is the most basic of materials and is used from bargain basement bags to
custom made sacks. The
least durable of synthetic materials used on sleeping bags, these are best used
for car camping or general walk-in camping. Long
journeys into the backcountry can test the limits of these materials.
Low cost and very breathable, nylon, polyester and taffeta are
best used for late-spring, summer and early fall camping when conditions
will be tepid to dry.
Although they breathe very well,
without waterproof treating offer very little protection in damp
is nylon or polyester that has had heavier threads woven into the
material. These heavier
threads reinforce the shell making it stronger and a hair more moisture
resistant than nylon while still being very breathable.
Ripstop is an excellent choice for three season camping when
things wonít be too damp.
Gossamer Micro, DryClime:
made of nylon or polyester, microfiber and its cousinís gossamer micro
and DryClime are very tightly woven fibers that are very strong and
moisture resistant. Because
they do not have the heavier threads of ripstop, microfiber is softer
than itís other counter parts. Microfiber
is an excellent choice for three season camping, or even four season
camping if your winter camping is in ideal conditions and doesnít
involve crawling into a snow cave for the night.
is a close relative to Gore-Tex, but it is Gore-Tex with an attitude.
Sharing all of the water resistant abilities of Gore-Tex, DryLoft
is very breathable, which means a more comfortable stay in your bag.
Just like your tent should allow moisture to get out, your
sleeping bag should allow the natural perspiration breathe through the
bag, and not get trapped inside, making for damp conditions by morning.
What that means is warm and dry on the inside, and damp and wet
stays on the outside. DryLoft
is the premium choice for four season camping, canoe camping, or
extended stays in the backcountry.
bags with a Gore-Tex shell should be avoided.
Although Gore-Tex is durable and water resistant, it doesnít
breathe well which can make for damp conditions inside a bag.
Gore-Tex is an excellent choice when looking at an overbag or bivy sack to
supplement your sleeping bag for winter camping or camping in extreme
manufacturers have stopped making sleeping bags with Gore-Tex shells.
you go down to your Army Navy store you may find sleeping bags with
canvas shells. Canvas is
very durable and breathable. Canvas
is made of cotton, and when it gets wet, it stays wet. Also wet
canvas is extremely heavy. Canvas is also very heavy. If
you get a bag with a canvas shell, you probably will be using it for car
breathable, lightweight, and easy to clean, cotton is a low cost
material used in bargain bags. Like canvas cotton does not take
well to moisture, and due to it's ability to breathe and wick, should
only be used in the warmest of conditions.