The process of selecting the correct sleeping bag to meet your requirements can be tricky. Let the BCFing experts help you to find a winner with our range of quality sleeping bags from popular brands such as Wanderer and Coleman.
Why do I need a sleeping bag?
The benefits of getting a good night sleep cannot be overstated, and the addition of a comfortable sleeping bag can make or break your camping experience. Retaining your physical condition and ensuring you wake up in the correct mental state to tackle the day ahead are just some of the benefits of a good night's sleep. The primary use of a sleeping bag is to provide warmth and thermal insulation, while also providing cushioning to an otherwise uncomfortable experience sleeping on the ground. Some models come with specific purposes such as hiking sleeping bags which are normally water-resistant and filled with premium goose down, designed for use in the coldest of climates with a snug hood for retaining warmth. There are also plenty of options when shopping for the littlies, with kids sleeping bags coming in handy for sleepovers and overnight family outings. Using high performance polyester to provide optimal warmth ensures durability night after night, with premium, kid-friendly zips, easy pull tabs and anti-snag zipper protection.
What must I consider when purchasing a new sleeping bag?
The first question you must ask yourself is how cold will it be at your camping site? It's extremely important that you remain comfortable and warm - this will help to prevent illness such as hypothermia. Each sleeping bag is manufactured with a specific temperature rating in degrees Celsius. This will give you a much better idea of how the sleeping bag will stack up against the elements. Always base your selection on the coldest temperature expected during your camping trip. A handy tip: it is much easier to cool yourself down by unzipping the bag than it is to warm yourself up.
There are three main shapes used when designing a sleeping bag: rectangular, tapered and mummy. Each shape has its own benefits and unique characteristics.
- Rectangular sleeping bags are a perfect option for camping in hot, balmy climates. They're considered the most spacious and provide added room for people who move around a lot in their sleep, or larger adults. They create an awesome makeshift doona and are quite cost effective.
- Tapered sleeping bags are probably the most popular. The narrowed shape reduces bulk and allows them to pack down small. Available in both hooded and hoodless designs, although most would select the hooded as it retains warmth and adds extra comfort.
- Mummy sleeping bags are the first choice for hikers and experienced mountaineers, fittingly named for their unique shape. Up to 80% of heat can be lost through the head, but mummy sleeping bags come equipped with a hood that can be pulled tight to retain warmth. This style is extremely compact and normally comes with an added shell protection against the elements.
Synthetic or down are your choices when selecting a filling.
- Down is an all-natural fibre created from goose feathers. It's incredibly resilient and far superior in insulation qualities. Down-filled sleeping bags will provide you with many years of enjoyment. While not being the cheapest, the warmth to weight ratio is unmatched and make for easy stowing and transportation. Down is recommended for campers who are short on storage or will be carrying the sleeping bag on their person whether hiking, cycling or snow trekking.
- Synthetic fibres are the most commonly used and purchased. Much cheaper than its feathered counterpart, synthetic fills also handle moisture and water absorption much better and are quick to dry. This makes the process of cleaning and maintaining much easier. Recommended as a more general purpose alternative, it's ideal when storage and weight is not an issue. Also, this is a great option for campers who may experience water and moisture in their travels, such as rainforest walkers, fishermen and kayakers.
Hooded Sleeping Bag
Extra material around the head of the sleeping bag to keep users warm in lower temperatures.
A hooded sleeping bag is essential if you'll be sleeping in colder climates. They keep warm air from escaping through your head and can make a dramatic difference in retaining heat. Hoods are most commonly found on bags with a lower temperature rating and can be beneficial for a comfortable night sleep. They're also used for keeping your head off the ground and provide a dry area to store a pillow.
Note: if your sleeping bag has a snug fitting hood it will keep you much warmer.
What sleeping bag accessories can I purchase from BCF?
Head into your local BCF store and let our friendly and knowledgeable team of experts take you through our extensive range of sleeping bags and sleeping bag accessories. A sleeping bag liner is the perfect purchase for any camper needing that little bit of extra warmth. Great for adding comfort and extending the life of your product, it is capable of adding up to 15 degrees of warmth to any sleeping bag. In some cases, a liner is all you need to sleep in, particularly if you're in super warm climates! A self inflating, foam or regular pillow is another camping extra that many swear by. With compact and comfortable designs, ensure you have an enjoyable night sleep for many years to come with a pillow that suits your needs.
What do the comfort levels mean?
Comfort Rating – This temperature is calculated for a so-called standard woman (25 years old, 60kg, 1.60m, 1.62m² body surface area) who is just not feeling cold (no shivering) in a relaxed posture.
Limit Rating – This temperature is calculated for a so-called standard man (25 years old, 70kg, 1.73m, 1.83m² body surface area) in a situation of fighting against cold (posture is curled up inside the sleeping bag) but in thermal equilibrium and just not feeling cold (no shivering).
Extreme Rating – Ths temperature is calculated for a person with characteristics of a so-called standard woman (25 years old, 60kg, 1.60m, 1.62m² body surface area) in a situation of high cold stress, combined with shivering to increase the basic metabolic heat production, which can be maintained only for a limited duration. The sleeping bag user is curled up in the sleeping bag so as to minimise thermal loss through the sleeping bag.