The great thing about camping is you can do it all year long. However, the kind of experience you have has a lot to do with the sleeping bag used for the cooler weather. Here’s how to select a bag that’ll keep you snuggly rather than shivering as the temperatures drop.
Know the Kind of Camping You Want to Do
The first thing to decide is whether you’ll be backpacking or camping in a car or tent. If you’re planning to carry everything on your back during the excursion, mummy bags are your best bet. They’re comparably lighter and easier to pack with the rest of your gear.
However, if you’re camping in your car or a tent and aren’t worried about the weight and space constraints as much, consider a rectangular sleeping bag instead. Their shape makes them less restrictive than mummy bags, and some campers find them more comfortable.
Understand Your Needs
Many sleeping bags have third-party temperature ratings. For example, we have bags rated for below-zero camping. Those would help you stay warm before and into winter. However, if you’re primarily camping during the autumn, our 30-degrees-and-above bags might be a better option. The temperature rating tells you how cold it can get with the bag still keeping you warm.
Although temperature ratings are helpful, they’re often based on the bag’s limit rather than comfort. That’s why it’s best to think about your sleep system as a whole. What kind of shelter will you have? How many layers of clothing will you wear? How thick is your sleeping pad?
Think back to how you felt during previous camping trips in cooler weather, too. Were you feeling chilly when your companions said the cold didn’t bother them? Everyone defines comfort differently, and that’s a good reality to keep in mind while shopping for sleeping bags.
Consider Accessories and Features
A sleeping bag liner can add about 10 degrees of warmth to a bag. That makes it a valuable accessory when you’re looking for additional warmth. You can even use one alone for warm-weather sleeping.
Ours are soft and breathable, and the brushed fabric finish helps the liner stay in place through the night. Velcro fasteners help keep out drafts, so you stay snug while slumbering.
Pay attention to sleeping bag features as you shop, prioritizing those that help you stay warm. For example, a hood stops air from escaping around your head. Some of our bags also have an extra layer of fill in the footbox.
Use a New Sleeping Bag Carefully
It’ll take time and real-world testing to find out how comfortable your new sleeping bag keeps you during fall and winter trips. Until you learn from experience, play it safe by bringing emergency supplies that will add warmth if needed.
Save room in your pack for things like extra layers and hand warmers, or blankets if you’re car camping. Then you’ll be well-prepared for an unexpectedly chilly night or the realization that you might need additional things to make the new bag meet your comfort expectations.
A new sleeping bag can help you get much-needed rest after days full of exploring nature and trails. Apply these tips to shop with confidence for your next cooler-weather bag.