Guide to Choosing a Sleeping Bag
There are many types of sleeping bags available. Things you will need to consider when deciding on what sleeping bag to buy:
What is the temperature and climate where you camp going to be like?
Temperature ratings of sleeping bags assume that the camper is going to be using a ground pad with the bag.
If you will be using the sleeping bag mostly in the summer months or in a house, cabin, or RV, then a simple rectangular sleeping bag or a summer season sleeping bag should be sufficient.
If the moderate to cold weather is more your style, then you want to buy a sleeping bag that is designed to keep you warm. When planning a trip in colder weather make sure you have an idea of what the coldest temperature will be and select a sleeping bag that is rated for that temperature.
Will you be carrying the bag on your back, in a canoe or in the trunk of your car?
If you will be carrying your sleeping bag in the trunk of your car, then your choice is not important.
If you plan on carrying your sleeping bag on your back or canoe, then you will have to consider size and weight of your bag. When choosing, consider the following:
Mummy bags are a great choice for backpackers that will be carrying the bag. By their design, they are narrowly cut. This can decrease a bag’s weight by up to a half-pound.
Down insulation is a great choice, especially for backpackers. Down is light and packs compactly. When you are ready to use the bag, the loft comes back easily with a couple of shakes.
Synthetic-filled bags usually weigh more and take up more space than down filled, but they are great in wet conditions. Synthetic-filled bags continue to insulate when wet and they dry quickly. For this reason, synthetic-filled sleeping bags are a good choice for camping in wet conditions and for canoe and kayak trips.
What shape do you prefer to have in a sleeping bag: rectangular, rectangular with a hood, or a mummy shape.
Rectangular sleeping bags give you more room but do not hold in the heat as well. If you prefer to move around and have some room when you sleep and keeping warm is not a priority than a rectangular sleeping bag may be your best choice.
Rectangular bags usually do not have a hood that can keep your head warm. Rectangular sleeping bags with hoods are a good alternative. These bags are a combination of the hood of a mummy bag and the space of a rectangular bag. Remember, because these bags have more room, they will not hold the heat in as efficiently as a mummy bag.
The mummy bag is a smaller size and therefore there is not as much room to move around. This smaller size requires less energy to heat up at night than the larger rectangular bag, which has more air space. Also, mummy sleeping bags have a hood to keep you head warm and heat loss at a minimum. Mummy bags are a good choice if space, size, weight, and keeping warm are important.