Even though everything in nature is simple, preparing for an outdoor activity is not. There are a billion things to sort out before embarking on a nature adventure, one of which is the gear. Firstly, you must understand the importance of the quality of your outdoor gear. The quality of your gear is your shield against all dangers that nature poses. Safety should always come first when picking and choosing your gear.
If you want to be in nature, you must be prepared to live by its rules. And its rules are harsh most of the time, especially when people are used to the comforts of everyday modern life. This doesn’t mean that you won’t experience comfort while in nature. It means you should be well prepared to make the most out of it.
You should also be aware that you will carry all the equipment with you all the way. So, you want to make sure that all the items are lightweight, practical, reusable, and easy to assemble and maintain.
When it comes to choosing the proper camping and backpacking sleeping bags, opt for the type that will bring you the most comfort after all-day hiking or biking trips. You also want it to be easy to carry and for it to not be a burden on your activities. Choosing the perfect sleeping bag for you is perhaps one of the most important decisions when you are assembling your outdoor gear. Here are a couple of facts that will guide you to the right decision.
Types of Sleeping Bags
The ultimate deciding factor when purchasing a sleeping bag is the insulating fill – so the two options available are down-filled or synthetic sleeping bags. The fill is important for its insulating properties. The main function of the insulation is to trap the heat that exits your body, in a layer of air around you. Because air is a poor conductor of heat but an amazing insulator, the loftier the insulation the higher the warm-to-weight ratio. Both down and synthetic insulation can achieve this, but they are some crucial pros and cons to consider when thinking about purchasing either one of them.
All sleeping bags come with a temperature rating. Although the temperature ratings are based on an “average sleeper” they can still help you to make the best choice for you. You always want to purchase a sleeping bag with a lower temperature rating than the lowest nighttime temperature of the coldest place you ever plan to visit.
For example, if you are camping in the summertime you will probably want to get a sleeping bag marked “Summer season” with a temperature rating of +30°F and higher. Whereas “3 seasons” sleeping bags are with a temperature rating of 15 to 30°F and “Winter season” bags are with a temperature rating of lower than 15°F.
Choosing a Sleeping Bag by Activity
As stated above, not all sleeping bags are for all types of activities and conditions. For example, if you are backpacking your main concern will be the weight of the bag. That’s why a synthetic sleeping bag would be a better option for that activity i.e. it weighs less than a down sleeping bag. But if you’re going camping, and you don’t have to carry the bag on your shoulders for a whole day – then you can choose the down-filled sleeping bag.
But if you want a sleeping bag that will satisfy your needs for different types of activities, then that is a more complex decision and you need to consider more details about the bag. Another contributing factor to this equation is the weather. Is the activity done in the summer months or in the winter months? Is there a chance of rain during that activity? The answers to these questions should make a difference in your choice. If you are in need of warmth because you’re embarking on a winter expedition then the down-filled sleeping bag is your next best friend. If you’re cycling or you decide to try out rock climbing while on your backpacking trip – go for the synthetic sleeping bag.
Have in mind that there isn’t any rule book on this and there are no right or wrong answers. You have to closely examine your priorities and weigh the advantages and the disadvantages of each characteristic of the sleeping bag you want to purchase.