How to Pick the Best Ultra-light Sleeping Bag

How to pick a sleeping bag

Sleeping bags are no doubt one of the most important pieces of equipment when it comes to your overnight gear. Having a warm and comfortable sleeping bag is going to be one of the key factors in ensuring you have good sleep. A quality sleeping bag will provide you the warmth and cushioning you need to sleep soundly. There are a number different types of sleeping bags, mummy rectangular, pod, more recently ultra-light sleeping bags have become the preferred choice of many because of one thing; their comparative light weight. Choosing an ultra-light sleeping bag makes it possible to lessen your pack load, which is especially beneficial if you are planning longer trips where your backpack weight is of the up-most importance.

PackTiny have listed below some of the most important features you need to look out for when shopping for a new sleeping bag to enable you to pick the perfect one for you.

Insulation

This is one of the most important features that you need to look out for when shopping for an ultra-light sleeping bag. These types of bags generally feature two types of insulation; down fill and synthetic insulation. Of these two, ultra-light sleeping bags with down fill insulation are much lighter and warmer than bags with synthetic insulation. However, down fill insulation loses loft in wet weather, which reduces insulation quality, and can be a lot harder to dry fully whilst out on the trail. Although manufacturers try to solve this problem by water-proofing the shell, doing so reduces a bag’s breath-ability. Ultra-light sleeping bags with down fill insulation are therefore more suitable for use in dry weather conditions. On the other hand, ultra-light sleeping bags with synthetic insulation are more suited to use in wet weather conditions. Apart from being slightly heavier than those with down fill insulation, their loft ( or ‘airiness’ ) is never affected by wetness.

Shell

As with other types of sleeping bags, ultra-light sleeping bags are made of different fabrics, which you need to take into consideration when shopping for one. The best ultra-light sleeping bag should be made of a microfiber fabric that is water-proof, moisture resistant and provides for ease of breathing.

Temperature Rating

This is another very important feature of sleeping bags that you cannot ignore when shopping for the best ultra-light sleeping bag. Manufacturers display temperature ratings on the packaging. It is always a good idea to pick an ultra-light sleeping bag with a season rating that matches your intended use.

1 Season Sleeping Bags

Are for use in hot summer months or when travelling abroad in hotter countries.

2 Season Sleeping Bags

Are for use in the late spring to early autumn.

3 Season Sleeping Bags

Are for use in early spring to late autumn, and occasionally mild winter evenings.

4 Season Sleeping Bags

These are thicker bags, often down insulated, 4 season sleeping bags are for use in winter or in temperatures below zero.

5 Season Sleeping Bags

Expedition bags are for mountain or expedition use and for extremely cold temperatures.

Manufacturers may also list comfort ratings, these usually consist of temperatures at which the bag will be comfortable to sleep in. Again try to bear in mind where and when you will be using the sleeping bag and choose the right comfort/temperature level.

Size

This is no doubt an important factor you need to take into consideration when shopping for an ultra-light sleeping bag. Whilst the bag’s design and look is alluring, it is very important to note that you need a bag that fits you right. This is because picking an extra-sized bag will increase empty space to be heated up before you can obtain the warmth that you need to sleep. Picking an elastic ultra-light sleeping bag may be your best option in case you are not sure of which size to go for. Check the length and chest width, and remember if you prefer a little give, a rectangular layout may be preferable to a tapered mummy design.

Zip Left or Right

The sleeping bag’s zip design is intended for right and left-handed people as the name suggests, left for left and right for right funnily enough! There are also a number of modern sleeping bags that can be combined using a left-handed and right-handed version to create a double bag.

Sleeping Bag Liners

A final note that is worth bearing in mind, whether or not to make an additional purchase of a sleeping bag liner. These can be really useful for colder trips, layering up inside your sleeping bag adds extra insulation and cushioning, and can they be used without the bag for much hotter occasions.