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When camping out, sleeping bags are one of the most important must haves. Just like backpacking bags that focuses on choosing the one with lesser weight and the best comfort, picking the right sleeping bag for camping is all about comfort and minimal weight.
There are numerous sleeping bags being sold in the market wherein variety of it are available meant for different climates. If you are rooting for a sleeping bag, you should know its different types, the factors that you must consider first and additional features you want to have for a sleeping bag.
Below is a buying guide to help you find that best sleeping bag for you and your family:
Sleeping Bag Temperature
Sleeping bag temperature ratings depend on the manufacturer. Metabolism of one person may differ from another person which makes it hard to find the right sleeping bag having the right temperature.
One must keep in mind that the temperature rating of a sleeping bag is identified at the lowest temperature the bag is able to keep the user warm.
If you have to pick a sleeping bag based on temperature, choose the one that has a temperature rating that is slightly lower than the lowest possible temperature you are anticipating to encounter outside. If temperatures are expected to be high, and that you can’t find any other sleeping bag to counterpart the temperature, you just have to open the bag so there will be more air circulation.
Type of Sleeping Bag Insulation
A sleeping bag may be have manmade synthetic insulation in it which are mainly made from polyfibers or natural down which are find feathers from ducks or geese.
Synthetic Insulation is the most common type of insulation that is used in sleeping bags which are usually cheaper, easy to clean and doesn’t require a lot of care. They also are best to use when you’re out during wet season. This type of sleeping bag is best to use during wet, damp or humid weather conditions as it has the ability to retain 50% of its insulating capacity.
When it comes to weight, synthetic insulation sleeping bags are usually bulky and heavy. Thus, not a good choice if you are looking for a lightweight and space saving sleeping bag.
Natural Down is pretty fluffy because of its tiny pocket airs. Its fluffiness gives the sleeping bags the ability to make thousands of air pockets making it more effective in keeping warm air in and retaining the heat. When it comes to weight, natural down sleeping bags are lightweight and space saver.
Which sleeping bag insulation you should get, depends on your planned hiking trips, which season you are hiking and personal preference. Get some more tips here.
Sleeping Bag Shape
The mechanism to how sleeping bags keep you warm is based on how the bag traps and holds non-circulating air inside. Your own body warms the trapped air while the bag provides barrier to keep the cold air from the environment out while keeping the warm air in. The ability to trap warm air is based on the shape of your backpacking sleeping bag.
- Rectangular sleeping bags are best if you want comfort and space. This type of bag is typical for temperate condition; however, they are usually bulky and are not efficient to keep warm heat in. If you are planning for long hiking trips, then this type of sleeping bag is not a good bet.
- Mummy sleeping bags are best used when you want to do some real backcountry camping or hut-to-hut hikes. The mummy sleeping bags are the most used sleeping bags among hikers actually. It has reduced weight and maximizes warmth. However, the space inside is a bit restrictive and therefore comfortability of this type of sleeping bag is not totally guaranteed as it only provides opening for your head.
- Barrel-shaped sleeping bags are good options for those who wish to go camping and/or backpacking. It’s tapered built gives the sleeper with great warmth. It has the same features as with mummy sleeping bags but they don’t come with hoods. It is actually a combination of rectangular and mummy shaped bags.
How much do you allot for buying your sleeping bag? All these features will come in handy if you already have set the amount you plan in buying a sleeping bag. There are bags that are relatively cheaper, but may be heavier or may not be as comfortable as you wish it would be. But you really shouldn’t go over your budget just to get the best out of a really good sleeping bag; you better invest a little bit more in a good pair of hiking boot (men / women) than spending all your money on a sleeping bag. You can always put on an extra layer of clothes to stay warm but you can’t do much about uncomfortable blistering hiking boots.
Sleeping Bag Features
If you have to take on the features that you should be looking for in a sleeping bag, it’ll probably take you lot of time to examine it. So here are some quick tips on what to check out for in a good sleeping bag:
- A sleeping bag that has a two-way zipper gives more ventilation and is more flexible. If you bring with you another bag, be sure to choose a sleeping bag that is compatible with it.
- Use a thin cotton sleeping bag liner in order to keep your sleeping bag clean.
- If you opt for a hood, an insulated draft collar is a good choice to keep the warm in and the cold out around your neck and shoulders.
- Barrel type sleeping bags are best for sleepers who likes to toss and turn while mummy type of sleeping bags are best for those who can keep it still while sleeping.
- Choose for a sleeping with dark colored lining. It absorbs more heat and the rays of the sun more effectively should your sleeping bag get wet and you have to dry it out.
- A sleeping bag with removable collar is said to be a versatile sleeping bag.
More Things to Consider
Malleable or mateable bags are good options if you want it to be stuffed inside your carrying bag. Also, a sleeping bag with pockets are great to use if you want to bring along with you form pillows. There are also sleeping bags that are specifically manufactured for women and children.
The right sleeping bag can do a lot of difference to a restful evening whether it is camping on a summer or outdoor adventures on a winter’s day. Hope this guide had helped you make a well-informed decision.