Sleeping Bags 4-H Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging 2017 Sleeping Bags At the end of an action packed day, a good nights sleep is essential. The right sleeping bag can keep you comfortable whether you are just staying overnight at a location or camping for weeks at a time. Sleeping bags come in many styles and range in price. When a consumer purchases a sleeping bag, they must consider the conditions they will be using it in. When choosing a sleeping bag, a consumer must choose the right one for them based on the sleeping bag shape, type, and fit. They must also choose the appropriate filling. There are other characteristics and features that must be considered like shell material, weight, temperature ratings, and color/design. For a consumer to pick the right sleeping bag, it is necessary to look at the features that best suit the conditions the sleeping bag will be
used in. Shape, Type and Fit The shape of a bag significantly affects its warmth, how heavy it is and how small you can pack it. The length you choose should correspond with your height. Having a few extra inches is fine, but if your bag is considerably longer than you, youll have unused space to heat and you will feel colder as a result. Womens bags are usually sized slightly shorter than mens or unisex bags. They are also cut narrower through the shoulders and wider through the hips. Often, they have extra insulation in the foot box and around the upper body. Main Types:
Mummy Barrel Semi-Rectangular Rectangular Mummy Bags The mummy bag is the main type of sleeping bag used for outdoor conditions. They provide the most amount of warmth out of all the shapes. These bags are narrow and have a hood. They force you to sleep on your back and do not leave much room to move around. By pulling the drawstring on the hood, only your mouth and nose are left exposed. This allows for the warmth from your body to be trapped in. These are also light weight and are able to be
compacted to a small size. Remember: Lightest weight, Smallest packed size, Most thermal efficient shape Barrel Bags These bags have a more relaxed shape than mummy bags. They are more spacious and may or may not have a hood attached. They are a good compromise if you like to sprawl a bit when you sleep, but still need a light, compact bag. Rectangular Bags The rectangular bag provides the most room for maneuvering. They are bigger and bulkier than the others and the worst for cold weather. They usually do not
have a hood. These sleeping bags are good heavier packers and are best for car camping and for sleeping out when the temperature is above zero. These can be opened as comforters and it is easy to zip two bags together. Semi-Rectangular Bags Tapered from top to bottom to save weight and increase warmth, semi-rectangular bags are a good compromise between rectangular bags and mummy bags. If extra wiggle room is more important to you than minimizing weight, this may be your bag. Fillings When trying to figure out the filling, a consumer wants a
sleeping bag filling that retains air pockets, is lightweight, is compact when compressed, quickly expands, can insulate even when wet, and one that does not give them a rash. There are two types of fillings: 1. Down 2. Synthetic fiber Down Synthetic Fiber Down Filling Down filling is generally the most preferred filling for sleeping bags. It is known for its good insulating qualities. It also takes up a small amount of space when it is compressed and fluffs back up easily.
Down filling is usually goose down. Some of the problems with down filling are its ability to provide warmth when it gets wet and the fact that many people are allergic to it. It also tends to be more expensive and harder to take care of than synthetic fiber. Pros: Warmer than synthetic insulation ounce for ounce, Wicks body moisture and allows it to evaporate, Lightweight, Compressible, Maintains shape and loft over time, Comfortable Cons: Expensive, Loses warmth when wet, Requires careful washing or special cleaning, Slow to dry, May contain allergens. Synthetic Fiber Filling Synthetic fiber filling does not provide as much warmth as a down filling, unless the sleeping bag gets wet. When wet, synthetic fiber filled sleeping bags can be rung out. They then provide some warmth, compared to down, which provides very little warmth when wet. Synthetic fiber filling is also cheaper than down filling. They are
easier to take care of and can take more abuse than down sleeping bags. These can be good for kids who may not take good care of their sleeping bag. Pros: Inexpensive, Warm when wet, Water resistant, Hypoallergenic, Easy to wash and maintain, Dries quickly, Cons: Heavy, More bulky and less compressible, Loses loft over time, Breaks down over time, Can be stiffer and not drape as well as down. Other Features Shell Material
Nylon and Polyester Coated with durable water repellent; this provides some water resistance. These both provide wind resistance because of the tight weave of the material Microfiber Provides better water and wind resistance than nylon or polyester. It has good breathability. It is also lighter than Dryloft. Dryloft The most weather resistant. It has the best breathability, but can be very expensive. Liner Liners of sleeping bags provide comfort and warmth. They usually come in cotton, silk, polyester, and fleece. Fleece provides the most warmth. Cotton is good for moderate temperatures.
Baffles Baffles make compartments in a sleeping bag so the filling does not bunch up. These are important to look for when buying a sleeping bag and need to be 5-6 inches apart Other Features (cont.) Temperature Ratings Sleeping bags provide a temperature rating which is the lowest temperature that the sleeping bag can be used in to keep the average person comfortable. This is important to look at when the sleeping bag will be used in very cold weather. Weight
A sleeping bag should be as light in weight as possible for the temperature that you will be using it in. The lower the temperature rating gets, the more the sleeping bag usually weighs. Size, Circumference, and Volume When purchasing a sleeping bag, it is important to look at the size and circumference to make sure you will comfortably fit in it. The volume refers to how small the bag gets when it is compressed. If you are pressed for space, the volume is an important factor. Other Features (cont.)
Zippers When purchasing a sleeping bag, it is important to look at the size and circumference to make sure you will comfortably fit in it. The volume refers to how small the bag gets when it is compressed. If you are pressed for space, the volume is an important factor. Hoods Hoods are important because a lot of body heat is lost through the head. Some sleeping bags have hoods that can be attached when needed. Collars
Collars are important when sleeping bags are going to be used in very cold conditions. Many sleeping bags have attachable collars to provide warmth when needed. Pillow Pockets Pillow pockets provide more comfort in a sleeping bag. They allow you to place an inflatable pillow or clothes in a pocket to form a pillow. Color/Design Construction Price Other Features (cont.) Color/Design Color and design provide a sense of style for a sleeping bag. This
may be something that is important to consider when purchasing a sleeping bag for a child. They may want a sleeping bag with their favorite cartoon character on it. For adults, something to consider is that darker colors dry faster than lighter ones. Construction Less expensive yet lightweight bags have sewn-through baffles, which can create cold spots along seams. Higher-quality horizontal baffles are typically warmer. Other high-quality construction upgrades include a draft tube (along the zipper), a collar (inside the hood) and a no-snag zipper guard. Price Sleeping bags can vary in price from $30 to $600 depending on the above factors as well as the style and type of filling. Know what you need before shopping to get the best value for your money.
Still want more? Of course you do! Here's a list of other stuff you may want to look for. But trust me, when it comes to carcamping, warmth and comfort trumps all. Does the bag have an interior pocket for your keys or cell phone? Does the bag have two zipper heads, so you can unzip the foot box and keep your feet cool? Does the bag have a draft tube along the full length of the zipper? Basically, it keeps cool air from penetrating the tiny holes in the zipper. What kind of warranty does the bag have? Matching Your Bag to the Activity Certain sleeping bags are more practical for specific
activities. Think about what activity you are going to do before taking the plunge on your sleeping bag purchase. Some sleeping bags can and will overlap for different activities, but some just won't. For example, you wouldn't use a mountaineering sleeping bag on a summer ultralight thru-hike of Michigan. Activities Backpacking If you're a backpacker at heart then the sleeping bag you're looking for should compress down to a reasonable size, allowing you to fit it into your backpack and carry your bed on your shoulders and hips. Pay attention to the warmth-to-weight ratio so you don't freeze during the night and so you won't break down from carrying too much weight on day two.
Mountaineering The mountaineer will need to be looking into the incredibly warm sleeping bags due to the environment, but keep an eye out for different shell fabrics to combat moisture. I wouldn't worry about the weight of the bag, because the more insulation you have, the warmer you'll be. In extreme cold, if you're toasty warm then you'll just have to bite the bullet when it comes to extra weight. Alpine Climbing Alpine climbers typically move fast and to do so you'll need something light and warm. The shape of these bags is often quite tight to reduce weight while allowing for more insulation to combat colder temperatures of the mountains. Storage
Every time you stuff your sleeping bag, you break down the insulation a little bit. Most insulations, down or synthetic, are elastic enough to withstand hundreds of stuffings, but only if they are temporary. You should never store your sleeping bag in a small stuff sack. Ideally, your sleeping bag should be hung up in a closet, or stored under a bed without anything on top of it. Realistically, a breathable pillowcase or extra-large stuff sack designed specifically for your sleeping bag is the best home. Many times, sleeping bags will come with a larger pillowcase/laundry sized sack to store your bag in when no it use. Never store your bag wet, and always keep it in a cool, dry place. If stored wet or in a damp place, mildew can develop. Properly cared for, a sleeping bag can last 10 to 20 years. Body oils can compromise insulation, so you
should always sleep in clean base layers. Post-trip, hang the bag to dry for a day or two and then store it in a large storage sack and keep it in a dry place. In summary, there are many things to consider when purchasing a sleeping bag. The condition that it will be used in is the most important factor to lead you to your purchase. Sleeping bags range in price, so researching a sleeping bag before you make your purchase is very important.
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