Comfort is priority number one for many of our camping customers. This goes for all their gear, from their backpack down to their socks. However, one pitfall that can absolutely ruin your camping experience is getting a bad nights sleep.
Most people attribute a restless night camping to their sleeping bag. It’s often the case that you’re borrowing someone else’s bag, and as you may know from experience, not all sleeping bags are equal. If you love camping but love your sleep even more, we recommend getting a bag of your own.
Here are 5 things to consider when buying a sleeping bag:
1. Types of Fill
- A synthetic fill is the most common choice for the average camper due to its lower price point. These synthetic bags are designed to be quick drying while still retaining heat when wet. Another aspect to consider are allergens. A synthetic bag is nonallergenic and is the best alternative to a traditional goose down for this scenario.
- A goose down fill will ultimately lead to a higher price tag. However, you receive the added bonus of durability and compressibility. Because of these advantages, goose down bags are the preferred choice for most backpackers or avid campers.
- Traditional down feathers lose heat retention performance when wet. This can make for a miserable camping trip. However, if you know you’re going to put your down sleeping bag in situations where it could potentially get wet, it’s recommended you purchase a bag that features a water-resistant treated down. This treatment protects the feathers from moisture, preserving its heat retention capabilities.
Rectangular vs Mummy
- Rectangular bags are designed to give you the most comfort by maximizing room for you to move around. On the other hand, ‘mummy’ shaped bags are designed to hug the contours of your body to maximize efficiency and heat retention performance, making these bags great options for cold weather camping.
- If you’re someone who likes to move around a lot and struggles to get comfortable, we recommend a rectangular sleeping bag.
3. Temperature Rating
The temperature rating of a sleeping bag will be the most important factor when purchasing a new one. The number on the bag is the lowest temperature it can be outside for its user to remain warm inside the sleeping bag. Remember, this is based on an ‘average’ sleeper and can vary for each person.
We recommend selecting a sleeping bag with a rating lower than the coldest temperature you expect to sleep in. This will assure that you remain warm during all trips. If you find yourself too warm, you’ll be able to unzip the bag and release heat. It will always be easier to release heat than to create and retain extra warmth.
- Gear Pockets – You’ll want to keep your small items near by, such as your phone, watch, headlamp, gloves and/or extra socks. A small pocket will keep you from scrambling around in the dark to find these items.
- Sleeping Pad Straps/Sleeve – When using a sleeping pad, more often than not, you’ll wake up to realize you’re not even on the sleeping pad anymore. Some sleeping bags feature straps or sleeves to attach your bag to your pad to prevent this from happening.
- Stuff sacks are designed for packing up your sleeping bag when on the go. It will compress your bag into a small amount of space, allowing it to better fit inside your pack. Most sleeping bags come with a stuff sack attached.
- Storage sacks are much larger and are designed for long-term storage. With no compression, your bag is able to breathe, keeping the fill loose and dispersed throughout the bag. When your sleeping bag is compressed for a long period of time, the fill could be damaged and heat retention performance would suffer.
Next time you choose to sleep under the stars, be sure the sleeping bag you are using is catered to you and your style of camping.