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What are the pros and cons of sleeping bags?
Sleeping bags come in two parts: the inner lining and the outer. The inner lining is always the part that touches your skin. This should be soft and comfortable, as it’ll be next to your skin for quite a while. There are many different materials to make the inner lining from, including cotton, silk, wool, fleece, and even fur. These materials are often mixed together in different ways to create a bag that both keeps you warm and is also comfortable. Outer shells also come in different materials. The most common shell type is nylon, but there are other options like hard-face cotton, water proof, or soft-face cotton.
Sleeping bags are great for two reasons: they keep you warm and they keep you in! Sleeping bags are very efficient. If you have a good sleeping bag, you can get away with using a blanket rather than having to use an extra pillow or other alternative. Sleeping bags also trap your body heat.
This makes them incredibly efficient when it comes to keeping you warm. Sleeping bags are warmer than an equivalent blanket of the same weight since your body can’t even pull heat out through the fabric.
When it comes to cons, sleeping bags are a bit more restrictive. They can also be a bit less comfortable than an equivalent bed of the same weight. If you have a bad back or just want to sleep on something a bit softer, then sleeping bags might not be for you. Sleeping bags don’t have great ventilation either.
Since sleeping bags need to keep you in as well as keep you warm, sleeping bags are made with very snug fitting material. They can also be a bit tough to store if you’re short on space.
Ultimately, it’s up to you and your personal preferences. Some people swear by sleeping bags, while others never use one again. If you like the idea of a sleeping bag but aren’t sure which one would be best for you, come on in to our store and our staff will be happy to help choose one out!
What are the different types of sleeping bags?
Sleeping bags come in several different varieties. The materials they’re made from, their sizes, and the way in which they’re designed all make different types of sleeping bags.
Mummy Bags are the traditional sleeping bag. They’re shaped like a burrito (or a mummy if you will). These are the types of bags that are mostly seen on mountain tops and in adventure movies. They’re also the type most commonly used for camping.
These bags are versatile. No matter where you’re going to be sleeping, a mummy bag will most likely suit your needs. They keep you warm at night and are small and easy to pack during the day. The more extreme types of mummy bags are great for mountain climbing or other activities that take place in cold and/or wet conditions. These bags feature water resistance as well as other special qualities. There are also women-specific sleeping bags which are made to fit a woman’s body. This includes a narrower shoulder area to allow for broader hips.
Rectangular Bags are similar to Mummy Bags, except rather than being shaped like a mummy (or a burrito), they’re more like a traditional bed. These bags often have zippers on three sides, allowing the bag to be completely open in the front and back. These bags are less restrictive and more comfortable. They are also easier to get in and out of.
However, they’re not as warm since there is more fabric and sewn seams acting as holes for cold air to get in. They’re also not as efficient to store or carry.
Semi-Rectangular Bags are a cross between the traditional Mummy Bag and the Rectangular Bag. These bags have more area in the front and back than in the sides, but aren’t as big as rectangular bags. They also typically still have some features of a traditional mummy bag.
There are several different types of specialty bags. Each of these bags has its own unique design and is intended for a specific purpose or activity. There are bags designed for car camping, extreme weather, multi-purpose use, 3-season, and summer only, as well as women-specific bags and even kid sized bags.
What do I need to know about sleeping bag fill?
There are several different types of material that are used in sleeping bags. Each of these materials offer their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a list of the most common ones and what they’re good for.
Down is the undercoat that grows between the feathers of ducks and geese. It has several properties that make it a great choice when constructing a sleeping bag. It’s extremely lightweight and yet still very warm. The material is also extremely compressible, allowing a bag to be easily compressed into a stuff sack without adding significant weight to the bag.
Down also has the amazing ability to regain its loft and insulation properties even after being completely soaked. There are two major drawbacks of down though. The material is very expensive and if the down gets wet, it’s no longer effective and the bag becomes useless.
Synthetic insulation is created as a man-made substitute for down. It’s less expensive and retains its insulating properties when wet. However, it doesn’t compress as well as down and tends to retain more moisture itself.
What are some of the extra features I might find with a sleeping bag?
There are several different types of extra features that you’ll find in sleeping bags. Each of these features is designed to increase the comfort or usability of a bag. Here’s a list of some common features and what they do.
A lot of times people move around a lot in their sleep. A lot of movement can cause a bag to shift, which can cause an uncomfortable draft at the neck area. A foot box prevents this by creating an extra separated compartment at the foot of the bag. This keeps your feet and legs inside the bag and keeps you warmer.
Draft Tube / Draft Flap
A draft tube or flap is an addition to a sleeping bag that wraps around the zipper. It acts as extra insulation and prevents warm air from escaping out of the zipper area. This leads to better insulation and more warmth.
The draft collar works as an insulated barrier that surrounds your neck and prevents any heat from escaping out of the top of the bag. This feature is included in both tight and spacious bags.
A contoured waist is designed to keep the user in a comfortable position while they sleep. This is accomplished by having the bag’s bottom stretch over and rest on the top of your hips, while the bag’s top stretches over and rests on your shoulders, keeping you in position. When this feature is present, it also helps prevent warm air from escaping out of the bag.
What temperature rating should I get?
The temperature rating of a sleeping bag is not an exact measurement of the bag’s effectiveness. It’s actually a very vague rating designed to give the average user an idea of how warm or cold they’ll be in the bag. Here’s a list of all the different temperature ratings and what they mean:
These bags are designed for use in warmer weather, usually starting in the spring and lasting until fall. They’re designed to keep you warm at night but won’t make you uncomfortable during the day.
These bags are good for all three seasons, but aren’t as effective in the summer or winter. Usually, these are the most popular bags and are used by campers who don’t like dealing with 4 season bags. These are great for those who travel a lot and want one bag that will work all year round.
4 season bags are designed to keep you warm and toasty in the winter. They’ll keep you comfortable in the summer, but they’re heavier and more uncomfortable to sleep in due to their thick insulation. These are great for people who camp in colder and/or harsher environments.
Extreme Cold (Below -50)
These are very specialized sleeping bags that are designed for extreme cold-weather conditions. These bags are mostly just big puffy blankets made out of a high-quality down. These won’t keep you very warm if you’re sleeping outside in the summer, but they’ll keep you alive and well in the cold winter wilderness.
How tight should the bag be?
The fit of your sleeping bag is very important. A bag that’s too large will have large empty spaces that let out body heat, while a bag that’s too small won’t have enough room to move around and adjust. The best way to test if a bag is the right size is to curl up in it like you normally sleep and make sure there aren’t any cold spots.
Do I need to take anything to make the sleeping bag warmer?
Some sleeping bags come with a stuff sack that’s filled with extra padding and insulation. If your sleeping bag doesn’t come with one, you’ll be able to buy a sack separately. Here are some of the most popular add-ons:
Stuff Sack: This is an add-on for those who don’t have one. It’s a smaller bag that fits into your larger sleeping bag. These are great for saving space in your bag as well as keeping everything organized and together.
Comforter: These are blankets that fit perfectly in most sleeping bags to add extra warmth. They are not recommended for 4 season or extreme temperature bags, as they will make the bag much too hot.
Pillow: Everyone knows how important it is to have a pillow when you sleep. Most backpacking and camping stores sell specially designed pillows that are lightweight and easy to carry around.
Eye Mask: Sleeping in the great outdoors can be beautiful, but when the sun comes up early it can be really frustrating. An eye mask will block out all the light and let you sleep in a little longer.
Ear Plugs: If you’re a light sleeper, noises like animals creeping around your tent or loud campers will wake you up. Ear plugs will help muffle the noise and let you get some much needed rest.
First Aid Kit
A first-aid kit is small but incredibly important when you’re spending time in the woods. There are plenty of things that could go wrong, and you’ll be happy to have the supplies on-hand to deal with blisters, small cuts and scrapes, insect bites, and anything else that might happen. Since every kit is a little different, we’ve chosen some of the most vital supplies that everyone should have with them when they’re out in the wilderness.
Antiseptic: These kill bacteria and other microorganisms that could lead to infection. It’s important to thoroughly clean any open wound.
Band-aids and Bandages: Small cloth bandages that cover cuts and scrapes to keep out dirt and bacteria.
Gauze and Tape: Used to wrap sprained ankles or knees, or even wrap a wound entirely for more serious injuries.
Acetaminophen: A.K.A. Tylenol, this is useful for treating minor pains, like headaches or sore muscles.
Taken regularly it can reduce painkiller tolerance, so it should only be used when needed.
Ibuprofen: A.K.A. Advil or Nuprin, this is useful for treating minor pains, like headaches or sore muscles.
Should not be taken with alcohol.
Antacid: For stomach pain or heartburn caused by acid reflux.
Anti-Diarrheal: For loose stools or diarrhea. This is especially important in a survival situation if clean water isn’t available.
Decongestant: For relief from stuffy noses or congestion.
Antihistamine: For relief from itchy, watery eyes, or hives.
Sunscreen: For sunburn prevention. Also, a good idea to keep your skin covered with long sleeves and pants if possible.
Insect Repellent: To keep the mosquito’s and other bugs away.
Burn Ointment: For burns caused by campfires or other heat sources.
Alcohol Wipes: To wipe away infectious material or dirt that might enter a wound.
Safety Pins: These can be used as emergency stitches, and are especially useful for people without previous medical experience.
You should always have certain basic supplies in your trunk, specifically for survival. This will ensure that if you are ever stranded, you will have everything you need to live on until you are rescued. While it is always better to be prepared, it’s not realistic for everyone to carry a large backpack on a hike. Keep in mind the rule of 3’s: You can survive 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food.
Flashlight: While it gets dark at night, it’s still good to have a flashlight in your car. You never know when you might get in an accident, or gotten work at night when the park closes.
Phone Charger: These are small and lightweight, and will ensure that you can contact help if needed. Be sure to tuck the charger into a pocket if you’re trapped in a car.
Batteries: For the flashlights and other small electronics you might have. If you have a portable radio, it will help keep up to date on the news and weather.
Water Bottle: Dehydration is a serious issue, so always be sure to stay hydrated. You can refill your bottle after the resources are available.
Snacks: These are good to keep energy levels up, but don’t stuff your bag full of them. Nuts, fruit snacks, raisins, granola bars or even beef jerky are all good options.
Towel: In the instance that you need to tread water or float on your back, having a dry towel can make the experience slightly more comfortable.
Sunglasses: When the summer sun is bright, it can be stressful on the eyes. Sunglasses will protect you while adding style points at the same time.
Feminine Products: No, we’re not suggesting that you pack these just because. If you happen to get into a car accident and go into labor, you’ll be really glad you have them.
Cash: Should your credit cards no longer work due to a disaster or other emergency, cash will always be useful. Not to mention you’ll be able to buy whatever you need without worrying about any kind of payment. Here’s a list of items you should have in your vehicle at all times, just in case.
First-aid Kit: This is an absolute necessity. Your vehicle should always have one packed with bandages of various sizes, burn cream, painkillers and anything else you think might be useful. You can buy ready-made first aid kits from most drug stores or online.
Flares: These are great for letting people know where you are when it’s dark or you’re stranded in a desert. Be sure to keep them in the original packaging so you know how to use them properly.
Shovel: If you get stuck or your car gets stuck in the mud, a shovel will make digging out a whole lot easier. Don’t forget the hand-claws!
Fire Extinguisher: These come in a variety of types. Choose a type that best suits your needs. Most common are the ABC type, which is great for most fires.
Protective Clothing: From hazardous materials suits to high visibility vests, depending on where you live and where you travel, you should have some kind of protective clothing in your vehicle. If nothing else, a sweatshirt will help keep you warm if your vehicle breaks down at night.
Traction Mats: These are a must if you live in a snowy area. If you get stuck in the winter, these mats will give you the grip you need to pull your vehicle free. They’re also great for mud.
Bag of Sand: This is an old trick that works well. If your car gets stuck in the mud or sand, you can put a bag or two (or three) of sandbags in the back to give it more traction to pull free. Just don’t forget to remove them after!
Collapsible Shovel: Another great option if you think you might be driving through some heavy brush. These tools collapse to a very small size, but give you a lot of digging power when needed.
Firearms: With the threat of terrorism ever-looming, some people have chosen to carry firearms with them in their vehicles. This is legal in most states as long as you’re not planning on using it for anything illegal and you have the legal right to own one. You should only choose to do this if you are very familiar with your weapon and feel comfortable using it. The last thing you want is to get a speeding ticket and then have a gun fall out on the ground when the officer approaches!
Whatever you choose to keep in your vehicle, make sure it’s going to be useful for YOU. Just because everyone else is keeping a fire extinguisher in their car, doesn’t mean you necessarily should. Only keep what you think might be useful in an emergency situation.
And a final word of advice, keep an emergency contact card in your vehicle at all times. This way, if your vehicle does break down or get stuck and you don’t have your cell phone with you, someone will still be able to reach you to let you know your child is ill and needs to go home, or come pick you up if need be. It also provides any services that come to your aid with important medical information, allergies, and other vital data you don’t want to have to try and remember in an emergency situation.
Whatever you do, be prepared! Your life may one day depend on the contents of your vehicle.
(Excerpt from “Preparedness Basics: Part One,” a guide published by the Department of Homeland Security)
This article was included for anyone who has not yet purchased or downloaded the eBook “Preparedness Basics: Part One.”
You can download it free at (LINK REMOVED)
Be sure to also check out the official government site, Ready.gov for more tips on being prepared in case of any emergency, natural or otherwise.
And remember, “If you see something, say something.”
(All trademarks are property of their respective owners. All artwork, characters, game concepts and other creative concepts are property of their respective owners. “Professors’ Papers” is a division of “The Kenzer & Company” and is not affiliated with any mentioned parties, or their respective properties, in any official capacity. No official endorsement is implied.
Original artwork by Daniel Kenzer, for the Professor’s Papers universe, created exclusively for Kenzer & Company, LLC. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws. Oh, and don’t steal stuff. Check out the other cool RPGs and books at KenzerCo! And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming. 🙂 )
Sources & references used in this article:
Coleman 50-Quart Xtreme 5-Day Heavy-Duty Cooler With Wheels by H Camping – 2019 – happiercamping.com
Thermal performance of sleeping bags by JL Cooper, MSF Rankosky – Journal of Coated Fabrics, 1980 – journals.sagepub.com
Sleeping bag by AJ Gaynor – US Patent 2,972,757, 1961 – Google Patents
Multi-use sleeping bag construction by LD Worley – US Patent 3,584,323, 1971 – Google Patents
Electrically heated sleeping bag by FM Petty, WD Keith – US Patent 3,380,087, 1968 – Google Patents
Adaptor by RA Boothe – US Patent 3,979,784, 1976 – Google Patents
Electrically heated foot canopy for bed top sheets, blankets, quilts, beds or sleeping bags and the like by HP Mintz – US Patent 10,136,744, 2018 – Google Patents
Campers’ combined pack, hammock and sleeping bag by LD Shultz – US Patent 2,971,205, 1961 – Google Patents