What should I look for when buying a sleeping bag? Insights

William Adams
 min read

What should I look for when buying a sleeping bag? You need to see the measurements of the user, their personal preferences and the trip itself.

What should I look for when buying a sleeping bag? InsightsWe’ll talk about temperature and insulation, carrying a sleeping bag and what bag to take on your sort of trip

Sleeping well when on a trip makes sure you’re in great physical and mental health.

The sleeping bag is therefore essential for a comfortable night’s sleep.

What should I look for when buying a sleeping bag? Introduction

To equip yourself with the right sleeping equipment, there are many criteria to take into account:

  • your general feeling of cold (temperatures will be average so gauge them against what’s cold or hot for you).
  • transport(will you carry it for a long time? Is weight a crucial factor?)
  • the place and the conditions of the bivouac.
  • altitude, climate, country, season, in the open air or under a tent are all parameters that influence your sleeping comfort while camping.
  • the temperature of use (specified on each sleeping bag: comfort, extreme, limit… what does it mean exactly?)

In fact, as is often the case, all you need to do is ask the right questions and understand the differences between all products in order to choose the one you need.

This is what we propose in this guide. And we’ll throw in some tips and tricks as well.

What should I look for when buying a sleeping bag? Buying criteria

Here are the selection criteria to help you find the sleeping bag of your dreams:

Which lining to choose? Down or synthetic filling?

The filling of your sleeping bag is the first to take into account when choosing (because it even has an impact on how to wash your (down) sleeping bag).

Real guarantee of thermal insulation, down and synthetic wadding each have their advantages and disadvantages.

What to choose between down or synthetic filling?

This is where your little list of questions comes in:

Temperature of where I’m going? The place and the conditions of the trip?

How cold do I usually feel? How long and far will I be carrying the sleeping bag?

Weight, the ability to compress and insulation are the main strengths of down.

For the same thermal performance, a sleeping bag requires a much smaller feather filling than a synthetic fiber filling.

On the other hand, humidity and down really don’t mix.

Related: My sleeping bag is shedding feathers: Is this normal?

Yes to feather down filling if:

  • You need to carry it for a considerable distance.
  • You are very sensitive to cold.
  • If you sleep in a tent or protect your sleeping bag with an over-bag.
  • You are in dry cold conditions.

Yes to synthetic filling if:

  • You don’t have weight and space constraints.
  • You are not very sensitive to cold.
  • You sleep under the stars.
  • You’re using it in wet conditions.

Where and how will you use it?

Your location and bivouac conditions are important for the weight and bulk of your sleeping bag and its accessories.

When camping, hiking or mountaineering, you will not have the same requirements.

The different types of bivouac: Open air or in a tent?

Originally, the bivouac defined a rudimentary camp, when one spent the night in the middle of nature, under the stars.

Since then, the term “bivouac” has become more widespread.

It now refers more simply to a night spent outdoors, whether on a trek, an alpine climb or camping.

It is important to differentiate between bivouacs without shelter and bivouacs in tents, as they do not require the same sleeping equipment.

If you want a down sleeping bag at all costs for a trip without shelter, don’t.

It’s no use trying to use a down sleeping bag in humid conditions.

You can’t stand down but you’re going to very cold conditions? Nothing is impossible!

Mummy or blanket?

Which sleeping bag size to choose and which shape is best?

The large family of sleeping bags can be divided into two categories: blanket and mummy sleeping bags.

Blanket sleeping bags

They come in large rectangles, with or without hoods

Advantages: comfortable due to large interior space, good price/performance ratio, easy to connect.

Disadvantages: long to warm up (your body heat dissipates in too much volume), not recommended for very low temperatures, heavier and more cumbersome.

Best suited to camping or short hikes.

The mummy sleeping bags

Advantages: compact and lighter, more insulation, their anatomical shapes allow to trap heat quickly for redistribution.

They are perfect for all your outdoor activities, mountaineering, base camp, hiking, trekking and even camping for the more chilly ones..

Disadvantages: you’re going to have to spend more to get one.

What length, what closure, etc.

Choosing a sleeping bag with the right dimensions is essential for your comfort and especially for being warm.

The volume around your body should be neither too large (i.e. difficult to heat), nor too small.

It is the warm air between your body and the bag that will insulate you best. In addition, your extremities may be cold.

Air is an excellent insulator as long as it is still and dry.

As a result, too much air would make it mobile and immediately take away its insulating qualities.

Related: Why am I cold in my sleeping bag? How to keep warm while camping

Calculate the right length of your sleeping bag

For a sleeping bag blanket:

  • Remove 2 inches from the total length given by the manufacturer, you will have the size of the person it can hold.
  • So, for a 79 inch blanket bag, the maximum size of the person who can use it = 77 inches.

For a mummy sleeping bag:

  • Remove 10 to 12 inches from the total length given by the manufacturer.
  • So, for an 83 inch bag, the maximum height of the person who can use it = 71 inches.

How to store your sleeping bag?

Most sleeping bags, especially those with a feather down filling, come with a storage bag.

When you don’t use your bag for a long period of time, it is important to let it breathe while storing it in the same bag.

Indeed, this avoids breaking the feathers to preserve all the qualities of the down and preserve the fabric and the seams from bad folds.

It is essential to understand that a storage bag is very different from a compression bag.

The compression bag is to be used during your trip to save space by compressing your comforter.

The storage bag does not crush the sleeping bag, on the contrary.

What should I look for when buying a sleeping bag? Conclusion

In order to enjoy your trip to the fullest, a good night’s sleep is crucial.

That is why it is important to buy the right sleeping bag.

You need to make sure it fits well, that it is suitable to your personal preferences and that it is adequate for the trip you’re making.

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