Which sleeping bag for long-distance hiking?
Especially for beginners, there is often uncertainty when choosing the right sleeping bag. No wonder, since it is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment and there is a very large selection.
The two most important selection criteria for sleeping bags should be the suitable temperature range and the material. Let’s start with the temperature range:
To obtain comparable results, the sleeping bags are tested in the laboratory. The following assumptions are used for this purpose: There is a standard man (70 kg heavy and 1.73 m tall) and a standard woman (60 kg heavy and 1.60 m tall). Both sleep in calm conditions in the sleeping bag under test on a conventional sleeping pad. Then the test area is cooled down and the results are recorded.
The temperature ranges of a sleeping bag are always specified in three categories:
Comfort temperature: This value indicates the temperature at which the standard woman does not freeze yet and can sleep comfortably.
Limit temperature: This value indicates the temperature at which the standard man does not freeze yet. It should be noted that at this point it is already getting uncomfortable for the standard woman!
Extreme temperature: At this temperature, the standard woman can already get health problems.
However, these values should always be treated with caution. It should be noted, that not only each person has a different temperature feeling, also external influences (wind, tent choice or which base is used,…) have a very large influence on whether one freezes or not. However, the temperature ranges above are always a good guide.
About the used material:
Here, of course, the filling has a high importance for the thermal properties of the sleeping bag. By far the two most important filling materials are downy feathers and synthetic fiber. These two are more distinctly different than one might think.
The advantages of a synthetic fiber sleeping bag over a down sleeping bag:
– more resistant to high humidity and water
– easier care
The advantages of a down sleeping bag over a synthetic fiber sleeping bag:
– small packing size