Guide To Buying The Right Sleeping Bag: Follow These Tips To Choose The Right One – The Guide | Gmx Pharm

Sleeping under the stars should be a magical experience. Whether you are an experienced trekker embarking on a high-altitude adventure or a beginner taking your first steps into the wilderness, you need a good night’s sleep. The wrong sleeping bag can make you too warm to sleep or wake you up in the early hours wishing you had another blanket to wear.

With so many sleeping bags to choose from, it might seem daunting to buy the right one. There are so many shapes and sizes to choose from – not to mention the price tags – that you might not even know where to start. This guide will demystify the sleeping bag, explain comfort ratings, help you separate your seasons and why there might be a reason to care which side your zipper is on.


The first piece of advice most people will give you when it comes to sleeping bags is to determine the number of seasons you need. But what do the different seasons mean?

Bi-season sleeping bags are designed for summer camping as well as the warmer ends of spring and fall. Don’t be lulled into thinking that spring nights are necessarily warm; They can be some of the coolest nights of the year. These bags are typically rated at 32 degrees Fahrenheit+.

Three-season sleeping bags are rated from 20 degrees Farhenhiet+ and are suitable from spring to autumn. Most people who only own one sleeping bag will buy a three-season bag as it tends to offer the best warmth-to-weight ratio.

Four-season bags are designed for extreme winter camping trips and high-altitude expeditions. These sleeping bags are rated for conditions where temperatures drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, although the specific rating varies between sleeping bags.

Selk'bag Nomad portable sleeping bag compression stuff sack

temperature ratings

Sleeping bags usually have three temperature levels: comfort, limit and extreme. These ratings are a guide based on the average adult male in the US, so you may need to consider your own body and how warm or cold you typically sleep. Companies base these ratings on the assumption that you will be using a sleeping pad, an essential element of a warm night’s sleep.

The comfort rating is the optimal temperature for your sleeping bag. This rating should serve as a guide when purchasing your sleeping bag. Aim for the comfort rating to be your standard camping temperature.

A sleeping bag’s limit rating is the lowest temperature at which an average adult male is able to sleep through the night. You might not wake up because of the cold, but you will most likely be cold when you wake up. This rating is useful for planning spring or fall camping trips.

You should not examine the extreme valuation too closely. This is the absolute limit of your sleeping bag for survival situations. The extreme rating is the temperature at which your sleeping bag will keep the average man alive for six hours without risk of dying of hypothermia.

When starting out it’s always best to be a little more cautious when planning and expect it to be 5 to 10 degrees cooler than the forecast suggests. Sure, being too warm isn’t comfortable, but you can always open a little; it’s better than shivering all night or waking up cold.

Camping tent sleeping bag

To fill

Sleeping bags are filled with insulation to trap your body heat and create a barrier between you and the cool outside air. This insulation is usually made of either down or synthetic fibers.

Down filling offers a better warmth-to-weight ratio, which is why most trekkers prefer a down sleeping bag. These sleeping bags are lighter than synthetic sleeping bags and pack down smaller, giving you more room in your pack. Because down has a higher fill power than synthetic materials. Fill power is a test of how much the down can loft.

Synthetic bags use polyester fibers instead of down for their insulation. These fibers require more space to achieve the same level of insulation, so synthetic sleeping bags tend to be bulkier than down-filled ones. The key benefit of synthetic sleeping bags is their ability to retain heat even after they get soaked. With a DWR (durable water repellant) finish, down is slowly catching up, but when camping in wet conditions or in places where you’re exposed, synthetic bags still come out on top.

Patagonia hybrid sleeping bag


Sleeping bags come in either square or mummy shapes. Square sleeping bags, due to their limited technical characteristics and excessive volume, are more often used by campers who travel only in warm weather and in autocamp. They are far less restrictive than mummy bags and feel a lot more like sleeping at home in your own bed rather than a sleeping bag.

Most technical sleeping bags have a mummy fit, which is shaped to fit snugly against the body. This reduces excess material and insulation, saving weight and bulk in your pack. Mummy bags are warmer than square bags, while the slim-fitting design reduces the amount of air around you. Mummy sleeping bags can take some time to get used to as they can initially feel restrictive or difficult to get in and out of – especially when nature calls at night!

A sleeping bag compressed to an easy-to-carry size


There are two sizes of a sleeping bag: the pack size and the length. Most sleeping bags are available in a standard size (suitable for people up to 6ft tall) and in a long length (suitable for people up to 6ft 6in tall). Some companies also sell short sleeping bags that fit up to 5ft 6in. Shorter sleeping bags use less material and are easier to carry, but it is important that you have enough space. You want to be comfortable in your sleeping bag and have some space around your feet; Otherwise there is no air to heat up and you wake up in the morning with cold feet.

Pack size matters when you take your sleeping bag with you on a hike. Simply put, the smaller your sleeping bag, the easier it will fit in your bag. There are sleeping bags that pack down to about the size of your water bottle, but these are usually designed for warm temperatures and come at a high price. We’d all love an ultra-lightweight, ultra-small sleeping bag, but you usually find a balance with a medium-sized sleeping bag instead. However, try to avoid having your sleeping bag take up your entire backpack.

A man smiles while wrapped in a sleeping bag


Although the myth that we lose 50% of our body heat through our head has been debunked, we still probably lose around 10% of our body heat through our head. If you wake up cold at night, you might reach for your hat. Alternatively, you can tug on your sleeping bag’s cord and pull the hood tight around you to lock in that 10% of your heat. Just make sure your face is facing outward so you can breathe easily.

A hooded, zipped sleeping bag from Patagonia


We said we would come to the zip. It might seem strange that you can choose which side of your sleeping bag the zipper is on, but there’s a good reason for it. Unless your mummy sleeping bag has an unusually large opening, most people choose to open it slightly for getting in and out. By placing your zipper on the opposite side of your dominant hand, you make it easier to reach and zip or unzip your sleeping bag. So if you’re right-handed, you should have your zipper on the left; If you’re left-handed, you’ll want the zipper on your right.

To make getting in and out of bed even easier, make sure your chosen sleeping bag has a tear-resistant zip. Typically, the smaller your zipper, the more difficult it is to unzip and unzip your sleeping bag. If you plan on camping in cold weather, make sure there is a flap behind the zip to act as a draft excluder and prevent cold air from getting through your teeth.

You can also zip sleeping bags together. Sure, double sleeping bags are great if you always camp with your partner, but buying two sleeping bags with opposite zips allows you to zip your bags together and create your own.

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