Sleeping Bags – How to Pick the Right One

When shopping for sleeping bags to be used in a camping environment, your first concern is to choose one that will keep you comfortable and able to get a good night’s sleep. That usually means keeping you warm and since sleeping bags are designed for specific temperature ranges it is a simple process to select one that is rated to keep you warm at the coldest temperature you expect to encounter. Sleeping bags are an essential part of your camping equipment. They function well in the tent or outside. They are very light and compress to a small size so they are easy to carry if you are backpacking.

Sleeping bags are either synthetic-filled or down-filled. The most important difference between synthetic and down is their ability to dry if wet. The down bags retain moisture longer and the fill tends to clump when wet as opposed to the synthetic which dries faster and does not clump. Nylon is the standard outer shell. It is light, strong, and the most breathable.

Temperature ratings in sleeping bags are general guidelines, not absolutes. The ratings are determined by the manufacturer according to the lowest temperature at which the sleeping bag will keep you comfortable. When deciding on the temperature rating of your bag, it is a good idea to choose one that will keep you warm at the lowest temperature you might expect on your camping excursion. In the spring or summer months you’ll probably choose a bag rated at 35 degrees F or higher. On the other hand, for higher altitudes and colder times of the year you can select bags rated at -10 to +20 degrees F. And in extreme winter conditions, you will want a bag rated even lower than -10 degrees F.

The shape of the sleeping bag you choose may depend upon whether you will be camping near your vehicle or backpacking your tent and sleeping bag to your campsite. Camping bags are roomier than backpacking bags and provide greater comfort. Backpacking bags are often the down filled variety and therefore weigh less and are usually of the mummy bag design. Most rectangular bags can be zipped together to form one large sleeping bag, as long as the zippers are compatible. You can buy left and right zipper models for this particular purpose. With two mummy bags it’s a little trickier to zip them together, but it is still possible. Rectangular bags are popular with some because they can be converted to a quilt and provide a lot of room to move around. Top-bags have mesh or fabric bottoms with all the insulation on the top of the bag, relying on a sleeping pad to provide insulation. Rectangular bags are those generally used by casual campers or children for sleep overs. These kinds of bags are often of simple rectangular construction, usually without a hood and have a zipper along much of their length.

Whether your choice of sleeping bags is down-filled or synthetic, rectangular or mummy shaped, a necessary accessory is the ground pad. Not only will a pad keep those rocks, roots and other impediments from spoiling your sleep, it will insulate you from the chill or dampness of the ground beneath your sleeping bag. In fact, if you are car camping or only packing your camp supplies a short distance; you may even want to consider an inflatable air mattress. From someone who has spent many weeks tent camping; getting a good night’s sleep is critical for an enjoyable camping experience. michael kors satchel bag

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