Sleeping bags are important gear when it comes to outdoor camping. That’s especially true if you intend to spend a night out in cold, wet terrains such as mountains. Anybody with the experience of having spent a cold night in the woods will tell you how important choosing a quality sleeping bag is for a camping activities. A sleeping bag will ensure that your night is comfortable, warm, and safe. It will ensure that you can continue with your hiking activities after a good night’s rest.
In this sleeping bag comparison guide, we will look at the various types of sleeping bags and their ease of use. Your sleeping bag will be among the heaviest items in your outdoor pack, with the others being your shelter, sleeping pad, and backpack. Below are the points to consider when making a sleeping bag comparison.
You should consider choosing a sleeping bag that suits your budget and camping needs. That’s because different types of sleeping bags are priced according to their manufacturing designs, construction, materials, and weight. Two types of insulation are synthetic and down. In most cases, synthetic insulated sleeping bags cost less than those that are down insulated.
Outdoor activities that require sleeping bags need you to walk over some distance, for example, hiking, hill climbing or mountaineering. You should, therefore, purchase a bag that’s easier to carry around in your backpack. Make sure that your bag gives you warmth and comfort even as you shop for lighter sleeping bags.
Keep in mind that it’s your body that will generate heat, not your sleeping bag. Therefore, buy a sleeping bag that can trap your body’s heat inside its tube. You should consider buying bags that have better insulation, which enables them to trap your body’s heat.
One way to choose a bag that can trap your body’s heat is to look for those that have less interior space. Sleeping bags with excessive interior space are not ideal as your body will be heating this empty space.
Many types of sleeping bags have various temperature ratings. These ratings enable you to choose a bag that suits your hiking activity. A bag with a temperature rating of 15°F to 35°F is ideal for summer, fall, and spring camping.
Your bag should also have the EN temperature rating, which stands for European Norm. It’s a standardized system for sleeping bag temperature ratings that helps in keeping these ratings consistent.
You should bear in mind that choosing the right temperature for your bag depends on many factors. You might prefer warmer sleeping conditions or slightly colder ones. Different genders also prefer different temperature comfort levels. You should also keep in mind choosing your bag’s temperature rating depends on the hiking location’s weather conditions.
Also remember that you can increase your body’s warmth by adding layers. For example, you can wear a down jacket with a hood, sleep in wool-based layers underneath, and wear a warm hat and gloves on chilly nights. These types of clothing will increase your sleeping bag’s warmth.
Adding warmth to your bag you also increase its weight, which should make you remember to find out about your hiking location’s current weather conditions. For example, carrying a 15°F sleeping bag in warmer months will most likely lead you to unzip at night as a result of too much warmth.
Another important point to look out for when making sleeping bag comparisons is their type of insulation. There are two kinds of insulation—down insulation and synthetic insulation.
You might want to consider choosing a bag with down insulation as it has a better weight-to-warmth ratio, and also compresses more.
Sleeping bags with down insulation also last 20-30 years longer compared to synthetic bags. They are also more expensive as compared to synthetic insulated bags. The downside to them is that they wet easily and require dryers to dry quickly.
Synthetic insulated sleeping bags are budget friendly, and retain heat even when wet. They also dry quickly, but tend to weigh more and are bulky. One point you should note is that no sleeping bag will be comfortable to you when wet.
Look for bags that have water resistant fabrics as their outer covers. Also, water-repellent fabrics prevent water from soaking to their inside by making it bead on its outer shell. As much as they won’t make your bag waterproof, they at least offer a little protection.
You should also check the down fill power (FP) of the down insulated bags. High fill power bags weigh less than lower fill power down bags and are more expensive.
Sleeping Bag Sizes
Ensure that you purchase a sleeping bag that fits your body width and length. You should also buy one with a little extra width to enable you to shift around at night, which will allow you to be comfortable on those cold nights when you are wearing layered clothes, coats and hoods.
A sleeping pad provides additional comfort when sleeping, because your body’s weight compresses the bag’s insulation. You will need to have a barrier between the ground and the bag, so consider buying an ultra-light sleeping pad as they are easier to carry.
Consider buying a bag with a full-length zipper which will enable you to open your bag completely for more aeration. Shorter zippers are ideal if you prefer having your feet tucked inside your sleeping bags.
Always store your bag in a large sack, such as laundry bags, and not in their stuff sacks. You should also avoid storing it while compressed as this will damage its insulation. Insulation damage reduces its ability to hold heat.
Check the seller’s customer purchase policy before purchasing. That enables you to find one that suits your budget and needs.
The above sleeping bag comparison should help you choose a sleeping bag that suits your needs. The key point to remember when selecting a quality sleeping bag for outdoor use is that no matter how expensive some types are, they will always reward you with best warmth experiences for a long time. That’s especially true for those cold, chilly, wet outdoor camping nights.