Camping is a rewarding experience. The road to the campsite is surrounded by a stunning view. You will see grasslands, vegetations, and trees of every kind. Birds sing and the trees dance as you tread cautiously along narrow paths. The great outdoors offer a magnificent view that is far more beautiful and peaceful than the concrete jungle where you most likely live.
There are trade-offs, of course. In the wilderness, desert, or beach, your tent will be your only shelter. No heater will keep you warm. Your cosy bed won’t be there to put you into deep slumber. Most likely, it will not feel as comfortable as your home. Whether you’re camping in the woods or along the beach, expect the temperature to drop at night. Whilst this will not be too much of a problem for “warm sleepers”, it is still important to bring a sleeping bag. In fact, it is one of the first things you should put inside your camping bag, especially if you plan to camp out in the mountains. If the temperature falls lower than expected, at least you have the proper gear to protect you. Here are some reasons you should bring a sleeping bag to your camping trip:
1. The Sleeping bag has many features and comes in many options
Consider the following features when picking the right sleeping bag:
Sleeping bags have different temperature ratings. A sleeping bag with 20° C or less is perfect for summer campers, whilst a goose down bag with a rating of at least -20°C is more appropriate for winter camping.
There are two types of insulation: synthetic and down. Each has its own benefits. Synthetic sleeping bags are versatile and can still store heat even when damp. A goose down, on the other hand, is lighter in weight and performs better in cold, dry weather. Some campers would suggest bringing a synthetic bag. But the sleeping system should depend on the weather and your camping method. A goose down sleeping bag is appropriate for winter campers, whilst summer campers would go for a synthetic one given its features (e.g. water resistant, versatile). If you are bringing a goose down bag, keep it dry at all times. Unlike synthetic bags, a goose down bag does not dry up easily and can lose its insulating ability when damp. Store it in a waterproof stuff sack to keep it from getting wet.
Sleeping bags have four different shapes: rectangular, semi-rectangular, mummy, double bags, and kid-size. Rectangular sleeping bags have enough space for your legs and arms and may even be used as a comforter. Modified mummy is another term used for semi-rectangular sleeping bags and offer both warmth and ample room for your body. Meanwhile, a mummy-shaped sleeping bag offers a snug fit. Its design allows the sleeping bag to give the user a warmer temperature. Double-bags, on the other hand, are best for couples who want to sleep more closely to each other. The kid-size sleeping bag is simply a shorter and more affordable version than all the sleeping bags mentioned.
2. It gives you a good night’s sleep
Tent campers will technically be sleeping on the ground. A sleeping bag can still give your back a bit of cushion. Add a sleeping pad if that is not enough for you. It’s a far cry from your bed at home, but it is enough to put you to sleep. An air bed provides more cushion than sleeping bags but you have to be careful in choosing one. If you pick an air mattress with a low- quality valve, you may wake up to an unplugged bed in the dead of night. Also, there are cases where air beds tend to slide on the tent floor and shift underneath whilst the occupants sleep. This may cause discomfort especially when you badly want to get a good rest after a long and tiring day. This is one of the reasons why a sleeping bag would be a better option for camping.
3. It is good for emergency use
Adventure begins as soon as you step out of your doorstep. It’s always better to be prepared. Packing a sleeping bag will help you survive any unexpected incident. Your tent or hammock may be damaged, misplaced, or even stolen. If this happens, at least you have your sleeping bag to act as your emergency shelter. Sleeping bags can also serve as your emergency blanket. An air bed is more comfortable but it may not be enough to keep you warm when it gets colder than expected. In the case of bushwalkers, air-conditioning in the shuttle service may be uncomfortably chilly. If the temperature turns extremely cold, pull out your sleeping bag and use it as a comforter
4. It is compact
The weight of the camping gear should always be considered when packing for a trip. For those traveling by car or camper vans, bringing an air bed wouldn’t be too much of a challenge. Bushwalkers, however, would be better off with a sleeping bag as it is lighter and more compact. There are even wearing sleeping bags that can be used as a jacket, giving you more space in your backpack and an additional body warmer. Keep in mind that not all sleeping bags weigh the same. Its weight depends on its materials and shape. A down sleeping bag is more compact than a synthetic bag, whilst a mummy bag is lighter and less bulky than a rectangular bag. Personal health should also be a consideration when bringing the right sleeping system. An air bed gives more comfort than sleeping bags. But its weight may be a challenge if you are not used to carrying heavy camping gear, making sleeping bags a more appropriate option.
5. It is easy to set up
An air bed takes at least four minutes to fully inflate, whilst sleeping bags are easier to set up. All you have to do is pull up your sleeping bag from your bag and lay it on the ground. But before that, decide how you want to place the sleeping bag in the tent. You can set it up facing the tent flap or vestibule or have it parallel to the entrance. Also make sure that it doesn’t touch the edges of the tent as the moisture might dampen the sleeping bag.
6. It is water resistant
This is an additional feature of a sleeping bag which gives you another reason to put this in your camping list. Some experienced campers suggest getting a synthetic bag because of its ability to dry up fast and store heat even when damp. In comparison, goose down bags lose insulating ability when wet, which is why it must be kept dry at all times. Goose down bags with a water-resistant shell may be more expensive, but it would be a wise investment. There is definitely nothing wrong with bringing sleeping bags that are not water-resistant as long as warm sunny days are ahead of you and wet activities aren’t part of your itinerary. However, it would still be best to come prepared. Sleeping bags are not just meant to act as your outdoor bed. These are also your protective gear against the unexpected turn of the weather.
7. It is less costly
A lightweight sleeping bag with a good insulating capacity is usually an expensive investment. It can fall in the same price range as an air bed. However, air mattresses still tend to be more costly than sleeping bags due to the many accessories and features that come with them. Some air beds are designed to be more durable than conventional beds. Despite this, some campers still find problems with their air mattresses (e.g. air leaks, pump issues, mold issues), causing them to purchase replacement parts. With a sleeping bag, you don’t need to be concerned with these things as long as you clean and store it well.
What factors should you consider when buying a sleeping bag?
You should be wise when buying a sleeping bag. For a camper, it isn’t just some accessory that you can brag about. Just like your other camping gear, it can help you survive a risky adventure. If you’re camping in winter, you have all the more reason to put it in your camping list. Without the proper sleeping system, it may be hard for you to go into slumber and regain your energy. Don’t just pick out any sleeping bag you see. Price and colour should not be your only considerations when buying a sleeping system. Not all expensive gear or brands could satisfy your camping needs. But you shouldn’t be so quick to buy a cheap one either. Never sacrifice quality, especially if you’re serious about camping. Colour, on the other hand, is mostly a matter of preference. When picking the right sleeping system, these should be your considerations:
Each camper has his or her own preferences in camping. Some campers love to travel during warm and dry seasons, whilst others prefer going out in winter. There are also people who wouldn’t mind camping in the rainy season. You will find this high level of confidence among seasoned campers. However, as experienced a camper you may be, it is still best to be careful. Nature is unpredictable, and it is capable of derailing the plans of even the most skilled travellers. Whatever your choice is, pack accordingly. If you’re in for an adventure in the summertime, use a thinner sleeping bag. For winter camping, choose one that works well in cold weather.
The sleeping bag you bring must fit you well; otherwise, you will not be able to sleep well. Don’t buy one that’s too long or too short for your height. Small sleeping bags will not provide you enough space, leaving you lying uncomfortably on the ground. There should be a bit of open air to circulate heat. On the other hand, a bag that’s too long for you will not be able to properly warm the empty space. Your feet, along with other end points of your body -- head, hands, knees, must be kept warm; otherwise, it will be easier for your body to shiver in the cold.
Conduct a bit of research about your campsite before you set out. Check whether rodents, bears, snakes, and other vicious animals live near your chosen campsite. The camping gear you pack should also complement the location of your campsite. Staying along the beach or in the mountains will require you to bring a sleeping bag that is thicker. A lighter sleeping bag, however, would be more appropriate if the campsite is not accessible by car.
Choosing a sleeping bag
Before you purchase your equipment, know your needs. Go back to your itinerary. What are the specifics of your camping trip? Focus on that, and then find the camping gear that will address your travel needs. The same principle applies in choosing the right sleeping bag. Remember the factors you should consider: weather, size, and location. Then, pick a sleeping bag with the appropriate insulation material, temperature rating, and shape.
It will be hard to pick the right camping gear if you don’t know what you need. Without the appropriate equipment, your adventure may be as stressful as the reality you tried to escape from. You might have heard this a million times but it is important to plan ahead. Research about the place where you’re going. Check the weather forecast. Anticipate the worst scenarios. List down all the items you need, and make sure that a sleeping bag is one of them. There are different kinds of sleeping bags, and each type is designed to meet your needs and preferences. There are cheap and expensive ones. But don’t be easily fooled by the price. Be wise in making your investment; otherwise, the products you buy may not last longer than they are meant to. The good news is that you don’t need to search far and wide for the best camping gear. Outbax has everything you need―from outdoor gear to backyard accessories. There are a lot of good deals available on the site. So, search through our product list and buy your camping gear now.