Sleeping Bag Insulation and Care Guide
Deciding on the right sleeping bag shouldn’t keep you up nights. When you look at all the different sleeping bags available today, it’s enough to make anyone confused. The bag you purchase should suit your personal needs, as well as your outdoor environment.
Step 1: Sleeping Bags to consider for your typical camping style:
1. Sleeping Bags for RV or Car Camping:
Since you won’t be carrying your sleeping bag, weight isn’t a major factor. Concentrate on warmth, comfort, and leg room.
2. Sleeping Bags for Backpacking:
The last thing you need is a heavy, bulky sleeping bag to tote around. Look for a warm, lightweight, compactible bag.
3. Canoe Camping Sleeping Bags:
Since you know you’re going to be in a wet environment, a warm, moisture-resistant, quick-drying bag is what you’ll need. Remember, waterproof stuff sacks and travel bags can spring leaks.
4. Sleeping Bags for Extreme Camping:
For hard-core campers weight, warmth, compactness, and moisture-resistance are critical considerations.
Step 2: Consider performance insulations:
1. Down Sleeping Bags
Down is still warmest for a given fill weight and stuffs smaller than any other material. With care, a good down bag might withstand twice the use of a synthetic-filled sleeping bag before the loft deteriorates. Down’s Achilles heel – it becomes useles when soaked – limits its use to people carefully committed to keeping their bags dry on the trail.
2. Synthetic Sleeping Bags
A synthetic insulation sleeping bag is an excellent choice for canoe trips and for camping in wet conditions. Synthetic bags will retain much of their insulative properties, even when wet. If you get your camping gear wet occasionally, a synthetic bag may be your best option. Unlike down, synthetic fill can maintain its "loft", or thickness when wet, thus holding in more air and warmth. A synthetic sleeping bag is able to retain about 65% of your body heat, even when wet, which is far more efficient than wet down. And, synthetic sleeping bags dry out very quickly, making them more resistant to mildew and rot. If you do a lot of camping around water, you may prefer synthetic sleeping bag fill.
Insulation materials and quality are constantly improving, with current synthetics being developed that are closer in weight, warmth and compression to goose down than ever before. The types and forms of synthetic fibers vary greatly. Some fibers are continuous and long, others are short. Most synthetic insulation fibers used in sleeping bags have a hollow core, to help them better trap air. They are sometimes treated with silicon to improve their loft capacity.
Step 3: Purchase the perfect sleeping bag from the Campmor Sleeping Gear page!
Read our blog for great posts on sleeping gear Sleeping Gear Blog
Step 4: Sleeping Bag Care for Your Down/Synthetic Sleeping Bag:
Sleeping Bag Stuffing:
Many customers ask us if it is better to stuff or to roll their sleeping bags. We suggest stuffing, that way the bagâ€™s insulation is pushed and fluffed differently each time. Unzip the bag, grab a corner and push it firmly into the bottom of the stuff sack. Keep grabbing and stuffing until the sleeping bag is completely into the stuff sack. Unstuff as soon as camp is set up or the trip is completed.
Storing Your Sleeping Bag:
This is one part of sleeping bag care that can definitely affect bag performance. Synthetic bags keep their loft longer when properly stored. Your goal is to store the bag unstuffed preferable in a closet or a storage bag. Stuff sacks are only meant to keep the bag compact and dry during trips. They are not meant for permanent bag storage. One of the best ways to store sleeping bags is in breathable storage sacks specifically designed for that purpose. These storage sacks keep the bags clean and allow the insulation to expand and maintain its lofting ability. Sleeping bags can also be stored loosely folded on a shelf in a cabinet or a closet, or they can be hung upside down by the seam loops (provided on most models). Your sleeping bag should not be stored near heat sources or in overly warm areas such as an automobile (especially during hot weather). Overly hot conditions can harm the loft in synthetic bags by altering the lay of the fibers. Your bag should be kept dry, non-compressed, as clean as possible and safe from excessive heat.
Cleaning Your Sleeping Bag:
DO NOT DRY CLEAN YOUR SLEEPING BAG. The manufacturers of our synthetic and down fills inform us that solvents and fumes used in cleaning may be retained in the insulation and if inhaled, could produce skin irritation, allergic reaction, or possibly serious physical injury.
Machine Washing & Drying:
We suggest washing the bag in a front loading (non-agitator), heavy duty, commercial washer. Use a mild detergent. We suggest using specific detergent for sleeping bags. Do not use bleach. Use cool or cold water setting, delicate or gentle cycle. For best results, run the bag through one or two extra rinse cycles without detergent. Remove from washer carefully in a bundle. Dry in a commercial dryer at low heat or AIR setting (must be less than 125°F). Excessive heat will damage fabric and insulation. Add several tennis balls to the drying cycle to loosen the matted insulation as the sleeping bag is dried.