An outdoor sleeping bag is an essential piece of equipment when you pack up and take a trip to the great outdoors. And, after a day in the outdoors, you'll need to get some shut eye. The right outdoor sleeping bag can give you a great nights sleep, the wrong one however, can ruin an otherwise great trip.  Learn all about the features you should consider and why one sleeping bag is better than another one.

Make sure the outdoor sleeping bag has the right temperature rating

The absolute most important thing to consider when purchasing an outdoor sleeping bag is the temperature rating. Simply put, an outdoor sleeping bag is rated to how low a temperature you'll be comfortable in. You should keep in mind though that this is a general number, if you like to sleep with blankets piled on you get one rated to 10 degrees colder, or, if you like a bit of chill, get one rated 10 degrees warmer.  On another note, don't use a winter bag for a summer camping trip, opt for one designed for warmer weather.  Not only will it be smaller and easier to pack but it'll weigh less and keep you very comfortable as well.

Choose the filling of the outdoor sleeping bag

There are two main types of filling available for an outdoor sleeping bag. Down, or synthetic.

  • Down is more expensive but will keep you warmer with less filling, on the 'down' side, it's nearly useless if it gets wet. It also tends to bunch up when the sleeping bag is packed up so you'll have to shake it around a bit to distribute the filling.
  • Synthetic filling is cheaper but tends to weigh more. It will keep you warm if it gets wet though.

So basically, for backpacking, where weight is an issue, choose an outdoor sleeping bag with down filling. If you'll be in a wet weather situation go for the outdoor sleeping bag with synthetic filling.  If this is a simple camping trip in the summer with a nice big tent and power outlets anything goes.  Personally I'd choose the lighter cheaper bag and use a portable heater if it gets too cold at night.

Decide on the shape of the outdoor sleeping bag

Yes, believe it or not shape is a consideration. In colder weather a mummy shape is more effective at keeping you warm since it hugs the contours of your body and there's less 'dead' space.  A square shape will allow you to move around more freely. And a double size is great if you'll share the outdoor sleeping bag with someone.  Here's a great article to read if you're interested in a sleeping bag for two people.

Choosing the right outdoor sleeping bag

Now that you know what features to look for check out this sleeping bag available on Amazon, it's highly rated by consumers and does everything right.

Once you know the rating, fill and shape of the outdoor sleeping bag you need I suggest you read outdoor sleeping bag reviews from such sites as Consumer Search or Consumer Reports. They have unbiased outdoor sleeping bag reviews from users just like yourself and will really help you choose the right outdoor sleeping bag. You will of course find more helpful links right here on this page too.