With so many different 3 season sleeping bags to choose from, its can become confusing trying to make sense of it all. With this short article we have prepared a list of some things to keep it simple when choosing your sleeping bag.
1. Temperature Rating: Look for a bag that is rated at LEAST ten degrees warmer than you think you'll need. Assume the sleeping bags rating is "generous" by at least five degrees, but be safe and estimate ten degrees. It's better to be too warm and have to unzip your sleeping bag, than to spend a sleepless night freezing.
2. Fill: Consider the environment where you’ll be using your bag. If you think your sleeping bag has the potential of getting wet, (like on a river float trip) go with a synthetic bag, not a down bag.
3. Size: Regular size sleeping bags for adults will fit a person up to 6' tall comfortably. You will also find bags in short sizes. If you are a petite person you can get away with shopping in the children's bag section, saving some money too. Big people want comfortable bags too. There's no way you'll get a good night's sleep if you are all scrunched up in a too small bag. So if you are over 6' tall you'll want a long sleeping bag that will fit up to 6'6". These bags are more comfortable for people of wider girth as well. If your waistline is greater than 40" go with a long bag. You can also purchase a sleeping bag expander that will make a regular sized bag roomier.
4. Weight: If every ounce of weight and every inch of bulk will be crucial, (like on a backpacking trip) then go with a down mummy bag. Down is lighter and compresses quite easily.
5. Shape: Mummy bags are tapered from wider at the top to narrower at the foot end and have hoods, making them a snug fit. Semi mummy bags have more generous cut with more room in the shoulders and you can move your feet and legs around a bit more. Rectangular bags offer the most in wiggle room for legs and shoulders.
6. Gender: Women's sleeping bags are wider at the hips and narrower at the shoulders than regular unisex bags. This design is to prevent excess air from circulation around a smaller framed body. Women's bags also provides extra insulation at the foot box and torso for additional warmth in these notorious cold spots. You can find women's bags in various sizes such as long, regular and short to fit all heights. Women tend to produce less body heat than men, so they may find a bag with a lower temperature rating more comfortable than men do in the same types of conditions.
7. Your Personal Comfort Zone: If you're a cold sleeper (you usually sleep at home in your sweats and sock’s in a 70 degree room with the blankets piled on and still feel chilly!), be extra cautious and assume the sleeping bag will only keep you warm to temperatures 20 degrees above the rating. Thus, a bag rated to 20 degrees will keep you warm and comfortable in temperatures down to 40 degrees.
Conclusion: You can whittle down the choices in bags if you first know the temperature rating, fill, size, weight, shape, and personal comfort zone. This will greatly assist you in choosing the adequate 3 season sleeping bag for your particular needs.