choosing a sleeping bag: Terms to Know, My Tips, and My Recommendations

We are getting down to the basics! First, we chatted about backpacks, then tents, and now sleeping bags!





Here is my post about backpacks that you may be interested in: how to choose a backpack that is right for you: budget, terms to know, and my recommendations!


AND, if tents aren't your jam, then here is a post ALLLLLL about hammocks that you are going to want to read: What You Need To Know About Hammock Camping


Last, if you want to see my gear choices and the pros and cons of the gear that I do have: My Big Three Picks | Pros and Cons


Other posts that you may enjoy


This post breaks down the differences between bear cans and bear bags!


Here are my big three picks with their pros and cons!


Lastly, this post is about hammocks.


HOw to choose | Sleeping bags


Terms to know:


1) Down fill: Fill power is a number that indicates the relative quality of down. The number comes from a lab test that measures how many cubic inches of loft one ounce of that down fill produces. Higher fill power numbers indicate greater loft and insulating efficiency.


2) Synthetic down: this means that the sleeping bag is filled with faux down. The pros and cons are listed below!


3) Goose down: this means that the sleeping bag is stuffed with actual goose feathers. The pros and cons are listed below!


4) "ISO" or "EN": Lab-tested temperature ratings are useful for making an apples-to-apples comparison between sleeping bags from different brands.


5) Comfort rating: indicates the temperature at which a cold sleeper might feel comfortable. This is the temperature rating brands use on women’s bags. Real-world comfort probably won’t match lab-tested temperature ratings because of all the variables that a lab can’t simulate.


6) Lower Limit Rating: indicates the temperature at which a warm sleeper might still feel comfortable. This is the temperature rating brands use on men’s bags.


My tips:


1) Consider the weather you will be camping in.

  • The weather that you are camping in 100% determines the type of sleeping bag you are looking for. Sleeping bags are rated and sold according to two factors: (1) degree rating and (2) authentic down or synthetic down.

2) How tall are you?

  • Your height is something to consider when you are looking at buying a sleeping bag. The worst thing would be to buy a bag that is too small.

3) How much $$ do you have?

  • Authentic down is nice but expensive. However, there are many other trade-offs of buying down, such as if the down were to get wet, it will be useless.

  • Personally, I chose to buy synthetic down for those reasons, I want to be warm and safe at all costs. I also do not have loads of money to pour into gear, so this was the most feasible choice for me to make.

4) What activity will you be doing?

  • When it comes to car camping, you can simply pick the warmest, roomiest sleeping bag you like because you won’t be shouldering it. For a rundown on all the things to consider, read How to Choose Sleeping Bags for Camping.

  • For backpacking, however, you’ll want the warmest, roomiest sleeping bag that fits inside your pack and doesn’t weigh you down. The Kelty Cosmic 20 and REI Co-op Trailbreak 20 are the best for it. They’re lighter and a bit more compact than the others here.

5) Should you choose synthetic down or goose down?

  • Synthetic down is valuable because it retains heat when it gets wet. Goose down can be deadly when/if it gets wet! Goose down is also farrrrr more expensive than synthetic, however, they also last much longer than their synthetic friends.

6) Are you a male or a female?

  • Women tend to sleep 15 degrees colder than men do. Also, think about how you tend to sleep at home - are you a hot sleeper or a cold sleeper!


Kelty Cosmic 20 Sleeping Bag - Women's


Price: $141.93

Weight: 2lb 9oz

Temp rating: 26 degrees (F)

goose down


The North Face Eco Trail Synthetic 20 Sleeping Bag



Price: $129.00

Weight: 3lb 14oz

Temp rating: 20 degrees (F)

synthetic

Exped MegaSleep 25/40 Sleeping Bag


Price: $139.00

Weight: 1lb 14oz

Temp rating: 25 degrees (F)

synthetic

REI Co-op Frostbreak 5 Sleeping Bag


Price: $119.00

Weight: 5lb 1oz (HEAVY)

Temp rating: 5 degrees (F)

synthetic



Mountain Hardware Lamina 0 Sleeping Bag - Women's


Price: $164.73

Weight: 4lb 5.5oz

Temp rating: degrees (F)

synthetic




Kelty Cosmic Down 0 Sleeping Bag


Price: $184.73

Weight: 3lb 12.8oz

Temp rating: 2 degrees (F)

Goose down

REI Co-op Trailbreak 20 Sleeping Bag - Women's


Price: $109

Weight: 4lb 13oz

Temp rating: 20 degrees (F)

synthetic

REI Co-op Zephyr 30 Sleeping Bag - Women's


Price: $96.93

Weight: 2lb 7oz

Temp rating: 30 degrees (F)

synthetic

REI Co-op Trailbreak 30 Sleeping Bag - Women's


Price: $99.95

Weight: 3lb 3oz

Temp rating: 30 degrees (F)

synthetic