By Ben Griffin
Would you like to hear a story? I was a major procrastinator during my college days.
I would start working on my papers only when the deadlines were near.
Day and night, I would be writing my papers without even sleeping in order to submit them on time.
And guess what would happen the next day after I submit my papers? I would feel exhausted and have a huge headache, which would waste my entire day.
To worsen the situation, the headaches would last for a couple of days.
You must be wondering what has the story to do with backpacking sleeping bags.
Everything! When you are hiking, your body goes through robust toiling throughout the day.
You need proper rest at night so that your body is re-energized for the walk the next day.
So you need the best backpacking sleeping bag to sleep well.
You could act like a cowboy and get a roll on the ground, or you could get yourself a backpacking sleeping bag and enjoy a comfortable sleep.
Believe me, sleeping bag is one of the best investments you could make for hiking.
After all, what would be better than a peaceful goodnight’s sleep after a tiring excursion? Well, nothing.
Why Are Backpacking Sleeping Bags Important?
Before jumping right into the list of the best backpacking sleeping bags, I want to talk a little about the importance of sleeping bags.
You do not want to spend your nights shivering in the cold with your back lying on the hard ground, tossing and turning throughout the night in order to find the perfect sleeping position.
The best thing about sleeping bags is that you do not have to worry about camping at any kind of place.
Sleeping bags are easy to use and can be positioned anywhere.
They prevent you from sleeping on the ground by proving insulation between the land and you.
Sleeping bags keep you warm, comfortable and dry.
They let you get a sleep well, which in turn invigorates your body for the journey the next day.
Sleeping bags best come handy when you are on a hike in the woods or mountains and are in a dire need of sleep and rest.
Also, when the hotel beds and accommodations are not able to provide you with the heat and relaxation you require, you can just lay down your sleeping bag and sleep with content.
A good quality sleeping bag will last for many years if you keep it with proper care and attention; some bags will last even for decades if washed and stored properly.
Hence, these are good long-term investments.
On top of that, you stay safe from bugs and insects.
There is a barrier maintained between your body and the moist ground, which prevents from getting wet or even sick for that matter.
Sleeping bags today come with various functions and give you the advantage of adjusting the temperature as per your consent.
This further enhances the coziness and amplifies the sleeping experience.
How To Choose Backpacking Sleeping Bags?
Before you buy any backpacking sleeping bag there are a few things which you will need to consider in order to determine whether a sleeping bag is fit for you to take on a hike or not.
These key factors range from the warmth sleeping bag provides to its material, design, and weight, etcetera.
Here are a few factors that you should consider whenever you are buying a backpacking sleeping bag.
Sleeping bags will be one of the heaviest among all your gears.
Since you will be carrying lots of things and move around much, you do not want to carry a bag that will easily tire you with its heaviness.
So you need to pay attention to the weight of the bag.
Choose a balanced bag that you will be able to carry with you easily even if you have to walk uphill for a considerable amount of time.
Down insulation bags are lighter compared to synthetic insulation ones.
The average weight of down insulation bags will be approximately around 25 ounces and that of synthetic insulation will be around 40 ounces on an average.
So, choose as per your ease.
One of the major reasons why we take sleeping bags with us is to keep warm throughout the night.
Sleeping bags provide you warmth by trapping body heat in an enclosed space.
Sleeping bags with more insulation are warmer as they trap heat better.
Don’t choose a sleeping bag that has more interior space.
Such kinds of bags are less efficient in proving warmth because there is much space left inside the bag.
Choose a sleeping bag that you find comfortable and relaxing.
If you sleep tight and at ease all through the night, that means the bag is comfortable enough.
It should provide you with the feel of sleeping at home.
However, an important concept that you need to remember is that comfort is a subjective matter.
To some Western Mountaineering Ultralite might seem more comfortable than Western Mountaineering Highlite whereas to others it is just the opposite.
The temperature rating is another important factor to look for in a sleeping bag.
This rating will depend on the weather, the climate and the clothes you choose to sleep on.
Choose a bag that can provide you warmth in the coldest temperature you expect to face.
So, Sleeping bags that come with temperature adjustment between 10F to 35F are good, as they will work for summer, winter and spring all.
There are two major types of insulation: down insulation and synthetic insulation.
These two insulation types have their own pros and cons.
Down insulation is long lasting, compresses more and excels in cold and dry conditions.
It is lightweight as well.
It has excellent heat retention.
However, it is expensive and requires special cleaning.
On the other hand, synthetic insulation is less expensive.
It dries quickly and retains heat better when wet.
It is easier to clean.
But, it is heavier to carry and is less durable compared to down insulation.
So if you are in search of a durable and lightweight sleeping bag for colder climate and are ready to spend on a pricey product, go for down insulation sleeping bags.
On the other hand, if you want a quick drying bag for moist and wet climate in an affordable price range, choose synthetic insulation sleeping bags.
If you are a steadfast hike-lover who never misses an opportunity to go on a trek, no matter the weather, you should opt for a versatile three season bag.
These sleeping bags mostly come in quilt shapes in which the quilt can be tucked in or left open as per the weather.
Three-season bags are also available in mummy shapes.
These are versatile and handy.
Since three seasons bags could be used in any season, you don’t have to buy sleeping bags for every season.
And so you end up saving money, time and effort.
You need to choose a sleeping bag as per the size that you require.
Slim sleeping bags will be better for people with a small and petite physique as well as for children.
Go for the bags that are a little bigger than your size but not too big as to leave much space inside as more space means less warmth.
Select the bag according to the length and width of your body.
Most of the bags come in two sizes.
The first size is the regular size for people with height up to six inches and the next size is a long size, which is appropriate for people above six feet.
Last but not the least, you can check for extra accessories in a sleeping bag.
You may want to get a bag that has as many accessories as possible.
These accessories may be chest or inside pockets.