Sleep Well: Finding the Right Sleeping Bag
Sleeping bag technology has come a long way from the days of cowboy bedrolls. These days, there are a number of high-tech materials and designs available to keep you warm during the coldest outings. Here's a short list of things to keep in mind when you're shopping for a sleeping bag:
Buy for Cold:
It's a safe bet that on at least one of your adventures, the nighttime temperature will drop unexpectedly. That's why it's smart to buy a bag that's rated for the lowest possible temperature you expect to face on your camping and backpacking trips. For summer trips, a bag rated at +35 degrees or higher will likely do the trick. If you like to camp in higher elevations in the summer, or if spring and fall outings are in your future, consider bags rated from +10 to +35. Winter adventurers should look for bags in the -10 to +10 range, while those on serious winter alpine climbs and expeditions will want a bag rated lower than -10.
Keep in mind that sleeping bag manufacturers' temperature ratings only estimate the minimum temperature at which the bag will provide warmth. Take these numbers with a grain of salt, as different folks generate different amounts of heat when they sleep. If you're the type who likes to pile on the covers even on warmer nights, go for a bag that's rated ten degrees colder. The opposite is true for "warm" sleepers--a 35-degree bag will probably work for you on a 25-degree night.
Temperature ratings refer to the temperature it can be outside before a sleeping bag is not able to keep you warm. Some sleeping bags also rate the maximum temperature before the bag will keep you too warm. Temp ratings are shown as Fahrenheit.
Although sleeping bags may be rated for 0 degrees Fahrenheit, you shouldn't bank on it. To be safe, add about 10 degrees Fahrenheit to the sleeping bag's listed temperature rating. For instance, if the rating is 10 F, you shouldn't use the sleeping bag below 20 F. This is by no means a firm rule. You will have a feel for the sleeping bag and will know how cold you should take it before you begin to chill. If you sleep with all of your clothes on you will be able to handle the cold better than someone who sleeps in their underwear. If you are experienced with camping, backpacking and similar sports and have tested many sleeping bags in a variety of conditions you will be able to gauge the sleeping bags' abilities better. If you are new to camping and backpacking, don't take risks with your warmth.
Mummy Sleeping Bags
Almost all outdoor sleeping bags are "mummy" sleeping bags. Mummy sleeping bags fit close to the body and resemble an Egyptian mummy case. Mummy sleeping bags cost a bit more, but they hug your body, are lighter and provide more warmth. When mummy sleeping bags are fully closed they should leave only your nose and mouth exposed.
When properly closed, a mummy sleeping bag will trap the air inside the sleeping bag, which works as a good insulator. To ensure a good fit you may find the dimensions of the sleeping bags in shoulder, hip and foot girth. Women's sleeping bags will have a slimmer shoulder and wider hip area for a better fit.
These sleeping bags are the best for cold weather conditions but can be used in warmer weather; just adjust the hood drawstrings or zippers. Most styles of mummy sleeping bag have two-way zippers which allow you to open certain sections. And know that mummy bags force you to sleep on your back, which you may not like, and they can feel claustrophobic to some people. Just remember how warm they'll keep you!
Size & Length:
The size and length of sleeping bags will vary. There really isn't a one-size-fits-all. Look for sleeping bags that will fit you comfortably without extra space. Remember that your body will have to heat up that extra space. Look for a sleeping bag that will fit your length comfortably; there are bags specifically designed for people with larger or smaller frames. Women and children will also find that they may need to find a smaller or narrower sleeping bag. There are many options in children's sleeping bags as well as women's sleeping bags. Kid's sleeping bags will be shorter and designed to keep their smaller bodies warm.
Typically, the first few seconds spent inside a sleeping bag indicate the overall quality of the night about to come. Our line sleeping bags are warm, roomy, responsive to your every movement, adapt to the bedtime needs of the moment. Built for recreational activity, they fit the way you live your life outdoors. Like, as the Eskimos say, a particularly good glove.
Your sleeping bag is going to be a valuable piece of camping gear. When considering which sleeping bags to buy there are a few features to become familiar with: the fill, the style, the shell, the lining and the temperature rating, as well as any extra features a sleeping bag may have. Camping gear is only a part of the camping and outdoor experience. Sleeping bags are designed to protect you from feeling cold, yet the purpose of a sleeping bag isn't really to warm you. It's to help maintain your inner body temperature. Stay Warm.. Rest Easy.. Sleep Well!