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Sleeping Bags - What you should know
Without sleeping bags, life in the outdoors wouldn't be half as much fun. It is these little bags of down or man-made insulation that keep us cosy and warm from dusk until dawn. The sleeping bags on this site are from a range of respected manufacturers and feature the latest designs and highest standards in terms of quality, attention to detail and materials.
5 things to consider when buying a new Sleeping Bag:
1. Type - Down v Synthetic : The pinnacle in sleeping bag filling is still down - natures finest insulator. it is phenomenally light, traps air amazingly well and can last a lifetime if properly cared for. However, down does not cope well when wet and this is where synthetic insulation comes to the fore. The latest technology advances mean that man-made insulators are getting better and are cheaper than down bags, but still suffer from heavier weight and increased bulk.
2. Size - Long or Regular? : Many sleeping bags are available in two sizes and it is important to get the right one. A bag that is too big will take a long time and a lot of body energy to warm up, whilst using a bag that is too small will be uncomfortable and may result in compressed, and ineffective insulation.
3. Construction : Down sleeping bags are generally constructed out of down filled channels (baffles) that create the insulation between you and the outside cold. DIferent brands will use various methods, but all are striving to keep the down insulation in the right place to keep you warm throughout and eliminate cold spots. These are caused when down shifts away in certain areas leaving no insulation. Synthetic bags rely on either overlapping construction like the shingles on a roof, or a single sheet of multiple layers of wadding. As technolgy improves, the styles of construction and the quality of the synthetic insulation gets better, producing warmer and more effective bags.
4. Temperature Rating : Sleeping bags have a comfort rating, which is the temperature at which a normal adult, hydrated, well fed and wearing a base layer, will feel most comfortable. The extreme rating is an indication of the temperature at which the user will start to really feel the cold, affecting comfort and sleep. Please only use this as a guide as everyone feels the cold differently. How much you have eaten and exercised will also affect your resistance to cold, making it harder to stay warm after a hard day's hiking or climbing. If you are in doubt opt for the warmest bag.
5. Storage : All sleeping bags should be stored unstuffed preferably in the larger of their storage bags to extend the life of the sleeping bag and protect the insulation.
6. Sleeping Bag Liners : There are plenty of ways to improve the quality of your night's sleep, ranging from liners that expand the temperature range of your bag and keep it clean, to inflatable pillows that will work so much better than a rolled up jumper. The most crucial item is a good quality sleeping mat, as this will both insulate and cushion you from the ground.
Tell me what all this jargon means:
Below are a few terms you will see pop up from time to time in product descriptions.
1. Zip Baffle : An extra strip of insulation that folds over the zip once it is closed to prevent cold air from entering through the zip teeth and affecting the overall warmth and performance of the bag.
2. Draught Collar : A shaped collar piece of insulation that site inside the sleeping bag and forms a seal against cold air and draugts getting in when the bag is zipped up.
3. Breathable Fabric : In order to avoid overheating, sleeping bag manufacturers are special "breathable" fabrics that allow moisture vapour and excess air to escape through without allowing moisture to enter. This helps to reduce condensation and keeps you comfortable while asleep.