Campers look for sleeping bags focus on weight and the ease with which they can carry them. Family camping, on the other hand, is all about looking for comfort, size, and insulation, among other features. Thanks to technology, users can now find sleeping bags with these features incorporated in one. The next discussion highlights essential features users should look for when buying sleeping bags and the top sleeping bags they can buy.
How It Works
Sleeping bags trap and hold a layer of dead air next to the body thus keeping the body warm. The body heat warms the non-circulating air, forming a barrier between the sleeping bag and the air outside. If there is less dead air to heat, the body warms up fast. It explains why roomier sleeping bags like camping bags take a long time to warm your body as they have vast dead space.
What to Look for When Buying
- The Temperature Rating
It shows the lowest temperature the sleeping bag remains warm. A bag rated 200 F means that the user should remain warm if the temperature is not lower than this rate. The ratings indicated assume that the user is wearing a pair of long underwear and the sleeping bag is padded. There are three main temperature ratings; for the summer season (+35 degrees and higher), the winter season (+10 degrees and lower), and for the three-season (10-35+ degrees.) Experts recommend buying a bag that has a lower rating that what you expect; for example, if you are camping in areas that are near-freezing temperatures, choose a 20 F bag.
- Type of Insulation
Sleeping bags with synthetic insulation are the most popular among campers as they are low-priced, durable, and offer great performance. The polyester materials enable the bag to dry fast and insulate when it gets wet. The only downside to synthetic sleeping bags is that they don't pack down to a small size, making it less versatile for backpackers.
The other type of insulation is the goose-down which is compressible and lightweight. It insulates longer with fill-power ratings that range from 600-900. The fill-power shows the volume (in cubic meters) of one gram of down when fluffed up that traps the dead air. Thus, downs with 900 fill-power traps more air thus, keeping you warm compared to those with lower ratings.
- The Shape of the Bag
Sleeping bags come in different shapes to provide comfort and heat. Rectangular bags are the most popular as they are spacious and users can easily join them to create a double bed using compatible zippers. Campers and backpackers use barrel-shaped sleeping bags since they have a tapered design that offers great warmth. They are ideal for restless sleepers who prefer using snugly fitting mummy bags. There is also the double-wide bag designed to fit two people. It is spacious, and when the zips are taken apart, they form two individual bags. For those looking for sleeping bags that have narrow shoulders and wide around the hip area, the mummy bag is the best. Its slim-fitting design maximizes on the warmth while reducing the weight.
Top 5 Sleeping Bags
Winner Outfitters Mummy Sleeping Bag
It is designed for campers using cabins and tents in temperate conditions. It is made of high-quality 350T polyester that has a coating shell, making this mummy bag water-proof, ultra-soft, and rip-stop. With the bag's unique quilting construction and near-freezing temperature rating, users are sure to keep warm even in extreme weather. The mummy design keeps it lightweight and comes fitted with a SBS zipper that allows users to adjust the bag based on the temperature. As such, the winter outfitter sleeping bag can be used as a winter bag and as a 3-4 season bag.
Coleman Adult Sleeping Bag
The sleeping bag is ideal for family camping. It has a temperature rating of 40-60 degrees hence, used during summer and the 3-season. The zipper has a thermo-lock construction that minimizes loss of heat thus, keeping you warmer. The ZipperGlide construction provides a smooth operation when opening and closing the zipper while its Comfort Cuff feature adds a plush material on the edge of the bag for a soft, relaxing close to the face when sleeping.
Teton Sports Celsius XXL Sleeping Bag
- Comes with an Interior pocket for storing a phone or wallet
- The mummy hood that keeps the user's head off the ground
- Can fit more than one person
What We Did not Like:
- Its too bulky for hitchhikers
- May not keep small-bodied people as warm
This three-season sleeping bag has a unique SuperLoft Elite fill feature that keeps the user warm even in areas where the temperature reduces below freezing point. It has a mummy-style hood design that allows you to cinch in your head for extra warmth while keeping it off the ground. Teton sleeping bag also comes with a dual-layer stitching that rids off the cold spots as the padded draft tubes around the shoulder and the zipper keep your body comfortable. The zipper has an anti-snag feature that rolls smoothly when opening and closing the sleeping bag. It comes with a durable compression sack for storing the bag.
Coleman Adult Mummy Sleeping Bag
- Anti-snag zippers
- The bottom can be unzipped for extra ventilation
What We Didn't Like:
- It is heavy and bulky
The sleeping bag measures 32'' x 82'' long. Thus, it can accommodate people who are up to six feet tall. It features a mummy design that provides extra wiggle room for restless sleepers while its rectangular bottom leaves adequate leg room. This Coleman adult sleeping bag has a pretty tight fit that ensures the user keeps warm and comfortable. It is a 0-degree sleeping bag hence, designed for camping in areas below freezing point. The polyester material keeps the bag sturdy and durable as it does not rip easily.
Winner Outfitters Camping Sleeping Bag
- Can be used by tall, big-bodied people
- Snag-fee zipper
- Soft interior
What We Didn't Like:
- It is heavy and bulky
The winter outfitter sleeping bag is ideal for tall, round people who are hiking, traveling, or camping. It can be used in both cold and warm temperatures, i.e., between 35 and 85 degrees F. The 350G/M hollow fiber fill enhances its insulating performance and non-allergic feature. It also features a 210 thread count and water-proof shell that creates a soft interior for additional comfort. The high-quality zipper does not snag and is double-sided, so the user can close it when lying inside. It comes with a compression sack for easy handling.
Comparative Chart of Budget Sleeping Bags
|Winner Outfitter Mummy ||Mummy||8 pounds|
|Coleman Adult ||Rectangular||4 pounds|| |
|Teton Sports ||Mummy||7 pounds|| |
|Coleman Adult Mummy Sleeping Bag ||Mummy||7 pounds|| |
|Winter Outfitter Camping ||Mummy||5 pounds|
What is the Difference Between Women and Kid's Sleeping Bags?
Women's sleeping bags are designed to match a female's contour. They are shorter than regular sleeping bags and narrower at the shoulder region with a wider hip-length. The upper body and foot region provide additional insulation.
Kid's sleeping bags feature built-in sleeves at the bottom that hold the sleeping pad in place. This way, the bag and the child stay together throughout the night. Other bags have pad loops attached to the bag for the same purpose.
What are Some Additional Accessories used Along with a Sleeping Bag?
Apart from choosing the right sleeping bag, campers should carry a few accessories to enhance comfort during sleep. A sleeping liner comes in handy as it adds an extra layer of warmth extends the life of the bag and improves hygiene. It should be long enough to fit your body length and that of the bag.
Most sleeping bags come with carrying bags, so if yours doesn't have one, you can carry one to help you carry the bag easily. Most new stuff sacks are measured by volume, length, and width.
A durable storage sack comes in handy as it allows you to hang the sleeping bag loosely without rolling it up. It provideslong-term storage and prevents the insulation from getting compressed permanently, which reduces performance.
How Do I Wash Sleeping Bags?
Users can wash sleeping bags in an automatic washing machine using gel or liquid washing detergent. Regular detergents also come in handy, but it is not easy to rinse off, and the precipitates stick around the seams. The machine should be set at 30-40 degrees when washing and set at the lowest speed when spin-drying (400-600 rev per minute).
Should I Hang the Sleeping Bag on a Clothesline To Dry?
No, it is not advisable. Hanging the sleeping bag causes the fibers to break. If you are using a low-quality bag, the fibers may break down completely, causing damage. Spin-drying allows the sleeping bag to dry from both sides. Normally, sleeping bags get dry within a day, whether you are its hanged indoors or outdoors.
Should I Roll Up or Fold the Sleeping Bag?
No, rolling it compresses the insulation, which reduces its performance. Folding breaks down the fibers even further as the insulation gets extremely compressed, pulling the fiber further apart. The best way to store the bag is to put it in a storage cover that is several times bigger than the compress case.
Tips & Life Hacks
If you have used sleeping bags for a long time, the stuffing can clump together, causing it not to fluff up as it should. You should consider washing it to enhance warmth even after prolonged use.