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Gear Guide Sleeping Bag Buying Guide, OutdoorPlaces.Com



 OutdoorPlaces.Com Sleeping Bag Buying Gear Guide


 Picking The Right Sleeping Bag


Nylon, Polyester, Taffeta:

This 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 conditions.


Ripstop 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.

Microfiber, Gossamer Micro, DryClime:

Also 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.


DryLoft 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.


Sleeping 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 conditions.  Most manufacturers have stopped making sleeping bags with Gore-Tex shells.


If 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 camping.


Extremely 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.