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How to choose a sleeping bag
When you’re out camping, having the right sleeping bag can make the difference between a good night’s rest and waking up tired and cold. Finding the right product that will help you stay warm throughout the night and fits all your needs can be time consuming, so therefore we will go through some things you should look out for before you purchase your first sleeping bag.
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Temperature rating and seasons
Sleeping bags comes with temperature ratings that tells you what the lowest temperature that particular bag can be used in. Some also tells you what season you can use it in also, but temperatures in seasons can vary a lot depending on where you decide to go camping.
Using a sleeping bag which is made for summer temperatures in a frosty climate can badly affect your health. If you go camping in different seasons all through the year, it’s always recommended to own more than one sleeping bag with different temperature ratings.
Sleeping bag materials
There is two types of insulation; down insulation which is made with goose or ducks feathers. And synthetic insulation which is made with poly-fibres. Let’s look at the pros and cons.
Down insulation: They are better at retaining heat and can be compressed down to a smaller size than a synthetic bag when it’s packed down. It’s also lighter, which makes this a prefered type if you plan on packing it down in a backpack.
The cons of this type is that they tend to easily absorb moisture and and takes a lot longer to dry. Therefore these are recommended to use in dry conditions.
Synthetic insulation: This is by far the most common material used in sleeping bags. They are easily cleaned and noticeable cheaper than its counterpart. They also perform better in wet conditions.
The cons are that these type is bulkier and therefore takes up more room in your backpack. They are also worse are retaining heat than down insulation.
Sleeping bag shapes
When in comes to shapes, there are also two different types which are the most popular ones.
Mummy shaped: As you can guess from the name, this type are shaped like a mummy. It’s wider at the shoulders and gets smaller down by the feet. This shape makes it better at retaining heat during the night.
Rectangular shape: This is perhaps the most common one. This is maybe the most comfortable shape to sleep in if you have trouble sleeping in a sleeping bag.The rectangular shape makes this type less effective at retaining heat than the mummy shape. They also weight more, something you could take into consideration.
Hood: A hood will help you keep warm by not letting the heat escape from your head.
Inner pocket: Handy feature for storing small items as keys, phone etc. Usually found at inside near the top of the bag.
Zips: Sleeping bags can be bought with either left or right hand zipper. If you are right-handed, you should choose a bag with the zipper on left side, and vice versa if you’re left-handed.
Outer fabric: Most sleeping bags are made with nylon-ripstop because it’s a durable fabric. Other popular fabric is dryloft, which is water resistant.
Pillow pocket: A pocket in which you can put cloth or camping pillows in to make it more comfortable.
There are a lot of small features on newer sleeping bags, and we won’t get into all of them here. They are mostly useful for more knowledgeable campers.