Which Sleeping Bag is Right for You?

A good sleeping bag may make the difference between enjoying a good night's sleep and nightmare trips away from home. That is why there are different types of sleeping bags, depending on your needs, budget, use and frequency.
Which Sleeping Bag is Right for You?

Last update: 08 February, 2019

Are you ready? Let’s go camping! One of the most popular family outdoor activities is camping. It’s a place where everyone can enjoy the moment. So if you love the mountains and nature you should have the appropriate sleeping bag for camping. We hope we can help you choose the right one so you can be ready for your next camping trip.

What to keep in mind when camping?

A sleeping bag is one of the most important items you can have when sleeping in the outdoors. It will not only provide the necessary comfort but it will also keep you warm in cold temperatures.

It’s important to take into consideration certain aspects before you choose your sleeping bag. What to keep in mind:

  • Where will you be using it? There are different types of outdoor camps, such as, camping, trekking or mountains.
  • Budget. There’s a large variety available, depending on the material it’s made of, and the model among others.
  • How frequently will you use it? Will you only be going camping once in a while? Or do you frequently camp outdoors?

    woman sleeping bag tent
    How you’ll store and carry your sleeping bag are key aspects to choosing the right sleeping bag for you. 

Why use a sleeping bag?

The reason for using a sleeping bag is to keep you warm when temperatures drop, particularly outdoors at night or at altitude and in cold places. This enables you to maintain your body temperature and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

You must be aware that a sleeping bag will not produce heat on its own but will only store the heat produced by your own body. Therefore how airtight it is will depend on the zipper type or flap and the material it was designed with.

Sleeping bag characteristics

We will explain the characteristics so that based upon your use and frequency you can choose the right one:

  • Camping sleeping bag. These are great for temperatures ranging from 5ºC and 15ºC since most incorporate inner liners made of flannel, which provides a pleasant effect. These are rectangular and have no hood. They are large in size and weigh around 2 kg.
  • Trekking. These are effective in temperatures ranging from -5ºC to 0ºC and are smaller in size since they are used at altitude and they avoid unnecessary weight. Its shape is “mummy-like” and seamless, without corners, which optimizes body generated heat. They have adjustable hoods for protection.
  • Mountain. These will protect you from temperatures below -5ºC and some up to -40ºC or even less. They are filled with feathers and can be bulkier and heavier than other types.

Regarding the material they are filled with, there are two kinds of sleeping bags:  synthetic fibers and feathers. The synthetic types are easier to care for. The feather types are more comfortable because they keep out cold more efficiently. However, feather filled bags seem to be affected in humid environments.

Classification according to shape

You will also find different shapes and you should choose your sleeping bag according to your needs and body type. For example:

  • “Mummy-like”. It’s wider at the top and narrower at the bottom near the feet. This design is more efficient for heat retention due that there being little space for air. 
  • “Mummy-like adapted”. These have the added feature of additional space in the chest and knee area, allowing for added mobility.
  • Straight bags. As its name states, these have an opening that runs lengthwise, with no curves, and in one of its straight sides, there’s a zipper, which allows for the complete opening of the bag.
  • Coating by layers. each one increases thermal efficiency.
  • Filling designed in a trapeze shape. Allows evenness throughout the whole bag.
man sleeping outdoors
The filling layout in sleeping bags is also important since the higher quality bags have H formed fillings or partitions, keeping the filling even throughout the bag. This is regardless of its position while being carried.

Remember that technology has not left the humble sleeping bag behind. You may find a large number of different types of sleeping bags, including some very specific adaptations, such as inner pockets, neck collars among others.

So do not deprive yourself of the experience of camping. Now you know what to take into consideration when choosing the right sleeping bag for you. Therefore, plan your vacation or weekend getaway, and go find the best sleeping bag for your needs.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Huang, J. (2008). Prediction of Air Temperature for Thermal Comfort of People Using Sleeping Bags: A Review. International Journal of Biometeorology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-008-0180-5

  • Song, W. F., Zhang, C. J., Lai, D. D., Wang, F. M., & Kuklane, K. (2016). Use of a Novel, Smart Heating Sleeping Bag to Improve Wearers’ Local Thermal Comfort in the Feet. Scientific Reports. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep19326

  • Havenith, G., den Hartog, E., & Heus, R. (2004). Moisture Accumulation in Sleeping Bags at – 7°C and – 20°C in Relation to Cover Material and Method of Use. Ergonomics. https://doi.org/10.1080/00140130410001704428

  • Schick Makaroff, K., Scobie, R., Williams, C., & Kidd, J. (2013). Let’s Go Camping! An Innovative Pediatric Practice Placement. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedn.2012.12.007

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.