Who knew choosing a sleeping bag would require so much thought?
It turns out there are a few decisions to make when looking for the right bag.
One should be sure to: get one with the right physical shape. One rated for the right temperature.
Decide between down or poly fill. Get one with the right features.
One for a man would be shaped differently than one for a woman. A mummy bag is tapered at the bottom and has less room for moving around.
Some have hoods that cover the head and some have zippers that can be opened at the bottom to allow walking around without getting completely out of the bag.
One might also consider the seasons that it will most likely be used. If a person only camps in summer then one with a rating of 40 below zero might be a poor choice.
One might also try it before buying it with a camping gear rental.
The first big question is about the type of fill the sleeping bag will have. There are two choices, Down and Poly fill.
Down is from young birds. Goose Down might be the most popular, but, there are other bird species popular for their Down as well.
One of the larger camping gear suppliers informs the reader on their site that they do not ’live pluck’ the little guys for their Down.
Good thing because it seems like this would not be much fun for the baby geese. However, some unscrupulous Down suppliers are ’Live Plucking’. YIKES!
The big question for us is, which is the better choice when it comes to getting a new sleeping bag?
Also when thinking about fill type we will need to cover a little about ratings. They come rated for a certain temperature. One rated for -20 might not be a great choice for summer camping eh?
The pack size and weight might also become a factor depending on the type of camping a person will be doing. The backpacker might want a lighter sleeping bag that packs down to a smaller size.
Along with a bag, one will most likely want to use an air bed of some sort. Here again, there are choices to make.
So lets get to it….
Each one has certain characteristics and advantages.
Down offers lighter weight per warmth and packs down smaller. Down sleeping bags are also known to be very warm however when they are wet they will not keep you warm. They also take a long time to dry out.
Down is usually more expensive than poly fill. But, if cared for properly they can last for years. The down retains its loft for a long time. They also pack down well for backpacking and are very light weight.
Poly fill bags have come a long way in the weight to warmth ratio and are comparable, within reason, to Down bags. They are a little bulkier when packing as they do not compress quite as well.
However they retain their ability to keep you warm even when wet. It still takes a while to dry out but at least you can stay warm while wet.
The amount of fill required to achieve the desired warmth is given a number. This number is the fill rating. The better manufacturers use 600-700 which is directly corresponding to the cubic inches of fill.
However for a great explanation of Down, Poly fill, and the choice between the two. Click here for a great down vs poly sleeping bag guide.
One thing to consider is that a bag should fit your body type and sleeping style. For some a mummy bag is just right , others might feel like they have been spun into a spiders next meal.
It might be a good idea to try some different ones out to get an idea of what you want. Once you get the size and shape figured out the choices are numerous on line.
We will try to show you some of the ones with good ratings from different price ranges on the specific sleeping bag pages.