Types Of Sleeping Bags For All Outdoor Adventures

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For every camper, backpacker and hiker sleeping bag is their best friend. It provides us with comfortable and warm place to sleep, protects us from cold and insects, and in the end lets us refill our energy so we can continue our adventure the next day.

But finding the right one may be a bit trickier than you think. There are lots of sleeping bags types and they could differ not only by their size, but also few other factors. This article will lead you through all types of sleeping bags and ease up the process of choosing the right sleeping bag for you. It will be useful especially if you plan to go on multiple camping trips with different location and time of year. All of this could affect your needs and make your pre-owned one bad choice.

Shapes Of Sleeping Bags

One of the main differences between types of sleeping bags is their shape. Sometimes that difference will be so small you won’t be able to say which type is the bag you’re looking at, and sometimes it will be quite easy to get it right, but all of those sleeping bags types has its own purpose.

Rectangular Sleeping Bag

Oldie but goldie. This shape of sleeping bag provides more than enough space and it is great choice for everyone who loves to have room to wiggle during the night time. You’ll be able to move anyway you like and still feel comfortable. But, it does have some kind of toll, because all that extra space also means that they don’t provide much of protection, or a hood so the warm air stays in.

You may use it if you plan on going for car camping or staying somewhere inside, or somewhere where it’s warm and dry. Their plus size is the fact that zip will most likely fit with any other sleeping bag, while you could also open it completely and make a cover or a blanket out of it. And the price is affordable.

Related Review: Rectangular Sleeping Bag

Barrel-Shaped Sleeping Bag

‘Close relative’ to the rectangular sleeping bag, this one is also really comfortable and wide enough so you can relax and move around your sleeping bag as much as you want to, while it keeps the heat inside. This sleeping bag type is mostly used by car campers and backpackers. They may have hood, tapered foot box and shoulders, which makes them better option for lower temperatures.

Mummy Sleeping Bag

With this one, the name says it all. Great choice for lower temperatures, foot box is highly tapered, same as leg area. It does become a bit wider at the upper part, but then you’ll see the shoulders also being tapered and joined by hood you can then proceed to tighten up or loose using a draw cord.

The main purpose of this sleeping bag is to keep you warm, so for autumn camping or backpacking this one will be by far the best choice. Although some of you may like to skip it, because it doesn’t provide much space to move during the night time. It may feel even a bit claustrophobic. Plus size is the fact that they are really warm, while being ultralight and don’t take much of a space in your backpack.

Double Sleeping Bag

If you plan to go camping with your significant other, the best option for you is double sleeping bag, or two person sleeping bag. If you use this one, you’ll be able to cuddle up with your partner or your kid, if it doesn’t have their own kid’s sleeping bag, and enjoy. But most of double sleeping bags lose their warmth because of the loose fits, so the cold air comes inside. It is also used by campers who want extra space, without any restrictions. Some manufacturers allow you to separate two bags and easily create one sleeping bag. Make sure it has two zippers, also if there is option get the one that can separate, and insist on hood.

Related Review: Double Sleeping Bag

Elephant Foot Sleeping Bag

This option is the best one for those who don’t want to carry extra weight so they choose the sleeping bag while having the weight used as their primary condition. This makes it great choice for most of backpackers or mountaineers. They are a bit shorter than the rest sleeping bags types, so you’ll need your jacket on all the times, to keep your upper body warm and comfortable. Zips may be left out, so you’ll have fasteners that clip, which will save a bit of weight. It doesn’t have hood. It is warm, small, easy to carry and could have shoulder straps.

Quilt

Sometimes using the sleeping bag may not be what you need, because it won’t keep you warm during the night. It may also be a bit heavier than you’d love to carry around, or it may simply be too hot for closing yourself in a sleeping bag. Enter quilt. This is something new to the camping world, but it will serve the trick most often same as sleeping bag. They are lightweight, and offer the best option for summer camping, but also if you sleep on a hammock. When buying one of these, make sure it has clips so you can attach it to your sleeping pad. While being lightweight, they are also warm enough to keep away from freezing. Or sleep in a liner.

Sleeping Bag Types Based On Temperature Rating

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Seasons change; temperature can vary, so before you visit shop or order your sleeping bag online, it is time to learn the temperature rating. It will help you prevent possible mistake, like bringing something extra weight during the summer, or vice versa – having some ultralight sleeping bag during the cold autumn or snowy winter.

There are a few different rating levels:

  • Comfort rating means that it should provide the temperature warm enough for an adult female to sleep comfortably
  • Limit rating – the temperature at which adult male should sleep at ease. This could go from “upper limit”, with sleeping bag that allows adult male to sleep without much sweating, to “down limit”, where sleeping bag in this category will keep you warm if you sleep in curled position.
  • Extreme rating describes the temperature at which this sleeping bag will simply keep an adult female alive, but it won’t protect you from hypothermia or frostbite. Combine them with survival shelter.

Related Review: Women’s Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Bag Titles/Categories Explained

There are three main sleeping bags types, based on their performance, and those are summer, 3 season and winter.

Summer sleeping bag is, as the name itself says, best choice for summer. The low temperature limit is 35 degrees Fahrenheit, with high temperature limit being above 35 degrees Fahrenheit. It will let you sleep comfortably, without sweating, and most of the time these are lightweight.

Three season sleeping bag is great for spring, autumn and summer camping on mountains, where the temperature could easily drop during the night, so you don’t sweat, but you won’t also be cold when it drops.

Winter sleeping bags are, like summer ones, intended for winter usage. It should keep you warm even if the temperature drops under -12 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can rest easily even when it is freezing cold outside.

Related Review: Summer Sleeping Bag

Insulation

This is the final step you should look at, when searching for the right sleeping bag type. There are two options – they can either be down, or synthetic.

Sleeping Bags With Down Insulation

This type of insulation often means they provide great warmth-to-weight ratio, which makes them really popular among lightweight backpackers and mountain climbers. Potential problem with this kind of insulation is the fact that, when it gets wet, it takes long time to dry out. And when wet, the insulating properties of this type of jacket are harshly limited. Although, there have been some development in the way of making down water repellent, so there is still a hope that you may find something lightweight, easily packed and long-lasting, while it stays warm when gets wet. And yes, they are more expensive, so this is another factor to seriously consider.

Sleeping Bags With Synthetic Insulation

These sleeping bags are most often polyester-based, but it can also be some other similar alternative. They are heavier, take more space when packed, which makes them less popular model, but they are also cheaper, and unlike down, these sleeping bags don’t lose their insulation when wet. And they dry quicker, so if you plan on going somewhere where you could expect wet weather, maybe you should opt out for synthetic instead of down, just to make sure you have everything on your side.

Globo Surf Overview

Sleeping bags provide you place of comfort, allow you to rest easily and stay warm enough so you can sleep without waking up shivering and freezing. But remember – don’t take these ratings for granted! They serve only as a guideline for what to expect. The final performance is directly connected to many other factors, like the ground you’re sleeping on, the weather, your clothes, proper sleeping pad, your tent… even your own metabolism. But if those are alright, and you take your own safety seriously enough, then this article should help you find the sleeping bag that will help you stay warm even during the coldest night. Just place your pillow and good night!

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!