Making a good choice on a sleeping bag could mean the difference between having a great trip or a miserably uncomfortable one. But, there are so many sleeping bags to choose from, how do you know which one is best for you?
Keeping you comfortable is the main purpose of a sleeping bag. Although personal preference is very important, there are other factors to consider when making your selection:
- Temperature rating
- Zippers and collars
The temperature rating tells you the lowest temperature at which you will stay warm. A sleeping bag rated at 25 degrees F. will keep you comfortable as long as the temperature remains above 25 degrees F. The rating also assumes that you are sleeping on a sleeping pad and are dressed warmly. Keep these temperatures in mind when choosing your bag:
- A bag rated at 20 degrees F., with a sleeping pad, is considered a 3 season bag. This should get you through a frosty spring or fall and not overheat in the summer
- If camping in colder weather , choose a bag rated at -10 degrees to +10 degrees F.
- For extremely cold weather, such as winter camping, your bag should be rated from -15 degrees to -30 degrees F.
- Most bags have a temperature rating between 15 degrees and 50 degrees F.
- You should purchase a bag with a rating lower than the coldest temperature that you expect to encounter.
Size:Choose a sleeping bag that is big enough for you to sleep comfortably, but one that does not add a lot of extra weight and space. You may also want to consider youth, women's, or extra long sizes.
The most common shape for bags is the rectangular bag. While roomy and comfortable, this bag can also be opened and used as a comforter on warm nights, can cover an air mattress, or can be opened and zipped together with another rectangular bag to make a double-sized bag.
The mummy bag wraps tightly around the sleeper, providing maximum warmth with less material. This bag is great for camping in cold weather.
Generally, you may choose between two types of material for your bag-synthetic or goose-down. Synthetic materials are a popular choice. They perform well, are non-allergenic and inexpensive, dry quickly, and still insulate if wet. Goose-down is more durable and can be compressed (more common for backcountry camping).
Most bags come with a nylon taffeta or silk lining. You can also purchase a fleece liner, which adds extra softness, and about 15-20 degrees of additional warmth.
Zippers should not pinch or catch on the fabric when zipping up. You should be able to zip it up from the outside or the inside. If you plan to connect two bags together to make a double, make sure the zippers are compatible.
Some bags have a collar at the top that helps keep the opening closed around your neck to retain heat. This feature is useful in cold weather, not so much in warm weather.
Remember, these factors should be used as guidelines only. What is comfortable for one sleeper may not be comfortable for another. And, always keep your bag clean and air it out after every trip. Store in a cotton storage sack.
Please visit www.basspro.com , or come on in to your Leeds Bass Pro Shops and see our great selection. We look forward to seeing you.
Until next time, stay safe and GO CAMPING!!!