We humans spend the vast majority of out lifetime asleep. Sleeping bags can be looked at as your bed away from bed (like home away from home). Regardless of where or how they are used, whether it be sleeping over in a friends or relatives house, or sleeping under the stars in a tent, a properly selected sleeping bag will determine how well you make it through the night.
Camping sleeping bags come in mainly two basic types: backpacking bags and what are called family, base Best Time To Do Annapurna Base Camp Trek bags or even rectangular bags (sometimes referred to as car camping bags).
Backpacking bags are for the more serious back country adventurers, ones who like to get lost off the urban grid for days at a time and who like to wander from campsite to campsite. A mummy bag, named after its tapered from head to foot shape, is perfect for this type of camping because it combines ultra lightweight with ultra warmth. The shape of the mummy bag retains heat by reducing the surface area next to the body. It’s very portable because it can be compressed down to a small size to fit into a medium or large backpack.
Family and base camping bags are made with mostly comfort level in mind. These sleeping bags are traditionally rectangular to allow for maximum roominess. They are generally softer and wider and less expensive than the back country bags. Unlike the mummy bag, these bags need to be rolled up and bound together with straps or cords of some kind, making the bulky and less portable.
Bringing kids into the woods can be exciting and fun for them especially, if they have their own kids size sleeping bag. Kids sleeping bags are available in the mummy bag style and the rectangular bag. Some features to look for in kids camping sleeping bags are a pillow pocket or built in pillow and a pocket somewhere on the bag to hold their gadgets and small flashlights.
Temperature ratings on camping sleeping bags are important, but can be deceiving. Traditionally, the comfort or temperature rating was figured as the lowest possible temperature at which the average person will stay warm. So, a “10 degree” rated bag should keep most people warm if the air temperature stays above 10 degrees Fahrenheit. However, because the U.S. outdoor gear industry doesn’t have an official standard method to figure these ratings, they should only be used as a guide.
A new testing method is being used today in some companies that manufacture sleeping bags in order to produce more reliable temperature ratings. This method is called the European Norm (EN) 13537; a standardized testing protocol performed in independent labs, ensuring that no bias is used in regards to products tested.
The EN-rated bags provide three temperature ratings:
- EN Comfort Rating: The lowest outside temperature at which a standard woman can comfortably sleep
- EN Lower Limit Rating: The lowest outside temperature at which a standard man can comfortably sleep
- EN Extreme Rating: The “survival” rating. This rates the lowest temperature at which a standard woman can survive
It’s important to note that these ratings assume the user is wearing a base layer and hat, and also using an insulating sleeping pad underneath the sleeping bag.