Which type of sleeping bag is best? Buyer’s guide

Megan Smith
 min read

Which type of sleeping bag is best?

Which type of sleeping bag is best? Buyer's GuideWe’ll talk different models and materials which suit your particular needs.

Without a sleeping bag, especially in cold weather, it is difficult to insulate yourself from the cold.

Only a good fire and shelter will keep you safe.

In forest areas or large plains, it is always possible to accumulate a large pile of foliage, fir branches, or dry grass and slip under it.

In a tropical environment, it will be necessary to preserve oneself from insects especially mosquitoes.

Which type of sleeping bag is best? Introduction

What type of sleeping bag to choose? I would dare to say several. At least two.

One for the summer, light, with a very reasonable storage volume, but you risk spending a freezing night if it gets cold.

A different one for winter, which will keep you warm, but will be heavy and take up a lot of space.

Which type of sleeping bag is best? Buyer’s guide

Some tips to help you in your choice

  • Any air leakage is of great importance in a sleeping bag. Cold air will rush in and ruin your warm bubble around you.

Check if the zippers are covered with an effective flap, if they are buried in the fabric, or if there is an open space.

  • The sleeping bag compression cover must be waterproof, with a protective flap at the closure.

With at least 4 compression straps to reduce the volume of the bag as much as possible, it will contain the compressed bag without tearing.

  • Always choose a sleeping bag that you can pair with another model. They are sold with the mention ‘Zipper on the right/left’.
  • A mummy-type sleeping bag is not very comfortable if you like some space so choosing the right sleeping bag size is important, especially if your are plus-size and/or tall.
  • Don’t order your sleeping bag online (unless you rely on a reliable guide like this one: our top sleeping bags for big guys guide). Temperature indications are often incorrect.

Go to a store, and put one hand in. Estimate the thickness of the filling.

If you can see light through the bag, you will certainly feel very cold when using it.

  • You can find sleeping bag sheets with a very pleasant feel. They are supposed to keep your sleeping bag clean.

But they don’t follow the body’s movement during the night and you quickly find yourself tangled up in the sheet.

Not to mention the extra weight in your backpack!

  • For winter, choose a model with a closed hood that will keep your head warm while avoiding to breathe cold air which will cool you very quickly.
  • A nylon upholstery fabric is very noisy at night and slips on the floor, camp bed or air mattress. But the morning dew slides over it without wetting it.
  • A sleeping bag (and compression cover) can be used as a carry bag for twigs, leaves or straw, as a spare coat folded in half over the shoulders, as a full coat when opened wide and held with strings over the shoulders, waist and legs without causing much discomfort to movement.

Do not leave your sleeping bag compressed in its storage place.

Choice of inner lining

In sleeping bags, the padding ensures that you won’t get cold while sleeping.

But also that the inner workings of the sleeping bag, i.e. the padding or the inner lining, play a considerable role.

For this, you can choose between two different materials: cotton or nylon.

The main function of the interior lining is to absorb your body fluid.

That is, your sweat, and divert it from your body. If not, you will start to freeze sooner or later.


This purely natural material is primarily suitable as an inner lining for sleeping bags as it is particularly pleasant on the skin and keeps you warm.

However, cotton has the disadvantage of absorbing perspiration without directing it outwards.

That’s why sleeping bags with a cotton lining are not ideal for camping.

Nylon or polyester fabrics

According to experts, these synthetic fabrics are better suited for camping than cotton lining.

Nylon is just as comfortable on the skin, but much more functional than cotton.

Nylon or polyester are able to draw your sweat away from your skin, keeping your sleeping bag warm inside and ensuring a good night’s sleep.

The fabrics are also lightweight, important when you’re out and about with a backpack every day for weeks on end.

What you can do to ensure your sleeping bag insulates well

In order to maintain the insulating performance of a sleeping bag, it is necessary that it be dry.

Down sleeping bags in particular lose most of their ability to keep your body warm when wet.

Therefore, when camping and using a down model, always make sure to air out your sleeping bag after you get up and shake it out to soften the down.

You should also leave it in the fresh air or sun for half an hour.

This way, the feather filling can move around and especially dry out by itself.

Tip: For tips on how to wash a down sleeping bag, read our other post How do you wash a down sleeping bag without ruining it?

When sleeping bags are filled with synthetic fibers, you can be less careful because they absorb almost no moisture.

Which type of sleeping bag is best? Conclusion

When choosing a sleeping bag, there are certain aspects that you should pay special attention to.

We have explained about the difference in materials and types of sleeping bags depending on your needs

Above all, it is important that you know the temperatures and weather conditions in which your sleeping bag will be used.

This decision will ultimately help you choose the right model with the most appropriate materials so you can get a good night’s sleep.

For more sleeping tips, read our other post How do you sleep successfully? Tips to get more sleep

About Megan Smith

Megan has been fighting overweight and her plus size since her teenage years. After trying all types of remedies without success, she started doing her own research. Megan founded Plus Size Zeal to share her findings. She also developed various detailed buying guides for plus-size people in order to make their lives easier and more comfortable. Read More