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The 5 Most Important Differences Between Men’s and Women’s Sleeping Bags

Find out how sleeping bag design reflects the differences between male and female sleeping needs

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Dana is one of our review writers and has been writing professionally for over a decade. By day, she works as a content marketing specialist for an international tech company.  Read More

When looking for a suitable sleeping bag, many people often ask: Are there differences between men's and women's sleeping bags?

Sleeping bags and sleeping pads make up part of your entire sleep system. It is, therefore, crucial to know all the facts about them before making a lifetime investment.

Let's get a deeper understanding!

differences between mens womens sleeping bags

The Biology Behind the Differences Between the Sleeping Bags

Biologically, women tend to have a lower metabolic rate, producing less heat than men. That is why women often feel colder than men.

As a result of women's metabolism, they have a higher percent body fat with balanced distribution. The extra layer of subcutaneous fat gives women a warmer core than men; however, this is problematic for women because the body prioritizes core temperature, which means the body will pull warm blood out from extremities (i.e., hands and feet).

Manufacturers have come to terms with the fact that women's physiological functions differ from men's. Hence there is a variety of women sleeping bags on the market.

Certain vital features cut across all sleeping bags like hoods, zippers, and fabric. However, there are variances in temperature ratings, shape, insulation, and length.

This article will show the differences between women's and men's sleeping bags.


Key Features of Men’s vs. Women’s Sleeping Bags

Let's look at the key features that most men's and women's sleeping bags have that differentiate them.

  • Women's bags have a small size and fitting than men's bags. The sizing of men's bags gives them a loose-fitting.

  • Women's sleeping bags are narrower at the torso and wider on the hip area, while men's tend to be wider across the shoulder and more streamlined.

  • Women's sleeping bags have extra insulation in critical areas like the foot box and hood area to provide warmth on colder nights, while men's bags don't have extra insulation around those areas.

  • Men's and women's sleeping bags often have different temperature ratings, with men's typically being rated for slightly higher temperatures than women's.

Let's get a deeper understanding of the main features

Key Features of Men’s vs Women’s Sleeping Bags

Body Shape

Biologically, women are shaped differently than men. A standard female has wider hips and narrow shoulders. A man's physique is different as men have broader shoulders and a narrow lower body. Generally, men's sleeping bags are a bit streamlined.

Women's bags are manufactured with this factor in mind. You will see their bags shaped differently from men's sleeping bags. A women's specific sleeping bag is often wider in the hip area and narrower on the upper body side.

This feature gives women more space around the hips and less width across the shoulder area. The measurements give women more comfort while sleeping.

Another benefit is that with the substantial distribution of space, it takes less energy in terms of body heat for a woman to gain warmth. Once the body heat is distributed equally, they can stay warm throughout the night.


Sleeping Bag Length

Women's sleeping bags are manufactured in shorter lengths, while men's are manufactured in longer lengths. The lengths mirror the taller average female and male heights.

Women's bags are often manufactured in one size suitable for 5'6'' tall individuals. On the other hand, men's sleeping bags have a variety of sizes.

A shorter women's sleeping bag has less space on the inside to keep a lady warm with their body heat.

Whether you are a short man or a tall woman, choose the appropriate length for your body to maintain a warm temperature.


Amount of Insulation

The most significant difference between men's sleeping bags and women's sleeping bags is the amount of insulation. Women's specific sleeping bags tend to have more insulation than men's bags. This is because body composition differs between men and women, and women need more insulation to stay warm through the night.

Sleeping bags designed for women tend to be heavier than men's sleeping bags because they have more insulation.

It takes about 100 grams of extra goose down to keep a woman as warm as a man. However, some manufacturers don't produce men's and women's bags separately. They make unisex sleeping bags. In such instances, a woman can buy a unisex bag rated for 15-20 degrees more warmth than your normal rating.

Due to the variances in the amount of insulation placed in sleeping bags, women's sleeping bags are a bit heavier than men's sleeping bags.


Insulation Placement

Women's specific bags have a difference in insulation placement than men's sleeping bags. Women's sleeping bags often have a higher concentration down around the chest, back, abdomen, pelvis areas, and the foot box.

This characteristic relies on the fact that women lose heat at a higher rate through their hands and feet than men. Men tend to retain heat for more extended periods. The extra insulation around the mentioned areas is to help with heat retention.

An example is the Feathered Friends Egret 20 Women's sleeping bag with extra insulation in the toe box for women with cold feet. It helps them feel warm and comfortable for more extended periods.


Temperature Ratings

Many sleeping bag manufacturers use a standard temperature system( EN 13537 or ISO 23537). All sleeping bags are tested individually to provide comfort and limit rating. Temperature rating helps buyers compare sleeping bags of different brands and get what works for them.

Standard temperature ratings assume that you are wearing a hat and underwear tops and bottoms in your sleeping bag. They also assume you use a sleeping pad with a minimum R-value of 4.

Temperature ratings vary between men and women. Temperature ratings on a women's sleeping bag describe the comfort rating.

Comfort rating is the optimum temperature at which a cold sleeper will feel warm and comfortable. For the same men's bag, it looks at the lowest temperature limit, which will keep a cold sleeper warm.

While temperature rating is standardized, you should know your comfortable sleep conditions. Before purchasing a sleeping bag, check the lower limit or comfort rating to know f it is what you expect.


Does Gender Matter for Sleeping Bags?

Couple near the edge of a cliff wearing their sleeping bags

Based on the discussion above, is gender important when choosing sleeping bags? When choosing a sleeping bag, there are more practical facts and details to consider. Despite the labels placed on it like men's, women's, or unisex sleeping bags, pay attention to length, warmth, and space.

According to your size and shape, you may find that a women's sleeping bag is not long enough or is too warm for you due to the additional insulation. You may also find that it leaves a lot of space on your hip area, affecting heat retention.

Temperature rating is vital when choosing sleeping bags. Whether gender-specific or regular mummy bags, go with what will keep you warm and comfortable through the night. If you are a warm sleeper., choose a sleeping bag that you won't have to leave open due to too much heat.


Manufacturer Example: The Nemo Disco 15 Light Weight

Nemo Equipment is a manufacturing brand that produces lightweight, durable backpacking gear and car camping sleeping bags.

They work to cater to everyone's needs by making sleeping bags with varying sleep temperatures. They also make mummy bags, bags suitable for side sleepers and sprawlers.

One noticeable thing about the brand is they make men's and women's specific sleeping bags that have similar features but few essential differences.

Let's examine the main features and differences between their Nemo Disco 15 women's and men's bags.


Nemo Disco 15 Women's Features

Nemo Disco 15 Light Weight
Nemo Disco 15 Women

The Nemo Disco 15 women's bag has a classic spoon shape to give you more room around your elbows and knees. The shape is wider than a regular mummy bag which contributes to comfort. Side sleepers can also roll without feeling constrained.

  • Materials: Nylon
  • Temperature Rating: 15F / -9C

It has a water-resistant foot box that keeps your feet warm and insulated and protects them from moisture.

It has an external draft collar to help with temperature regulation by sealing in warm air and preventing cold air from getting into the bag.

The Nemo Disco 15 women's specific bag is made with Thermo Gill vents that allow you to release excess body heat without letting in cold drafts.

It has an integrated pillow pocket that you can use to stuff extra clothes for extra support through the night.

It has a full-length double slider 5YKK zipper that you can close when temperatures drop and open when it is too hot. The zipper makes access in and out of the bag easy.

The Nemo Disco 15 women's bag has opposite side zippers that make it possible to zip it together with another sleeping bag to make a double bag.


Shape

The sleeping bag has a rectangular shape, providing enough space to toss and turn.


Material

It is made with premium 650 hydrophobic PFC free fill power down that packs down small. It has a 30Denier Ripstop nylon shell fabric that is treatable with Durable Water Repellent Finish to resist moisture. It is made with a 30D nylon taffeta lining with a water repellent feature.


Temperature Rating

The Disco 15 women's bag has a temperature rating of 5 degrees and a comfort rating of 15.4 degrees.


Size

  •  The bag comes in two sizes regular and long.
  • The shoulder girth measures 157cm in regular size and 162 cm in long size
  • The hip circumference measures 147cm in regular length and 159cm in long size
  • The knee girth measures 152cm
  • When compressed, it is 9 liters for the regular size and 9.8 liters for the long size.
What we love
  • It is very lightweight
  • It is fluffy and comfortable
  • It is excellent for side sleepers
What you might not
  • It is a higher-budget bag
  • It compresses large than the men's version
  • It is heavier than the men's version

Nemo Disco 15 Men’s Features

Nemo Disco 15 Light Weight
Nemo Disco 15 Men

Nemo disco 15 men's and women's sleeping bags share the same features apart from the few listed below.

  • Materials: Nylon
  • Temperature Rating: 15F / -9C

Shape

The sleeping bag has a semi-rectangular shape.


Size

  • The bag comes in two sizes regular and long.
  • The shoulder girth measures 162cm in regular size and 1628cm in long size
  • The hip circumference measures 150 cm in regular size and 152cm in long size
  • When compressed, it is 7.2 liters for the regular size and 7.6 liters for the long size

Temperature rating

The men's version of this bag has a temperature rating of 13.5 degrees based on an average male getting a comfortable night's sleep and 25 degrees rating based on an average female getting a restful night's sleep. It has a comfort rating of 24 degrees.

Main Differences between Nemo Disco 15 men's and Women's bag

Size

One of the main differences between the two is size. Disco women's sleeping bag in regular size fits a height of up to 5'6'' while the long size fits up to 6'0''. The men's sleeping bag's regular size fits up to 6'0'' while the long size fits up to 6'6''.


Insulation

The second difference is insulation. The women's version carries extra weight while the men's version is less heavy and compresses easily. The women's bags are rated based on the average female getting a comfortable night's sleep.

The male bags are rated based on the average male having a comfortable night's sleep. Nemo Disco women's sleeping bags use more insulation to get the same temperature ratings as men's.


Temperature rating

The temperature ratings vary between the men's and women's sleeping bags because women often have a lower internal body temperature than men. The women's bag requires more down to attain the 15-degree temperature rating.

What we love
  • It is very light
  • The zipper doesn't snag
  • It has enough room for side sleepers to toss and turn
What you might not
  • It is a higher-budget bag
  • You need extra large sleeping pads


Conclusion

When considering design and construction, there are few differences between men's and women's bags. It's more helpful to pay attention to important details like size, shape, temperature ratings, and weight when selecting a bag rather than gender.

There are so many women's bags on the market, including :

  • REI Magma 15
  • Sea to Summit Attitude At 1 25
  • NEMO Riff 30
  • Feathered Friends Egret UL 20
  • Marmot Phase 20

If you are a male cold sleeper, feel free to try the women's bag. And if you are a lady who is a warm sleeper, unisex bags are a great option.

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