Sleeping Bag Tips
FIND THE PERFECT SLEEPING BAG
Sleep under the open sky and see the stars in the evening! Who has not dreamed of spending the night under the sky?
OUR SLEEPING BAG TIPS
We have collected the best tips & tricks here to make your outdoor experience as unique as you imagine it to be:
Which sleeping bags are available?
How do I find the perfect sleeping bag?
How do I keep myself warm as long as possible?
The following four factors are important for you to decide:
HOW DO I FIND THE PERFECT SLEEPING BAG?
It is actually quite easy to find the perfect sleeping bag:
Climate: Do you often travel in areas with lots of rain? Or mostly from hut to hut? What is the climate at your destination?
Activity: How do you get around? Do you carry your sleeping bag around with you or do you stay in one the spot?
Space requirement: Wide blanket or tight mummy? The right size is often crucial. The tighter the sleeping bag, the faster it warms up the cold air inside. However, it should also not be too tight.
Load: The more often the sleeping bag is moved, the higher the mechanical stress when unpacking and stuffing.
DOWN OR SYNTHETIC FIBRE?
Down Sleeping Bags
- Unique heat-weight ratio
- Small pack size
- First-class moisture transport
- Very durable if properly maintained
- Warms immediately
- Useless when wet
- Requires extensive care
- Attracts moisture
- Dries very slowly
Synthetic Sleeping Bags
- Still insulate at 70% even when damp
- Hardly absorb any moisture
- Heavier than down
- Less compressible
- Less moisture transport
- Shorter lifespan than down
- Somewhat longer warm-up time
DOWN: LOW WEIGHT AND SMALL SIZE
Mountain climbing or trekking in areas with little to normal air humidity, bike tours with little luggage.
If very good insulation values with the lowest possible weight and small pack size are required, the down sleeping bag is the best choice. No synthetic fibre achieves the bulking properties as natural products and can therefore store warm air perfectly.
If treated with care, down is also more durable than synthetic fibre. It also ensures a pleasantly dry sleeping climate. This is due to its ability to absorb and release moisture. However, there are limits to the moisture absorption. In extremely high humidity, in continuous rain or near water, down can clump together and thus lose its insulating effect. Once the down is damp, it takes a very long time to dry it again.
A disadvantage even on winter tours lasting several days. The moisture of the body condenses in the filling, freezes there and then cannot dry out. Even with a bivouac bag, a part of it will freeze inside the sleeping bag and a waterproof sleeping bag inlet will help the down, but the down typical sleeping comfort will then be gone.
SYNTHETIC: INSENSITIVE ALLROUNDERS
All round sleeping bags, canoe tours, winter tours, wilderness use in Scandinavia, bike tours with little luggage, hut tours, summer sleeping bag.
Their disadvantage is also their great advantage: they hardly absorb any moisture and dry much faster than down sleeping bags. If they do get damp, they still keep pleasantly warm. The hollow polyester fibres can continue to store warm air because they remain stable and do not clump like damp down. This makes them ideal for use in areas with permanently high humidity. Even if extremely low temperatures are not expected or the sleeping bag is subject to heavy use and regular washing (children!), synthetic sleeping bags are the right choice. Because they are cheaper than down models and easier to care for.
TEMPERATURE INDICATIONS ACCORDING TO EN 13537
How is it measured: A calibrated, thermal, articulated “adult” dummy is put inside the test sleeping bag, which is then placed in a climate chamber with a standardised environment. As the horizontal areas of the doll are subjected to specific heat output, sensors measure the temperature difference between the internal and external surface over several hours. The respective temperature range is calculated from the results. This way, EN 13537 creates a comparable standard that serves as a basic orientation.
These standardised indications only provide laboratory values. They are designed to ensure good comparability among the products of various manufacturers. Since each body is individually structured and responds individually to the given circumstances, this information can only serve as an indication for a purchasing decision.
Factors to take into consideration:
People have more heat-determining factors than an “articulated dummy” in the climate chamber. For example, temperature levels differ between men and women, and according to age, condition, but also experience. Thermal output is also affected by the degree of exhaustion (tired or rested), but also if you have eaten too little or drank too much alcohol (the body loses heat faster under the influence of alcohol).
External circumstances that are “standardised” in the climate chamber play an important role in reality and contribute to the optimal use of the “thermal output”.
A good sleeping base insulates the sleeper from the ground.
Functional underwear that is dry and can emit moisture to the outside (hat!). - Protected sleeping area, as wind and moisture significantly impair restful sleep.
The standardised measured values are determined in the climate chamber, i.e. directly from everyday life. Please bear in mind that multi-day activities or difficult natural conditions have completely different requirements and it is therefore necessary to prepare for the relevant circumstances.
Indicates the lower temperature limit at which an average woman (25 years / 60 kg / 1.60 m) can comfortably sleep through one night.
In this range, the inexperienced user feels comfortable at all times.
T(LIM): The Lower Limit
Specifies the lower temperature limit at which an average man (25 years / 70 kg / 1.73 m) can comfortably sleep through one night.
In order to remain warm in this range, the user must adapt their clothes and behaviour to suit the circumstances.
Indicates the lower extreme temperature that an average woman can withstand in extreme cold for 6 hours. There’s no chance of sleeping here. In the extreme range, you can expect to feel very cold. Hypothermia poses a risk to health.
FOR A WARM AND RESTFUL NIGHT’S SLEEP IN YOUR SLEEPING BAG
The right sleeping bag is only part of it – it’s also important where, how and on what you sleep!
Sleeping mat: a cold floor or circulating air extracts heat from the body even through the best sleeping bag! Prevent this heat loss by using a good insulating mat.
Wind protection: wind can make you feel very cold! Due to the chill factor, the body perceives +5°C in a light breeze (25 km/h) as 0°C. A tent, bivouac sack or even a boulder can protect against a strongly chilling air exchange. The sleeping area should, therefore, be in a wind-protected location.
Functional clothing: the warmth of a sleeping bag can be increased quite simply by wearing warm and long functional underwear and socks. Dry clothing on the feet also ensures additional insulation.
Hat: in your sleeping bag, your head or face are the only parts exposed to the chilly outside world. A cold head makes the rest of the body lose heat too. A hat, perhaps even a balaclava, offers very effective protection against the cold.
Enough food: the body needs lots of energy when climbing, hiking, cycling, etc. Athletes who do not fill their energy reserves with sufficient food cannot produce enough heat and therefore get cold faster.
Drink plenty: drink enough throughout the day, because a dehydrated body can no longer produce enough heat. Before getting into your sleeping bag, a hot chocolate or tea warms you up well.
Avoid alcohol: avoid excessive alcohol consumption at cold temperatures. Alcohol initially gives off a warming sensation, but when it diminishes, you feel the cold even more.
Keep things dry: clothing and sleeping bags, especially down ones, have a lower insulation value when they’re wet than they do when dry. The supposedly warm socks that you were wearing get cold very quickly due to evaporation. Avoid getting into your sleeping bag with your sweaty clothing on. A change of clothes will stay dry in a watertight packsack. And whenever possible, put the sleeping bag to air – for example, on the tent.