What kind of sleeping bags to choose

Whether you are camping on a mountain, hiking hut to hut or to try to get some nap on an overnight train, the kind of sleeping bag you have can either make or break your night. You may be having a sleeping bag that shows signs of wear and tear. Or maybe you just want to upgrade to a lighter or warmer sleeping bag. Choosing a sleeping bag is not easy as there are multiple things to consider.

For instance, before you purchase a sleeping bag, you have to know the location of the campsite, the way you are going to camp and the weather you are going to camp in. Even though choosing the right sleeping bag is difficult, the following tips will guide you in making the right choice. Read on.

The temperature rating

The temperature rating of a sleeping bag is responsible for identifying the lowest temperature at which the bag can keep the average sleeper warm. For example, a sleeping bag that is described as being a 20-degree bag means that many users of the bag are expected to remain comfortable when the temperature drops lower than 20 degrees.

Such ratings assume that the sleeper will be wearing a layer of long underwear as well as use another sleeping bag under the bag. Remember to use the ratings only as a guide because metabolism varies from one person to another and the temperature ratings also vary from one manufacturer to another.

It is advisable to select a sleeping bag with a temperature rating that is lower than the lowesttemperature that you expect to encounter. If the locations with near-freezing temperatures are your destination, then you should pick a 20 degrees bag instead of a 35 degrees bag. In case the temperature remains higher than you had anticipated, then you can easily vent the bag to provide more air circulation.

The Shape

Sleeping bags come in various shapes. The most common shapes are mummy, rectangular and the tapered rectangular.The mummy shaped sleeping bag is probably the most efficient of all shapes. It is wide at the shoulders then narrows down to the feet which means that the air that needs heating inside the bag is less. With this bag, there is little room to wiggle, and if you need to toss and turnin your sleeping bag, then this bag might be somehow restrictive. Mummy shaped bags are ideal for heat retention. If you are going to do some backpacking or car camping, then you should consider the mummy bag.

The tapered rectangular shaped sleeping bag looks like the mummy shape but not so much. It is tapered down to the foot o the bag hence its name and compared to the mummy shape; this bag offers more wriggle room, It is a good all-rounder shaped bag.

A rectangular sleeping bag is just rectangular. With this bag, there is more wriggle room, and it is best if you need a bigger bag with less weight. Also, this bag can be unzipped to serve as a duvet.


The fit of the bag goes hand in hand with the shape of the bag. You need to find a bag that suits you. As much as you consider the shape, size of your bag is also another important factor to consider.

The size of your body will determine the size of ag that you buy. For instance, some bags come in different lengths to cater for short or tall people. So when buying the sleeping bag, check and ensure that its length fits you.

There are also bags which are based on gender, meaning that some are female bags while others are for males. For instance, the female bags may be narrow at the top but wider at the bottom to create room for the hips.

Typically, women are regarded as cold sleepers so the female bags may feature extra insulation. The color of the bag does not determine the gender of the sleeper. So, just because a bag is colored pink, it does not mean that the bag is for ladies.

With some other bags, the fit will depend on the individual so it is advisable to try on the sleeping bag before buying it if you can.

Type of insulation

Most campers prefer the synthetic insulation as opposed to down insulation. This is due to its friendly price tag and its overall good performance. A synthetic insulator is made of polyester, and it has many advantages. Some of these advantages include; It dries quickly and still insulates even when wet, it is cheaper than the down-filled bags, durable and is also non-allergenic.

However, this bag cannot be used for backpacking as it does not pack down as small as a down-filled bag.

There is also another type of insulation known as goose-down insulation. This is normally provided in some camping bags. It offers a compressible alternative to the synthetic fill and is also more durable. The disadvantage is that it features a slightly higher price tag.

 There is also the water-resistant down insulation which loses its power to insulate once it gets wet. To alleviate the problem, some bags feature down which has been treated to protect the feathers from any moisture.

Extra features

The extra features of the sleeping bag include the following:

The shell and lining

For durability, the outer shell of a sleeping bag is normally made using polyester or ripstop nylon. Most bags that are synthetic-filled have shell fabrics that have been treated with a kind of finish known as durable water repellent (DWR). The DWR allows the water bead up instead of soaking through the fabric. The DWR is not used on the linings because the linings are used to promote the dispersal of body moisture. To test whether the shell features the DWR treatment, rub a wet cloth across the surface. The shell will be featuring DWR if the water beads up.

The hood

If you are camping in cold environments, then you are likely to lose a lot of heat through your head. To avoid this, you might want to pick a rectangular bag that has a built-in hood. The hood will prevent heat from radiating away when it is cinched using a drawcord.

Pillow pocket

There are some bags which feature pillow pocket where you can stuff your clothes to create a pillow. Some bags may also feature the stash pockets where you get to keep your small items like your watch, glasses or MP3 player, close to you.

Sleeping pad sleeve

To fit a sleeping pad, some bags have replaced the underside insulation with a sleeve. The benefit is that it prevents you from rolling off the sleeping pad in the middle of the night.


It is important that you do your homework very well before heading you to buy a sleeping bag. You can do this by visiting various websites and going through the reviews of different people about particular sleeping bags. Make sure that you get the right bag for you and your camping to avoid having to purchase another bag after discovering that the bag you chose is not right or you.