Guide To Buying The Right Sleeping Bag

A good night’s sleep is essential for any camper, whether you’re going solo on an expedition or on a family trip.

So, whether you’re away with the family in the Lakes for the weekend or on Duke of Edinburgh, sleeping well is vital to ensure you’re ready for the following day. Therefore, a good-quality sleeping bag is a must.

However, when it comes to buying the perfect sleeping bag, there are many things to consider. So, which sleeping bag is best for you?

Winfields Outdoors has made this buying guide to help you choose the best sleeping bag to get the perfect night’s sleep. We’ll guide you through the key information from filling to types and the best sleeping bag based on your needs.

Read on to discover more and find the best sleeping bags for 2021 with Winfields Outdoors…

Sleeping Bag Season Guide

Choosing the right sleeping bag very much depends on the time of year and the conditions in which you’re sleeping.

For example, if you’re camping in the winter, you’ll need a sleeping bag to keep you warmer than if you’re camping in the summer. That’s why they’re made with different season ratings, as explained below:

Spring & Summer

    • 1 Season: For summer or indoor use, an overnight temperature of 10°C or higher
    • 2 Season: Late spring, early autumn, an overnight temperature of 5°C or higher

Autumn & Winter

    • 3 Season: Late autumn or milder winter nights, an overnight temperature of 0°C or higher
    • 4 Season: Cold winter nights, perhaps with frost, an overnight temperature of around -5°C or higher

Sleeping Bag Temperature Ratings

As well as the season of the sleeping bag, it’s important to also check the temperature ratings.

Again, where you plan on sleeping and the weather conditions will be key to determining which is the right sleeping bag for you. Sleeping bag temperature ratings are usually broken down into four parts:

Comfort rating – The comfort rating of sleeping bags refers to the temperature at which a standard adult woman can expect to get a comfortable night’s sleep. If the temperature is any less than the comfort rating, then it’s likely the person will feel cold.

Limit rating – The limit rating refers to the temperature at which a standard adult male can expect a comfortable night’s sleep. Again, any colder and they are less likely to sleep well.

Upper limit – This temperature at which a standard adult male is likely to be able to sleep well without excessive sweating or discomfort.

Extreme rating – This survival rating is the temperature at which a standard adult woman might suffer from hypothermia and other cold-related health issues. If you think your environment will get close to the extreme rating, it’s wise to opt for a warmer sleeping bag.

Synthetic vs Down Sleeping Bags

When it comes to the insulation of sleeping bags, you can opt for either synthetic or down insulation, each having its good and bad points.

Synthetic Sleeping Bags

Most sleeping bags you come across will use synthetic fill – a man-made filling of polyfibre. They are easy to maintain, durable, often cheaper, and perform better than down when they get wet. However, their warmth-to-weight ratio is not as good, so, pound-for-pound, you won’t feel as warm as you do in a down sleeping bag.

Read more: How to wash & care for a sleeping bag

Down Sleeping Bags

Down sleeping bags will generally keep you warmer than their equivalent synthetic counterparts. They are also lighter and will compress easier to a smaller size. However, down-filled sleeping bags are usually more expensive and do not perform well when wet. If down gets wet, then it clumps together, making it much less insulative.

Sleeping Bag Types: Shapes & Sizes

Sleeping bags come in a range of shapes and sizes, each with slightly different properties and uses. Sleeping bag shapes include the classic rectangle-shaped single to the super-snug mummy and spacious double sleeping bag. It all depends on the type of camping trip you’ll be going on.

Regular Sleeping Bags

Your regular common or garden sleeping bag will be rectangular in shape, giving you plenty of room inside to move around. Single sleeping bags will nearly always have a zip that goes down one side and the foot of the bag so it can be unzipped to form a blanket. These bags will also include women’s sleeping bags and some square sleeping bags.

Mummy Sleeping Bags

Mummy sleeping bags are much closer fitting, keeping you nice and snug when you’re asleep and are better at keeping you warm than regular sleeping bags. They taper towards the feet and also have a hood for your head and shoulders. They are also lighter than regular sleeping backs, so are ideal if pack weight is an issue or on a long-term expedition.

Double Sleeping Bags

If you’re camping with your significant other then you could opt for a double sleeping bag. This lets you cosy up together for extra warmth and will also reduce the weight and space of a second sleeping bag, reducing your gear list. If you happen to be using a double sleeping bag on your own, you’ll have much more space in these square-shaped double bags.

Read more: Double Sleeping Bag Buying Guide

Anatomy & Sleeping Bag Key Features

Sleeping bags are meticulously designed pieces of kit, and there are several features that go into keeping you warm and comfortable at night.

Zip – Sleeping bag zips usually come in three flavours – full zip, three-quarter zip, and half zip. You can also get double zip bags, which are very handy for ventilation and temperature control.

Zip baffle – An insulated baffle (flap of material) sits behind the zip to stop heat escaping through that part of the sleeping bag.

Zip cover – Some bags will also have a zip cover that goes over the top. This helps stop the zip coming undone in the night, but also works as an extra bit of insulation.

Hood – Many sleeping bags also feature a hood to help keep your head and shoulders warm. These are often adjustable to ensure a good fit.

Neck baffle – also referred to as a draft collar, the neck baffle provides extra insulation around your neck, reducing cold spots.

Outer fabric – Sleeping bags have different outer shell materials depending on their use. Polyester is a common material as it’s breathable, and some will use ripstop fabric for added durability.

Liner fabric – Again, can be made from various materials although polyester is popular.

Insulation – As discussed above, insulation can be either synthetic or down.

Footbox – This is the area around your feet. This is much closer fitting and more contoured on mummy sleeping bags to keep you warmer.

Pockets – Some sleeping bags have pockets in which you can store your valuables.

Sleeping Accessories

For an even better night’s sleep, whether you’re on a campsite or perched on a mountainside, you should consider some of these other pieces of sleeping equipment.

Sleeping Mats

A sleeping mat is another essential piece of kit. Not only do they make the ground you’re sleeping on more comfortable, softening any lumps and bumps, but they also reduce the amount of heat lost through the floor, keeping you warmer.

Airbeds

For added comfort, you can opt for an airbed, which will feel much more like a mattress compared to sleeping on the ground. We have single and double air beds available, as well as air pumps to help you blow them up.

Read more: Camping & Airbeds Buying Guide

Pillows

Of course, you need somewhere to lay your head, and so a good pillow is a must if space in your pack allows for it. We have self-inflating and memory foam pillows to get you a better quality kip.

Sleeping Bag Liners

A sleeping bag liner slips over the outside of your sleeping bag. This acts as an extra layer of insulation and also protects the outside of your bag from dirt, rips and any other substances that may damage it.

What are the best sleeping bags?

Winfields recommends…

Sprayway Comfort 300 Sleeping Bag

The Comfort 300 sleeping bag has a double-layered base and top, providing comfort and maximum warmth. The soft handle polycotton outer is quick-drying and durable, while the printed cotton flannel lining is luxuriously soft, so you will be guaranteed to get a good nights sleep. 100% cotton flannel lining offers great temperature regulation while an internal pocket and storage bag provide practicality.

Discover more about the Sprayway Comfort 300 Sleeping Bag

Kampa Dometic Junior Sleeping Bag

Great for a camping break with the kids, these attractively styled sleeping bags feature a fun eye-catching design that they will love. The Kampa Dometic Junior Sleeping bag benefits from a polycotton shell and soft-touch polyester lining for a comfortable nights sleep. The sleeping bag packs into a rucksack carry bag when not in use making it easy for carrying.

Discover more about the Kampa Dometic Junior Sleeping Bag

Vango Serenity Superwarm Double Sleeping Bag

The Serenity Superwarm Double Sleeping Bag from Vango is the pinnacle of comfort and warmth. A 3 season bag with a tog rating of 10, its perfect from spring to autumn. Constructed from a snug and cosy Polair shell, further enhanced by a Polair lining, it’s incredibly soft to touch and offers an abundance of comfort. A square carry bag eases transportation and quick, easy packing.

Discover more about the Vango Serenity Superwarm Double Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bags are just one part of the camping essentials that you will need for your next adventure, so hopefully, you are ready to buy your next bed from home to stay snug and warm under the stars.

Click on the links below to discover more camping essentials.

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