How to Buy a Sleeping Bag

A sleeping bag can be the difference between a cozy, comfortable sleep and a cold, miserable night of discomfort. The type and amount of fill used, shape of bag, liner, seams and style of zipper can all make a difference in your sleeping experience.

Here’s what to consider when buying a sleeping bag to ensure you have a comfortable sleep!


When will you be camping?

When choosing a sleeping bag look for the temperature rating when you're making your selection and buy for the coldest temperature you might face, but don't go overboard. Too hot can be almost as uncomfortable as too cold. If you tend to get cold, purchase a sleeping bag with a rating 5° to 10° warmer than you think you might need.

Secondly, look at the amount of fill that is in the sleeping bag. Generally, 2-3 lbs of fill is suitable for the summer months and 4-6 lbs of fill is ideal for colder weather.


Is your sleeping bag likely to get wet?

If your sleeping bag is likely to get wet, choose a sleeping bag with synthetic fibers fills such as Thermotech, ColeTherm® and other polyesters. Synthetic fibers are durable, dry quickly and retain loft and insulation value when wet,while Down fills lose its insulating abilities when wet. Synthetic fills also retain their insulating capacities better than down.


How will you carry your sleeping bag?

If you're a car camper, weight and packed size aren't important considerations, but if you're biking, backpacking or canoeing, you'll want to choose the weight and size of your sleeping bag carefully.


Do you plan to zip two bags together?

If so, consider purchasing bags with different temperature ratings. In colder weather, sleep with the heavier bag on top and switch it around in warmer weather.