Find the right sleeping bag that meets you needs. There are many sleeping bags available. It can be difficult to decide on the right sleeping bag for you. Consider the sleeping bag weight. A heavy bag is not necessarily warmer. The warmth provided by the sleeping bag depends on the temperature rating, which is based on the type and thickness of insulation. The sleeping bag should fit your size. A sleeping bag that is too small is not a good choice, however a large sleeping bag will not be as as good as a right-fitting sleeping bag. A sleeping bag that is too large will be heavier than needed, and will have gaps under your feet which will have cold air. There are two basic shapes, rectangular and mummy shape. The mummy shape tapers in at the feet. This reduces the space to be insulated so improves heat retention at the foot of the sleeping bag.
Sleeping Bag Temperature Rating. This represents the lowest outside temperature that the sleeping bag will continue to keep you comfortable. For example, a 20 degree sleeping bag will keep you warm when the temperature outside the sleeping bag gets down to as low as 20 degrees. A -20 degree sleeping bag will keep you warm to minus 20 degrees.
Sections of the Sleeping Bag.
- Shell. Sleeping bags are covered with a shell that is either nylon, polyester, cotton, flannel, or a blend of these materials.
- Insulation. The next layer under the sleeping bag's shell is the insulation. The insulation isolates a volume of dead space to form an 'insulated' area. There are several types of insulation material used in sleeping bags. The purpose, temperature and price of the sleeping bag determines the type of insulation. The most common are polyester fibers and goose down.
- Liner. The shell and liner enclose the insulation of the sleeping bag. The liner is is soft and made of common materials which vary widely.
Sleeping Bag features.
- Hood. Sleeping bags made for cold weather use need to have hoods.
- Zipper. Full-length, two way zipper on a sleeping bag allows you to open/close it from either side.
- Foot vent. A zipper at the foot of the sleeping bag allows you to control the temperature on hot nights.
- Quilt Construction. If the sewing seam goes through the sleeping bag it is not as desirable as two layer seams. Additional feature to the construction is an offset quilt style construction which offsets the seam patters. This helps improve insulation.
- Draft Tube. Some sleeping bags come with a draft tube. The draft tube helps retain body heat by insulating the zipper. Could be made of down or synthetic material.
- Glow in the Dark Zipper Pulls. Allows the sleeping bag's zipper to be seen at night.
- Chest Pocket. Provides overnight storage for important personal items on the sleeping bag.
- Draft Collar. Provides an insulating barrier around the chest area of the sleeping bag to help seal in warm air.
Sleeping Bag Maintenance and Care.
- When not in use, sleeping bags should be kept away from high heat and away from moisture. Store in a dry location in moderate temperature.
- During use, try to keep the sleeping bag dry and away from open flame.
- After use, air dry the sleeping bag outside for several hours.
- Follow the manufacturers instruction for cleaning the sleeping bag. Instructions differ based on the type of material and insulation.