Too many people nowadays just walk into the store and pick up the first sleeping bag they find. Then, their camping trip rolls around and they complain the whole trip because they are too cold at night. Most of them will then blame it on the "cheap" or "ineffective" sleeping bag. However, most of the time it is not the sleeping bag that's wrong; it's just that you bought the wrong type for the environment you're going to use it in. What most people don't know is that there are 2 main categories that all sleeping bags can fall under.

Three Season Bags

The first category is three season sleeping bags. Three season means that these bags are able to protect you from the cold in the spring, summer, and fall months. However, most sleeping bags that are under this category are made specifically for summer. If you plan on doing some early spring or mid-late fall camping, I would suggest getting a three season with the lowest temperature rating you can find. Every sleeping bag has its own temperature rating. This temperature is the coldest it can get outside before your sleeping bag can no longer fully protect you. A bag with a temp rating below 0° C (32° F) should be fine for camping in the spring and fall. In the summer, you can get away with buying a cheaper bag, but if you tend to get cold easily, I wouldn't cheap out.

Four Season Bags

The second categSleeping Bagory is four season bags. If you haven't already guessed, four season means that sleeping bags in this category can keep you warm even in the dead of winter. They are generally made of better material, and better designed than their three season counterparts. However, this isn't necessarily a good thing. If you were to use one of these in the summer, you would be way too hot. These bags are only designed for winter use. Four season sleeping bags are also commonly known as "mummy bags" because they resemble ancient Egyptian sarcophagi. The sarcophagus shape enables greater heat retention at the feet. Most mummy bags also come with hoods that specialize in retaining heat at your head. That's both of your vital spots covered. Four season bags are also popular with hikers who prefer to sleep out in the open, without a tent or shelter. The material is strong enough to protect you from strong winds, and you can even buy waterproof varieties.

In conclusion, before buying a camping sleeping bag, you need to take into consideration what you will be using it for, and choose a bag in the right category. Don't choose a four season for summer, and look for a low temperature rating three season for the spring and fall outdoor adventures.