If you’re desperately seeking the one ideal sleeping bag that will meet all of your outdoor needs, forget it! There isn’t such a beast. However, there is a bag out there that will keep you snug and happy through most of your adventuring dreams, and that’s a three-season mummy with a temperature / comfort rating of around 10 to 20 degrees F. A good three-season bag should see you through the odd frosty evening in late October, provide a snug cocoon during a late spring dusting of snow in April, and yet not overheat you during a warm night in July. If your inclination is more to winter camping, then opt for a bag rated to below zero degrees F. Winter mountaineering will require temperature ratings of minus 15 to minus 40 degrees F. If all you do is camp in the summer when the sun is shining and the birds are singing, you will do just as well with a bag rated to plus 35 or 40 degrees F.
An Adventure Network® Buying Truth
It is not uncommon for users judging a minimum comfort limit to differ by 20 degrees when testing an identical sleeping bag. I know of at least one case in which two users judged the same sleeping bag more than 30 degrees apart. Even without the variables of environmental factors such as clothing worn, food eaten, pads used, body size, fitness, and so on, the perception of “comfort” varies wildly. Use temperature ratings as a guide only. If you tend to sleep colder at night , piling on the blankets even in warm temperatures , then you will likely need to find a bag rated 10 to 20 degrees warmer than the most extreme temperatures you expect to encounter. If you sleep warm at night, you will most likely find the temperature ratings on a bag to be adequate. Be sure to add a very good sleeping pad to your purchase, and never, ever, sleep in the same clothing you spent the day in — that is a sure-fire way to sleep cold.
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