Your sleeping bag will make or break your camping trip, so you shouldn’t rush into buying one. You need to consider how and when you’ll be using it and whether you’re especially sensitive to cold or heat. Let’s take a closer look at the things you need to know when choosing a sleeping bag.
The sleeping bag temperature rating
Seeing as sleeping bags are meant to keep you warm, the most important consideration is the temperature rating. There are usually two or three temperature ratings associated with each sleeping bag. The comfort rating is the temperature at which the average woman can sleep comfortably outside.
The lower limit is the temperature at which the average man can sleep comfortably outside. The extreme limit is the lowest temperature it can be used for survival by the average woman.
Bear in mind, these temperature ratings are tested in a laboratory, not in the real world. So we recommend getting a sleeping bag that’s a little warmer than you think you need.
As a general rule winter sleeping bags should have around a -9ºC rating, while summer bags can be up to around 2ºC. But you still need to consider the kind of places you’ll be using the sleeping bag.
A synthetic or natural filling?
The next factor to consider is insulation. This is why it’s so important to know where you’ll be using the sleeping bag most often. Synthetic insulation is usually made from polyester. It’s relatively cheap and easy to wash, but it’s not very compressible and it’s more on the heavy side.
Down insulation is made from goose and/or duck down feathers. It’s more expensive, but light and very compressible. It’s warmth-to-weight ratio is superior to that of synthetic alternatives.
However, down is more susceptible to moisture. It loses its loft and therefore much of its insulating power. Synthetic insulation on the other hand, retains its insulating capacity even in damp, humid conditions. Have a look at our Eco Trail 2C Synthetic sleeping bag or the 7C Synthetic sleeping bag.