If you are hiking or camping, nothing seems more inviting than a good night’s rest after a long day. It is necessary for you to carry the right kind of sleeping bag that will provide you with the comfort that you normally associate with home. However, it may be difficult to buy the sleeping bag that will be ideal for you, owing to the variety of sleeping bags that are available in the market today. It will take a lot of patience to choose among all the different kinds of bags and pick one that will meet your purpose. This is a guide that will assist you in making the right choice.
Complexity level: Moderate
Time required: 10-15 minutes
1. Temperature rating of the sleeping bag:
- The sleeping bags usually have diverse temperature ratings. The temperature rating denotes the lowest temperature at which the bag will provide warmth for the regular sleeper. You have to keep in mind the temperature of the place you are visiting and buy a bag accordingly.
- If possible, get a bag that will keep you warm at a temperature slightly lower than what you are expecting. Also, keep in mind the season while choosing a bag, because the temperature will vary depending on the season.
- In monsoon, you will need a bag that keeps you dry and dries easily. The temperature rating required by you will differ depending on your metabolism, age, gender and the clothes.
2. Weight of the bag:
- If you are hiking and plan on carrying a rucksack, it will be a good idea to buy a sleeping bag that is comparatively lighter. You will have to carry it on your back the whole time, and a heavier bag will only add to the weight.
3. Shape and size of the bag:
- Get a clear idea of the different shapes that are on offer, so you know what you will feel comfortable in. a rectangular bag offers more space and less warmth than a mummy bag. Also, there are different sized bags for women, children and for over-sized people. Choose one that will be convenient for you.
4. Fillings, Insulation and Fabric:
- These need special attention while you are choosing a bag. A down filling is warmer and lighter than a synthetic one.
- However, the synthetic insulation comes cheaper and dries far more easily. The fabric of the bag may or may not be water resistant.
- The fabric that is not water-resistant is breathable, hence not letting the sleeper get uneasy inside. On the other hand, it is a good idea to go for a bag that has a water resistant shell fabric if you are going to a place that is prone to getting wet.
Frequently asked questions:
1. How do sleeping bags function?
Sleeping bags function by trapping a layer of air that does not circulate. It shuts off this air from the air outside the bag, while the heat from your body warms the trapped air, keeping you warm.
2. Is it better to opt for down or synthetic insulation?
Down insulation is a better option as it is lighter to carry and will keep you warm. Down filling can be of many types. The best one to opt for is the goose down as it is much more durable. Down can also be compressed more and takes less space. If stored properly, these will last for many years. However, you have to be careful not to get the down sleeping bag wet. Once wet, they lose their properties of insulation to a large degree, and also need a long time to dry. Down bags are also more expensive than the bags with synthetic insulation.
3. What is the correct way of storing a sleeping bag?
The correct way of storing any sleeping bag is to store it loosely in a cotton sack. Do not roll it up tight as that will compress the insulation permanently and decrease the insulating properties.
1. Consider adding a liner to the sleeping bag and also using a camping mat as it will keep you warmer.
2. Keep your gender, age and metabolism in mind while choosing a bag.
3. Use a synthetic insulation if you are going to a place where there are chances of your bag to getting wet.
4. Store and clean your bag properly to prolong its use.
5. Make sure you have a clear idea of the weight of the bag before you purchase it.
Things to watch out for:
1. Do not buy a sleeping bag unless you are convinced of its comfort.
2. Make sure to not get your down bag wet as it will diminish the insulating properties.
3. Keep your budget in mind while buying a bag; do not buy something unduly expensive.
4. Do not compress the sleeping bags too tightly while storing it.
5. Make sure you buy the bag with the correct temperature rating to suit your needs.