice versa. But you will find some differences between both the bags.
First is cold retention, female sleeping bags retain the cold more than male sleeping bags. You will also find them uncomfortable if you are a big and broad man.
There is a temperature rating on every sleeping bag to make it all things easy. But the fact about ratings is that they are tested by companies in a specific situation which might not be the same as you are buying a sleeping bag for.
Companies test their sleeping bags in tents and sometimes they might use a sleeping pad under them. After, acknowledging all these things you should make the choice for your sleeping bag whether it’s for 50 degrees or less.
Conclusion- I want to make clear that, you will not freeze in 50 degrees in a manner that you will need serious attention. But still, you will feel uncomfortable and may shiver during the night which will give you a sleepless night. So, if you are out for one day then you may survive that single night, but more than that will make you regret your decision of not bringing a sleeping bag or quilt with you. So, bring a sleeping bag with you in 50 degrees, you can buy an ultralight sleeping bag to cut down the weight which will cost some extra money but last you many years.