What Factors Should You Consider In A Sleeping Bag?
Buying a sleeping bag to go camping is not something that you should take lightly. If you pick out the right sleeping bag your vacation will be a great one. However, if you pick out the wrong sleeping bag the chances of your entire trip being ruined is a real possibility. At Today’s Camping Gear we know that this can happen and we do not want to have your entire trip ruined by getting the wrong sleeping bag. So to help you out, we have come up with our guide to help you know what the important features are to consider in the sleeping bag you are planning on buying for your next camping trip.
How We Narrowed Down Our List
This was a huge challenge because each person has factors they are going to consider important to them. However, this is our list and that is going to make it ours to own and this is what is different because we rank all the factors based on what we want to find in a sleeping bag. Since we are using the information on what we feel as being important it is going to vary depending on what you want to have, but also makes a difference in how we view each of the sleeping bags that we have reviewed.
Type Or Style Of Sleeping Bag
When we are talking about the type or style of the sleeping bag we are going to talk about the rectangular bags, mummy style bags, and even the envelope style of bags. Each of these have their own benefits, but they also have some of the negatives as well. So that is the first aspect we are going to cover.
Envelope style of sleeping bags are meant to sleep one person and the flap generally is going to open in only one direction with the foot of the sleeping bag closed off. So this means you have to get into the sleeping bag like you would be getting into an envelope that you would be getting ready to mail out. In our experience this is a great sleeping bag that is nice, but at the same time may not offer the same amount of warmth you would want to have.
Rectangular bags refers to the overall shape of the sleeping bag. Normally you would never think about this, but this is a common style that was in the 80s and 70s sleeping bags. However, they are still a fairly common sleeping bag style that is being used in the world today. This is a style of sleeping bag that allows you to open up the sleeping bag and in some cases the bag can be almost completely unzipped. The shape itself is more of a rectangle than anything else.
Mummy style bags are the ones that are going to make you feel like you are a mummy. These bags tend to start off with a wide top, but taper off towards the bottom of the bag and in some cases will have almost a rectangular box at the foot level. What sets these off is they tend to be your survival type of bags or cold weather bags as they have a hood that will go over the top of your head.
Footprint The Sleeping Bag Takes Up
We like to hike and that often means making sure the sleeping bag will compact down to our backpack and be small enough that we can bring it with us. With that being the case we are really concerned about the footprint of the sleeping bag in two different regards. One of those regards is the amount of space it takes up in the tent, but the other is the amount of space it takes up in our bag.
When you are hiking you normally do not have a tent that is going to be that large. So this will be a factor you should consider because you need to make sure you have a sleeping bag that will keep you comfortable, but at the same time is not going to take up to much room in tent that you cannot roll over or have some extra space to change in without having to stand on your sleeping bag.
The other footprint we want to consider is the size of the sleeping bag when it is fully compacted down. This is a vital consideration to make if you are hiking because it can make the difference between having to strap the sleeping bag onto your hiking pack or being able to stow the sleeping bag into the storage compartment of the hiking pack.
Outer Shell Materials
When you are going out with a group to go camping you may want to know about what the outer shell of the sleeping bag is made from. This will help you know if the sleeping bag is going to be resistant to tearing, waterproof, or even going to help keep you safe from the other aspect of the cold weather with wind resistant fabric that is going to be in the sleeping bag to make it easier for you to feel comfortable.
Resistant to tearing is one of the major things we look for in a sleeping bag. Yes, I know that is an odd consideration to make, but we have kids. Kids are known to destroy anything you give them. I mean seriously, the saying give a kid a tank and they will destroy it seems to be very true for my kids. So we definitely look at the resistance to tearing in the sleeping bags outer and inner shells as a high value.
Water resistant or waterproof are a couple of other factors that we really like to consider as well. Normally we try to keep our camping to the nicer weather because we do not like getting wet and not having a campfire. So water resistance ranks pretty high as well because it will make a difference in if we stay dry on the day or not.
Wind resistance is something you may have never thought about again. The wind resistance is a factor that we do not really think about until it starts to get cold. When you consider the wind resistance it will make it easier for you to keep the wind out of your sleeping bag and know the wind chill will not be the bad part for your camping trip.
Type Of Liner The Sleeping Bag Has
This is going to refer more to the inner liner because it is going to make it easier for you to know if it will be comfortable or not. When you look at the liner you will want to know what kind of comfort rating the sleeping bag has. However, you will also want to make sure the sleeping bag has the right type of liner that is not going to make it sound like you are sleeping in a chip bag that you are opening up.
A cotton liner is going to provide you with the comfort of like cotton sheets. These tend to be more comfortable than what you think and they generally are going to make it easier for you to get comfortable in and know that you are camping, but are not going to make you feel like you are roughing it as much as what you could be.
The non-natural or synthetic liners are a great option as well if you are looking to find a sleeping bag that can help keep you warm. However, you need to realize that the more synthetic materials you are putting in the more likely you are to either develop an allergy to them or even worse have a bad night sleeping because of how the bag is going to react to you.
This is a factor you need to think about and that is the type of insulation the sleeping bags have inside of them. Some of the sleeping bags have an insulation that is not going to be that good for you to use because they are going to bunch up. However, their are some other insulation types that are going to have the properties you want to have in a sleeping bag, but also not bunch up on you. Here are a couple of the common types of insulation that will help you make up your mind.
Down filled is exactly what it is going to sound like. It is a sleeping bag that is filled with down, typically from a goose or a duck. These down feathers are what helps to keep the birds warm and these birds go swimming when the temperature is in the teens and lower so you know it works! The only downside is this is a type of fill that can trigger allergies if you are not careful so you need to keep this in mind if you are going to get a down filled sleeping bag.
Synthetic filled tends to be what most of the modern sleeping bags are made from. This type of filling tends to avoid a lot of the allergy issues, but they also tend to be able to adapt the sleeping bag to the temperature rating better as well with less fill. So this is the common factor that people are going to see being used in the sleeping bags today compared to what it used to be of just put in a ton of filling until the sleeping bag is warm enough.
Weight Of The Sleeping Bag
As we mentioned we like to hike to the camping sites. When we do this it often means we are the pack animals to bring everything to the campsite. While this is nice in some regards it can also be a pain as well. So we have the weight of the sleeping bag as a factor as well. The lighter the bag is with a higher warmth protection the better for us, but you need to realize that not all the sleeping bags will be this way. So you should check out the weight of the sleeping bag to know if you have a bag that will keep you comfortable, but also be at a weight you can handle.
Washing The Sleeping Bag Factors
Now this is something that you normally would never think about when you are camping. However, you need to know how you wash the darn sleeping bag! Face it the sleeping bags are going to start to stink after a while. This is very true if you are a hiker and plan on going into the woods deep in the summer. You will be sweaty and dirty when you lay down for the night and this often means you are going to make your sleeping bag nasty as well. So you need to find out what the wash setting is for the sleeping bags.
Hand wash is one of the common styles you will notice with the sleeping bags. This style is generally going to require quite a bit of work and can be labor intensive as you have to hand wash every part of the bag. Thankfully this is not as common as what it once was, but it is a pain to have to find a sleeping bag that is handwash only.
Machine wash is the other type and often the kind that you will find on the market today. These bags are able to be washed in the washing machine and will help you keep the sleeping bag ready to use. Not to mention almost everyone has a washing machine in their home or can go to a laundromat if they need to and get the laundry done to keep the sleeping bag clean.
Whew That List Is Long!
Well, that is our list from Today’s Camping Gear on what we consider when we decide to get a sleeping bag. Yes, the list is long, but it is the top 7 factors that we think about. Then we know for certain if we are getting a good sleeping bag or one that could easily tear up on us when we are getting ready to use it at the next camping site that we are heading to. Overall, the list is basic, but following the guidelines we posted you can easily find a sleeping bag that will provide you with the comfort and durability you want to have.