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Sleeping bags – choose the right one for you

Whether you’re planning a backpacking trip, camping trip or you’re saving money by roughing it at a music festival; you’re going to want to be as snug as a bug in a rug. Finding the perfect sleeping bag is probably something you don’t think about until it’s too late. Whether you find your sleeping arrangements too hot or painfully cold, it’s a major inconvenience and discomfort. In an effort to make sure your bag doesn’t feel like a trip to hell or the polar vortex, this buying guide is designed to help you find a bag that is just right.

Sleeping bag temperature

Sleeping bag temperature

In order to avoid encountering the “too hot, too cold” dilemma that plagued Goldilocks, do a bit of research ahead of time. Determine the temperature of where you will be sleeping. What is the lowest estimated temperature you may endure?

Your aim when looking for a sleeping bag is to be comfortably warm at your environment’s coldest temperature. All sleeping bags come with temperature ratings. The temperature rating of the sleeping bag identifies the lowest temperature it can support to provide sufficient warmth for the average sleeper.   For example: A bag that is a “-6 degrees bag”, is intended to keep you comfortably warm if the air temperature goes no lower than -6 degrees Celsius. This is determined under the assumption that the sleeper is wearing one layer of clothing, a hat and has a sleeping pad under the sleeping bag.

Types of Sleeping Bags

types of sleeping bag

Once you have the entire temperature thing under control you must make the biggest decision in the Sleeping Bag World: Synthetic fill or Down fill. The two have their advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to you to decide which one is best for you.

Synthetic

The advantages of buying a synthetic sleeping bag are that you save a lot of money. Synthetic sleeping bags are great if you want to save money and if you’re expecting to run into some unruly and wet weather. Sleeping bags can be a pain to dry or nearly impossible to do when you’re out in the wild. A huge advantage of using synthetic is that it provides insulation when damp and it dries incredibly quickly.

The major disadvantages of synthetic sleeping bags are that they are heavy and bulky. This can definitely hinder your hiking and camping experience, especially if you’re planning to cover a lot of terrain. Another disadvantage of synthetic is how often you will have to replace it. If you’re thinking about transforming into a mountain man or an avid hiker, synthetic bags may not be for you. Synthetic sleeping bags have a tendency to breakdown, no matter how well you care for them.

Down Sleeping Bags

Many people prefer down sleeping bags because they are significantly lighter and warmer than synthetic bags. Additionally, down bags last much longer than synthetic bags. Although synthetic may be less expensive, deciding to buy a down sleeping bag may be more economical.

Down sleeping bags may sound like the hot thing right now, but there are some major disadvantages to this presumed dream boat. Down isn’t the best when you plan on encountering some water. Down does not provide insulation when wet and it dries extremely slowly. This can be a major bummer when hiking, not to mention not good for your health. If you are choosing to use a Down bag, make absolutely sure it will not be getting wet.

Shape

Sleeping bag shapes

Mummy

The mummy sleeping bag is popular among many people as it is the most thermally efficient sleeping bag of them all. It’s deigned to hug your body and provides extra warmth with a hood. You lose half your body heat through your head so the hood on the mummy is a very important feature.

Rectangle

Most sleeping bags are rectangular in shape. They’re great because they’re simple and give you a lot of room to move around in. These sleeping bags are great for summer camp or if you need to substitute blankets and sheets for a week or two.

Hybrid or tapered rectangular

This is a nice cross between the two previously mentioned above. This provides more insulation than the rectangular one, but allows you more wiggle room than the mummy.

Interesting facts about sleeping bags

There are a few other factors that contribute to how warm you will be in your sleeping bag.

Gender – Studies have shown women have a tendency to become colder than men. Just like clothing, sleeping bags are generally gender specific. Sleeping bags for women tend to be smaller, shorter and have different temperature ratings.

Padding – If you anticipate being close to the ground, think about investing in a ground pad. Not only will this be more comfortable than sleeping on the earth on a hard surface, its serves as a great insulator. You will be significantly warmer if you sleep on a ground pad.

Hydration-Staying hydrated increases the likelihood of being warm during your slumber. Drinking a warm drink before you tuck in is an excellent way to stay warm.

If you follow these tips from Twenga, you can hopefully avoid getting a ‘Goldilocks’ complex over your choice of sleeping bag and find one that’s juuuust right. And with any luck, there won’t be 3 bears on your case either.

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