Getting The Right Sleeping Bag For You

Posted on Jumat, 03 Juni 2011 |
Going camping? Need to buy a sleeping bag? Here are a few tips to help you select the best one to fit your needs.

Shape / Design

One of the first factors to consider is the shape and design of the sleeping bag. A standard sleeping bag is a simple rectangle, usually with a zipper running up one side. The second primary design is the mummy bag, which is designed to fit the shape of the body. This allows it to more efficiently retain body heat. There are also variations of the two major design shapes, designed for various purposes.

Fill / Insulation

Sleeping bags are usually filled with down, or some synthetic material. Down filled sleeping bags are generally warmer, and more expensive. Synthetic sleeping bags are generally less expensive than down filled bags, and perform much better in wet conditions. The do not readily absorb water, and still ofer some insulation even when they do.

Wool and cotton are also sometimes used for insulation. Wool performs well, but is heavy. Cotton is heavy and performs very poorly in wet conditions. Both wool and cotton are best suited for stationary, protected camping, such as in a rustic cabin, where their drawbacks to not matter.

Temperature ratings

Most sleeping bags are given a uniform rating to help you determine what temperature weather they are suitable for. For European sleeping bags, they are rated using the EN 13537 standard. This standard uses four separate ratings:

Upper limit – the highest temperature an average man can sleep at without excessive sweating
Comfort – the most comfortable temperature for the average woman.

Lower limit – the lowest temperature at which the average man can sleep 8 hours (curled up) without waking.

Extreme – the minimum temperature that the average woman can remain in the bag for six hours without risk of death (frostbite may still occur).

If a sleeping bag only gives a minimum temperature, it is probably the Lower limit rating.

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