So we’re back with the top five essential outdoor gear items. Number three is sort of a no-brainer. However, it is only required if one ever plans to actually sleep in the outdoors.
You guessed it…
a sleeping bag.
Again, the choices are mind blowing. And the Zen like mantra of “middle-of-the-road” applies here too. However, lot here depends on what sort of outdoor sleeping you are going to end up doing. If you aren’t going to ever be more than 50 feet from your car, then just about any old bag will do. If you are interested in making an investment in a decent bag that will do pretty much all you could want it to do, then follow these guidelines.
1) Mummy instead of rectangular. Less space to heat. Less weight to carry. Some would say less room to maneuver. I would say to check-in to a Motel 6.
2) I generally favor down over synthetic. Lighter. Packs smaller. Lasts longer. But not that big a deal.
3) Temperature rating of 20 degrees or lower. There’s some confusion about this. Some think if it rated to 20 degrees, then that’s the temperature you’ll be comfortable in. In my opinion, that’s the temperature you can encounter inside your bag in which you’ll survive. Comfort depends lots on how you sleep… hot, cold, fully zipped-up, arms and legs hanging out. In my opinion, if you add 20 degrees to the bag’s rating, then you’ll discover what the coldest temperature you’ll be comfortable at. So, you’d be fine in a 20 degree bag until the thermometer gets into the mid-thirties. If you’ll encounter below freezing weather, start looking at a zero degree bag.
4) Don’t choose a bag because of its color. That’s silly.