A trip to the great outdoors or any sort of travel merits the need to have a sleeping bag to crawl into at the end of the day. Your choice of sleeping bag will be influenced by different factors like where you plan to use one and for how long. Here, we present to you a helpful guide to find the best sleeping bag to cover all your camping needs.
Do you absolutely need a sleeping bag in the first place?
While it’s true that a sleeping bag is a very useful item to have in your camping repertoire, one must answer the question about its absolute necessity in the first place given the amount of space it takes up. Sleeping bags can be pretty hefty articles to pack and you need every available packing space for items that will keep you going On your trip.
Pack a sleeping bag only if you are going to spend nights outdoors with no access to a cabin or comfort. It is also a good idea to have a sleeping bag if you are going to be in a tent, or in colder climes and need to get a wholesome night’s sleep before another gruelling day of trekking.
What to look for in a sleeping bag?
Here are some important factors that should guide your choice while shopping for the right sleeping bag.
Season rating – The first question to ask yourself is what season will it be where you are going to use this sleeping bag? How long can the temperatures possibly go?
Once you have the answer to that, take off another 10 degrees and then choose the sleeping bag that has any of the following ratings:
- Summer: Can be used in temperatures of +35 degrees Fahrenheit and higher
- Three season: Can be used between +100F and +35F
- Winter: Recommended for temperatures of +10F and lower
Comfort rating – Just like every person experiences cold or heat differently, your individual comfort level will also vary.
Some sleeping bags have EU ratings for comfort levels that you might find useful to choose the bag you can get the best sleep in:
- Comfort: Assumes a certain level of warmth required for the user
- Limit of comfort: Assumes the user has their own insulation while sleeping
- Extreme: Assumes that the bag will be used in extremely harsh temperatures according to EN 13537 rating
Shape – The principle behind keeping you warm in a sleeping bag is how much dead air is trapped between your body and the outdoors. The less air there is, the easier it is to heat up this air and keep you warm.
Therefore, the shape of your sleeping bag should be considered based on your comfort as well as warmth:
- Mummy: This is a very snug fit to both your shoulders and hips, keeping you warmest but offering very little
- Semi-rectangular: This shape tapers towards your legs so that you have a minimal amount of wiggle room.
- Rectangular: The most comfortable if you like to toss and turn in your sleep
Insulation material – Depending on your load, you can select the material lining your sleeping bag.
- Synthetic: Synthetic bags are lined with polyester and are lightweight as well as durable. They don’t need any special care, but can be bulky to pack.
- Down: On the expensive side, but are very warm thanks to the feather filled lining. Not water resistant.
- Water-resistant down: Specially treated feathers line this bag so that it doesn’t get soaked in wet climes.
You can choose a sleeping bag with additional features like a storage bag or a sleeping bag liner for extra comfort. This guide should help you figure out the best bag to use for your next trip to the great outdoors.