Get an Idea of What Makes for a Solid Sleeping Bag

Getting away from city life as often as possible has become the norm for a lot of people, especially when the weekend comes. Spending time in a place surrounded by trees or sleeping under the stars is beneficial in more than one way. Sleeping outdoors is known to help relieve stress – the soothing and calming peacefulness of the night is a perfect reminder that you need to take a break from the rat race from time to time.

Sleeping in nature can also reset your circadian rhythm  since you are not exposed to artificial light. A good night’s sleep outdoors can enhance your mood and improve cognitive function too. One inevitable aspect of getting quality sleep outside is finding a warm and cosy sleeping option which in this case would be a sleeping bag.

sleeping bags

Source: Theoffroader

How to Choose a Sleeping Bag


The most recommended shape of an outdoor sleeping bag is the mummy-shape. This bag provides a snug fit as it tapers down towards your feet. Mummy sleeping bags are able to provide a warm place for you to sleep and they are also lighter than regular rectangular bags.

While a rectangular bag is not going to provide as much warmth or be as lightweight as a mummy bag, it is still a good choice. These bags can provide you with enough room to stretch out your arms and legs. Unlike mummy bags, rectangular bags can be fully opened but are recommend only for summer camping  or caravanning.

Semi-rectangular sleeping bags are shaped like a barrel and are often called modified mummy bags. These bags offer a balance between warmth and space. You also have double bags which are the best option for couples as they provide a lot of sroom.


There are two options you can choose from when it comes to insulation and those are down and synthetic. Synthetic insulation is more affordable than down, easier to clean, capable of retaining its insulation when damp or wet, and it dries faster. Synthetic insulation is also non-allergenic. Down insulation, on the other hand, is costlier but it compresses way more which makes it easier to pack whilst it can keep you warm in cold, dry weather. Down insulation is also extremely durable and lightweight. There are also bags with down insulation that have been treated for water-resistance.

Couple in Sleeping bags

Source: Mountaineers

Temperature Rating

Temperature ratings are usually divided in three categories, summer, 3-season and winter. The summer rating is for -1°C temperatures and higher, a 3-season rating is for temperatures between -9°C and -1°C whilst a winter rating is for -9°C and lower. While these are usually the categories, there is another type of temperature rating which will be labelled with either ISO or EN. ISO is the new standard which has more consistent test results than EN which is the old standard.

A bag with both an ISO/ EN standard and a temperature rating will have two different ratings assigned – comfort and limit. The comfort rating is going to be the lowest temperature at which a bag would keep a cold sleeper warm – usually assigned on women’s bags. Limit rating is the lowest temperature at which the bag will keep a warm sleeper warm and it is usually assigned on men or unisex bags.

Season Rating

Season ratings are split into winter and summer seasons with each having two different categories. Summer season 1 rated bags are best for summer camping and indoor use, whilst summer season 2 rated bags are meant for late spring and early autumn. A winter season 3 rated outdoor sleeping bag is good for autumn or winter and for mild to cold nights with no frost. Winter season 4 rated bags are meant for cold winter nights with frost or snow.


Source: Bikepacking

Shell & Lining

Fabrics that make up the shell and lining are nylon, cotton and flannel. Cotton and flannel are best if you’re camping in cooler temperatures which is why they are used in bags meant for recreational camping. Nylon, on the other hand, is good when you want to spend the night in humid or warm weather as the material just stays cooler and dries faster too. Nylon bags can also be lightweight if you get a bag that has its shell and lining made with ripstop DWR-treated nylon which is comfortable, light and allows for good loft when it comes to the bag’s filling. The weight of a nylon-made bag depends on the denier (D) of the nylon fabric – the higher the denier number, the heavier the fabric.

Additional Features

You’ll also need to consider other features such as baffles, a hood, a two-way zip, a stuff sack, a draft collar and a zip cover for convenience. Baffles are small compartments inside the sleeping bag that evenly distribute the filling by holding it in place. A hood is what goes on your head to keep you extra warm as most of your body’s heat leaves through your head. There are some hoods that have a draw cord to tighten against your head for additional warmth.

A draft collar is similar to a hood except that it keeps heat escaping from the shoulders and neck. A two-way zipper will make it easier to open and close the bag without having to find the correct orientation. A stuff sack is usually found in mummy bags allowing you to store the bag more easily as it reduces the size of it with the help of a draw string closure. A zip cover is a fabric with Velcro on it that will ensure the zipper doesn’t come undone when you’re sleeping.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.