Enjoy Cozy Outdoors With the Best Sleeping Bags For Camping

Pick From Our Selection of Best Sleeping Bags and Stay Snug on Your Next Camping or Backpacking Trip

Welcome fellow travelers. You want the best sleeping bags for camping and we want to help. Let’s start by giving a little insight into sleeping bags. Here are some key features you won’t know (we didn’t) about sleeping bags and which we feel are essential for making the right buying choice.  Every sleeping bag consists of baffles (are you baffled?) which are the pockets that hold the filling. Their function is to keep the filling spread evenly. Inner linings are…well…the part that will be in contact with your body – they can be nylon or polyester (commonly), flannel or cotton (lightweight but can get damp) good for cooler climates.

Outer fabric has to be hard wearing and so many bags are made of nylon-ripstop. You’ll also find that these sleepers can have zips on the left or right (the choice is yours), but what we think is really important is the zip baffle. Ever move in your bag and have icy air filter through and wrecking your sleep? Well that air is coming through the zip (most likely) and by having a barrier there one can minimize and even prevent this. Also look out for zips that go all the way around the bag (full length) or just a portion of the distance (half length) and are bidirectional (meaning you can close and open from either side).

Some other cool design elements to look out for our hoods your head is like a MAJOR conductor of heat so if you can wrap it up you conserve body heat), draft collar (keeps cold out around your neck ‘n’ shoulders), inner pockets (for valuables etc.), and the stuff sack (a draw-string storage bag). Ok folks, with the basics behind us let’s venture into some of these awesome sleeping bags for camping that you should buy.

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Buyer’s Guide for Purchasing the Perfect Sleeping Bags for Camping

To make things easier for our readers we’ve divided this mini-guide into what we believe to be the five key buying parameters to understand before spending your hard earned cash on sleeping bags for camping:

  • How warm or cool will it keep you?
  • What’s this ‘comfort level’ they keep talking about?
  • How extreme can I take it before it fails on me?
  • What is this deal about down and synthetic fabrics? And finally (and perhaps most important),
  • What are your shape, size, and weight options?

How warm (or cool) will it keep me?

This has to be the most important question on your mind and two questions to answer when selecting your sleeping bags temperature rating is (a) How cold or hot is it going to get where you are taking your bag? (b) At what temperature are you the most comfortable sleeping in? Once you have these two answers simply check the temperature specifications on your sleeping bag and you are sorted! For more detail on the European advisory temperature scale classifications system click here.

What’s this ‘Comfort level’ they keep Talking About?

Sticking with temperature ratings (it really is that important), here’s some info about what is known as the ‘comfort rating’ of a particular sleeping bag. This phrase refers to the temperature you experience inside when completely covered and zipped closed. Using the sleeping bag in a climate that is lower than what is specified simply means you are going to get cold. Do not take this lightly – hypothermia is life threatening.

How Extreme can I take my Sleeping Bag Before it fails on Me?

Every good quality sleeping bag for camping should have an ‘extreme temperature’ rating. All this means is (and pay close attention) the temperature shown the lowest that particular bag can go before your body starts to ice over. And here we’re talking about the ugly effects of frostbite. Please note: This number has nothing to do with the lowest temperature where you will be comfortable. One could put it this way…if you’ve taken your bag to the limits (extreme rating) you will be extremely uncomfortable but you can rest assured you won’t lose any body parts.

What is this Deal with Natural and Synthetic Fabrics?

It’s really quite simple. Either your sleeping bag is stuffed with artificial fibers (man-made) or the manufacturers have harvested (hopefully ethically) the fine fluff (aka down) under feathers from ducks and geese. The man-made fibers are very common because they are cheaper and very resilient under wet conditions. Down on the other hand is pricey (for obvious reasons) but save you in weight and gains in heat stabilization (are real win-win). We say…if you have the money invest in down!

What are your Shape, size, and Weight Options?

You can probably remember your first sleeping bag. That ridiculously thin piece of cloth you spent shivering under most summer camps away. Well, that sleeping bag shape and design is still around. It has a rectangular, envelope design and a single zip that runs the full length of the perimeter. More contemporary designs (as listed above) include the ever popular mummy shape (like a cobra’s head) and the not-so-common spoon (see Nemo Salsa 30).

As a final thought here, we want to remind you that the square shaped bags are perfect for caravanning and longer stays outdoor. They are roomier but not something you want to lug around backpacking.

What do the Manufacturers mean by a “Fill” When Talking About Down?

They are talking about how many cubic inches one ounce of down will displace (push away). SO, for example, one ounce of a 600-fill down will fill about 2.5 gallons and one ounce of an 800-fill will fill about 3.5 gallons. You want to look for higher ratings because this means the down is finer and denser which means less weight and better insulation.

I’ve just got back from a trip. Are there Special care Instructions for my Sleeping Bag?

Good question and yes there are. We suggest you unzip the bag and air it out for at least two days. If the sun is out (no wind) spread out the sleeping bag on your patio or even driveway. Hanging it up on the washing line is also a good way to expose it completely. The sunlight and fresh air will rejuvenate your sleeping bag.

What to do if my kid has an Accident in their Sleeping Bag?

We suggest you use a mattress protector of some kind and insert this into a child size sleeping bag. The adult size sleeping bags for camping might not fit commercial washing machines. Also, we recommend that you never wash your sleeping bag in your home machine. It’s a good idea to air dry your bag after washing it commercially before placing it back into the bag. Our time together has drawn to a close. We understand that given the countless choices out there, deciding which sleeping bag to is not a walk in the park (pun intended).

However, with careful consideration (see our buyer’s guide) we think you can make an educated and money saving choice. If you are looking for a lightweight easily stored sleeping bag then we suggest the Western Mountaineering Ultralite Mummy Sleeping Bag. If style and all round comfort is your thing then Sierra Designs DriDown Backcountry Bed 600-Fill 3 Season Sleeping Bag and Slumberjack Country Squire 20  are great choices. Wishing you a wonderful and snug adventure in the great outdoors!