Sleeping bags: features, types and recommendations for choice
An indispensable attribute of any trip to the mountains or nature is a waterproof and warm sleeping bag. High-quality models of sleeping bags provide comfort, restful sleep and good thermal insulation. In this material you will get acquainted with the features and varieties of modern sleeping bags, as well as with recommendations for their choice.
Description and purpose
For every outdoor enthusiast, a sleeping bag, or just a sleeping bag, is an indispensable item for hiking, hiking or road adventures. Sleep plays a huge tactical role in any campaign - it allows you to restore strength and relax. Unfortunately, on trips it is not always possible to get a comfortable sleeping place with all amenities (although some people prefer this extreme relaxation), it was for these purposes that a sleeping bag was developed.
A high-quality tourist sleeping bag can restore strength and fill your body with vigor even in the most severe environmental conditions.
Materials of manufacture
To date, there is a wide variety among fillers or heaters in sleeping bags. All varieties are divided into two types: natural and synthetic. The pros and cons of each of these species will be described below.
The advantages of down (or natural) filler.
- Downy sleeping bags weigh very little, they are compact (much more compact than the same warm synthetic materials), they are easy to fold and carry.
- Due to its light weight and considerable size, the fluff provides complete thermal insulation. It should be remembered that the sleeping bag does not have its own heat, it only retains the heat that your body releases. Fluff occupies a large space between the inner and outer walls of the sleeping bag, thereby reducing the rate of heat loss.
- Downy sleeping bags are considered the most comfortable and soft, they are pleasant to the touch and they are much more comfortable to sleep. Modern synthetic fabrics are able to provide a similar level of softness, however, this greatly affects their price.
- With proper and regular care and drying of the downy sleeping bag after each trip, it is able to serve you for a very long time. Therefore, experienced tourists are advised to initially buy downy sleeping bags.
Cons of downy sleeping bags.
- High-quality and well-crafted warm fluff is very expensive, it is harder to get and even harder to care for. With prolonged exposure to cold and without human heat, fluff rapidly freezes and completely loses its heat-insulating properties.
- The fluff simply absorbs moisture, and therefore in such sleeping bags it is not recommended to sleep outside the tents. Fluff is extremely sensitive to humid weather with sudden changes in temperature. In the assembled position, the damp down sleeping bag dries for a very long time, and the fluff itself begins to rot without drying. Mostly these sleeping bags are used by professional climbers and climbers on high-altitude expeditions.
- Down models of sleeping bags are very vulnerable to physical impact. From the slightest scratch or hole, these sleeping bags begin to thoroughly "molt" and lose all the fluff. With the loss of fluff, even in one place of the sleeping bag, all its properties are lost.
Today you can find a huge number of synthetic fillers, the manufacturers of which position their material as the "ideal analogue of fluff." Unfortunately, it is often not possible to determine the actual difference between such fillers, and therefore you have to trust only authoritative and branded models of sleeping bags.
In the case of a synthetic sleeping bag, the quality of the insulation can depend on several factors.
- The thickness of the fibers. In a high-quality synthetic sleeping bag, it should be different. Thin fibers will provide thermal insulation, while thick fibers are designed to maintain the state of the material, its elasticity, shape and volume.
- The presence of hollow fibers. In the presence of 1 to 7 of these fibers in the insulation, the total weight of the sleeping bag is significantly reduced, and its protective qualities are improved.
- Fiber resilience. Another indicator designed to regulate the elasticity of the sleeping bag and maintain its shape for a long time.
- Siliconization. The presence of this indicator suggests that the model of a sleeping bag is able to successfully repel moisture and retain heat for a long time.
Famous and expensive brands of synthetic insulation are the following: Thermolight Extreme, Thinsulate, Primaloft, Polarguard. Cheaper analogues: ThermoFill, HolloFiber, Warm-Loft, QualoFil.
Pluses of synthetic fillers.
- Synthetic-filled sleeping bags are not afraid of moisture and can warm the wearer even when wet. Synthetics dry much faster than fluff, wash easily and do not come out of the sleeping bag in case of damage to the walls of the bag.
- Even the highest quality synthetic sleeping bags are much cheaper than down ones. This is often a fundamental factor when choosing a sleeping bag.
- Synthetic sleeping bags are generally not as compact as downy ones. Warm models can weigh up to 5-7 kg, which forces inexperienced tourists to use the car for transportation in case of camping or hiking.
- Durability does not belong to the merits of synthetic materials. Over time, any synthetics become deformed, begin to deteriorate from moisture, and allow more and more cold to pass through.
A popular option for synthetic bags for summer trips is the fleece sleeping bag - such bags are compact, lightweight and able to retain heat for a long time.
Types of designs
The most common 4 varieties of sleeping bags, each of which is adapted for certain weather conditions and a certain type of hike and travel.
Cocoon or Sarcophagus
This version of the sleeping bag fully justifies its name - when you look at it, you involuntarily think about the fact that the fabric will encircle you from all sides. This is not a particularly convenient version of a sleeping bag - it is difficult to roll over and change position in them, which leads to leakage of limbs. However, these sleeping bags are very warm and completely cover the entire body with the head, providing complete thermal insulation.
These sleeping bags take up little space, practically do not get wet and are often used precisely for extreme hiking. Some professional models of such sleeping bags open only half - lightning to half the length of the sleeping bag, the rest of this always remains closed.
Almost an ordinary rectangular sleeping bag, with one exception - there is no hood or headrest. This type of sleeping bag is usually used for summer camping with tents. They are not particularly warm, easily wet and do not dry well.
The main advantage and feature of such sleeping bags is precisely the zipper - it is placed on the side so, that you can combine two identical sleeping bags of the "blanket" type into one big one. As a rule, these bags are ordinary quilts with a zipper that are quilted on a synthetic winterizer, due to which they got this name.
A peculiar version of the increased at the head of the sleeping bag. The peculiarity of this design is that you completely fit in the bag with your head and limbs. At the head of such a bag is formed special volumetric trapezoid, which provides a large amount of space for changing position and air intake. The trapezoid is equipped with a zipper and breathable material, which ensures the supply of fresh and clean air from the outside.
A standard and well-known type of sleeping bag, which resembles a variety of "blankets", but is equipped with a headrest or hood. The hood can serve as a shelter for the head, and as a pocket for keeping clothes and papers dry.
Dimensions and capacity
In addition to the fact that all sleeping bags are divided into two varieties in length (Regular and Long), they are also divided into several types depending on size and capacity.
- Baby sleeping bags. Usually these are compact ultralight bags with dimensions of 71 by 145 centimeters, which are sewn from the brightest fabric and have the warmest filler.
- Teenage sleeping bags. Here, the optimal size is 73 by 167 centimeters. They are also often bought by people of small stature and medium build.
- Standard Type Sleeping Bags. These sleeping bags are designed for shoppers with a medium build and standard height. The dimensions here are 84 by 190 centimeters.
- Large sleeping bags. Designed for people of high stature, as well as for people who are overweight. Sizes - 84 by 198 or 96 by 205 centimeters, and more.
- Double bags. Bags of this type are distinguished by a compacted structure with double insulation of the upper part of the bag. Such warming is justified by the absence of lightning (in most cases) separating the sleeping places.
Varieties of single sleeping bags are also available, which by combining lightning are combined into double sleeping bags.
There is a classification of all sleeping bags according to their seasonality. The seasonality of a particular bag affects not only its value, but also on the quality of the filler, the insulating properties of the bag and the number of seasons that a certain model will successfully serve you.
- Off-season sleeping bags. A universal option for use in almost any environment and in all seasons except winter. These are insulated sleeping bags in which you will feel quite comfortable both at -5 and at -15, however they are not suitable for prolonged thermal exposure. As a rule, these sleeping bags have a double heater for improved heat storage.
- One-season sleeping bags.
- This includes varieties of sleeping bags for rare travel in the summer and warm seasons. These models of bags are lightweight, compact and fast drying. However, they are used only at relatively high and medium temperatures, are placed inside shelters and have virtually no protection against frost.
- Exclusively winter modelsthat can protect you from significant cold weather - from -16 to -46 degrees Celsius. These bags are large in size, as well as multi-layer heaters with heating.
- Extreme temperature conditions. This includes sleeping bags designed specifically for long trips with a constant influence of low temperatures.
What is comfort temperature?
To understand this concept, you should refer to the classification of sleeping bags by temperature. Typically, the temperature limit indicator can be found in the technical passport, which should be attached to all branded models of sleeping bags.
- So, comfort temperature (or effective temperature) this is the largest indicator of the external temperature at which you are guaranteed to fall asleep and will feel comfortable during an eight-hour sleep, given that you will be dressed in ordinary clothes without insulation. In this case, you will not feel discomfort from excessively high or low temperatures. Depending on the model of the sleeping bag, the thermal coverage may vary, usually from -20 to +30 degrees Celsius.
- Limit (limit) of comfort - the temperature value, which indicates that during the next 7-8 hours of sleep you will be in the sleeping bag (taking into account the wearing of thermal underwear) and you will not feel any discomfort. Here the temperature range varies from -49 to +25 degrees Celsius.
- Extreme temperature (some also call it the temperature of survival) - the value of the lowest temperature threshold at which the sleeping bag is able to protect its owner from frost and guarantees him a good sleep for 6-7 hours. In this case, you should be dressed in insulated clothing with thermal underwear. As a rule, here the thermal coverage is from -60 to +15 degrees Celsius.
- Upper comfort temperature limit. This characteristic is optional and is not indicated on all modern models. It indicates the largest possible thermal level at which a person will feel comfortable when sleeping in an open bag.
If you want to buy a sleeping bag and determine the above indicators, you should understand that they can otherwise manifest themselves in relation to certain people. The indicators will increase or decrease depending on your physique, moisture level, your gender (it is believed that women are freezing stronger than men), age and characteristics of the body.
Unfortunately, to find an objective ranking of high-quality and modern sleeping bags by price and quality is not so simple. Many manufacturers in every possible way advertise their products, trying to belittle the dignity of other companies. Below is a list of foreign brands of sleeping bags that are most popular in the world.
Alexika Canada Plus
One of the most popular models due to the unique thermal insulation, convenient sizes for even the most dimensional people, as well as a wide and warm headrest.
Pluses of model:
- the presence of a soft and warm headrest with a separate pocket for the pillow;
- there is a wide tape at the zipper, which prevents "chewing" of the material;
- the presence of strong loops for quality drying;
- there are convenient external flannel sides.
Cons of the model:
- takes up a lot of space even in assembled condition;
- weighs not less than 4.5 pounds;
- rather big cost.
Alexika Siberia Wide Plus
Another popular option from the same company. It has the same excellent thermal insulation, as well as a convenient rectangular shape and plenty of free space for movement inside the sleeping bag.
Pluses of model:
- thanks to the side zipper, it is possible to combine two models into one large one;
- soft structure, the presence of a warm roller near the blanket;
- unlike many other models, here the “dogs” of the zipper are equipped with phosphorescent loops that allow you to navigate without problems in the dark;
- there is a special valve that prevents involuntary unzipping of the zipper;
- the presence of a protective tape to prevent "chewing" of the fabric;
- There is a voluminous and convenient internal pocket for storing money, linen or a phone.
Cons of the model:
- significant weight for a sleeping bag - almost 3 kg;
Trek Planet "Fisherman"
A popular sleeping bag model among anglers and hunters.It differs from others in camouflage colors and good thermal insulation in summer and autumn seasons.
Pluses of model:
- there is a hood and collar;
- the presence of bilateral zippers with additional protection against blowing;
- there is an inside pocket;
- side zipper allows you to connect two separate models into one big one;
- this sleeping bag is compact and incredibly light - 1.65 kg;
- inexpensive cost among synthetic sleeping bags.
Cons of the model:
- synthetic interior trim;
- poor-quality cover.
The most famous Russian sleeping bags
A popular model of a sleeping bag made of wyfeber. It is popular among fishermen and hunters due to camouflage coloring and high-quality heat preservation.
Pluses of model:
- low cost;
- sufficient size for a person of any height and physique;
- there is a warm headrest, which can be converted into a hood;
- lining from natural flannel fabric;
- There is a two-way lightning.
Cons of the model:
- large sizes even when folded;
- significant weight, which complicates the drag and drop of the item during the trip;
- non-compression packing case;
- some note bulging sutures from the headrest and bike fabric after prolonged use.
A modern sleeping bag made of quality sheep wool. It is also popular among fishermen and hunters, as it has a camouflage color and is able to withstand significant temperature extremes.
Pluses of model:
- there is a warm and soft hood;
- large sizes relative to the length (230 cm) and width (95 cm) - suitable for both tall and full people;
- water repellent coating is present;
- there are additional insulation elements in the form of insulation "thermofiber";
- It can be washed both in the car and manually.
- large size and weight when folded;
- drying takes a long time, which is impossible to provide in the conditions of the campaign.
How to choose?
Choosing a good bag is not an easy task for inexperienced travelers. Many prefer brands and beautiful models that will look nice against the background of Soviet bags, but forget the most important thing. If you have gone somewhere on a hike on a cloudy, windy and cold night, you will not care about the appearance of a sleeping bag, all you want is to keep warm. Below is presented A list of criteria to consider when buying a sleeping bag.
Type of trip
The first stage is determining the type of trip: whether it will be simple fishing with a single overnight stay not far from the city, a trip with children for 2-3 days or a long trip for a week to the mountains or nature. For each type of travel, a certain type of sleeping bag is more or less suitable.
So, for simple trips for one night, they can be ideal non-brand versions of sleeping bags or blanket bags with synthetic filling and a thermal range from 0 to 20 degrees Celsius. These bags have their advantages: they are lightweight, inexpensive, they do not need careful care, but they also save your heat accordingly.
Another important point when choosing a sleeping bag is the current weather conditions that will accompany you throughout the trip. The most important thing here is to choose a sleeping bag model with the optimal difference in temperature comfort and the limit of this value.
Particular attention to the temperature of comfort should be paid to people with a thin physique, women (especially pregnant) and the elderly. Only experienced travelers, such as professional climbers, pay attention to the so-called extreme temperature indicator.
Today, branded stores offer only two types of sleeping bags, depending on their length: Regular and Long. The first is for people with a height of up to 180 centimeters. The second is suitable for denser people with a height of 198 centimeters.
The choice of bag length depends not only on your height, but also on the current season. So, in the summer season it is worth adding at least 15 centimeters to your height to the desired length of the sleeping bag, in the spring and autumn seasons - at least 30 centimeters. This length is necessary to ensure freedom of movement inside the sleeping bag and maintain temperature.
When buying a sleeping bag Feel free to use your right and evaluate its size in relation to your height and physique. So you can appreciate the comfort of the model, as well as whether it will be convenient for you to change the position of the body while in the sleeping bag.
To appreciate the convenience of the model, just climb into the bag and fasten it, put on the hood. In a comfortable sleeping bag, the material at the legs and head should not be stretched. A large amount of free space should be located at the hands, so that you can safely change the position of the body.
Before choosing a sleeping bag model, you should pay attention to the following external factors.
- Filler. It should be distributed evenly over the entire area of the sleeping bag. In a quality sleeping bag, there should be no lumps inside the material. This should not be feared if your sleeping bag model is quilted.
- Hood. It is advisable to choose models of sleeping bags with a hood with a screed. The shape of the hood should be anatomical, which takes into account the position of the neck, skull and does not block lateral vision.
- Pillow. In some modern models of sleeping bags there is a special pocket for pillows - in hiking, this attribute is responsible not only for convenience, but also for maintaining heat in the head area.
- Lightning. This element in the sleeping bag is responsible for the conservation of heat and prevents the penetration of wind and cold into the bag. The zipper in a good bag should unfasten and fasten freely. The presence of a protective tape near the zipper (which will prevent the fabric from biting), as well as a safety valve (to prevent the cold from getting through the zipper), will be an additional plus. Today, there are models of sleeping bags with right or left zippers, which can be connected to each other, forming one continuous sleeping bag.
- Pocket. A pocket must be located inside comfortable sleeping bags, where you can store papers, documents, a telephone and even dry linen. The pocket should be with a zipper and be in an accessible place for the hands, but not interfere with the movement of the body inside the bag.
- Drying. After each night spent in the bag, it should be dried and warmed in the sun. For this, in modern models there are special loops inside or outside the bag, on which it is more convenient to attach it to hooks or branches.
- Insurance. Together with a well-fastening zipper, a special fastener must be present in the bag, which will adjust and fix the accidental unfastening of the zipper lock.
- Children's models. A special part of sleeping bags are models designed exclusively for children. So, for children under 3 years old, it is recommended to buy warm bags with natural fillers. For children under 8 years old, sleeping bags such as "envelope" and "blanket" are best suited, after 8 years - an ordinary sleeping bag of the type "cocoon".
- Cost. The better the product, the more expensive it will be - this is what the modern competitive market teaches us. When choosing such an important thing as a sleeping bag, you should not spare money, because it is precisely on the convenience and quality of the model you purchased that your health and well-being in the next traveling nights and days will depend. To be sure of the quality of the sleeping bag, it is recommended to buy models of well-known brands with a good reputation.
- Coating. A distinctive feature of most low-quality and cheap bags is a smooth and sliding cover, because of which you will slip on uneven surfaces and risk falling, for example, from a mountain, a cliff or a hill. Changing the location of the body in such bags is extremely inconvenient. Ideal option is sleeping bags with non-slip coating.
- The color of the bag. If you are a hunter and a fisherman, then you should choose camouflage models of sleeping bags - they are more difficult to notice, they attract less attention and blend well with the landscape.
If you are an ordinary tourist or just love hiking, it is better to choose as bright bags as possible - they are easier to find and easier to notice if your bag, for example, carries away with the wind. It is believed that the same white bags are best seen in the dark, which helps a lot with finding your sleeping place on a dark summer night after the toilet.
Sleeping bags, like any other travel accessories, need careful and regular care. Due to weather conditions, they are constantly susceptible to moisture and cold, which if the bag is improperly taken care of adversely affects the thermal insulation properties of the model and its service life.
The following describes the care and proper use of sleeping bags, which should be paid attention to every hiker.
Storage and packaging
An important point in caring for a sleeping bag is the way it is stored. The fact is that when buying a sleeping bag, it is usually neatly packed and folded, but in the future it will not work out so folded. Inexperienced hikers often spend whole hours packing a sleeping bag, but professional climbers know that even hasty packing in a backpack does not harm a quality bag, the main thing is that the sleeping bag should be dry and not located near wet clothes.
After the trip is over, be sure to leave the sleeping bag unfolded for several days at home. It should dry and straighten so that the filling material does not deteriorate.
Fortunately, almost all modern models of bags are sold in conjunction with instructions that specify how and how often to wash a particular sleeping bag model. Typically, sleeping bags are washed no more than several times a year as necessary - this applies to the inside. The outer part will be sufficient to wipe with a rag in case of contamination. The number of washings may vary depending on the filler.
In addition to washing, some models, for example, from a membrane fabric or with a water-repellent coating, require restoration and special care over time. Particular attention should be paid to down-filled sleeping bags - they are incredibly warm and hold the temperature perfectly, but they are extremely negative to moisture and require long-term drying.
The main enemy in storing any sleeping bag is excess moisture. When packing a sleeping bag, make sure that it is thoroughly wiped. The container for its storage or transportation must also be dry and have access to oxygen. The accumulation of moisture on the material of the sleeping bag reduces its heat-insulating properties and leads to damage to the filler.
When choosing a place for an overnight stay, it is worth choosing the most dry area, as well as not lying down near the walls near the tent - condensation often accumulates on them in the morning. After each night spent on a camping trip, the sleeping bag should thoroughly dry.
See the following video for an overview of sleeping bags.