Like you, I love camping and there is nothing better than sleeping outside on a cool spring night. I started camping a few years ago and decided to make the investment and buy a tent, sleeping bag and all of the other amenities. When I started looking for a sleeping bag I was overwhelmed with the style and selection that were available. After some research I bought my first sleeping bag and I have been happy ever since. To save you some time, I have written down some tips that helped me make my first sleeping bag purchase.
To start, you have to decide on the temperature rating you want for your sleeping bag. Think about the approximate temperature when you will be camping or hiking. Generally, sleeping bags are rated as: 3-Season (+10 degrees to +32 degrees), winter (-10 and below), summer (+32 and higher) and cold weather (+10 to -10). And remember, it makes sense to choose a bag that is rated a little bit lower than you will need. A lower rated sleeping bag will keep you warm if the temperature really drops down on a cold night. Plus, you can always unzip the bag if you need to cool off.
Second, you have to choose the insulation that makes sense for your needs. The two types of insulation that are available include down or synthetic. The biggest advantage for down sleeping bags is that they are typically very light and goose down is an excellent insulator. The biggest problem with a Down Sleeping Bag is that if it gets wet, it will take forever to dry and it will lose its insulating benefits. On the flip side, Synthetic Sleeping bags can get wet because they can dry quickly. In addition, Synthetic Sleeping bags are typically less expensive than down sleeping bags. The only real problem with synthetic sleeping bags is that they will be typically heavier than a down sleeping bag.
The last part of the equation is choosing the shape of the sleeping bag. You will see that most sleeping bags are designed in a “Mummy” form. These bags are optimized to keep you the warmest since they are narrow and your body heat will be conserved efficiently. Plus, the “Mummy” shape can pack up pretty small since they are designed with less material. However, these bags can be a little snug and if you are claustrophobic you might be more interested in a rectangular bag. The rectangular bag will take up more space and will be a little bit heavier, but it will give you more space. Lastly, there are also sleeping bags specifically designed for women. These bags are typically shorter in length and are wider in the hip area.
Again, just take your time and do the research before you buy your first sleeping bag. There are plenty of great websites out there that can help you start your search. One website, SleepingBagDeal.com finds and posts deals on down and synthetic sleeping bags. Plus, they find information about sleeping bag brands and styles that are recommended for your outdoor camping or hiking trip. They are good site to start your search.