You may think that a sleeping bag is a fancy piece of fabric with a zipper here and some insulation there. But the truth is that you can easily get lost in the many different sleeping bags that are currently available on the market. How do you choose a sleeping bag and what are some of the best ones available? Let’s find out together!
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You may want to read: Best Sleeping Bag
Choosing a Sleeping Bag
Belittled by some, adored by others, sleeping bags are products that can be divided into a variety of different categories. We’re going to review the most common types of sleeping bags that you can currently find on the market.
#1: Shape classification
Depending on the style and shape of the sleeping bag, these products can belong to one of many categories:
- Mummy sleeping bags are a common choice because they are excellent at trapping heat and keeping you warm the entire night thanks to their construction. And design. Because the inner space is smaller, the heat that your body generates will be trapped closer to it. Even if this is an excellent product for those interested in good thermal properties, people who like to toss and turn a lot when they sleep might not find the design of the mummy sleeping bag all that comfortable.
- Rectangular sleeping bags aren’t as efficient from a thermal point of view as mummy bags are, which makes them a much better option for campouts that aren’t exactly occurring out in the wild.
- Semi-rectangular sleeping bags are basically a hybrid between the two aforementioned categories. They are not as tight around the body like a mummy sleeping bag, but they provide more warmth compared to rectangular sleeping bags.
#2: Season classification
Some people want a sleeping bag for winter, while others want to use it during the summer. As you can imagine, two products meeting these demands aren’t identical, which leads us to the seasonal use classification of sleeping bags:
- Summer bags are generally lightweight because they don’t have that much insulation, which automatically makes them easier to pack and carry around. They are mostly suitable for temperatures of 30°F and higher and feature full-length zippers that provide easier opening means and excellent ventilation. Since they can be unzipped all the way, they can also be used as blankets if needed.
- Winter bags are designed for temperatures of 20°F and below. To meet your insulation needs in such low temperatures, these sleeping bags have a lot of insulation and come with a variety of features that include draft collars and cinch-able hoods. Needless to say, all that insulation also makes them heavier and bulkier, so traveling with one of these in your backpack isn’t all that easy. Having a good compression stuff sack for a winter sleeping bag is mandatory.
- Three-season sleeping bags are suitable for temperatures of about 20°F and above, which makes them great for people who want to take trips during spring and autumn. Because they are meant to be used in multiple seasons, they generally have some of the features that winter sleeping bags are also equipped with, such as zipper draft tubes or draft collars.
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#3: Insulation classification
With insulation in sleeping bags, it all comes down to two very simple choices: down or synthetic fill:
- Down is the king of insulation, and every one of you who owns or has previously owned a down comforter knows that it is excellent at trapping heat underneath it and keeping the body warm and toasty. But insulation isn’t the only benefit that down brings to the table in terms of sleeping bags. It is also a type of fill that can be easily compressed, which makes it easier to carry for backpackers. However, you need to consider the fact that down sleeping bags are more expensive compared to those filled with synthetic materials, so if you’re looking for a product that’s more cost-friendly, this might not be the right option for you.
- Synthetic insulation is also a good choice, mostly because those fibers are typically polyester which is quite resistant to water. That means that if you’re going to camp in wet/humid conditions, polyester will not absorb that water and retain it inside the sleeping bag. While the price is typically one of the best-selling points of synthetic sleeping bags, you might want to consider the fact that they are typically heavier and bulkier, which might be a no-go for some of you.
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Best Sleeping Bags
Now that we’ve gotten a few basics out of the way, it’s time to actually review some of the best sleeping bags that are designed to meet your needs in specific situations, so let’s see where the next paragraphs will take us.
- Materials: down
- Available sizes: long, long X-wide
- Available colors/patterns: 1
Best for low temperatures
As we previously explained, having a mummy type sleeping bag in colder temperatures is your best option yet. The design will make it so that heat is actually trapped close to your body, and you won’t feel any thermal discomfort during the night. Being filled with natural down, this sleeping bag is a beast when it comes to providing you with warmth even when temperatures go below 15°F. It comes with a 650-fill power, which makes it a powerhouse in terms of insulation.
It features a stretch tricot baffle design which is meant to keep the fill in place even when you decide to fuss while you’re sleeping. There is also a fold-down secondary zipper that can provide you with a little less warmth in case it gets way too warm and toasty inside. Other features of interest for people looking to go on an outdoor adventure in colder temperatures include a two-way zipper and a hood equipped with a drawcord.
- Excellent insulation.
- Two-way zipper.
- Fold-down secondary zipper.
- Drawcord-equipped hood.
- Multiple size options.
- Inside coating not water-resistant.
Who Should Buy This?
This mummy sleeping bag is the perfect choice for people who want a product with excellent insulation capacity and design with extra features made to keep the sleeper warm.
- Materials: polyester
- Available sizes: 75 x 33 inches
- Available colors/patterns: 2
Sometimes you just want a regular sleeping bag that fits within the limits of a small budget and doesn’t come with any fancy features or the best insulation on the planet because it’s simply not needed. The Coleman Brazos is a product that matches that description, although the low price doesn’t really mean it doesn’t have some aces up its sleeve.
It is a sleeping bag filled with polyester that manages to keep you warm throughout most of the seasons, although it might not be the best choice for people who choose to sleep outside at really low temperatures. It includes roll control (which basically means that you can lock the edges of the bag together to make it easier to roll it up and store it), a quick cord for easy packing, a zipper guide that prevents the material from being snagged by the zipper’s teeth, and a comfort cuff for more softness closer to your face.
- Easy to pack.
- Anti fabric snagging zipper control.
- Comfort cuff.
- Low price.
- Draft tube.
- Questionable long-term quality.
Who Should Buy This?
Looking to buy a good sleeping bag but also to stick to a limited budget? Then the Coleman Brazos is a product worthy of your attention.
- Materials: faux spinning cotton
- Available sizes: 87 x 31 inches unfolded
- Available colors/patterns: 3
Best lightweight option
Lightweight bags are excellent for a variety of situations: when you’re packing and looking to travel light when you’re petite and can’t carry too much weight in your backpack, when it’s summer and you don’t really need a sleeping bag with tons of insulation, or when just need a simple backpack to fulfill its most basic role. The Redcamp bag is designed for temperatures between 55 and 64℉.
It is filled with faux spinning cotton and comes with a polyester shell and lining, pretty much what we expected to see considering the price category for this product. While it’s not the most durable combination in the long haul, it’s worth it if you’re looking for a simple and budget-friendly product for the summer. The sleeping bag has a neat little internal pocket for hiding your valuables, a two-way zipper, and a drawstring hood to keep your head warm during the night.
- Adjustable hood.
- Multiple weight options.
- Hammock version available.
- Budget buy.
- Inner secure pocket.
- Difficult to fit back in the storage bag.
Who Should Buy This?
Sometimes, all you want is a lightweight sleeping bag that is easy to roll up, the stuff inside your backpack or sack, and just be ready for the next adventure. If you’re looking for such a product, this Redcamp sleeping bag might provide you with what you need.
- Materials: not specified
- Available sizes: 71 x 30 inches
- Available colors/patterns: 15
The next item on the list comes for Revalcamp, a manufacturer focused on delivering a low-cost product that’s suitable for families cherishing design in a decent item that could be a thermal savior in many different situations. To get it off our chests, one thing that we didn’t like about this product is the fact that it doesn’t give you any information about the materials used in its construction. It only specifies that it’s a weather-resistant fabric that is eco-friendly and the colors are resistant to fade.
With only 2 pounds in weight, it’s the kind of sleeping bag that makes it easy to walk around with it in your backpack, as it is not difficult to compress and back when you’re ready to go. The rectangular version of the sleeping bag measures 71 x 30 inches, but there is also an envelope style bag that measures 87 x 32 inches overall.
- Machine washable.
- Anti-snag double-sided zipper.
- Multiple color options.
- No construction details on label.
Who Should Buy This?
The Revalcamp sleeping bag is our editor’s choice of the day and it’s suitable for people who want a cost-friendly sleeping bag with plenty of color options, which is machine washable and suitable for people who are looking for a lightweight product.
- Materials: hollow cotton
- Available sizes: single, double
- Available colors/patterns: 10
Best three-season bag
We just had to include a three-season sleeping bag in here because the fact that these are suitable for multiple temperature conditions makes them the most sought-out types of sleeping bags out there. The Oaskys sleeping bag is filled with hollow cotton that provides a decent level of insulation without being too suffocating to use during the summer. The lining material is made from polyester, being water-resistant, and keeping insects away from you at night.
The bottom of the sleeping bag can be unzippered, which is good news for people who want their feet to be able to breathe even when they’re all wrapped up in the bag. Overall, the bag is designed to provide comfort and insulation for temperatures that vary between 30 and 50℉.
Thanks to the polyester outer material, the sleeping bag can easily be wiped clean or it can be completely washed in your home washing machine.
- Multiple color options.
- Two available sizes.
- Separated bottom zipper.
- Adjustable drawstring hood.
- Easy to clean.
- Questionable seam quality.
Who Should Buy This?
If you’re a fan of the great outdoors and want a sleeping bag that can provide proper sleeping conditions during spring, summer, and fall, the Oaskys may just be that product.
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Buying the right sleeping bag is a matter of determining the situations that you’ll have to go through where such a product is required. There is a huge difference between a sleeping bag that’s good for a weekend of fishing during the summer and one designed for people who want to sleep in tents high up in the mountains.
Some sleeping bags have it all and they cost as much as expected, while others are really affordable but come with fewer features of a lower quality combination of fabric and fill. Which one is the product that might best suit your needs? That’s only for you to tell.