Things to Consider while Buying a Sleeping Bag

While minimum weight is the main point of consideration in case of a backpacking bag, the major point to consider while shopping for a sleeping bag is comfort. Here are some tips for you to choose the best camping sleeping bag.

Temperature Rating

Temperature rating of a sleeping bag identifies the minimum temperature at which a bag is designed to keep an average user warm. Therefore, a bag described as a “20-degree bag” can keep most users comfortable if the temperature drops not below 20° F. However, here the sleeper is considered to be using a sleeping pad underneath the bag and wearing long underwear.

This rating may vary from brand to brand and also comfortable temperature varies from person to person; so, these ratings should be considered as only a guide and not the final deciding factor.

Choose a bag with a temperature rating slightly lower than the minimum temperature you expect to come across. If you anticipate near-freezing temperature, select a 20°F bag rather than a 35°F bag. This way, if the temperature remains higher than expected, you can get more air circulation by venting the bag.


The principle of sleeping bags is to trap and hold a layer of “dead” (non-circulating) air close to your body to keep you warm. This air is warmed by the heat of your body and a barrier is formed between that air and the outside air or colder ground. The less air space to heat, the quicker you warm up and stay warm for longer. A rectangular shape can provide maximum room and comfort while a semi-rectangular (barrel-shaped) bag can be used for camping as well as backpacking. A human shaped sleeping bag provides maximum warmth and least weight to carry.


Synthetic insulation is the most popular because of its overall performance and reasonable price. It’s typically made of polyester and has several benefits like less drying time and providing insulation even while wet, low price, durability and non-allergic property. Other type is goose-down which is more durable and compressible than synthetic; however, it is priced a bit higher. Water-resistant down insulation loses its insulating property upon getting wet. To minimize the problem, some bags are treated to protect the feathers from moisture.

Just like other camping accessories like military folding bed, camping sleeping bags also get a carrying bag which is useful to store and transport the sleeping bag. Look for these features and choose a sleeping bag which would offer you maximum comfort.

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