The temperature rating of a sleeping bag is just one of the criteria that is highly subjective, but in general, you will find three basic ratings:
Summer sleeping bags
These sleeping bags, as the name suggests, are intended for higher temperatures, such as in summer, early autumn, or late spring. They are ideal, for example, for cottagers or scouts, campers and other people who like warm bivouac. As for the summer sleeping bag, there is not too much emphasis on material thickness and insulation, so the products in this category are lightweight, space-saving and excellently transferable. Optimally, these sleeping bags will be sufficient up to ten degrees above zero.
Three-season sleeping bags
Three-season sleeping bags are simply a classic example of universality. Such a sleeping bag should theoretically be enough for spring, summer, and autumn, and when it comes to winter, if you are a hard man and the winter is not so tough, it could be enough, but it is better, of course, to have a winter sleeping bag. These sleeping bags usually have a large temperature rating from -10 °C to +25 °C
Winter sleeping bags
Winter sleeping bags will be your best friend at freezing temperatures. They are usually slightly more expensive, maintenance intensive, but they will offer you maximum comfort and insulation during the winter months. A separate chapter is the expedition sleeping bags which are used in extreme conditions when life is often literally dependent on them. The winter sleeping bags are usually designed for temperatures up to -25 °C, and the expedition sleeping bags for higher extreme temperatures.
Temperature rating is probably the most important criterion for the selection of a sleeping bag. Therefore, consider consistently in what environment and season you intend to use the new sleeping bag (it also depends on whether you will be more bivouacking or sleeping in a tent).
Another variable is the sleeping metabolism of the body. Some people need a warm and thick blanket at night, and some only a thin one. It is you who should know your body best and adjust your claims accordingly.
The temperature is also influenced by other external factors, for example, you can buy sleeping bag inserts that can add several degrees. The same applies to mats which isolate the body from the cold ground.
A separate chapter is the impervious overburdens for sleeping sacks, the “Žďár covers”. The cover is mainly suitable for winter bivouacking and for an extremely humid environment, limiting moisture absorption by your insulating layer in the sleeping bag.
Sleeping bag material
Here it seems easier to choose, you practically have a choice between synthetic isolation and classical goose or duck feathers.
As such, feathers are a truly great isolator, valuable for their low weight, softness, space-saving, permeability and thermal resistance. Feathers literally excel in a cold, dry environment or where weight and space is needed to be reduced.
Unfortunately, feather is more expensive than synthetic materials, but it has longer durability, which is balanced by more intensive maintenance. The air in the feather layer is used as an isolator and the feathers prevent the air flowing on the inside of the layer.
Synthetic isolation (usually some polyester variation) is a cheaper option to feathers, the greatest advantage of which, in addition to the price, is the ability of rapid drying. Synthetic material is also safe for allergy sufferers, even when it is wet. Sleeping bags with synthetic insulation are, therefore, suitable for anyone who spends more time in a wet environment.
The disadvantage of synthetics is worse isolation compared to feathers, greater weight and a sleeping bag with synthetic insulation needs more room.
Sleeping bag shapes
Mummy sleeping bags
Mummy sleeping bags have a traditional shape and performance and practicality. The mummy shape is designed to enclose the whole body, thus keeping the warmth as close to the body as possible, thus preventing temperature losses. Mummy sleeping bags usually have their own hood to prevent heat loss through the head.
Blanket sleeping bag
The blanket sleeping bag is actually a folded blanket with a zipper. This shape provides enough space for body movement and thus more comfortable sleep, but logically it does not hold as much warmth as the mummy sleeping bag. If you need something for a cottage or summer bivouac, this type should be your choice.
Oval sleeping bag
The oval sleeping bag is a combination of the previous two designs. It inherited the rough shape from the mummy sleeping bag, but there is more room inside like in the blanket one. The ideal option for those who wish more heat than a blanket provides, but they also need more movement.
Please note that the sleeping bag size is very important, and it is necessary to choose exactly what fits you. A small sleeping bag will not work as it should and will be uncomfortable, a too large one will warm you with body heat for longer. Test the sleeping before buying it, if possible.
Sleeping bag maintenance
As the sleeping bag often has a relatively delicate filling, you should not underestimate its maintenance if you want it to last for years. There are a few basic rules, the observance of which will extend a sleeping bag durability.
1. Washing of a sleeping bag is a relatively delicate operation, avoid aggressive cleaning agents and washing machines. Ideally wash it by hand.
2. Definitely do not dry the sleeping bag in the dryer, a dryer will definitely destroy the bag. Ideally, you should dry the sleeping bag in a freely suspended position.
3. If you are to store the sleeping bag for the season, definitely do not put it back in the packaging. On the other hand, unfold the sleeping bag freely, the filling fibres will not become broken.
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