How to Choose Sleeping Bags for Camping

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While backpacks focus on weight reduction, sleeping bags for car or family camping are all about comfort. What is the best sleeping bag for you? This article discusses the features to look for when buying a sleeping bag for camping car.



Sleeping bag temperature rating


The temperature index of a sleeping bag identifies the lowest temperature at which a bag is meant to keep the average sleeper warm. When a bag is described as a “20-degree bag”, this means that most users should remain comfortable if the air temperature does not drop more than 20 ° F. These notes assume that the sleeper Wearing a layer of long underwear and using a sleeping cushion under the bag.

The metabolism varies from person to person, and the temperatures of the sleeping bags vary from one manufacturer to another. Use these ratings as a guide only, not a warranty.

Sleeping bags are typically classified as follows:

Bag Type Temperature Rating (° F)
Summer season + 35 ° and more
+ 10 ° to + 35 °
+ 10 ° and lower
Note: Most camping bags have a nominal temperature of + 15 ° F to + 50 ° F.

Select a sleeping bag with a lower temperature than the lowest temperature you would expect. If you are going to near freezing temperatures, choose a 20 ° F bag instead of a 35 ° F bag. If the temperatures remain above those predicted, you can easily ventilate the bag to provide more circulation air.


Sleeping bag shape

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Sleeping bags keep you warm by trapping and holding a layer of “dead” air (non-circulating) next to your body. The warmth of your body heats this dead air, and the bag forms a barrier between it and the colder ground or the outside air. The more heat in the air, the faster you heat up and stay warm. The camping bags are more spacious than the backpacks for greater comfort, the compromise being a less effective warming of this dead space.


Most camping bags are designed with a rectangular shape for maximum comfort and livability. If you choose 2 bags with compatible zippers, it’s easy to combine them and create a double bed. You can associate bags if one bag has a “right” zipper and the other a “left” zipper. (Note: a straight zipper means the bag opens and closes to your right when you are lying in the bag on your back.) Zippers should also have the same size, style and size Nearly the same length. You can install 2 bags on a queen air mattress for the most comfortable sleep outside.

Semi-phased (or barrel-shaped)

These can be used for camping and hiking. Their conical design offers greater warmth and efficiency than rectangular bags, but they are still very spacious to sleep comfortably. They are popular with larger scale combines or rough sleepers that do not like the tight fit of a mom bag.


If you think you are going to go hiking as well as camping car, you may want to choose a Mummy cloth sleeping bag. Mummy bags have a wide shoulder and hip thickness to maximize heat and reduce weight. However, some people find it hard to feel comfortable in these more restrictive bags.

Double Width

Designed to comfortably accommodate 2 people, spacious double width combinations can be combined with an air mattress (or foam mattress) to sleep comfortably. Most models come off to create 2 individual bags.



Type of sleeping bag insulation


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Synthetic insulation

Most campers choose synthetic insulation (against fall insulation) for its strong overall performance and friendly price tag. Typically polyester, a synthetic filling has many advantages: it dries quickly and isolates even if it gets wet. It is less expensive than panic filled bags, it is durable (resists children and dogs) and it is non-allergenic. However, synthetic insulation does not degrade as low as down, so it is less versatile if you plan to use your bag for hiking too.


Goose insulation

Offered in some camping bags, it offers a more resistant and compressible alternative to synthetic filling but presents a slightly higher price.

Water-based insulation

The disadvantage of the drop is that it loses its insulating power when it gets wet. To help alleviate the problem, some sleeping bags have been treated to protect the feathers from moisture.
Sleeping bags for women and children
Sleeping bags for women: they are specifically designed and designed to fit the contours of a woman. Compared to standard bags, the women-specific bags are shorter and narrower at the shoulders, wider at the hips and add extra insulation to the upper body and the foot box.


Sleeping bags for children

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when children have a good night’s sleep, then. Some models have an integrated cuff at the bottom of the bag. This holds the sleeping cushion so your child, bag, and pad stay together all night. (The other bags accomplish the same with cushion buckles that attach the cushion and the bag). Pillow pockets allow you to put on a jacket or backcountry cushion to create a comfortable place for the children to get up. The outside pockets on the bag keep the shelves of young explorers, MP3 players and camping memorabilia easily accessible.


Additional features of the sleeping bag


Shell and lining of sleeping bag

The outer shell of a cloth sleeping bags is typically made of nylon or polyester ripstop for durability. Many synthetic filling bags feature a shell fabric treated with a durable water repellent finish (DWR). DWR allows the water to pierce rather than soak through the fabric. The coatings, on the other hand, promote the dispersion of body moisture, so DWR is not used here.

To know if a shell has a durable water repellent treatment (DWR), rub a damp cloth over the surface. If the water goes up, then it has a DWR.

Sleeping bag hood

Camping in cooler temperatures? You will lose a lot of heat in your head. Consider a semi-rectangular bag with a built-in hood. When tightened with a pull cord, the hood prevents heat from moving away. Some hoods offer a pillow pocket that you can make with clothes to create a sleeping bag with pillow.

Stash pocket

This keeps small objects, such as an MP3 player, a watch or glasses, handy.

Sleeping Bag sleeve

On some bags, the insulation from below has been replaced by a sleeve to accommodate a sleeping cushion. The result: more rolling sleep pad in the middle of the night!

Pillow case

Most of us need a pillow for a comfortable sleep. Some bags include a “pillow pocket” that allows you to put your clothes inside to create a pillow. You can also buy camping pillows or, if you have room, simply bring your own pillow at home.


Sleeping bag storage bag


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Many bags come with a bag of tricks (sometimes sold separately) to easily carry your bag. New or replacement bags are now sized in volume (liters) in addition to the length/width dimensions.

Storage bag:

You can extend the life of any sleeping bag by hanging it in your garage or storing it in a cotton storage bag and not wrapping it in a bag. This long-term storage prevents the insulation from being permanently compressed, which reduces its insulating properties.

Lining for sleeping bag

Slide a soft sleeping bag liner (sold separately) into your bag to minimize wear and keep the bag clean. Padding in a liner adds heat from 8 ° to 15 ° F, allowing one bag to serve you in a wider range of temperatures. Camping in warm weather? Pass the bag and just sleep in the liner.

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