Choosing the right sleeping bag is as personal of a decision as choosing the right mate. If you covet your sleep, good sleep, you will spend the time to choose wisely. If you are a first time camper, these decisions can make or break your trip. If your an avid sportsman and have spent many nights in the comfort of a well-chosen sleeping bag, you can relate.
There are really three key considerations: Temperature range, material inside, material outside. I’d suggest taking the temperature range with a grain of salt. Sure, it’s a good first idea, but imagine how difficult it would be trying to determine a temperature range that is comfortable for everyone. Take for example, a husband and wife in the same bed. Same temperature room. One has a snowmobile suit on, underneath all 14 layers of sheets, duvets, and down comforters. The other, laying right next to them is uncomfortably hot, no sheets with only tighty whitey’s on. Some wives do wear tighty whiteys…just saying.
If your the ‘hot one’ in bed, you’ll be comfortable at least 10-15 degrees cooler than the low range temperature. Anything above that your going to be hot, no complaining you are already used to that. If your the cold one, well, you obviously sleep like a baby already and need not worry about temperature ranges.
Second & third, materials. Do you sleep on 800 count Egyptian cotton now? Well don’t buy a sleeping bag with flannel lining. You won’t be comfortable. The opposite is also true. Last, consider what you’ll be sleeping on, if anything. If you’ll be on a cot or sleeping pad inside of a tent you don’t need to concern yourself as much about the outside material. The bugs will get in anyway.
If you plan on sleeping under the stars in a hammock or next to a raging fire…scratch that sleeping next to a raging fire is a really bad idea. Regardless, you don’t want to wake up in the morning looking like a wet dog. Make sure the material is very durable and waterproof. Last tip: $30 sleeping bags generally don’t make muster for under the stars sleeping. You’ll have to spend more, or sleep somewhere with zero percent chance of rain. If you know of this place, please be sure to let us know the address of heaven on earth. We are still looking.