A good sleeping bag is the main element of your equipment since you will spend a third of your time, or even more during your independent outings.
So choose it well to guarantee you a pleasant and comfortable sleep, conducive to a good physical recovery. A restful sleep is essential to be able to face long days of walking and physical activity.
Your choice will be based on the conditions in which you will camping:, in a tent, under shelter, under the stars …, and under which climate.
Three elements are decisive for choosing your sleeping bag:
Warning ! The temperatures indicated on the sleeping bags are given as an indication, for use in good physical conditions. If you are chilly, take a sleeping bag a little warmer. You should also know that you will feel colder if you are more tired or have little or no food. Your body produces heat and your sleeping bag must preserve it. The two temperatures to be taken into account are the “comfort” temperature and the “comfort limit” temperature.
Namely that most of the time, the manufacturers only give the temperature “comfort” and “extreme” of use.
- “Comfort” temperature is the temperature at which an individual lying on the back in a relaxed position will be able to sleep comfortably in a perfect thermal balance without any feeling of cold.
- Temperature “comfort limit”: this is the limit temperature from which an individual curled up on himself in the bag will begin to feel a drop in temperature causing a feeling of cold.
- “Extreme” temperature: from this temperature, survival is brought into play with a high risk of hypothermia.
These three temperatures must comply with the European standard EN 13537.
The “comfort” and “extreme” temperatures are given for a woman weighing 60kg. The temperature “comfort limit” is given for a man of 70kg.
Filling: Down or Synthetic?
The down is lighter, more compressible, insulating, breathable and has a longer life.
But its maintenance is difficult and it must be stored uncompressed at home. Once moist, it loses its insulation performance and dries hard. Therefore, it must be coupled with a waterproof fabric a sleeping bag for use under the stars or in difficult conditions.
Synthetic lined sleeping bags are more resistant to moisture: they dry faster, are insulating and breathable, their maintenance is easier and their price is more affordable.
But they are heavier, less compressible and have a shorter lifespan.
The weight :
The higher your thermal bag performance, the heavier and bulkier it is. So if you need a bag that is both warm, light and space-saving, turn to the down-filled models. They are well suited for long hikes and treks where lightness and reduced size are paramount.
But if you do not need an extremely lightweight sleeping bag, then choose a synthetic upholstery model that will perform well, is more economical and will resist better in a very humid atmosphere.
Some tips for use:
The packing is compressed under the weight of the body, good insulation between the sleeping bag and the ground is necessary to avoid thermal bridges which cause the feeling of cold. For this use an insulating mattress. And if you have the opportunity, do not sleep on the floor.
If your bag is damp, then ventilate it and let it dry quickly.
To preserve the qualities of your sleeping bag, store it outside the compression bag and, if possible, unfold it when you are not using it.
To use your bag below the “comfort limit” temperature, consider using warm underwear with socks and hat.