How to Choose the Best Sleeping Bag

Best Sleeping BagIf you want to learn more about how to choose the best sleeping bag, then you’ll want to continue reading. Specifically, we are going to discuss sleepovers, car camping, backpacking, and winter bags. After reading you should be able to select the best sleeping bag for your needs. Whether you need a sleeping bag for inside use, warmer outdoor temperatures, or for extreme weather conditions—we will cover them all.

Choosing the best sleeping bag depends on how you intend to use your sleeping bag. If you are using this sleeping bag for indoor use, the requirements are less than if you are using it to climb Mount Everest. Here is exactly what you need to know in order to select the best sleeping bag for your intended use.

Sleeping Bag Basics

There are two types of sleeping bag configurations.

  • Rectangle shaped bags, which are larger and not as warm
  • Mummy bags, which basically conform to your body and are smaller intended to keep you warm in extreme conditions.

Sleeping bags have either a polyester shell (outer covering) or are made with cotton or other material. The filling is dependent on how you intend to use your new sleeping bag. Some are filled with cotton, which won’t keep you warm in colder climates. Polyester and goose down filled sleeping bags are intended for more extreme climates.

Sleeping Bags for Indoor Use

If you intend use your new sleeping bag only for indoor use then you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. Let’s say that you need a sleeping bag because either your children occasionally have friends stay over, or you have grandchildren spend the night. You simply need extra sleeping space in your home to accommodate your extra guests. A sleeping bag is a simple easy way to make extra sleeping space and have fun doing it.

Here are a few things to consider when choosing a sleeping bag for indoor use. Consider purchasing a sleeping bag with lots of room. Plenty of room in a sleeping bag will be more comfortable for the person using it, provided that space is not a consideration. You’ll want something that is warm and comfortable. Most sleeping bags have full length zippers that allow you to open them wide for ventilation. Some can be zipped together to make a larger sleeping bag that will fit multiple people.

Sleeping Bags for Car Camping

If you are going on an overnight camping trip in your vehicle here are a few things to think about. If you’re using your sleeping bag in a confined space, then the size of the sleeping bag will become important because you’ll want something that is roomy but also compact to fit into your tent or car. You’ll also want to think about how small your new sleeping bag will roll up and fit into your vehicle while traveling.

You will want to consider the overnight temperature in the area where you are traveling. In mountainous areas the temperature can drop considerably overnight. Some sleeping bags have no rating and are thought to acceptable for indoor or warmer climates. But if the temperature drops, then you’ll want a sleeping bag with a comparable rating to the environment where you intend to use it. For example, if the temperature drops between 40 and 50 degrees at night, you’ll want to look for a sleeping bag that will keep you warm at these temperatures. Let’s move on to backpacking and what you’ll want to know for your next backpacking trip.


If you intend to use your new sleeping bag for backpacking, then there are a few other things that you’ll want to consider. When backpacking, most sleeping bags are rolled up and tied down to the backpack. So, the first thing to consider is how compact your new sleeping bag will be. Size is the first priority. You definitely don’t want a sleeping bag that is large and bulky. Look for one that rolls up into a small package. You and your backpack are one when out on the trail. There may be times when you are required to maneuver through tight spaces and you don’t want your sleeping bag to get caught and tangled, or ripped.

Sleeping Bag & EquipmentAlso, a major consideration for selecting a sleeping bag for backpacking use is how heavy the sleeping bag is. If you’ve done any backpacking, you know that weight is always a concern. When backpacking every ounce on your back has to have a use. Your sleeping bag shouldn’t be one of those things you consider when removing items from your pack because of weight. Less insulation means less weight. Lightweight sleeping bags pack down small; some can roll up to about the size of a cantaloupe.

Of course the final thing to consider when choosing a sleeping bag for backpacking is will it keep me warm? Three season sleeping bags are best for spring and fall backpacking trips or for backpacking trips to high mountainous areas where the temperature can drop below freezing. You’ll want to consider the seasons and places where you will take your new sleeping bag. Be sure to consider one that has a rating suited for the climate where you will use it most.

Winter Bags for Extreme Winter Conditions

Let’s go into winter bags or sleeping bags that will keep you warm in the most extreme conditions. Everything we’ve talked about to this point is a consideration. The size of the sleeping bag, the material it’s made of, the weight of the bag and of course, most importantly a sleeping bag that will keep you warm in the coldest conditions. Winter sleeping bags are puffy cocoons with the most insulation. They are always bulky and may include clinch-able hoods, draft collars, and zipper draft tubes to keep cold air from seeping in through the zipper.

There are lots of things to consider when selecting a sleeping bag for winter or extreme climate conditions. The most important is—will this sleeping bag keep me warm enough? Polyester fiber filled and goose down filled sleeping bags offer the best solution for extreme conditions.


The best sleeping bag is a matter of choice. Your use for the sleeping bag will determine which type, shell, filling and other considerations that will make your sleepover, camping trip, backpacking trip, or mountaineering and extreme cold conditions experience the best it can be.