Try out sleeping bags, go camping with several models in the trunk of the car. It is also accepting the limits of such an experience. One example among others: the evaluation of the insulating value of a bag depends on several factors. For example, is the tester a man or a woman? Is well rested or completely bushed? What is the type of mattress used soil?And that’s not to mention the positions taken during sleep, which can influence the impression of being stuck in the bag or not. It is to say that such a test is inevitably tinged with a certain amount of subjectivity.
If the sleeping bag is decisive for the quality of our outdoor, it is not the only element. Sleep under the stars, sleeping in a bivouac sack, or shelter in a tent are three very different experiences, where comfort can vary among others due to the presence or not of wind or morning dew, or even evacuation of sweating. The use of a proper sleeping pad is also an important variable in the equation, not only for comfort, but also for the level of insulation. That being said, some elements must be examined closely before buying.
A rectangular bag prioritizes the space to move inside – great for the claustrophobic-, but it’s at the expense of performance. It is bulky, heavier and less efficient. It can be perfect for the tropics or the youth hostel. The bag Mummy, whose Cup follows the curves of the body (closer to the feet and wider at the shoulders) and which is equipped with a hood, is without a doubt the most suited to outdoor activities. Some show a very slim (powerful but more binding), and others, a little more loose. Finally, the barrel bag is to halfway between the two types. The length of the bag must also be adapted to the size of the user: no need to warm up an excessive volume at the feet, to carry a bag heavy and bulky and, increasingly, to pay more. Choose a small, regular or long bag, depending on its size, so makes sense.
The side of temperature
Second criterion of importance, the side of temperature is what allows to categorize the bags of summer, winter or three seasons. But, as mentioned previously, this is a pretty relative term; It is therefore appropriate to consider this criterion as an indicator and not a deadline. Obviously, the three seasons bag is the most versatile. This is often the first one we usually buy. He should sleep warm up to the occasional freezing without causing sweating during the hot nights of July. It’s asking a lot! Each manufacturer has a way to test and indicate the comfort zone, which may present a very wide range of temperatures. Indicatively, therefore.
The nature of the insulation is the third criterion to be taken into account. It is generally a choice between a synthetic insulation or down, although some bags are hybrids and offer both types in the same model. Talking of insulation is touching to the heart of what is a sleeping bag; It can be especially complex. It is not the primary purpose of this test bench.
To simplify, let’s say that the synthetic insulation (regardless of its trade name, and God knows there are all kinds) is generally less compressible, less durable and heavier than down. However, it is the ideal choice for the Canoe-camping or any other activity during which the bag may be wet. Synthetic insulation, once wet, less tends to flatten and thus lose its insulating capacity. Down, goose or duck, differs from the feathers by its three-dimensional shape, which allows to trap air and, therefore, better isolate. The insulating ability of the down remains optimal considering its mass and volume. Besides, manufacturers make generally much of the puffy ability of their down by mentioning the volume, in cubic inches, that occupies an ounce of plumules. Downy side 550 + is considered a minimum threshold, whereas downy 850 + or even 900 is the ultimate.
Down, if it is well maintained, is also very durable. In recent years, manufacturers advertises the fact that their down has been treated to make it more hydrophobic and anti-microbial. This is a feature that we could not check in this test, but, if this is the case, makes the product very interesting.
Finally, the zone temperature in which you can comfortably sleep seems much more for the down for the synthetic. The amount of insulation placed between the envelopes is also to be considered. And this isn’t even the length of the fibres of synthetic insulation and the method of Assembly (in walls, stitched dashboard edge or not, etc.).