Choose a sleeping bag is an essential and important act. The sleeping bag affects your sleep, your comfort, the quality of your recovery and also offers you the well of good moral relaxation in a cocoon. A good sleeping bag is important for the hiker, whether long-term or short walks a few days.Let’s see together 6 essential criteria for choosing a sleeping bag for your needs and your excursions.
The comfort temperature: the most important criterion for choosing a sleeping bag
The first selection criterion to select a sleeping bag is that of temperature. Among the indicated temperatures than that to consider is the comfort temperature. This is usually the one that is highlighted by the manufacturer or seller.
You will need to consider the geographical area of your walks, altitudes where you sleep, the camp conditions (stars, tent, shelter), season, and of course the weather (not only the temperature but also the risk ‘severe weather).
Consider that even in temperate zones in summer, the temperature can drop significantly at night since you stay aloft. The humidity and wind are also important factors. Sensitivity to cold is different according to the constitution of each and the degree of training of people. If you are chilly, consider taking a bag with a comfort temperature a little lower than the temperatures at which you think you are experiencing.Consider also that you will also colder if you’re tired and you have not eaten.
The temperatures indicated by the manufacturers are reliable and comply with the European standard EN13537. This standard has the advantage of making the bags of different brands comparable on this criterion.
And if you use your sleeping bag in varying conditions of temperature, you can add a silk cloth bag or a sarcophagus fleece that will win a few degrees better.
For hiking in complete autonomy, weight is an important criterion. For other hikes, the weight of the sleeping bag is certainly important but less critical .The down sleeping bags have the best weight / temperature but there is no miracle: you will not find bag ultralight sleeping comfort for low temperatures. The test weight is important but often a matter of compromise to choose a sleeping bag for your needs.
The synthetic sleeping bag is often heavier than that of down at the same temperature. It is also less compressible. By cons, it is more resistant to moisture. It will therefore be particularly suitable if your bag is likely to be exposed to the weather or for example if you sleep under the stars in a wetland. Finally, substantial argument, these bags are also more economical than those of down.
The down sleeping bag is lightweight, compressible, highly insulating and breathable. But it loses its insulating properties when wet. The disadvantage of the down feathers is that they tend to stick with the humidity, which reduces the quality of insulation and thermal comfort. Furthermore the lining of down may, over time, the tendency to group together in packs in some places of the sleeping bag, reducing the homogeneity of comfort and insulation.
Choose a sleeping bag with synthetic insulation is a good compromise for quality and value for money for less demanding expeditions in terms of weight to carry.
The shape of the sleeping bag
The sleeping bags are sarcophagus of anatomical forms: army sleeping pads marry well as the silhouette and optimize thermal protection. They are also lighter and less bulky than cover bags. But they offer against the feeling of being a little cramped and some people prefer the ease offered by the bag cover.
Coverage sleeping bags are more comfortable because wider at the feet. By cons, comparable to packing, they offer less thermal protection because they contain more air. They are, against, easier to access and simpler to use.
The Closure System
This is important to prevent the infiltration of cold air into the bag and the hot air loss. There are different types of closures with occasional clamping systems on the hood for bags sarcophagus. But in my opinion, it is especially necessary to ensure the quality of zipper and finishing. You will handle this zip many times and you certainly do not want to get stuck in! Avoid therefore carefully models where the zipper seems your little fragile and easy to handle.
The compressed volume
This is an important criterion if you do not want the hassle of too bulky bag. The down bags compress better and are usually less bulky than synthetic bags. That said this is not the most important criterion for selection. But it can allow you to separate some equivalent products.
The ideal sleeping bag does not exist. You must choose a sleeping bag for your needs and the types of hikes you do. If you practice primarily on hiking days without the need for complete autonomy, you do not need a light and hyper compressed bag. Then prefer comfort and insulation power! Conversely, for long expeditions, compressibility and weight criteria that will become more important. You can also have several sleeping bags adapted to different conditions and types of hikes. In any case, one thing is certain: we must choose a quality sleeping bag because it is an essential companion for your treks and hikes traveling.