How to Pick a Sleeping Bag

Written by
At Camping Gear Outlet, we believe the process of buying a sleeping bag should be as smooth as velvet, which is why we've created this easy guide to help you find the sleeping bag that fits your needs.
sleeping bag

Buying a sleeping bag shouldn't be hard, but many campers are often confused by the numerous options and complicated terminology involved.  At Camping Gear Outlet, we want your buying process to be as smooth as velvet, which is why we've created this easy-to-use guide to help you find the sleeping bag that fits your needs.

Below you'll find a list of features that sleeping bags have as well as their pros and cons.  Have more questions?  Feel free to give our camping experts a ring at 1-800-248-1987.

Types of Insulation: Down or Synthetic

Picking an insulation type is one of the first choices that you'll make when buying a sleeping bag.  Here are some of the key differences between the two main types of insulation: down and synthetic.

Characteristics of Down Characteristics of Synthetic
More expensive, but higher quality means it will last longer. Cheaper, though not as durable and much bulkier.
Lighter and more easily compressed,  making it better for long backpacking trips. Provides better insulation when wet.

Temperature Rating

A sleeping bag's temperature rating is the lowest air temperature that a camper will feel comfortable sleeping in.  This number is quite subjective and is also dependent upon the camper's metabolism and clothing, so in general, it's better to err on the side of warmth.  Here's a brief chart to help you establish what temperature rating fits you.

Bag Temperature (F)
Summer +35 and above
Three- Season +10 to +35
Cold Weather -10 to +10
Extreme Winter -10 and below

Shape

Picking the correct sleeping bag shape can be a tough choice. Below you'll find the differences between the primary types of sleeping bags.

Mummy Rectangular
mummy sleeping bag rectangular sleeping bag
Tapered shape makes it the best for cold weather. Poor for cold weather.
Lightest. Heaviest.
Most expensive and can be restrictive on body. Cheaper, plenty of room to move while sleeping.

In addition, there are also semi-rectangular bags, which are a cross between the mummy bag and the rectangular bag.  Lastly, women's sleeping bags are also often available.  These sleeping bags are narrower at the shoulders and wider at the hips; they also have extra insulation in the upper body and footbox.

Additional Sleeping Bag Features

There are a wide array of additional features that sleeping bags may or may not have.  Here are a few of the more common.

Shells Baffled Construction Draft Collar Pillow Stuff Sack
A shell is a liner that protects down sleeping bags from moisture. Baffle construction covers all seams with insulation, necessary for cold weather. A draft collar is a puffy tube that seals around the neck to keep out the cold air. Who can sleep comfortably without one? Many sleeping bags include a small pillow. These flexibles sacks are used for storing and transporting your sleeping bag when you're on the go.

Ready to snag the sleeping bag of your dreams?  Then roll on over to our huge inventory of sleeping bags to pick out the perfect model for your needs.  Have more questions?  Then call our camping experts at 1-800-248-1987.