Buying the best sleeping bag 2017 is going to be easy after you read this simple buying guide. Most beginner outdoor adventurers think that buying one is so easy. After all, it is just a matter of going to the outdoor and sports store, choosing what you fancy and then paying for it. However, to get the full value for your money, you sure do not want to buy a womens sleeping bag blindly. You want to invest your money in a product that will last you years of use in the outdoors. The general advice when you are buying things online is to find information first, then buy. That is why I compiled this short article to help you to not only get a good sleeping bag for your hiking vacation, but get one that will last a long time.
Most important things for choosing the best sleeping bag
Sleeping bags come with two types of insulation mostly – down or synthetic. However, sometimes, there can be more specialization like waterproof down insulation. This is where the down fill is treated with chemicals to make it waterproof. Such a sleeping bag will be expensive, but it is well worth the price.
Down insulated sleeping bags are also referred to as goose down because to a large extent, they are filled with the inner feathers of geese. These are referred to as “down feathers”. Natural insulation is very warm and such sleeping bags may cost a higher price than their synthetic counterparts.
Synthetic insulation just means that the sleeping bag is filled with synthetic material for insulation. Mostly, this is polyester. This is the most popular kind of fill in the market today since it dries quickly, is long lasting, cheap and it can stand a lot of abuse.
This is very important because it will face all the abuse. When you drag the sleeping bag on the ground, the shell will take the abrasion, the sticks, the stones and the sharp pebbles. Thus, you need a shell that can withstand a lot of abuse. Make sure that your sleeping bag shell is made with ripstop polyester or nylon and that it is capped with durable water repellent (DWR) finishing. This is the kind of finishing that makes the moisture to bead up and roll off rather than soaking it.
This is the topmost consideration because when you buy a children, women’s or men’s sleeping bag, it means you are going to use it in the outdoors mostly. Please note that there is no surefire way of buying the bag with the right temperature rating, because of a few things as illustrated below:
- The sleeping bag works by a very simple technique. As you zip it up, there will be some dead air trapped inside the sleeping bag. Your body heat will then warm this dead air and it will keep you warm until morning. The sleeping bag will act as a buffer between the warm air surrounding your body and the cold air outside.
- Some people are cold sleepers meaning their body hardly emits heat when they sleep. Such people would need a sleeping bag with low temperature rating.
- Some people are warm sleepers meaning their bodies exude more heat when they sleep. The differences in metabolism cause this.
When you go to the store or order online, just buy a sleeping bag that is best suited for the season in which you are hiking. Here are few tips to help you further to buy the rightly rated sleeping bag:
- Sleeping bag for winter – +10° Fahrenheit/-12° Celsius or lower
- Sleeping bag for summer – +35° Fahrenheit/ 1.7° Celsius or higher
- 3 season sleeping bag – +10° to +35° Fahrenheit/-12° to 1.7° Celsius
As they say, the burden of proof is on you. It is your mandate to find out the lowest temperatures of the places where you will be camping so that you can buy a sleeping that has a temperature rating that is some degrees lower than the temperature that you expect to encounter.
Does shape matter? Very much so, it does. If the shape is snug, for example, the mummy shape, and close to the body, you will get warm faster and it will keep you warmer for a longer time.
Mummy-shaped sleeping bags – Although some people find it troublesome getting into the Mummy-shaped sleeping bags, which are narrower, these are narrower and get warmer faster. They also stay warm for longer. Just as the name suggests, these bags are narrow at the hips and shoulders. This sleeping bag is for campers who sleep peacefully.
Barrel-shaped sleeping bags – As their name suggests, these camping sleeping bags are wider on the upper part and narrower on the lower side. Also called semi-rectangular, these bags are more efficient than the rectangular bags. This is a good sleeping bag for people who toss a lot in their sleep as it gives more space than the mummy sleeping bag.
Rectangular sleeping bag – This is big enough for large framed people. However, because of the large space, it does not warm up as fast as the mummy, or the semi-rectangular-shaped sleeping bag. Most people love buying these sleeping bags because two can be zipped up to form one large sleeping bag that can be shared by mom, dad and a kid in the middle. However, for this to happen, the zippers have to be compatible, and the sleeping bags have to be of the same design.
Other features to consider in the best sleeping bag
Shell, fill, shape and temperature rating are not the only considerations when you are buying a sleeping bag. There are a few more extra features to look out for:
Stash pocket – If it has a pocket or two, all the better. You can keep your personal items like wallet, iPod, sunglasses and many more. These pockets keep you organized even as you sleep.
A pillow pocket – This is just that, a pocket or small case where you can stash your clothes to make a pillow. Makes for sound sleep on the ground.
A sleeping pad sleeve – This is becoming more of a standard feature in many sleeping bags today. It allows you to attach a sleeping pad securely such that you do not roll off the pad at night. The sleeve replaces the underside insulation.
Hood – Some bags come with an inbuilt hood for insulating the head region as that is where most sleeping bags lose heat. The hood comes with a drawstring and it may have a pillow pocket for more elevation.
Buy a gender-specific sleeping bag
Women have narrower shoulders but broader hips. Thus, the sleeping bags for women will be made with such features in mind. Men have broader shoulders and narrower hips. Men also tend to be heavier and therefore their sleeping bags are made with such factors in mind. What we mean to say here is that women’s sleeping bag may be ill fitting when used by a man. There are sleeping bags for children too.
Price of the sleeping bag
Seeing as your beauty sleep is so important when you take your camping vacation, how much then should you spend on your sleeping bag? Find a balance because a high price does not necessarily indicate good quality. A low price may save you money, but give you a dirt-poor sleeping bag all the same.
Just remember not to sacrifice quality on the altar of price. Sometimes, it is just better to pay more for more features, longevity and comfort.
Teton, Coleman, Outdoor Vitals, The Body Source, Ohuhu and SEMOO are just a few of the most popular brands in the market. Before you buy one, always read a few sleeping bag reviews so that you know what other people who have used it before you think.
The best sleeping bag should have a ripstop shell, the filling of your choice, should be affordable and most importantly, it should keep you warm as you sleep. One of the ways that you can keep fresh and energized during an outdoor vacation is getting enough sleep.