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Outdoor Activities | December 1, 2023
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Adventures in the great outdoors can be exhausting, and choosing your best sleeping bag carefully is essential for a restful night’s sleep. Your needs will vary depending on whether you’re headed for a multi-day backpacking hike, a winter camping break or a “glamping” trip by the lakeshore. Therefore, you’ll need to consider your outdoors activity of choice before selecting the most important piece of gear in your kit. Temperature ratings, insulation, warmth-to-weight ratio… There are many criteria to consider before adding the right sleeping bag to your camping set up. Marc-Antoine, camping specialist at SAIL, discusses his top picks, and shares his best tips to help you pick between down or synthetic insulation, mummy or rectangular…
Are you ready to find the winter or three-season sleeping bag that will become an essential for all your outdoors adventures?
In this article, you will discover the best sleeping bags to set out in search of adventure:
Mummy sleeping bags are so named because of the way they are shaped. Designed to optimize heat retention, this type of sleeping bag helps you stay warm while you sleep. Some models will even be warm enough for you to give winter camping a try. They are slightly wider at the top and narrower towards the feet to hug the contours of your body, so that your body heat is retained and circulates freely inside the sleeping bag. In one of these, comfort will still be a top consideration.
Mummy sleeping bags are also on top of our list of favourite sleeping bags because of their great warmth-to-weight ratio. Lighter than rectangular bags, they are highly compressible — ideal for hikers and keen travellers.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to sleeping bags: down vs. synthetic insulation. The former is amongst our top picks, as long as they are made using ethical or recycled down, of course!
The insulative performance of down will keep you warmer than synthetic insulation would. Down sleeping bags are also your best option when it comes to winter camping. They will not let you down, even at temperatures well below 0 °C (32 °F). Some more technical models will keep you warm even in temperatures as low as -40 degrees! In addition, down sleeping bags are ultra-light and very compressible.
Synthetic sleeping bags also offer several advantages (price, better performance when wet…). They are a great option for those getting started with camping or on a tighter budget.
Going camping with the kids is an adventure in itself. To ensure everyone has a smooth and restful night’s sleep, it’s best if everyone has a sleeping bag adapted to their needs.
Kids’ sleeping bags should fit their body shape. Why? A bag that’s too big means heat loss.
Most kids’ sleeping bags grow with your child thanks to a zipper or drawcord system. The bag adapts to your little ones, not the other way around. By setting it to the right size, you can make sure your budding adventurers will sleep soundly under the stars.
As for technical considerations, choose a kids’ sleeping bag that’s well insulated (down or synthetic insulation) and prevents moisture from getting in. And while mummy-shaped kids’ sleeping bags are common, don’t discount rectangular ones, unless weight is a concern.
When getting ready for a hike in the wilderness or a trip to the mountain, the first thing to do is find ways to reduce the weight you’ll be carrying on your back. Backpacking often means minimalist gear.
However, it’s also important not to skimp on the temperature rating. The key criteria to consider when choosing an ultra-light sleeping bag is the warmth-to-weight ratio. Go for a mummy-shaped down sleeping bag, and look for a model that’s compressible and weighs less than 1.2 kg (2.5 lb).
Whether they are manufactured by brands like The North Face, Marmot or RAB, the best ultra-light sleeping bags for your trip should feature all of the characteristics above. Also check the minimum temperature rating as well as how long your sleeping bag will take to dry and you’ll be all set for your next backpacking adventure.
Every explorer will tell you: you cannot leave for a backpacking trip without first carefully planning and optimizing your backpack. To fit the kind of trip you’re about to take, a sleeping bag should tick a few boxes in order to ensure you have a restful night’s sleep.
First, make sure your sleeping bag can last for the entire duration of your trip. Select a temperature rating that will fit the climate of your selected hiking destination. You don’t want to find out that your sleeping bag isn’t warm enough once you’re out in the middle of the woods!
Opt for a compact sleeping bag with a tough outer shell and inner lining. Ideally, go for rip-resistant material. Also take the bag’s insulating material and impermeability into account. Finally, to guarantee you stay dry at night, your bag should be both breathable and quick-drying.
When travelling as a couple, consider a double sleeping bag, which makes staying warm much easier. And if you’re taking your canine companion with you, think of adding a dog sleeping bag to your kit.
There is a wide range of sleeping bags available for every type of outdoor outing, and for every budget. Not everyone needs a compact, ultra-light sleeping bag that will perform well even in an arctic climate. If you are more of a casual camper and only go out a few weekends during the summer season, purchasing the best sleeping bag on the market isn’t required. Unless you are camping during the winter, most three-season sleeping bags will perform well. Marc-Antoine, camping specialist at SAIL, does state that there are many sleeping bags that offer great value for money.
While technical models can retail for hundreds of dollars, you can easily find a good sleeping bag for less.
Come visit us in store at SAIL or shop online to view our range of quality sleeping bags at great prices.
The right sleeping bag can turn outdoor outings into great adventures. It will keep you dry and protect you from the cold, without being stuffy. Looking after it will ensure it lasts you for a long time.
But before you do anything, do establish your needs. Temperature, season or even weight considerations should be taken into account when searching for the perfect sleeping bag for your outdoors style.
And don’t forget that a sleeping bag alone isn’t enough. A sleeping pad and pillow can also be great additions to your gear to make every night under the stars a great one.