Sleeping bag buyers guide – pick the right sleeping bag for you

Picking the right sleeping bag is easy if you follow these logical steps. Lots has been written about this, but we think the decision can be made quite simply within any given price bracket. Sleeping in the wrong bag can be miserable (especially in the cold) so pay attention!





  • Pick the right season rating. This is the basic guide to tell you the normal ‘comfort’ operating range.
    -1 season, summer (down to +5c)
    -2 season, summer & spring (down to 0c)
    -3 season, spring to autumn (down to -5c)
    -4 season, winter (-10c)
    -extreme, expedition (-15c)
    Remember this is only a guide. In truth, the most important factor to your comfort is your body temperature when you get into the bag. A bag has no inherent warmth, all it does it capture and keep your own body warmth. An insulated sleeping mat is essential to stop the ground sucking out the heat.

    Our advice? Play it safe and go warm. You can always undo the zip!


  • Pick a filling type. Synthetic down is most common and usually cheaper. It provides good insulation (even when damp) and is great for anyone with allergies. The cons of synthetic are greater bulk and weight than the natural down alternatives plus a shorter lifespan.
    Natural downs (goose or duck) are great for backpackers due to reduced weight and bulk for a given temperature range. Natural down bags are seen as longer lasting than synthetic but they have the disadvantages of greater cost and loss of insulation when damp (and they take longer to dry).

    Our advice? The extra softness of natural down is hard to beat but this decision can come down to budget. Down is a sound choice for a backpacker where weight is critical.

  • Pick a shape, mummy or rectangular. This is a personal thing as the mummy design can be constricting for some. However the mummy design is thermally very efficienct. The rectangular design is better for the casual camper as it offers more wiggle room and often the ability to zip two together!

    Our advice? Solo campers go mummy. Couples go rectangular.

  • Buy a decent brand to ensure proper fire retardant material

That’s it! Happy camping
Click here to see great reviews and offers on a top range of sleeping bags (then click on the title to see the full article)
Macpac Sanctuary 900 XL sleeping bag

Macpac Sanctuary 900 XL sleeping bag

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