Your sleeping bag can make or break your good night’s sleep. You don’t want to be stuck in your sleeping bag because you’re sweating so much, and you do not want to be cold. Are you buying a sleeping bag? Then it is more than worth it to delve into the many options beforehand!
Unfortunately, there is no single universal sleeping bag that you can use in all circumstances. You have them in all kinds of models, thicknesses, and materials, all with their own characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages. If you are looking to buy one, it is best to first look at the circumstances in which you are going to use it. Based on this, you can roughly divide sleeping bags into the following categories:
|1-season sleeping bag||Temperatures above +5ºC|
|2-seasons sleeping bag||Temperatures around zero degrees|
|3-seasons sleeping bag||Temperatures around -5ºC|
|4-seasons sleeping bag||Temperatures around -10ºC|
|Extreme sleeping bag||Temperatures below -18ºC|
Buying a sleeping bag? Choose the right model
Sleeping bags can be divided into two types of models: mummy and blanket models. A mummy model runs from the shoulders to the feet and has a hood. This type of sleeping bag is quite fitted around your body and the heat is better retained. It looks a bit like a Matroesjaka doll! A blanket model is straightforward; rectangular and you can zip it open completely. This gives you more freedom to move around and you can also use it as a large blanket. Good to know when you’re buying a sleeping bag.
There are three temperatures on the label, why?
It can be quite confusing: you are going to buy a sleeping bag for the first time, and you see three different temperatures on the label. Actually, you only have to look at two of them. The highest temperature is the comfort temperature. This is the temperature at which the sleeping bag is warm and comfortable for most people. In addition, you have the limit temperature. This is the temperature to which the sleeping bag should still be warm enough. This temperature can also be useful to watch if you get hot quite fast. The extreme temperature does not actually apply. This indicates to which temperature the sleeping bag protects you from hypothermia.
Your sleeping bag ain’t a heater
If only this was true, that would be easy and comfortable! Ultimately, you yourself are the stove that heats the room (the inside of your sleeping bag). Your sleeping bag is only the well-insulated house you are in. For this reason, it is best to get in your sleeping bag wearing as little clothing as possible. Your clothes are kinda like the isolation holding the warm air, so the air in your sleeping bag can not heat up. If you are cold before you’re getting in your sleeping bag, it’s better to go in with clothing (or perform some jumping jacks first). This will heat your body faster. But, make sure you’re taking off your clothes as soon as your body starts heating up. This will make sure the air in your sleeping bag can heat up further. Is your sleeping bag warm? Then clothing can provide an extra insulation layer.
You’re losing a lot of heat through your head. With a mummy sleeping bag, you can use the hood to preserve the heat. Make sure you always have a separate hat with you to keep your head nice and warm when the temperatures drop at night. Also comfortable: putting a thermos with warm water in your sleeping bag. It works like a jug!
Choosing down of synthetic?
Your sleeping bags’ filling is very important. You can usually choose from down filling or synthetic filling. Down can be very compact and light, which is ideal if you want to fit it into your backpack. In addition, it gives a lot of heat and has a wide temperature range. Sleeping bags with a synthetic filling are somewhat heavier and less compact to make. An advantage is that they can handle wet conditions and are more affordable than sleeping bags with down filling. Down loses its insulating effect as soon as it gets wet, synthetic sleeping bags do not have this issue.
Keep the empty space to a minimum
You want little to no empty space in your sleeping bag when you’re in it. This is all extra air that you’ll need to heat up and keep warm. They are available in different lengths, so look carefully when buying a sleeping bag! Yet it can be useful to have some extra length. You can use this to store your clothes at your feet so that they’ll be nice and warm the next morning!
Storing your sleeping bag
With most sleeping bags, it is almost impossible to roll them up neatly and then get them in the cover. Save yourself some effort and frustration, because you can just stuff it in the cover.
When you’re home, make sure you take your sleeping bag out of its cover and put it in a large bag or onto a clothing hanger. In this way, the material retains its original shape and it benefits the life of your sleeping bag. This applies to both down and synthetic sleeping bags.