How To Choose The Size Of Your Sleeping Bag?

The majority of sleeping bags are now available in 2 or 3 different sizes. How to know what size to choose? Too narrow, it will be uncomfortable and too big, you may be cold …?


Let us consider today the ideal size of a sleeping bag. Most manufacturers offer sleeping bags of different sizes. Often one sees the mentions “170cm, 180, 190cm, 200cm, 215cm, 230cm or Short, Regular, Long”. But to what do these values correspond? This is what we will try to describe in this article.

A good sleeping bag at the right size for a good night's sleep!
A good sleeping bag at the right size for a good night’s sleep! 

Why have a sleeping bag suited to its size?

The lower you go in temperatures, the more you need a good quality sleeping bag, and the more the manufacturer’s expertise is accurate. You may hear of queen size sleeping bag and king size sleeping bag.

In very low temperatures, the sleeping bag, like the tent, becomes a real tool of comfort if it is adapted, but an instrument of survival if it is badly chosen, with sometimes serious consequences (frostbite, hypothermia, etc.). .).

The tent and the sleeping bag are two determining elements in cold conditions. Photo credit: Vaude.
The tent and the sleeping bag are two determining elements in cold conditions. 

The temperature of the sleeping bag (comfort, comfort limit, survival), the choice of the lining (feather or synthetic), the quality of the packing are important parameters to be taken into account when going bivouac.


The size is also another important criterion.
Here are some examples :

  • if we chose a sleeping bag a little fair, we will tend to curl her legs (so less rest). If it is desired to unfold them completely, it is possible to come into abutment at the bottom of the bag, and thus to compress the compartments of the feet or even touch the wall of the tent with the foot of the sleeping bag. In this case, the sleeping bag does not allow enough insulating power on the feet, with the consequences this entails: one has cold feet.This is also valid for the hood of the sleeping bag, so for the head sometimes too much.
  • If one chooses a sleeping bag too big, besides carrying weight and extra volume for nothing, your body will have to produce more heat to heat the largest volume due to the sleeping bag too large. Same as in the preceding case, a loss of heat and a more or less white night ensues.
  • When choosing a sleeping bag adapted to its full size, it is possible to put in a relaxed, relaxed position and having sufficient space at the level of the hood and at the level of the feet so as not to compress the feather or synthetic compartments. Even for those who put small material at the bottom of the bag (battery, cell phone, water bottle, camera, etc.), there is usually enough room to put them. If we are between two sizes and we have a lot of material to put at the bottom of the bag (ski boots, mittens, thermos, gas cartridges, etc.), then we will go over the top size.
The right size, both for the foot and head. Here a Mountain Hardwear Pinole 20 sleeping bag.
The right size, both for comfort on the feet, as well as for the head. Here a Mountain Hardwear Pinole 20 sleeping bag.

The lengths of a sleeping bag(tent sizes and capacity)- What size sleeping bag should I buy.

Some manufacturers communicate on the inside length of the sleeping bag (mostly) but some rarer communicate on the outside lengths. Be sure to check the advertised dimension. Maybe you heard of full-size bed tent canopy.

For information, here is a summary table of the correspondences of interior/exterior sizes of a sleeping bag:

Inside length
of the sleeping bag
of the sleeping bag
about 170cm about 200cm
about 185 / 190cm about 215cm
about 200cm about 230cm

If you measure less than 1.65m: Size S (short).

Not to mention the sleeping bags dedicated to children, if one makes less than 1.65m, it is generally advisable to pass on the sizes of sleeping bags indicated SHORT in 170cm of interior length.

If you measure between 1.65m and 1.80m: Size Reg (regular)

If you are between 1.65m and 1.80m, it is generally advisable to pass on the sizes of sleeping bags indicated REGULAR in 190cm of interior length.

If you measure more than 1.80m: Size L (long)

If you make more than 1.80m, you then go on the sizes of sleeping bags indicated LONG in 200cm of inside length.
Generally, these lengths of sleeping bags are suitable for people up to 1.95m. 
For cold temperatures in mountaineering, high altitude trekking or expedition, more and more templates between 165cm and 180cm choose long sizes to be able to slip down jackets, slippers, gas cartridges, batteries at the bottom of the bag in order to maintain them warm.
In mild temperatures, many walkers between 175cm and 180cm also choose Long sleeping bags but this time for reasons of comfort in order to benefit from more space 🙂



What about the amount of filling?

Logically, at equal temperatures, it would take more packing in a 200cm model than for a model in 190cm. Indeed, this is generally the case, but think about checking anyway! 🙂

Note: a specificity of sleeping bags SIR JOSEPH. The “women” models in 170cm have the same amount of filling as the models “men” in 190cm, for more heat.This being to relativize because, on average, there is a difference of 5 to 6 ° C in the eel of temperature between a man and a woman. So this same amount of denser packing will serve to blur this gap.

With the Sir Joseph sleeping bags, the amount of filling of a 190cm and preserved in a model “women” in 170cm!

Our opinion Montania

“… More and more manufacturers are proposing the same sleeping bag in different sizes, adapted to the morphology of each and every one. And that’s a very good thing.

The state of fatigue, the altitude, the hydration, the stress of the race to come, there are already enough criteria that will make one sleep more or less well. So do not add because of a sleeping bag not suited to our size!

Whether it is a bivouac under a tent on a hike, on a turn during a mountaineering race, during a distant trek, it is better to prefer the comfort of a good night restorative to attack the shape the following day 🙂 »

Photo: Col du Midi, Mont Blanc massif, Nicolas Defretin.

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