Women’s versus Men’s Sleeping Bags: What’s the difference?

Nemo Equipment offers many different bag sizing and insulation options because we know everyone sleeps differently.

Our sleep temperatures vary, and whether you’re a side-sleeper, sprawler, or enjoy sleeping like a mummy — we’ve got you covered. One question you may have throughout your sleeping bag search is … why do we market men’s and women’s specific sleeping bags?

For example, our men’s Disco™ and women’s Disco™ offer the same features but there are a few important differences. One of the main differentiators is in the sizing. As a women’s bag, our Disco™ Women’s Regular fits heights up to 5’6″, and our Disco™ Women’s Long fits up to 6’0″. As a men’s bag, our Disco™ Men’s Regular fits a person up to 6’0″, and our Disco™ Men’s Long will fit up to 6’6″.

The biggest difference between men’s and women’s models is the amount of insulation used — which also explains the difference in weight and compressed sizes. Take a look at our Disco™ Women’s Long and Disco™ Men’s Regular — even though the length/dimensions are about the same, the women’s will run a few ounces heavier. Our women’s bags are rated based on the average female having a comfortable night’s sleep while our men’s bags are rated based on the average male having a comfortable night’s sleep.

Because the average female sleeps colder than the average male (about 10-15 degrees colder), our women’s bags actually use more insulation to reach the same temperature ratings.

For the Disco™ Men’s 15°:

  • Rating based on the average male having a comfortable night’s sleep is 13.5 degrees.
  • Rating based on the average female having a comfortable night’s sleep is 25 degrees.

For the Disco™ Women’s 15°:

  • Rating based on the average male having a comfortable night’s sleep is 2.2 degrees.
  • Rating based on the average female having a comfortable night’s sleep is 15.4 degrees.

Because our Disco™ Women’s bag uses more insulation than the Disco™ Men’s bag to reach a 15-degree rating, the Disco™ Women’s 15° Long weighs a few ounces more than the Disco™ Men’s 15° Regular and has a slightly larger compressed volume even though the length and other dimensions are similar.


More about How We Determine Temperature Rating

All of our sleeping bags are tested to the EN13537 standardized test to determine their temperature rating. These ratings are based on the user wearing a layer of long underwear and a hat, and using an insulated sleeping pad. For the women’s specific sleeping bags in our line, the rating is based on the average female having a comfortable night’s sleep, which is called the T-comfort rating. The rating based on the average male having a comfortable night’s sleep is called the T-limit and is (as stated above when comparing the Men’s and Women’s Disco™) generally much lower for the same item. The Disco™ Men’s 15° sleeping bag has a T-limit rating of 13.5 degrees and the T-comfort rating is 24 degrees. This item is a men’s specific sleeping bag so we call it a 15-degree item, but if we were to market this exact same item as a women’s specific sleeping bag we would call it a 25-degree sleeping bag (because of its T-comfort rating). If we look at the Disco™ Women’s 15°, this item has a T-limit rating of 5 degrees and a T-comfort rating of 15.4. Again, we call this sleeping bag a 15-degree rated item because it is a women’s specific item —  but if we were marketing this as a men’s specific sleeping bag, we would give it a 5-degree rating.

These ratings are different because many women tend to lower their internal body temperature much more than men over the night, and during the course of a night more blood flow will be pulled from the extremities, causing these areas to become colder. Women’s specific bags are rated to this “warmer” temperature rating to more accurately reflect how much insulation is needed for a comfortable night of sleep. As you could imagine, reaching a T-comfort rating of 15 degrees for the Disco™ Women’s 15° will require much more down than is needed to reach a T-limit rating of 15 degrees in the Disco™ Men’s 15°, even though the Disco™ Men’s bag is slightly longer in its length.

Temperature Rating Take-Aways

The temperature rating on a sleeping bag is a suggested comfort temperature and will not work perfectly for everyone. There are many factors that determine how warm you will feel in a sleeping bag. Some of these factors include what you wear (ratings are based on the user wearing one layer of long underwear and wearing a hat), the pad you use (the pad should have a minimum comfort range similar to your bag), what you eat before dinner, and whether you generally sleep warm or cold. The EN ratings provide a standardized way to compare bags but since everyone sleeps a little different, unfortunately, the ratings are not a guarantee that the bag will keep your specific body and sleep style comfortable at a specific temperature.

Have any other questions? Reach out to our Customer Service Team or call us at 800-997-9301.