There are important factors to consider when choosing a sleeping bag. You should consider its temperature rating, type of insulation, shape, construction, loft, volume, and bag accessories. Each factor presents the bag characteristics’ advantages and disadvantages. Here are some points that can get you in getting one.
When comparing the performance quality of sleeping bags, it is important to note its temperature rating. Nonetheless, there are other factors which affect your sleep temperature. These include but not limited to your level of hydration, environment humidity, surrounding wind strength and dampness. You should note that the elevated you are, the lower the temperature there is.
The temperature ratings of the sleeping bags are measured to know its thermal capacity. It is normally conducted on controlled environment. The testers also utilize heated dummy mannequins to represent the normal body temperature of potential users. In this way, the test can determine if the user can withstand the cold temperature while utilizing the bag for eight hours.
In this scenario, people have the option to get a sleeping bag with lower temperature rating or one with few degrees higher warming capability. Should the user deem that he can sleep with colder temperature, the one with lower temperature rating is the best choice. Otherwise, you can get the bag which has higher warming capability.
You should also take into consideration the temperature of your area on certain seasons. During the summer season, the temperature can go up to 15 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, there a negative 2 to -15 degrees Celsius temperature during the three-season. Lastly, you may experience extremely cold temperature that can go as low as -40 degrees Celsius during the winter season.
Types of Insulation
Insulation refers to the bag’s characteristic to keep the temperature warm. Nevertheless, there are multiple factors that also affect its performance. These include the bag’s shape and sewing pattern. There are two types of insulation – synthetic and down.
Sleeping bags that have synthetic fills are made of polyester threads. These are continuously spun in long filaments with staples. The bags have thin and thick strands. The thin pieces are used to fill empty spaces which help trap the warm air. On the other hand, the thick strands aid in making the bags durable. Here are some of the characteristics of synthetic filled sleeping bags.
- This type of bag is relatively less expensive.
- It exhibits a warm temperature when exposed to wet environment.
- It is hypoallergenic as it does not cause any skin reactions
- The material is easy to wash. It lasts long even when washed multiple times.
- It is heavy and resistant to being compressed. With this, it may lose its loft after
- some time.
Down insulated bags are made up of fluffy filaments of birth feathers called Plumules. Its quality is dependent on the bird type where the feathers are gathered. In general, bird feathers provide greater warming characteristic and thus, this type is very effective in doing this function. Here are some of the bag’s characteristics:
- The material is light weight and compressible.
- It is unlikely to lose its loft over a period.
- It is expensive than the synthetic type.
- This may lose its warmth after washing multiple types.
Note that the gathering bird feathers for down insulated type of sleeping bags should meet the Responsible Down Standard. The ducks and geese whose down are harvested from are prepared for food sale. They must be treated with high ethics standard. There should be no live plucking or feeding by force as animal welfare are well regarded.
Bag Shape and Construction
The warmth, weight and compressibility of the bag normally depends on its shape. Moreover, you must take into consideration its length as it should be relative to your height. You may opt to get a longer sleeping bag but make sure that the extra length is not too long. The unused space may make you feel colder.
Men’s and women’s bags come in different sizes. Generally, women’s bags are shorter than men’s. Furthermore, they have a narrower cut on the shoulder part and wider on the hip section. They also have more insulation on areas where women tend to get cold such as the feet and upper body. Provided below are some bag designs you can choose from.
1.Rectangular bags – Best on warm weather, this bag shape provides a larger room for you to move it. Nevertheless, there is an extra space in the bag that the user should heat up to have the same efficiency with narrower bags. These are great during camping activities.
This design type is the least efficient in terms of thermal insulation due to the extra room. Nonetheless, it can serve as a comforter when opened. Since it is heavy, there might be challenges in compressing it.
2.Mummy bags – Designed to minimize weight and maximize retention of heat, this design has a tapered narrow shape. It has a reduced space inside the bag. In addition to this, it has a hood which can be cinched over the head to trap heat inside the bag. They provide the best warming capability than roomier bags. The only down side to this is that it may be too fitting when used due to its small packing size.
3.Barrel bags – This design has a more relaxed shape than the mummy bag. It has more space and a detachable hood. This is a great compromise between rectangular bags which are bulky and mummy bags which are constricting. With this design, you are offered less warmth than mummy bag. Nonetheless, you can get a compact bag without the fuss of narrow sleeping area.
Volume and Loft
Volume measures how small a bag can be compressed in a standard sized cylinder under a certain amount of pressure. There are some bags which allow you to pack sleeping bags smaller than the standard. However, this may affect the loft after some time. Thus, make sure to shake it well upon removing in the cylinder. The loft refers to the measurement of how the sleeping bag is fluffy. It also dictates the warming capability of the bag. The higher the loft, the warmer the bag is.
Sleeping System and Liners
There are items which can help you achieve a warmer sleeping experience with your sleeping bags. A sleeping pad helps keep your body warm. This also helps with warming capability of the bag as the cold floor or ground can compromise the bag’s performance. On the other hand, sleeping bag liners provide additional warmth. This is great on areas with extremely low temperatures as it keeps the moisture from accumulating in the bag.