Which sleeping bag should I choose?
Choosing the right sleeping bag can feel difficult, but the right equipment is often crucial for a successful adventure. In this guide, we will guide you to the perfect sleeping bag based on your needs. To guide you in the right direction, we will take a closer look at who will use the sleeping bag and how to fit their needs and preferences. It is also important to consider what season it will be used during and whether you should choose a down, hybrid or synthetic lined sleeping bag.
What to consider when choosing a sleeping bag
- Not all sleeping bags suit everyone – choose a sleeping bag based on gender and height
- The comfort temperature indicates the temperature at which the sleeping bag is suitable for use
- Choose a down sleeping bag if the sleeping bag should weigh less and take up less space in the pack, and choose a synthetic sleeping bag if it should withstand getting wet
Popular sleeping bags
Who will use the sleeping bag?
Buying a sleeping bag suitable to your body will give you optimal warmth, therefore it is important that you take into account the shape and length of the sleeping bag. If you choose a sleeping bag that is too large, you have an unnecessary amount of volume to heat up, and if you choose a sleeping bag that is too small, the filling is compressed, which means that it does not heat optimally. When you choose a sleeping bag according to your height, you therefore get optimal warmth and also don't have to carry the extra weight of a sleeping bag that is too big.
You can also choose whether you want a sleeping bag specially designed for women, men (unisex) or children. A women's sleeping bag has extra insulation at the torso and feet and is slightly narrower at the shoulders and wider at the hips. A unisex model/men's sleeping bag is a little wider at the shoulders and narrower at the hips. A children's sleeping bag is often smaller in size, both in length and width. It is also common for children's sleeping bags to be adjustable in length, which is a smart feature as the child can use the sleeping bag for multiple years.
When will you be using the sleeping bag?
Sleeping bags are divided into different categories depending on the temperature specifications they have – summer sleeping bag, 3-season sleeping bag (spring, summer and autumn) and winter sleeping bag. All sleeping bags, with a few exceptions, from us at Outnorth are temperature tested according to the European standard, EN 13537. According to this standardization, there are three important temperature indications to be considered; women's comfort temperature (T comf), men's comfort temperature (T lim) and extreme temperature (T ext). These specifications will tell you what temperature it is comfortable to sleep in the sleeping bag.
Think about when you will use the sleeping bag the most; if you are only going to use the sleeping bag in summer, a sleeping bag for summer use only is enough. But if you are going to use it during spring, summer and autumn, you should consider a 3-season sleeping bag. Unfortunately, there are no sleeping bags that are suitable all year round – for example, a sleeping bag for winter use will be too warm in summer and a sleeping bag for summer will be too cold in winter. If you need a sleeping bag for the whole year, we recommend that you buy two sleeping bags to cover your needs.
Summer sleeping bag: A summer sleeping bag usually has a comfort temperature between +5°C to +15°C. A summer sleeping bag also can be used indoors all year round.
3-season sleeping bag: A 3-season sleeping bag usually has a comfort temperature between -10°C to 0°C.
Winter sleeping bag: A winter sleeping bag suitable for a Scandinavian winter should work in temperatures around -15°C. These sleeping bags usually have a heating collar that, when tightened, prevents warm air from escaping.
Down, synthetic or hybrid lined sleeping bag?
Different sleeping bag fillings have different pros and cons and therefore works well in different situations. You need to think about what is important to you; is it important that the sleeping bag takes up less space in the pack and is light? Is it important that the sleeping bag withstands a humid climate? Is it important that the sleeping bag lasts for many years to come or are you only going to use it a few times?
Down sleeping bags
- Weighs less and takes up less space in the pack
- Long lifespan
- Usually more expensive than synthetic sleeping bags
- More sensitive to moisture and dries more slowly
Synthetic sleeping bags
- Dries quickly and warms even when wet
- Usually cheaper than down sleeping bags
- Weighs more and takes up more space in the pack
- Shorter lifespan
Hybrid sleeping bags
- Blend of down and synthetic fibers
- Keeps the heat well while resisting moisture well
Good luck with your choice of sleeping bag!