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Choosing the right sleeping bag for your outdoor journeys can be overwhelming. And it’s probably one of the more complicated gear purchases. There are a lot of things to consider, like weight, packability, comfort, warmth, durability, etc. The first thing to keep in mind when purchasing one is to decide what activity you need a sleeping bag for. Are you planning to go backpacking? Or camping in the front-country? Shape, features, weight, and temperature ratings are the most important things to consider before making the big purchase. To help you out in making the right choice we recommend you also check the professional gear and gear guides at https://www.hykeandbyke.com. We did also try to put a short and comprehensive guide on the topic so you can make the most of your experience and avoid problems once you hit the trail. Let’s take a look!
Sleeping Bag Buying Tips
The different features, shapes, and fabrics of sleeping bags are what make them so complicated. So before choosing any type, you need to consider the bag construction. There are different types of shapes, like rectangular, double bags, mummy bags, specialized shapes, quilts, and many more. The rectangular bag is useful for recreational camping and allows you to spread in a natural position. The drawbacks of such a bag are the weight and less efficiency in keeping you warm.
Double bags are great for couples and it’s the most efficient way of keeping you warm. They are one of the heaviest and largest bags you can find, however, they are more of a technical pursuit like ultralight backpacking or alpine climbing. Double bags are a great option to cut on the packing weight.
Mummy bags are the lightest traditional sleeping bags. These bags can be quite claustrophobic for some people due to their design and features. The lightly sculpted shapes make them efficient and lighter than the rectangular bags.
The specialized sleeping bag shapes are semi-rectangular and mummy bags. Well, something in between. They are a good option for those who want to save on weight and not feel entombed.
Choosing Appropriate Fill
If you are going backpacking or bike packing, you’d want to choose lighter packing. And the bag fill needs to be appropriate. Synthetic is a better option when it comes to wet weather conditions and spending less money. You can go with the synthetic fill if you plan on camping near the water or in the rain. And more importantly, do not forget a sleeping pad. Sleeping pads will keep you warmer by insulating you from the cold and rocky ground.
Down-filled bags are filled with feathers and you’ll feel like you are in heaven. These bags naturally wrap the warm air and are extremely light so you will have a good warmth-to-weight ratio. They are ideal for camping and hiking trips. However, the down-filled bags are less water-resistant and are not vegan-friendly.
Sleeping Bag Liners
While the sleeping bag liners may be extra, silk or cotton liners can make a slight difference. They pack light and won’t take a lot of space. In climates with warm weather, you may not need a full sleeping bag, only a liner would suffice. Make sure you get the needed type of bag liners so you don’t have to change them afterward.
In different weather conditions, a variety of temperatures rising, summer-weight, or three-season bags can come in handy. Summer bags are usually thin and lightweight and are suitable for camping in the summer period. So, if you already know that the weather will be nice and warm, you can opt for a summer bag.
On the other hand, three-season bags are convenient for the fall or spring period. And sometimes in the summer. They are great for most temperature camping trips and will keep you warm on the fall and spring nights.
Winter bags are bulkier, heavier, and require more space. They are usually more expensive than the previous two types, but if you are camping in sub-zero and very cold weather conditions, it’s worth the investment.
Decide On Capacity And Weight
This might seem like a trivial decision to make, but it’s often crucial to determine the weight and capacity of your sleeping bag. Whether you are an ultralight or lightweight backpacker, capacity and maximum weight are two main considerations. You need to take into consideration the bulk of the gear and food you typically carry on a trip like this, so you can think of the total sleeping bag weight. Do not buy the lightest pack if you intend to carry more than it’s designed for. This might end in a disaster; while you get exhausted from the extra weight on your shoulders. And if you are not sure between two sleeping bag capacities, ask yourself whether you’d like a bag with more comfort or one that will suit you just right. Start planning your trip and enjoy the perks of the outdoors journey.