There are a lot of sleeping bags in catalogs today. But how do you choose?
Camping equipment is popular among novice tourists. It allows us to take some home comforts with us as we go out into the wild. One of the most crucial pieces of equipment that can make and break a camping trip is the sleeping bag. Choosing the right one which is suitable for the environment is key. Choosing the wrong one could ruin your camping experience.
Here are some of the principles you should look for when choosing your sleeping bag.
- A camping sleeping bag should be as comfortable as possible for sleeping, not create an unusual environment for a city person;
- A camping sleeping bag should be voluminous so as not to hinder movements, allow you to easily turn;
- A sleeping bag should be appropriate for the season when traveling. Don’t buy one sleeping bag for all occasions. If you travel all year round, there should be at least two sleeping bags: summer and winter;
- Choose the right temperature range – comfort and extreme temperatures.
Practically irrelevant for a camping sleeping bag:
- Folded volume;
- Folded sleeping bag area.
Camping sleeping bag shape
As you know, by design, sleeping bags are divided into two types: sleeping bag – “blanket” and sleeping bag – “cocoon”. There is, however, a third, intermediate type, “semi-blanket” or, when it comes to off-season warm sleeping bags – “barrel”.
Camping blanket sleeping bag
The design, which is a double-folded blanket with a built-in zipper, allowing you to sleep both in the closed state, and when you unfasten the zipper and simply wrapped in it. For all the simplicity of the design, there are solid pluses:
- a blanket sleeping bag leaves room for arms and legs, you can easily sleep in it with an “asterisk”;
- sleeping bags-blankets are easy to fasten, you can sleep in them together or even three! Couples in love and parents with young children will certainly appreciate it;
- on a hot night, you don’t have to button up a sleeping-blanket at all, and in the morning cold snap you can simply wrap yourself more tightly, like in a usual blanket;
- a sleeping bag-blanket, even on very cold nights, is indispensable for people of large weight and volume, who wants a narrow sleeping bag not able to turn over – it is not comfortable to breathe. There are models not only XL but even XXL!
Many models of this type of camping sleeping bag have a headrest. It makes sleep more comfortable, additionally warms the head on a cool night, and creates a small pillow under the head. Headrests are removable and non-removable. Removable is convenient to wash and clean more often, if not needed. Fixed ones create better thermal protection for the neck.
Please note that if you plan to buy two camping sleeping bags at once, to fasten them in the future, you need to choose models with zippers on different sides – one on the right, the other on the left. Otherwise, to connect two sleeping bags into one common one, one of them will have to be turned over and the headrest of one of you will be over your face, interfering with normal breathing and sleep. However, it can be unfastened … but it will not be so comfortable.
This is a lightweight and warm, classic sleeping bag – the blanket is perfect for use in spring, summer, and autumn. Insulation – synthetic material APF-Isoterm 3D. Comfort temperature – up to + 2 ° C. Modern filler APF-Isoterm 3D works even when it gets wet, dries quickly and is resistant to prolonged compression.
Cocoon camping sleeping bag
Its main advantage is better heat retention. The anatomical shape (widened in the shoulder area, narrowed towards the legs) allows the body to warm up faster on a cold night and minimizes heat loss. Also, the cocoon has a “hood” that can be pulled together on the head, additional zipper protection in the form of an insulated strip, and, often, an additional insulating strip around the neck, which minimizes heat loss during sleep.
Minus – there is less space inside the cocoon, you can’t sleep with a “star”. In a dream, you have to turn over with a sleeping bag. But – for the off-season and winter season – this is objectively the best design option.
Camping sleeping bag – semi-blanket, “barrel”
These camping sleeping bags combine the advantages of both designs. They have a geometry that only slightly tapers towards the legs, and in the “barrel” it is also additionally expanded in the hips and allows free movement in a dream. However, heat loss from the top is minimized due to the form-fitting and warmth, like a cocoon, hood. Often this compromise design has two zippers – on the right and the left, for a more comfortable position in the warm season.
Convenient sleeping bag from the spring-autumn series. Upper comfort temperature: + 3 ° C. Extreme temperature: -18 ° C. Fast transformation for all possible tasks for fishermen, hunters, researchers are a feature of this model. Synthetic insulation APF Isoterm 3D is not afraid of cold and moisture, keeping you warm and comfortable in any situation.
Camping sleeping bag heaters
By filler, sleeping bags are divided into three groups:
- Synthetic fillers
- Natural goose down
- Combined insulation
Each of them, in turn, is distinguished by quality. Quality in this case is expressed in the ability to retain maximum heat with minimum weight. So high-tech synthetic insulation is very close in its properties to average quality down.
Camping sleeping bags predominantly use inexpensive insulation as they do not need to be made ultralight.
Synthetic Filling Camping Sleeping Bags
Today there are many options for synthetic fillers for sleeping bags, science does not stand still – every year there are newer and newer, more and more advanced materials that combine the advantages of synthetics and down.
These are inexpensive and familiar to us synthetic winterizer, fire tech, hollow-fiber, more advanced developments such as Polarguard 3D, Lite Loft, Hollofil or Quallofil, or high-tech Primaloft and Thinsulate.
Synthetics have many advantages:
- These sleeping bags are not particularly afraid of dampness, even if they get wet, the synthetic filler will warm you, although not as well as dry;
- These sleeping bags are 100% hypoallergenic, which is important for allergy sufferers and young children;
- Sleeping bags with synthetic filling are easier to wash and generally easier to clean;
- After all, synthetic sleeping bags are substantially cheaper.
Cons of synthetic filler;
- It is not so durable and does not like to lie rolled up. If you do not dry it for a long time and pack it in a compression bag wet, it can fall off, and you will spend many hours breaking lumps inside the sleeping bag;
- Synthetics, other things being equal, warms worse than down;
- A sleeping bag with synthetic insulation is heavier than a down one, designed for the same temperature.
Camping sleeping bags and duvets
Down camping sleeping bags offer three tremendous benefits:
- Down is more durable. With good care, a downy sleeping bag lasts up to ten years, or even longer;
- Down warms better, much better. It not only retains heat, but accumulates it, and in the coldest hours of the night, when the body relaxes and lowers its temperature, the downy sleeping bag begins to return warmth to us;
- Fluff is lighter. Of course, for camping tourism this is not so important, the car carries everything on itself – but it’s more pleasant to sleep not under a three-kilogram blanket, but light and soft one, right?
However, down sleeping bags also have objective disadvantages:
- Who is afraid of dampness?. Of course, modern materials create sufficient waterproofing and nothing special will happen to it on a rainy, floating night. However, an accidental fall of a down sleeping bag into the water or overturning a kettle with tea on it is disastrous for the warming functions of a down sleeping bag – you will dry it for a day in the rays of the hot sun and by the fire, risking burning it – or for two days with the car’s radiator turned on.
- Down sleeping bags are significantly more expensive. A dozen geese, to grow the magic, so necessary for us, down for a sleeping bag, you need to eat well for a whole year and not be nervous, while synthetic filler can be produced in any volume.
Imagine you inflate a comfortable mattress with a pleasant bike surface, cover yourself with the lightest duvet, and under the trills of birds, the singing of crickets, and the croaking of frogs, you plunge into a sweet dream almost under the stars. Indeed, many outdoor enthusiasts prefer a sleeping bag – a blanket. Goose down of the highest purity is used as a heater. Today, goose down remains the best insulation, combining low weight, excellent thermal insulation, and the ability to recover in volume. Lower comfort temperature + 10 ° C.
Sleeping bag fabric
Today, the technology of fabrics from which sleeping bags are sewn has reached great heights. In pursuit of lightness and strength, the outer shell of a sleeping bag is usually sewn from a thin dense RipStop fabric, supplied with water-repellent properties, and often with a membrane that removes moisture from the inside and prevents moisture from entering the sleeping bag. The lining is made of thin, breathable fabric that is pleasant to the body.
What to look for when choosing a fabric
Camping sleeping bag liners are often made from cotton. But don’t go after it on purpose. Yes, cotton fabric is more familiar to the body, but it absorbs moisture faster, dries worse, and its breathability (yes, yes!) Is less than that of modern technologically advanced synthetic materials.
If you have settled on a down sleeping bag, then choose the one with the outer fabric with the maximum water-repellency. For a sleeping bag with a synthetic filling, this is not so critical, the indicator of breathability, vapor permeability, which guarantees you comfort during sleep, is much more important.
Here, of course, one must submit a weather forecast. If you are traveling in autumn or spring – the difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures will be significant – focus on the temperature at night! Of course, in a tent or car, it will be a couple of degrees warmer than outside, but this is not a dramatic difference.
A sleeping bag usually has three to four indicators: maximum use temperature, average comfort temperature, lower comfort temperature limit, and extreme temperature (in the case of three indicators, one comfort temperature is indicated, upper and extreme). What does it mean?
- The upper limit is the temperature at which the average woman wants to unwind, it will be hot.
- The average comfort temperature is the temperature at which a woman wearing long thermal underwear will sleep comfortably in a free position for 8 hours.
- The lower limit of the comfort temperature is the temperature at which the average man in long thermal underwear will not freeze in a free position during 8 hours of sleep.
- Extreme temperature is the temperature at which a man in the fetal position can sleep for 6 hours without the risk of dying from hypothermia.
All measurements are correct as long as you sleep in a tent on an insulating mat. Manufacturers believe that the average woman is a woman with an average build of 25 years. And the average man is also about 25 years old and has a normal build, without excessive thinness and excess weight. Women are less resistant to cold than men. It is believed that people under 18 and over 25 are also less resistant to cold. In practice, this often depends more on habit and general fitness – but the data of the researchers, which the manufacturers of sleeping bags adhere to, are exactly that.
Depending on the temperature of comfort, sleeping bags are distinguished:
from 0 ° C and above -12 ° C to 0 ° C -12 ° C and below
Choosing the length of the sleeping bag
Well, everything is simple here. Sleeping bags come in three (S, M, XL), a maximum of four sizes (some manufacturers have a modification for heroes – XXL).
Most often, the scale is two-dimensional: Regular and Long. Those. for height up to 185 cm and height above 185. The diagram of which height corresponds to which size on a three-digit scale is given below:
Are there sleeping bags for men, women, and children?
Yes, there are. All camping sleeping bags are sex-neutral. But if you are considering a camping sleeping bag as a camping one, there are models specifically geared towards women. They have a shorter length, but there is an expansion in the hips and an additional insulation layer in the leg area.
There is a separate class of sleeping bags for children. They, as a rule, do not differ from adults in the design, but differ in height, for different ages.
Sleeping outdoors in the right sleeping bag is a real pleasure. And the morning will greet you with cheerfulness and anticipation of new impressions and adventures!