Choosing a Sleeping Bag

How to choose the sleeping bag for camping? First of all, the most obvious difference between sleeping bags is whether they are down or synthetic fill. Synthetic fills will surely maintain warmth and loft even in wet conditions. On the other hand, downs are more compact and lighter. When wet, down will turn into a cold, soggy and heavy mess and it will take time to dry out.

Do you want an ideal sleeping bag, the one that will meet all of your camping needs? Well, forget about it. There isn’t an ideal sleeping bag. Fortunately, there are sleeping bags on the market that will make you satisfied through most of your outdoor adventures. You can even get the best backpacking sleeping bags under $100. Three-season sleeping bags will work great for you in spring, summer and autumn. This item will provide you warmth in frosty autumn and spring night, while it won’t overheat you during a long hot summer.

If, however, you are more winter camping type, go for sleeping bags rated to below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature rating of minus 10 to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit are required for winter mountaineering.

The most efficient bags in keeping the body warm are mummy-shaped ones, but some campers find them too constricting. The other shapes are rectangular and semi-rectangular.

Sleeping bags are usually constructed of polyester or nylon. If you find those cute ones with Barbie or James Dean printed on them with cotton insides, don’t purchase them, at least not for a serious outdoor use or backpacking.

Buying sleeping bag is like buying a vehicle: kicking the tires is recommended. So, climb inside the bag you are considering, compare lofts, roll around and do whatever you do while sleeping. After comparing several bags, you will be closer to purchasing the one that meets your requirements in terms of warmth, space and other features.

Here are some more useful tips when buying a sleeping bag:

  • Soft non-cotton materials, such as linings of taffeta warm quickly, breathe supremely and are more comfortable.
  • Two-ways zippers are recommended, because they offer more flexibility and ventilation. If you want companionship during camping, make sure you are buying a zipper compatible to the other sleeping bag (a left side zipper is compatible with the right-side one)
  • The outer shell should be sewn bigger than the inner lining. This differential cut allows maximum loft.
  • Outer shell should be water-resistant and windproof.
  • If you manage to stay put while sleeping, go for mummy-style, but if you turn and toss, opt for semi-rectangular cut.
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