Buying basics: Sleeping bags
Three things to keep in mind while looking for a sleeping bag
These days sleeping bags come with almost as many options as a minivan. But deciding on the right bag really comes down to three variables:
Fill type: Down or synthetic. Down is usually lighter, more packable and feels nicer. Synthetic is hypo-allergenic, easier to clean and comes in a growing number of recycled options. Plus, synthetic fill is warm when wet, down is not.
Temperature: Take the coldest temperature you plan on experiencing and subtract five degrees. As a general rule, 5° to 0° is good for summer camping, —10° covers three seasons, and —15° works for winter trips.
Price: Here’s where the options come into play. Draft collars are great for windy and cold places. A full zip is nice, unless weight is key. Each option costs a bit more.
Once you’ve narrowed the field, lay out the contenders in the store and climb into them. Zip them up. Roll around. Cinch them tight. Look for a zip that doesn’t snag and a snug, but not claustrophobic, fit.
This article was originally published on April 3, 2009