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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sleep with Comfort Even on the Road – A Camper’s Guide to Sleeping Bags

The hardest thing about going on camping trips is getting a good night’s sleep. Being out in the woods on the trail will certainly expose you to nature’s worst. While you shelter yourself against the elements with a good tent, only a proper sleeping bag will help give you a good night’s rest to power you up for the next day of activities.

While finding a panaceic, cure-all sleeping bag for all occasions is virtually impossible, it is however, possible to find a bag that will keep you comfortable for most trips – if not all. When choosing a sleeping bag, take careful note of your needs. You will have to cater your choice of sleeping bags to the trips you most often make. Also, careful knowledge of the available types of sleeping bags will help you make a good decision regarding a sleeping bag.

The greatest issue when choosing a sleeping bag is whether to purchase a down or synthetic fill sleeping bag. Nothing provides comfort and warmth as down, and down is generally recommended for most outdoor camping trips with the family. However, in the event that it rains and your down-filled sleeping bags get wet, it is going to take forever to get your sleeping bags dry. Synthetic fill bags, on the other hand, give good warmth and dries quickly if ever they get wet. They are a bit heavier in comparison, though.

If your needs revolve around general purpose camping trips, you will want to purchase a three-season sleeping bag. These bags generally have a temperature-comfort rating of 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are a more specialized camper – like if you like going camping on specific seasons – you will want to purchase a bag that caters to that season. If you like camping during the cooler seasons, go for sleeping bags that offer more warmth – and if you need a bag for warmer climes, go for breathable bags that keep you cool even during the hot seasons.
Check the bag before purchasing, they will usually have temperature rating guide so that you can choose bag suited to your needs. Most winter sleeping gear should be rated for minus 15 to 40 Fahrenheit, while summer sleeping bags should hold up to the 10 to 20 degree Fahrenheit rating.

Here are few things you should look for in a good sleeping bag

1. Material – Most sleeping bags will be made of nylon, or polyester. These are the best kinds of material for sleeping bags. If you are a serious backpacker, try to avoid cotton material – especially the printed ones. If you are taking kids along, you will probably have to concede this point.
For added comfort while sleeping, you look for bags that have a lining of taffeta or other non-cotton material. These materials, in comparison to plain nylon or even some cotton lining, are more comfortable, breathe better, and warm quicker.

2. Shape – The mummy shaped sleeping bag is pretty popular nowadays, however, some people find them constricting, especially those that want a lot of space to wiggle around in while sleeping. Mummy shaped bags tend to be snug and comfortable for some people, plus they warm quicker. Rectangular and semi-rectangular bags are great if you want a larger space to sleep in.

3. Accessories and zippers – Make sure the zippers are double-sided and allows for opening on both ends without any hassle. You may want to look out for zipper hooks as well, which prevent the bags from inadvertently opening up accidentally. Also look for insulated draft collars that help seal in the heat around the shoulders and around the neck.
Plus, dark colored bags are advisable since they absorb more heat and are easier to dry out than their lighter colored counterparts.

ConclusionWhile all these tips come in handy, you may still want to test the bag itself to see if it fits your lifestyle. Some stores will allow you to test their products before selling them to you. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to jump into a bag to try it out.
With a good sleeping bag, you can look forward to more comfortable nights on your camping trips. Don’t

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