How to choose the right sleeping bag

Essentially the most significant part of camping is staying hot so knowing how to choose the right sleeping bag is a must. A sleeping bag is essential to sleeping comfortably outdoors. Whether you are enjoying a hot summer night at the rear of your pick up or backpacking into the countryside.

If you’re an avid fan of hiking and camping, then a sleeping bag is the most essential part of your backpack. Undoubtedly, a long day of tiring trail is enough to break your bones to an extent that one can only then demand for a comfortable place for a cozy sleep. In short, the choice of the right sleeping bag gets to decide how you will sleep at night. If one remains ignorant about this key aspect, it can severely damage your excursion trip.

Our guide on how to choose the right sleeping bag for you

How to choose the right sleeping bag

So, to help you get the best sleeping bag, according to your trip we have discussed the all-important essential factors you need to consider before choosing your sleeping bag. Whether it be weight, insulation, temperature rating, compressibility, or other such features, they all need to be properly dissected so you can get an idea of what you are going for. Indeed, these factors matter but what matters the most is what kind of trip you are going for as there are all kinds of sleeping bags available in market.

Sleeping bag season is one of the most vital factors when you are considering to buy a sleeping bag. We have dilated the different aspects below so you can choose for yourself what is best for you. However, we have also mentioned our picks as well.

Things to consider when buying your sleeping bag

Weight

Can be the most crucial factor. The ideal bag is the amalgamation of light weights and warmth. When comparing the bags for weights, look for those bags having similar temperatures. Last but not least, you have to fit it in your luggage, so look for optimal size for yourself.

Temperature ratings

Are considered the most essential factor. Staying warm during camping is paramount in choosing the sleeping bags. However, it is impudent to understand that every sleeping bag has its own temperature gauge. Therefore, choose a bag a bit lower than the temperature, you anticipate.

Types of insulation

are one of the most frequently asked queries among the backpackers. Whether you choose down or synthetic. It all depends on you, but you need to know that both have their own advantages and disadvantages. It is also known as fill.

Extra features

are always the plus points but they’re also necessary for a good quality sleeping bag. These features make your bag better than ever, they may include a built-in mosquito net, pad compatibility, stash pockets, an attached torch, and more.

Difference between backpacking and a normal sleeping bag

Usually, both are considered the same. Yet, there are three major differences between the two that allows backpacking bags to differ from sleeping bags.

  • They are more efficient which ultimately allows them to provide greater warmth for the weight.
  • Backpacking bags are lighter in weight.
  • They pack down smaller.

However, there is not any hard-fast rule or a clear line of demarcation between the two but one can go for both. Preferably, backpacking bags win the race.

Sleeping bag Tog guide

The sleeping bag tog guide plays an important role when going for togs. Togs are like sleeping bags of babies. Obviously, babies are really sensitive to temperature fluctuations and are prone to sickness. In this regard, their body temperature should be kept constant all night long.

A sleeping bag is similar to a classic blanket for a baby which is certainly more suitable than conventional sheets or blankets. Sleep bags consist of armholes and neck that are worn by babies usually at night. They keep the temperature of the baby intact and prevent the baby from overheating as well.

How can I choose the right tog?

The togs are crafted with great delicacy and expertise. Since, we need to know that togs are specially manufactured for babies, which are obviously sensitive. Therefore, they ensure consistency in temperature and avoid overheating as well. So basically, togs refer to the thermal resistibility of the sleeping bag. preferably, 18-20 degrees Celsius is regarded as the optimum temperature.

One must understand that tog is referring to the warmth the sleeping bag can retain so as the tog increases, the temperature retention increase as well. While vice versa in the case when lowering the tog.

Different togs and their accessibility for different seasons

There is a range of different togs available that are specifically designed for different seasons. This usually divided the sleeping bags into two types. The ones having the higher tog rating, warmer the sleeping bag is best suited for winter seasons. In the meanwhile, lower tog ratings sleeping bags are best suited for summer seasons.

Temperature
3.5 tog
2.5 tog
1.0 tog
0.5 tog

26°C (79°F)

   

short- sleeve bodysuit

24°C (75°F)

  

short-sleeve pajamas

 

22°C (71°F)

  

long-sleeve pajamas

 

20°C (69°F)

 

long-sleeve pajamas

long-sleeve pajamas and short-sleeve bodysuits

 

18°C (65°F)

 

long-sleeve pajamas and short-sleeve bodysuit

  

16°C (61°F)

 

long-sleeve pajamas and long-sleeve bodysuits

  

Under 16°C (61°F)

long-sleeve pajamas and long-sleeve bodysuits

   

All seasons 1.5 – 2.5 Tog Summer Seasons – under 1 – 1.5 Tog Winter Seasons – 2.5 – 3.5 Tog

Season guide/ warmth rating

Sleeping bags are designed to keep you warm. They are meticulously crafted and designed to serve the best user experience according to temperature. Now, what you need to know is that why this warmth or temperature rating matters so much? Sleeping bag season is a crucial aspect of a sleeping bag temperature. A temperature rating basically points towards the lowest temperature at which the sleeping bag is able to keep its user or sleeper warm.

Temperature ratings

However, as if now there isn’t any universal way of determining the temperature ratings. This gives the different manufacturers the leverage to make their own personal claims regarding their product warmth. Although these claims are mostly based on reality sometimes they are found to be optimistic.

While you must be getting worried about the false claims, a new standardized rating system has found its footing in Europe. It is profoundly called EN 13537 in Europe. On the basis of this standardized system, the bags are assigned a rating according to it:

  • Upper limit: is known as the highest temperature of the air in which a certain person is able to sleep with ease.
  • Comfort: It is known as the optimum or the average temperature at which the person can sleep with quite ease.
  • Lower limit: It is regarded as the lowest temperature of the air which the person can bear to sleep easily.

However, there is room for the development of a universal temperature rating standard. Until then our best bet is to rely on these standards and more importantly on our gut feeling.

How to choose an accurate temperature rating?

Now the big question is how to choose the right temperature rating according to your needs. How to choose the right sleeping bag is directly proportional to how to choose a temperature rating? These both aspects are co-related. The best advice you can get over this is to choose a sleeping bag with that temperature rating that will be lower than the lowest temperature rating you’ll encounter.

However, the sleeping bag season usually falls into three categories.

S.no.
Bag type

Season

Temperature rating

1

Summer season

Hot nights

30°F and higher

2

3-Season

Spring and fall trips

20°F and above

3

Winter season

Cold nights but not frosty

20°F and below up to 0°F

  

Summer Season

These bags are best suited for temperatures 30°F and higher. These are light-weighted bags that are designed with the least insulation factor so as to be as light as a feather. Usually, they are equipped with full-length zippers. It adds on to the ventilation factor as the bag can be completely unzipped for adequate ventilation in summer seasons.

Summer bags can be easily described as the simplest sleeping bags with the least amount of accessories. In addition to that, there are no hoods and collars attached. However, one thing all summer season sleeping bags have is the ultralight weight.

3-Season

These bags are perfectly suited for the spring and fall trips due to their optimum temperature ratings. Even if you are planning to have a trip to a mountainous area in hot summers, they can be used there as well. These bags are designed to counter the colder temperatures as well. In addition to that, the bag is properly equipped with all the added features to combat the cold weather.

Features like cinch-able hoods, zipper draft tubes, and draft collars are the essential part of 3-season sleeping bags. They are designed to cope with a mild cold temperature, however, don’t expect them to work against frosty cold temperature.

Winter Season

These stuffed sleeping bags are designed to cope with the frosty winter temperatures. The sleeping bags are manufactured to withstand the coldest of winters. However, once the temperature keeps falling below 0 than things can become a bit chilly.

Likewise, these bags are equipped with all the same features of the 3-season sleeping bag but at the same time, they are way bulkier. In short, they have much more insulation  compared to the other types making it perfectly suitable for winter seasons.

Piece of advice

Although, the temperature rating standard has a mighty effect on the choice of the bag. As there isn’t any denial about the significance of sleeping bag season factor. Still, you shouldn’t just rely upon this factor as the bag isn’t the only thing determining the warmth. The sleeping pad is also significant, personal metabolism, the clothes you’re wearing, tent quality, and the expectancy of drastic fluctuation in temperature. These all factors also play a major role, therefore, as we talked above, your gut feeling is your best partner in this case and an educated guess too.

Understanding sleeping bag insulation or fill

Like we have discussed above the most important aspect we need to consider before going for a sleeping bag. In the same way, comprehending the insulation of sleeping bags can help your mile when choosing a sleeping bag for backpacking. Just to get to things straight, like every camping bag, mid-layers.

Insulation type
Key difference

Synthetic

Bulkier, heavier, and cheap

Down

Lighter, expensive

When you’re looking for a sleeping bag, the question of a down or synthetic sleeping bag is the first one to face. Here we’ll pen down both the pros and cons of them, regardless of what you choose.

Down

It is regarded as the lighter, compressible, and more efficient insulation. The feature of higher compressibility makes it a perfect choice for all backpackers. In addition to that, it is more expensive and durable than the synthetic one. However, it all depends on the fill-power of the sleeping bag. The Fill-power rating of down is somewhere between 600 to 900.

This feature is a way of determining the quality of down. However, you need to know that all the downs aren’t created in the same way as their fill-power differs according to the needs. Moreover, a higher number of fill-power indicates the increasing warmth making it loftier for the weight.

pros:

  • works in dry conditions
  • Lighter in weight
  • Compressible
  • More efficient

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Not good in damp and moist climates

Synthetic

Unlike the down bags, they are best suited for damp and moist climates due to its sheer ability to insulate in wet conditions. It is made up of fluffy polyester material that cumulatively allows the synthetic bags to not absorb any water. There are several types of synthetic bags.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any feature like the fill-power to determine the quality of the bag. Consequently, you can’t evaluate the performance of different brands. It shall also be noted that these bags are comparably bulkier and heavier than the down bags. Still, they are best in the business if you’re planning to camp in rainy days.

Pros:

  • Best for rainy seasons
  • Cheaper than the down sleeping bag

Cons:

  • Bulkier and heavier
  • No evaluation parameter like fill-power in down fills for synthetic fill is there

Importance of shape/fit and their types

After having a general idea about the insulation and temperature factors, you should be wondering, will any type of kit/ shape be suitable for me? The answer is no, of course, therefore, manufacturers have developed different shapes and sizes of bags to accommodate the sleepers.

These different shapes of bags are delicately designed to appeal to different kinds of campers. Undoubtedly, each one of us has different tastes and choice, therefore manufacturers cunningly gasped the concept of appealing the mass by developing different designs. Let us discuss the renowned types below.

Rectangular

These shapes of sleeping bags aren’t suggested for outdoor camping. Due to the unavailability of taper cut through the legs, this shape isn’t a good option. But it can be a good option for backyard camping and maybe basements sleepovers.

Mummy

This shape is the most used one by campers throughout the world due to its efficient taper cuts through the legs. Consequently, making it the best possible option for any type of camping. The major priority is the retention of heat within the bag. While mummy shape is the obvious choice for fulfilling this demand and priority.

Mummy shaped sleeping bags offer less space making this possible but it can sometimes make the sleeper restless due to lack of space. Although, this does not fit here because it is spacious through the torso and shoulders. In addition to that, they are smaller to pack and comparatively lighter in weight.

Semi-rectangular

This shape lies somewhere between the rectangular and mummy shaped. These are considered the best option if you can’t compensate with the space of mummy shape but want more warmth than the rectangular. It is safe to say that it is comparatively a better choice of sleeping bags than the others. It is also known as a barrel or modified mummy shape bag.

Sleeping bag weight

Similarly, like the above-mentioned aspects, weight is also an essential factor to be considered before buying your sleeping bag. However, you need to know that the weight of a sleeping bag depends upon the shape and insulation too.

However, it is advised to always compare the bags of similar temperature ratings when you are going to compare the weights of bags. Similarly, there’s a common concept among the campers when buying the sleeping bags consider insulation fill weight as a rough indicator for bed warmth. In a nutshell, an ideal sleeping bag is a combination of lower weight and high warmth.

Compressibility of a sleeping bag

Compressibility is a modern-day feature that everyone looks for in a sleeping bag. A compressible sleeping bag can be described as a bag that can be easily stored without struggling to get it in a small backpack. Either the bag is filled with synthetic or down insulation. However, down fill is considered to be the most compressible as they are packed the smallest. In addition to that, they are the light-weighted ones too.

There is an obvious benefit of a compressible sleeping bag that they are accommodated in a much lesser space in a backpack or your car. Moreover, you should be cautious when the bag is compressed, ensure not to keep it there too long as it can damage the bag.

Why it is so important to store a bag?

The way it is stored by you is vital. You should not stuff your sleeping bag in your the backpack instead be sure to roll or fold it. Your bag can be damaged by pressure points. Especially down sleeping bags are sensitive. You shouldn’t compress them, it’s far better for the material. The incorrect way could also damage the fibers making it more prone to rip. Many manufacturers produce extra storing bags for the down fill bags

In a nutshell, compressibility may not seem like a very important feature until you are in the real life setting and struggle to get your sleeping bag back in your backpack.

Final thoughts

If you were looking for the answer, on how to choose the right sleeping bag then we hope the above guidelines must have cleared the doubts in your heads. Still, it is advised to observe things and materials on the spot. Be sure what kind of weather, you’ll be dealing with and only then choose your cozy sleeping bag. After all, a long day of tiring trail deserves a cozy rest. The sleeping bag season in an inevitable factor that you must consider.

Therefore, we have enlisted some of our favorite sleeping bags with their essentials and add on. These bags fulfill all the above conditions and are the best solution to your tiring trails.

Vango Aurora Double

It is a 3-season sleeping bag and is quite famous among the campers around the world. However, the astounding part about this sleeping bag is its supreme double layer of insulation and plush of 100% cotton flannel lining. The supreme and luxurious double lining of the sleeping bag provides enough warmth to sustain at lower temperatures.

Shape

The square shape of the bag makes it spacious for free movements. With its delicate and sophisticated design, it ensures that your night shall be well spent. Moreover, the bag is capable of separating into two bags as well to meet the needs of campers. It is designed in such a way that it’ll give an everlasting relaxing sleep that you haven’t experienced before.

Undoubtedly, it is a unique design with the added luxury of free pillows with it too. Well, you can’t possibly resist this bag, if truly understands the value of this craft. Still are you worried about the cold? Well not anymore, as it is capable of withstanding the pretty cold weather.

Highlander Echo Sleeping Bag Technical

If you are an avid fan of camping and nothing stops you from doing it. No need to shy away or hesitate from the rough weather conditions. Nothing should stop you from doing what you love. However, you can’t deny the catastrophes of the harsh weathers but a highlander echo sleeping bag has got you covered. We rate this sleeping bag in high esteem due to its commendable durability.

This camping sleeping bag is rightfully designed to withstand any kind of harsh weather conditions. If you are looking for the right camping gear and a rightful companion for harsh weather, then don’t look any further. If you love camping in frosty winters, then temperature rating should be highly considered. Since the highlander echo sleeping bag is capable of bearing temperature up to -7°C.

Shape

The bag is a mummy shaped tapered to the bottom. While a 3D insulated neck baffle that is considered best for providing optimal temperature. The bag is filled with warm synthetic fabric which allows it to easily get washed in the washing machine. While the sleeping bags are designed in different shapes and sizes according to the needs of campers.

Summing up this sleeping bag, it is the best bag for backpackers and mountaineers. They are perfectly designed for each and every gender.

The highlander echo is really known for its warmth and insulation. Everyone who utilized it is pleased with the goods and its quality. An excellent insulation substance is one that will trap air economically and thus create a barrier that prevents heat reduction. The echo four hundred is full of a technical fabric called QFX3D that’s lighter than the normal filings.

Coleman Hampton sleeping bag

Coleman Hampton easily walks down in our list due to its wide usability. It is widely regarded as the best sleeping bag for family vacations. A soft and over-sized bag perfectly designed to accommodate two persons. If you need a spacious sleeping bag that is able to accommodate up to two persons then look no further as this sleeping bag is the camper’s favorite.

It’s time to sleep calmly and escape from the restlessness in the outdoor. If you’re planning a camping trip with your family, then this bag has got you covered. In fact, this isn’t the only perk this bag has to offer as it is the easiest to carry so you can fly to your destination with ease and then enjoy the serene scenery of stars above you with profound ease. It isn’t one of those bags that occupy more trunk space.

Insulation

It is well insulated with coletherm. Consequently, it isn’t a bad option for biting cold weather as well. In addition to that, the texture of the sleeping bag is also commendable. In spite of every good feature and different add ons, the final of the product isn’t very satisfactory.

The more expensive size, rectangular design and style, and cotton liner make certain that this extra ample tote is perfect for camping, caravanning or if entertaining visitors in the home.

We really hope our guide on how to choose the right sleeping bag, will help you make your decision. If you or your friend has recently purchased one, do share your experience with us.

If you think we have missed a must-have tip on how to choose the right sleeping, please do get in touch we would love to hear from you and love your suggestions, it could be something we haven’t yet tried,  that everyone needs to know about.

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