First, decide what activity you will use your sleeping bag for. Do you plan on camping in the backcountry or backpacking for a longer time? Are you backpacking or mountaineering? You will find that sleeping bags can be tailored to specific uses due to their weight, shape, and other features. It is essential to pick the right bag based on your intended use.
CAMPING SLEEPING BAG
You would want to avoid taking a sleeping bag with you camping. These bags are heavier and bulkier than backpacking sleeping bags. They are lighter, sturdier, and more comfortable than backpacking sleeping bags. This makes them great for family car camping trips and other front-country sojourns.
BACKPACKING SLEEPING BAG
When backpacking sleeping bags, you should consider weight and compressibility. Stuffing your sleeping bag in a bag and making it bulky is not ideal.
It is crucial to find the perfect backpacking sleeping bag by balancing weight, compressibility, and warmth.
ALPINE CLIMBING/MOUNTAINEERING MOUNTAINEERING SLEEPING BAGS
It is similar to choosing a sleeping bag suitable for mountaineering and alpine climbing but with more emphasis on warmth and water resistance.
These sleeping bags are light and lightweight but provide enough insulation to keep you warm in alpine environments. Their shell materials often feature waterproof/breathable membranes and water-repellent coatings to deal with increased moisture levels.
SLEEPING BAG TEMPERATURE RATINGS
The sleeping bag temperature ratings indicate the lowest temperature at that a bag can be used. A 35deg suitcase, for example, will keep you warm to 35 degrees, but below 35 degrees, you will feel uncomfortable.
Temperature ratings assume that you use a sleeping pad. The fill material beneath you is compressed when lying in a sleeping bag. This reduces its insulation capabilities. The effectiveness of your bag will be increased by adding a sleeping pad to add insulation.
SEASONALITY AND TEMPERATURE RATE
The list below can compare temperature ratings with seasons if you don’t plan on going to high altitudes. Because temperatures in the mountains can be relatively colder than those at lower elevations, seasonality is out of the question. Instead, you can use the list below to compare expected temperatures.
Summer bags: 35°F and above
3-Season bags: 15-30 degrees
Winter bags: Winter bags are 10 degrees or less
You won’t find anything (relatively near sea level) that is 35deg in the summer. Bags with this temperature rating or higher are best for warm weather. Spring and fall temperatures are not usually below 20deg. However, a bag with a 20deg rating is versatile and can handle shoulder-season conditions. You can camp in winter. A minimum of a 10deg bag is recommended, but more often, a 0deg or less load.
Consider how hot or cool it will be on the trip you plan to take, and then make your purchase accordingly.
Pro-Tip A 20deg bag can get you through most seasons without much discomfort. Opening the bag in warm weather and kicking a leg is simple. Extra clothing and a sleeping bag liner will give you 10-15 degrees more warmth for colder temperatures.
Sleeping bags made from down insulation are, in general, superior. Down insulation is warmer than synthetic fills; it is highly compressible and keeps your sleeping bag lofty even after you stuff it into a compression bag hundreds of times. A down sleeping bag is the best choice if you are looking for the most lightweight and durable possible.