How to choose a sleeping bag for camping?

Getting a good night's sleep when you're camping is important! Read on to find out more about what you should look out for when choosing a sleeping bag.

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If you are feeling drained out, camping is a great way to recharge and rejuvenate yourself. You can unwind and relax and explore the beauty of nature. 

Getting a good night's sleep under the stars makes the experience even more pleasurable. And for that, you need a good sleeping bag.

However, with so many options available in the market, picking the right one can be a bit of a challenge.

So, what are the different types of sleeping bags? How do you choose the right one for you?

How to Choose a Sleeping Bag for Camping?

Choose your sleeping bag according to your activity

Your choice of sleeping bag should depend on your activities. When we talk of camping, we generally talk about car camping or backpacking. 

Car camping is about sleeping in a tent while keeping your camping gear and other stuff in a car nearby. When you have a car with you, it is not really necessary to worry about the weight or compactness of your sleeping bag. You should focus more on comfort so that you get restful sleep at night.

However, if you plan to trek or hike on your camping trip, it means spending several hours in the wilderness while carrying your camping gear on your back. If this is your idea of camping, you need something that is lightweight and compact.

Here are a few sleeping bags you may consider depending on your activity:

How to Choose a Sleeping Bag for Camping?

1. camping sleeping bags

Camping sleeping bags are designed for comfort. They offer more room to move about and are cozy and comfortable to give you a good night's sleep. They are heavier and bulkier and are definitely not designed to be hauled around in your backpack for long distances.

Since they are extremely comfortable, they are perfect for family car camping trips and other country sojourns. They are also quite inexpensive since they are not very technical. You can pick a sleeping bag in any shape that you like. 

As long as you get the temperature rating right for the season of the year, you can pick any sleeping bag that you feel is comfortable. We will discuss the temperature ratings later in the post.

Picking a rectangular sleeping bag gives you more room to move around. Also, down filling is expensive but will last you for a long time. Synthetic fills are cheaper, but not as long-lasting.

We recommend the Arpenaz 10 if you plan to camp solo and the Arpenaz 10, which is ideal for two people.

How to Choose a Sleeping Bag for Camping?

2. backpacking sleeping bags

If you plan to trek or hike weight and compressibility should be your prime considerations. You do not want your sleeping bag taking up a lot of space in your backpack.

Also, you will be on your feet for a long time. You do not want to be lugging around a lot of weight. The lighter your sleeping bag, the easier it is for you.

The right backpacking sleeping bag should be able to strike the right balance between compressibility, weight, and warmth.

Again, you have to be mindful of the temperature rating. If you are shopping for a sleeping bag, look for one that is lightweight but warm enough to keep you comfortable. Ideally, your sleeping bag should weigh about one kg or so.

If you are backpacking in 15°C or above temperatures, the Trek 500 15°C sleeping bag is a great choice. For temperatures between 10°C and 15°C, the Trek500 10°C  is highly recommended.

If you plan to backpack in a cold area where the temperatures are between 0°C and 10°C, go for the Trek500 0°C sleeping bag.

How to Choose a Sleeping Bag for Camping?

3. alpine / mountaineering sleeping bags

If you are the adventurous sort who likes mountain climbing, picking the right sleeping bag is extremely important. Your sleeping bag should be a lot like a backpacking sleeping bag, but warmer and water resistant.

Keeping warm in alpine environments is important, which is why these sleeping bags use the best insulation possible. The shell material would also be water resistant but breathable at the same time. Some may even come with water repellant coatings that are useful in areas where the moisture level is high.

For alpine climbing or mountaineering sleeping bags, your focus should be on high-quality insulation and water resistance while keeping the sleeping bag lightweight. Since these bags use top-quality materials, they also tend to be pricier than regular sleeping bags.

If you plan on mountaineering in temperatures 10°C or above, we recommend the Trek 900 10°C. For colder places where the temperature ranges between 0°C and 10°C, the Trek 900 0°C is a great buy.

Temperature ratings in sleeping bags

We mentioned earlier that keeping temperature ratings in mind is important while choosing a sleeping bag. The temperature ratings of a sleeping bag basically refer to the lowest temperature at which you can use the sleeping bag.

For example, say you buy a sleeping bag with a temperature rating of 15°C. It will keep you warm till the temperature drops to 15°C. However, if the temperature drops any lower, it may not be warm enough to be comfortable.

Also, the temperature ratings are calculated considering that you use a sleeping pad with your sleeping bag. So when you are buying one for a camping trip, also ensure that you have a sleeping pad too.

When you lie down in a sleeping bag, your body weight compresses the fill material underneath you. This hampers the warmth and insulation capabilities of your sleeping bag.

By using a sleeping pad with your sleeping bag, you add a couple of inches of extra insulation between you and the ground, which makes for a more comfortable night's sleep.

Let's simplify things for you.

A sleeping bag is a necessary camping gear that can give you comfortable sleep after a long and tiring day of camping. Pick yours keeping in mind the activity you plan to indulge in. 

If you plan to trek, pick a lightweight sleeping bag while comfort is what you should focus on for car camping trips. If you want to go alpine climbing, you need to pick a lightweight sleeping bag that gives warmth and is waterproof. 

The right sleeping bag can make a world of difference to your camping trip. So be sure to always pick the right one.

How to Choose a Sleeping Bag for Camping?

written by: odelia chan

hiking digital sports leader, decathlon singapore

Try camping sometime – it will change your life!

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