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Gear Guide Sleeping Bag Buying Guide, OutdoorPlaces.Com

 

 

 OutdoorPlaces.Com Sleeping Bag Buying Gear Guide

 

 Picking The Right Sleeping Bag

 
If you have ever been left shivering in the middle of the night you understand the value of a good sleeping bag that matches the conditions.  One of your most critical pieces of equipment, your sleeping bag is your friend that keeps you warm when the air gets chilled, but doesnít roast you alive when the night gets warm. 

This guide has been designed as a sleeping bag 101 primarily to help you select the right bag for car camping, camping, backcountry, or mountain climbing.  OutdoorPlaces.Com makes a strong attempt at having an agnostic approach to our gear guides, and we do not endorse or recommend one particular brand or style.  OutdoorPlaces.Com does sell quality sleeping bags at our Outdoor eStore which you can visit.

Sleeping bags range from department store no-name brand summer time specials to Dryloft shell and down filled dreams that will keep you warm when sleeping on Rainer in the winter time (who would do that!).  There are a number of variables to consider when selecting your sleeping bag.  You donít have to have a large budget to get a quality bag, but you do need to do some research and understand what you are looking for.

Before buying your sleeping bag ask yourself a series of questions:

  • What is my budget?  A reasonable amount of money to spend on a quality sleeping bag, depending on the temperature range you select can run from $100 to over $400.  You can find bargains for less, and of course you can spend a lot more.

  • What kind of camping will I be doing?  Will you be car camping, camping at a primitive site, or hiking in the backcountry?  If you plan to do car camping the need to stay warm in cold wet conditions are not as critical if you are trekking the Pacific Crest Trail.  Also, sleeping bags can be quite heavy and bulky.  If you are going into the backcountry a light mummy bag with a lot of loft is more critical than if you will be car camping with your family in a large tent.  Unlike other gear like boots and tents that can do double duty, you may have to consider buying different bags for different conditions.

  • What is the weather like where I will be camping?  The needs of a sleeping bag if you are desert camping are very different from your needs if you will be camping in Denali National Park in late September.  Your needs will also be different if you will be camping in the Badlands of South Dakota or on a long canoe journey in the BWCA.  This can have major impact on which bag to get.

When looking for a sleeping bag to buy you need to consider several key areas.  The most critical pieces to look at are the style, the shell, the lining, the fill, and the temperature rating.  There are other features to consider when looking at a bag, but these are the most critical.