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Selecting a Sleeping Bag

July 29, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

As human beings, sleep is one of the most important factors of survival. Without it, we would become emotionally and physically burdened. For this reason, it is critical that we choose the best type of sleeping bag before we go on a camping excursion. Surprisingly, there are many different types, depending upon what you are looking for.

Sleeping bag are wonderful camping accessories because they are lightweight, easy to carry, and comfortable. While they are affordable to purchase, it can be difficult selecting a sleeping bag. Thus, several factors should be taken into consideration. Size, comfort rating, shape, and even the amount of insulation are all very important elements to consider.

Surprisingly, sleeping bags come in an array of sizes, fitting every height and width. In order to be warm and insulated, you have to find one that fits like a glove. For this reason, you need to make sure that the sleeping bag you purchase is not too tiny or too large. After all, the more space you have, the more weight you’ll have to carry. Additionally, that extra space will only make it more difficult for you to get warm.

If you want to share sleeping bags between several people, there are unisex ones available on the market. Even still, there are also specially designed bags for women. These are designed to accommodate broad hips and narrow shoulders. Ever hear of a mummy bag? These are specially designed to keep your body snug, as they are wide at the shoulders and narrow at the feet. Meant to keep body heat in close quarters, these bags work wonders at keeping occupants warm.

On the other hand, rectangular sleeping bags are also quite effective. In this case, they are wider and offer more space to move. Unfortunately because of the additional space, many feel that it is difficult to stay warm. Seeing as heat can easily escape from the opening, this could be a problem.

Ever wonder how sleeping bags are rated? Normally they are categorized by the temperature that they can withstand. For instance, if a sleeping bag has a rating of +15 degrees, it can provide warmth when the temperature is near 15’ F. If you are thinking of camping in the colder months, make sure that the sleeping bag has a very low rating. Though ratings are important factors, insulation is another key component. If it doesn’t have a great outer shell, you could be wasting your money. Generally, sleeping bags are made with synthetic material that can endure both water and wind. From nylon to polyester and Gore-tex – it all depends on the manufacturer. We recommend that you avoid Gore-tex sleeping bags, since they trap moisture.

Not sure what sleeping bags are made of? Most are filled with goose or duck feathers. Sadly, if you are allergic to these items, you absolutely have to stay away from them. Fortunately, there are alternative synthetic materials that will replace the soft feathers. Still, it is important to remember that synthetic sleeping bags are much heavier. However, they are great for storing warmth and are not affected by moisture. Down filled sleeping bags are lightweight and often more comfortable, but do not do well when wet. They have a difficulty airing out, especially when it is cold.

If you are worried about selecting the wrong type of sleeping bag, don’t hesitate to try a few before purchasing. Make sure that you determine who is going to use this bag and whether or not it is for group of individual use. Camping during the summer? Sleeping bags with a zipper are great because you can let as much air in as you’d like.

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