How to choose the right sleeping bag size for camping?

William Adams
 min read

How to choose the right sleeping bag size for camping?

How to choose the right sleeping bag size for camping?We’ll explain the difference in sizes, their importance and how to choose one to fit you.

Most sleeping bags are now available in 2 or 3 different sizes.

How to choose? Too narrow, it will be uncomfortable and too big, you may be cold.

Read on to make the right choice.

How to choose the right sleeping bag size for camping? Introduction

Let’s take a look at the ideal sizes of a sleeping bag.

Most manufacturers offer sleeping bags in different sizes. Often we see the words Short, Regular, Long or specific sizes.

But what do these values correspond to? This is what we describe in this article.

How to choose the right sleeping bag size for camping and why is it important?

A good sleeping bag in the right size to spend a good night!

Related: How to sleep better while camping: Best tips

The lower the temperature, the more you need a good quality sleeping bag to be 100% sure you will not be shivering in your sleeping bag because of the cold.

Hence the need for a manufacturer’s expertise.

In very low temperatures, the sleeping bag, like the tent, is a real comfort tool if it’s the right one (and if you are using a down sleeping bag, try to avoid feather loss as much as possible to keep thermal capacities at a maximum).

If badly chosen, it turns into a survival tool, with sometimes serious consequences (frostbite, hypothermia, etc).

The temperature of the sleeping bag (comfort, comfort limit, survival), the choice of filling (feather or synthetic) and the quality of the filling are important parameters for your trip and also affect the way you should wash the sleeping bag when you return home.

Examples of how to choose the right sleeping bag size for camping

The size of a sleeping bag is an important criterion. Some examples:

Sleeping bag too small

If you have chosen a sleeping bag that is a little too tight, you will tend to curl up your legs (and therefore get less restful rest).

To unfold them completely, you risk hitting the bottom of the bag, compressing the foot and even touching the tent wall.

In this case, the sleeping bag no longer provides sufficient insulation for the feet, with the consequences that this entails: We have cold feet and struggle to stay warm in the sleeping bag….

This also applies to the hood of the sleeping bag, and therefore to the head, which is sometimes too tight.

Sleeping bag too big

If we choose a sleeping bag that is too big, it’s not only extra weight and volume carried for nothing that matters.

Our body will have to produce more heat to be able to heat the too-big sleeping bag.

It will only encourage heat loss and a more or less sleepless night follow.

Sleeping bag adapted to its size

When you choose the right sleeping bag, you can relax, with enough room to not compress the feather or synthetic compartments.

You can put small equipment at the bottom of the bag (battery, cell phone, water bottle, camera, etc.).

If you are between two sizes and you have a lot of material to put at the bottom of the bag (ski boots, mittens, thermos, gas cartridges, etc.), go to the next size up.

Tip: Here are some sleeping bag buying tips and reviews of sleeping bags for big guys.

What is the right length for a sleeping bag?

Most manufacturers show the interior length of the sleeping bag but some give on the external lengths.

Make sure you know which size is being referred to.

If you are under 65 inches tall: Size S (shorts)

Apart from kids’ sleeping bags, if under 65 inches, we generally advise you to go for Short (interior length).

If you are between 65 inches and 71 inches tall: Reg size (regular)

If you are between 65 inches and 71 inches, switch to the Regular sleeping bag sizes listed in 75 inch interior length.

If you are over 71 inches tall: Size L (long)

If you are over 71 inches, then switch to the sleeping bag sizes shown Long in 79 (interior).

Generally these sleeping bag lengths are suitable for people up to 77 inches tall.

Good to know

For cold weather mountaineering, high altitude trekking or expeditions, people between 65 inches and 71 inches are choosing Long.

This gives space to put in jackets, booties, gas cartridges and batteries at the bottom of the pack to keep them warm.

In warm weather, many hikers between 69 inches and 71 inches also choose Long sleeping bags, for more space.

How to choose the right sleeping bag size for camping? Conclusion

More and more manufacturers offer the same sleeping bag in different sizes, adapted to the morphology of each and everyone.

And that’s a very good thing.

We’ve gone into the importance of checking a manufacturer’s guide against your measurements.

Tiredness, altitude, hydration, the stress of a race to come, are already enough to make you sleep or worse.

So we might as well not add any more because of a sleeping bag that doesn’t fit!

Whether it’s a bivouac in a tent during a hike, on a ridge during a mountaineering race, or during a long trek a good sleep is essential.

It’s better to prefer the comfort of a good night’s sleep to attack the next day in good shape.

Related: How do you sleep successfully? Tips to get more sleep

About William Adams

I’m an engineer and a happy plus-size individual myself. I love to blog online if I can have a positive impact on the lives of others. I help other plus-size people with in-depth product guides to make shopping for products and services less stressful in their busy lives. Read More