There are certain sleeping bag features that are essential for a good night’s rest.
When you are camping in warm weather, all you really need is a basic sleeping bag. But if you’re a winter camper, the more advanced sleeping bag features are essential.
Your sleeping bag needs a good zipper that has large teeth and runs smoothly. The best zippers can zip up from the inside or outside to allow more ventilation and flexibility.
Photo by Vaughn Smith
Your bag’s zipper shouldn’t catch or pinch the fabric when you zip it up and down. This could rip or tear your bag lining. A reliable zipper will have a stiff anti-snag strip behind it.
Nylon coil zippers are lightweight and snag resistant. They are easy to fix if the sliders come off track.
A double zipper on the side is convenient to have, if one wears out, you will still have another zipper. Another thing to look for is a velcro or snap-shut flap over the zipper. This will keep the zipper from sliding down while you sleep.
You might not know it, but it does make a difference whether your sleeping bag zips from the right or left. Look for a camping sleeping bag that has the zipper on the opposite side of your dominant hand.
It is more natural and easier to reach across yourself to zip and unzip your sleeping bag’s zipper. If you are a right-handed person, get a left side zipper. A left-handed person should get a right-side zipper. Some left and right side zippered sleeping bags can zip together into one double bag for two people.
Check the sleeping bag features over-all quality workmanship and be sure that the stitching is even and tight. A poorly made sleeping bag will quickly wear out. If you are getting a kid sleeping bag make sure it is sturdy enough to withstand a squirmy, wiggly child.
Most three season and winter sleeping bags (depending on the shape) have a hood that you pull around your head with a draw cord. As you loose 30 to 40 percent of your body heat through your head, the hood is important part of your sleeping bag in cold weather.
A shaped or multi-sectioned hood is the most comfortable sleeping bag feature as it will fit your head naturally. Make sure it is roomy enough for you and not at all constricting. Check the hood trim that will be close to your face to be sure that it is soft and comfortable. Some sleeping bag hoods will have extra padding in the hood area for additional sleeping comfort.
Some cold weather sleeping bags have an insulated tube located at the neck opening at the base of the hood. You can draw it closed to help retain body heat. It is designed to prevent heat loss from around your neck and shoulders.
This neck yoke will help keep the warmth in and the cold out. Make sure it is attached to the sleeping bag along two edges rather than one. This will slow down heat loss.
The draft collar works well for winter camping but is unnecessary in warm weather. Rectangular-shaped summer bags usually don’t have a draft collar.
Your feet need a special area in your sleeping bag. Many bags are designed with a boxed or oval shaped foot area in the bottom of the bag. Look for a sleeping bag that has a foot box that allows for a natural foot position.
It should be large enough to allow your feet to project at right angles to your legs without crushing the insulation. If you often get cold feet, you can find some higher quality sleeping bags that have extra insulation in the foot box.
A well designed bag will have a insulated tube or flap along the inside of the zipper to keep heat from escaping through the zipper. Check to be sure that the tube is only sewn to the inside lining, not through the whole sleeping bag; ensuring that there is no unnecessary heat loss.
Check the sleeping bag features to be sure that the tube doesn’t obstruct or get in the way of the sliding zipper. The draft tube should run the entire length of the zipper.
Some sleeping bags come equipped with convenient pocket to store extra stuff in.
They can be nice for keeping your personal things close while you are sleeping.
Be careful about the locations, though, some pockets might be in an area where
you’ll roll over. Don’t put any thing breakable in the pockets.
Loft is a trade term for fluffiness. When your sleeping bag is fluffed up or
fully lofted, there are thousands of tiny pockets of dead air inside the fill.
These air pockets slow heat loss, and allow your body heat to warm the inside of
the sleeping bag.
A sleeping bag’s loft is very important in a sleeping bag’s warmth capacity. “Loft” basically refers to the thickness of the entire bag, not just the part above the sleeper. Usually, the “loftier” the sleeping bag is, the warmer it is.
The loft also depends upon the kind of sleeping bag material your bag is made of. If your bag is composed of down fill, it will loft differently than synthetic fills.
You should find out about the sleeping bag’s warranty. What will the manufacturer cover, and for how long? Be sure to save the company information when you buy a new bag so that they may be contacted if necessary.
Find out about the sleeping bag’s warranty. What will the manufacturer cover, and for how long? Be sure to save the company information when you buy a new bag so that you can contact them.
Each of these sleeping bag features are important to remember, as you pick out your perfect sleeping bag.
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