Sleeping Bags Choosing a Sleeping Bag Listed below are descriptions of the key characteristics differentiating Sleeping Bags. Price We list the Average Street Price (ASP) for a sleeping bag. Although ASP may be higher than the best retail price you can find, it is a good indication of what you may pay at a typical retailer. When an ASP is not available we list the Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price. (MSRP). The price listed is for the standard size sleeping bag.
Often there are long (and occaisonally short) versions of the bag as well. The long version typically adds an extra 10 to 20 dollars to the price tag, while the short version is either the same price or a few dollars less. Range: $20 to almost $800. 80% of sleeping bags are between $80 and $450, with a median price of $180. Brand Brand is usually the name of the company that makes the particular sleeping bag, although sometimes companies will produce several brands.
Shape Have you ever had the desire to be wrapped up tight just like King Tut? Then look at the mummy shaped sleeping bag, which is specially designed to form fit the body. The mummy is the most popular shape for sleeping bags, with the advantage of being very compact and warm. Still, some people get a little claustrophobic with no room to toss and turn, in which case the semi-rectangular bag is a good choice. It gives you space to store a few things in the bag and move about, without sacrificing the tapered foot area or the mummy-style hood. However remember it is less heat-efficient and a bit heavier than the mummy shape. Rectangular bags are the bulkiest and heaviest of the bags, but they are cheap, roomy, and easy to zip together to form two-person bags.
Range: Mummy, Semi-Rectangular, Rectangular Temperature Temperature rating is a hotly debated subject in the outdoor world. It is the indicator of the lowest temperatures (in Fahrenheit) you can use the bag in and still be comfortable. There are no standardized ratings and so each manufacturer provides an estimate. In any case, this number may be different for you personally, according to whether you are a hot or cold sleeper. Use this number as a guideline, but keep in mind your own sleeping habits and choose conservatively according to the coldest weather you think you will encounter when camping.
Range: -65 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Fill Type Do you prefer down or synthetic insulation? This is the big choice that everyone faces when buying a sleeping bag. Down fanatics will tell you there’s absolutely no replacement for a sleeping bag filled with the down from a goose. Down bags are generally warmer, lighter, more durable and more compactible than synthetic bags. They mold to your body to fill the voids that steal heat and compress down to a little pouch at the bottom of your backpack.
However, down bags are cold when they get wet, don’t dry as quickly as synthetic bags, and can only be dry-cleaned. They are also more expensive. Synthetic bags are cheaper, machine washable, and more water resistant (it’s even said they’re comfortable when wet, although no bag is comfortable if soaked through). They dry quickly, resist mold and are non-allergenic. If you do a lot of camping in rainy conditions, a synthetic might be the way to go.
However if money is no option and you want a high quality sleeping bag that will last three times longer than a synthetic bag, take a good look at down. Range: Down or Synthetic. Water Resistant Shell A wet sleeping bag is a miserable experience–cold and clammy to sleep in and sometimes difficult to dry. Some shells are made of a water resistant material that helps keep moisture out (blocking the wind as well). This is great in difficult weather. However, water resistant shells have their negatives as well. They are not as breathable as non-resistant shells, which means that you may be protected from the elements on the outside, but soaking your sleeping bag with sweat from the inside.
They are also more expensive than the non-resistant shells, particularly the DryLoft shell, which can add over $100 to the price of the bag. When deciding if a water resistant shell is important to you, consider the weather you plan to be camping in to help you decide if the investment is worth it. Range: Yes or No. Insulated Draft Collar Picture this: you’re all snug in your new sleeping bag ready to weather the cold night air, but this cold draft on your neck keeps you from truly feeling warm. That’s where an insulated draft collar comes in handy.
It is a puffy collar that keeps your body insulated from cold air drafts. For those sleeping in cold weather, it’s a really good feature to have. Range: Yes or No. Weight As any backpacker knows, a lighter bag makes for an easier hike. Choosing a light sleeping bag will help you keep the weight of your pack down, but remember that for cold situations you need more insulation, and that adds more weight. Range: From less than a pound to 8 pounds.