Are you feeling the camping itch and you simply can’t wait to go out into the wild and enjoy the wonders of nature? Sure thing, but you’ll need a sleeping bag.
Nowadays, the choice is really overwhelming. You need to know your sleeping bag to make a wise purchase. The first thing that comes to mind is obvious – how’s the sleeping bag rated? Well, to get a right answer, you need to learn a little about the different types of sleeping bags available on the market.
Let’s start with the different shapes sleeping bags come in so that you can decide which one suits your needs best. Most of them are rectangular because they provide the utmost comfort and warmth.Several models on the market have compatible zippers, so they even can be mated to create a double bed for two.There are also barrel-shaped or semi-rectangular sleeping bags, with a characteristic tapered design. These provide even more-warmth saving features than the rectangular ones, but they are not as comfortable.Mummy sleeping bags resemble the shape of a sarcophagus, and they are perfect for those who want more warmth with reduced weight and bulk. They may feel too restrictive to some, as they provide the least space inside. Make sure you try one out before deciding on a purchase.Double-wide sleeping bags offer comfort and space for two, even though most of them can be separated into two single ones.
After you’ve chosen the shape, you can move on to different types of insulation. These include goose-down and synthetic insulation types. Goose-down is a natural material. It keeps you warmer than synthetics It is also much easier to compress. The Goose-Down sleeping bags are more durable, resistant to water. Sleeping bags with synthetic insulation are much more commonly used as they are still strong performers without breaking your bank. Keep in mind that they’re much harder to compress than their goose-down counterparts.
How are sleeping bags rated regarding comfort? The comfort rating is there to inform you about the optimum temperatures an average female or male will feel or won’t feel comfortable. These ratings should also provide you with a hint about temperatures at which this person will feel too warm. This is a tad tricky because it isn’t easy to describe an average person. Some people are more comfortable than others when low temperatures are concerned. You can’t know whether you’re average, or perhaps above or below average. The currently used sleeping bag standard is called the EN13537 Standard, and this is from Europe. It utilizes a heated manikin dressed in a tracksuit, covered in sensors, and neatly tucked in a sleeping bag. The test lasts until the manikin loses so much heat that the sleeping bag can be deemed no longer sufficient. The standard follows the actual temperatures, so it’s not that hard to interpret.
As its name suggests, this range is the temperature range at which an average person will not feel cold while being in a comfortable posture inside a sleeping bag. This goes down to 31° F.
The transition range reflects a situation in which an average person fights against feeling cold. This means curling up inside the sleeping bag to conserve as much warmth as possible. The transition range should describe the performance limits of your sleeping bag.
A state of feeling very cold characterizes the extreme range. Spending time in a sleeping bag at these ranges could damage your health. You should use a sleeping bag at -11°F only in emergency situations.
Another way you can choose your next sleeping bag is to pay attention to the season ratings. Manufacturers commonly use these to inform you about which time of the year a particular sleeping bag is best suited for usage. These are cleverly broken down into five seasonal ratings:
One season rating sleeping bags are used during warm summer nights. Also, they are used indoors.
A two-season rating sleeping bags are used during slightly cooler spring and summer evenings.
When you need a sleeping bag for cold nights with no frost, you go for those with a three-season rating.
Winter time can only be endured in a sleeping bag that carries a four-season rating.
A five-season rating only applies to sleeping bags designed for extremely low temperatures which are commonly found in the rucksacks of experienced campers and mountaineers.
Now that you know how sleeping bags are rated, it will be much easier to choose one which best suits your needs. Take into account the EN13537 Standard, season ratings, the materials of the sleeping bag, and the actual type of insulation it provides, and you can’t go wrong.