Having chosen the tent that fulfils all your requirements attention then must be given to the type of bedding suitable for your needs. There are many sleeping bags available. Choosing the right one for the use you intend it for is important. Nothing can spoil a holiday as much as nights spent shivering in an unsuitable sleeping bag. At night the temperature drops, as does our heat output. Air is the best insulator and so what is needed is a method of cocooning us in trapped warm air around our body. This cocoon should keep the air still and prevent loss of heat but should be breathable to allow body moisture to escape into the outside air.
Factors to take into account when choosing your sleeping bag include warmth ratings, materials used, design shape and size, weight, pack size and cost.
What are the different types of sleeping bags?
There are wide range of sleeping bag styles on the market, they differ from size, comfort rating, season rating and type of insulation.
Square Sleeping Bags
Square sleeping bags are the most basic sleeping bags. A simple design that gives the user plenty of space whilst sleeping and doesn't restrict movement. Square sleeping bags are also available in double size, perfect for couples. The square sleeping bags can be turned into a double bag by combining two single sleeping bags.
Mummy Sleeping Bags
Mummy sleeping bags are designed to keep air flow to a minimum hence the tapered shape of the sleeping bag. This style of sleeping bag isn't recommended for people that don't like restricted space as space around your feet is extremely limited. The mummy sleeping bags can range from single season right up to expedition use.
Square Hooded Sleeping Bags
The Square hooded sleeping bag is a great all rounder of a sleeping bag. The hood gives you the option to cocoon yourself when its colder. With the square body design you will have ample amounts of space to maneuver in your sleep. Square hooded sleeping bags can range from single season right up to expedition standard. The perfect style of sleeping bag for mulit use.
All-In-One Sleeping Bag System
The all-in-one sleeping bag system is a combination of an air bed /sleeping bag. Both are attached to one another and operate together. The all in one sleeping bag system is great for a sleepover or accommodating friends and family. This model of all-in-one sleeping bag systems is also available in a double bed, ideal for 2 people sharing.
The sleeping bag pods are WIDE and perfect for users that like to twist and turn in there sleep. These sleeping pods are ideal for sleepovers and summer use.
Which sleeping bag is right for me?
Sleeping bags are rated for different seasons and temperatures. Most manufacturers will list the season rating along with a minimum temperature and a comfort temperature rating that the bag will be suitable for.
One season sleeping bag is designed for summer use only, June to August.
Two season sleeping bags are for late spring to early autumn, when temperatures do not drop below zero.
Three season sleeping bags are for early autumn and early spring when temperatures drop below zero/mild winter nights.
Four season sleeping bags are for cold winter nights.
This is a general guide and note must be taken of the temperature ratings given to each sleeping bags. Seasonal conditions can vary greatly e.g. frosts occurring in May or September. Also note that all these ratings are for valley use and that temperatures will usually be colder high in the hills and so a warmer sleeping bag may be required. The amount of insulation required can vary greatly from one person to another, with one person comfortable in a one-season sleeping bag for two season temperatures or another needing a three season bag to be warm in the summer. What you sleep on or in matter greatly too. Ratings assume use of a mat and tent. If you choose to sleep on the ground under the stars you will not feel so warm. See our Basic essentials guide to Sleeping mats
As sleeping bags work by trapping warm air, it's best to get into your bag while you are feeling warm and giving off heat. Opening the bag from the foot end can cool hot feet. Square style bags can be zipped together to make a double size and will be marked left or right zip to ensure that they match together.
What other sleeping bag options are there?
Down Sleeping Bags
Down sleeping bags are similar to down jackets.They are great insulators and are often used in the 4-5 season sleeping bags due to the material (down) being such a good insulator. A down sleeping bag is the perfect choice if your going to be using your bag in the winter months, in lower temperatures or if your sensitive to the cold.
Synthetic Sleeping Bags
Synthetic sleeping bags tend to be the most popular choice of sleeping bags. Prices of synthetic sleeping bags can range but are generally more affordable than most. A synthetic sleeping bag can handle water much better than down and will often retain its heat when damp!
Women's Sleeping Bags
Specifically designed sleeping bags for women are relatively new to the market. These offer a better fit and better insulation for the female figure. Female sleeping bags are often narrower at the shoulders to help trap warm air and to keep air from getting in the sleeping bag.
Children's Sleeping Bags
A much shorter sleeping bag will benefit a child and act as a better insulator due to there being less air in the sleeping bag. Your child will be far warmer in a childs sleeping bag than in an adults sleeping bag, this is down to the childs sleeping bag being a much better fit.