What kind of sleeping bag do I need?

Go camping or hiking and stay in tent over the night means that you’ll need a sleeping bag. But there are many different kinds of sleeping bags… This post can hopefully give you an idea of what and how to choose which one is right for your needs.

Start your research with these questions:

1. During what time of the year do you intend to use your sleeping bag?
Is it mainly during summer time or when it’s colder outside? There are different kind of sleeping bags which go under the cathegory; 1-4 seasons. A four-season bag means that the bag is aimed to be used the whole year around. A three-season means you can have it spring, summer and autumn. This bag is the most allround (if you sometimes will go out in the winter and don’t have a proper winter bag you can use two sleeping bags and get the warm degrees you need). Remember to look at the comfort temperature to make sure they will reach up to the temperatur you’ll need.

2. Are you like me, meaning a person who often is cold or who easily gets warm?
A sleeping bag for summer should have a comfort to -5C and a winter bag to -25C. Remember that women need a higher temperature then men. Always look at the comfort for your gender. To increase your temperature you can have a sleeping bag liner (made of cotton, or even better – silk) and use it inside your sleeping bag). The liner also keeps your bag last longer.

3. What kind of material should your sleeping bag be made of?
Down or synthetic material or a combination? Down is lighter and keeps you warmer, but are more expensive. The material gives you most isolation in correlation to its weight and volume. The quality of the down is classified according to its fill-power (cuin), meaning how ”fluffy” it is. The finer the down is the more isolation it gives. A filling of 400–450 cuin means average quality, 500–550 cuin is considered good, 550–750 cuin is considered very good och 750+ is excellent. Before you buy a sleeping bag made of down, make sure it follows ethical rules. Synthetic bags are a bit heavier, but if it gets wet it dryes faster. They are usually cheaper. Mainly used in the summer/warmer weather conditions. The ”foot” of the bag should have the shape of an elephants foot rather than a fish-tale; which keeps you warmer.

4. How to ”behave” in your sleeping bag?
When you move around in your bag the warm air goes out. The new air that comes in then needs to be warmed up again.

Other tips:
When you arrive to the place and set your camp you shall straight away unfold your sleeping bag (especially if it’s made of down). When you come back home you should hang it up and let it dry for a few days. Never let it stay in your compression bag; instead use a big ”net-bag” or let it hang on a rack (just make sure it doesn’t become small scratches or marks because of frequent pressure against the same point).

Hopefully you’ve got some more ideas before you make your decision what kind of sleeping bad you’ll buy. Also talk with the staff in the outdoor stores, they should know about their products and guide you in the sleeping bag jungle.

Linnea

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A warm and cozy sleeping bag is a real luxury and a safety when sleeping in tent. A good sleep makes you happier and your body and mind works better.

Light is right!

Going hiking usually means a lot of luggage and outdoor equipment. There are many questions to answer before you start to pack your bag, for example:

  1. how long time you’ll be away?
  2. what will the weather be like (will it rain, be very cold…)?
  3. will you stay in huts or are you camping outside?
  4. what previous knowledges and experiences do you and your friends have from outdoor life and how challenging will this trip be?
  5. Any medical aspects/physical difficulties to have in mind?

Shelter, sleep and carry

One rule is to carry light and only bring stuff you really need. A maximum of 3 kilos for shelter (tent), sleep (sleeping bag and mattress) and carry (backpack) are recommended. If you’re planning to set a basecamp and do day trips, a smaller backpack is unbeatable. With my personal equipment this ”3-kilo-rule” is very limited for me, but gives me an idea how I should think when I need to/consider to update my outdoor equipment. Every extra piece of gram you add on to your luggage means extra kilos on your feet, knee and so on.

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Your luggage with tent, backpack and sleeping equipment shouldn’t weigh more than 3 kilos in total.

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A comfortable and hard wearing backpack that doesn’t way to much are preferred.

”Going hiking is like preparing for a longterm backpacker trip. You need to consider every piece of luggage, meaning what to bring and what to leave at home. But remember to always have safety in mind as rule number one”.

Linnea Nilsson-Waara