5 Things You Might Not Know About Your Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bags. They are bags that you sleep in. What's so complicated about that? Sleeping bags have actually evolved into a pretty nifty piece of sleeping technology to help us stay comfortable during those cool nights spent outside (you can read about the sleeping bag evolution if that piques your interest). Take a look at these five things you may not know about sleeping bags.

sleeping bag

1. You Can Zip Two Together to Create a Double Sleeping Bag


Have you ever noticed that some sleeping bags come with zippers on the left side, while others have zippers on the right? This isn't just to accommodate for which hand is dominant. You see, kids, when a left-zippered sleeping bag and a right-zippered sleeping bag get together, they can create a double sleeping bag. Zipping two sleeping bags together is a great way for you and your tent buddy to make the most of your body heat and stay warm on cold nights. Of course, this only works if you're willing to snuggle.

2. The Comfort Rating Temperature Can Be Misleading


The comfort rating on your sleeping bag tells you the coldest temperature you can withstand in your sleeping bag while staying comfortable. But what does that really mean? The interpretation of "comfortable" and the production of body heat varies from person to person. This is why adding a 10 degree buffer to your sleeping bag's comfort rating is a great practice that can keep you and your camping mates happy. Using this rule, if you have a sleeping bag with a comfort rate of 30 degrees Fahrenheit, you wouldn't use it in temperatures colder than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

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3. There Really is a Difference Between Men's and Women's Sleeping Bags


It seems strange that something as simple as a sleeping bag would need designs specific to gender. But believe it or not, sleeping bags designed for women do have features that can help the female adventurer get a better night's sleep. Women's sleeping bags are usually narrower in the shoulders and wider in the hips than men's or unisex sleeping bags. This more precise fit helps keep the sleeping bag warmer by preventing extra airflow. Women's sleeping bags also tend to have more insulation than men's or unisex sleeping bags. Men produce more body heat than women, so a warmer bag helps women stay more comfortable on cold nights. Extra insulation is usually found near the feet and the torso of a women's sleeping bag.

4. You Need to Pack 'Em Tight and Store 'Em Loose


Most sleeping bags come with two sacks: a stuff sack and a storage sack. The stuff sack is great for packing your sleeping to go on camping and backpacking trips, but that's all it should be used for. For everyday storage, you should be using the sleeping bag's roomy storage sack; the name really says it all. If you keep your sleeping bag crammed in its stuff sack for long periods of time, the fill could become damaged and cause cold spots in the bag.

5. Too Much Layering Inside Your Sleeping Bag Can Make You Cold


Your sleeping bag is designed to keep you warm. That's its job. When you pack on the layers before crawling into your sleeping bag, you could be compressing the bag's fill, preventing it from performing to the best of its ability. The best way to stay warm inside of a sleeping bag is by wearing comfortable base layers from head to toe (hat, shirt, pants, socks) and using the cinch on your sleeping bag's hood if it has this feature. The goal is to let your sleeping bag's fit and insulation work with your body heat to keep you a toasty and happy camper.

Want to know more? Read our buying guide on sleeping bags to get more in-depth information about sleeping bags and how to choose one that's right for your camping and backpacking adventures.
Lauren Seidl
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Lauren Seidl
Blogger at Sierra Trading Post
Lauren enjoys hiking, camping, climbing and exploring the outdoors. She's always up for trying something new, especially if it involves getting outside. When Lauren isn't out finding adventures in her home state of Colorado, she can be found writing as Sierra Trading Post's blogger.
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Comments (3)
CLIMBERSTEPHEN
9/8/2016 at 10:39 AM
Your item #1 is not correct. Sleeping bags are destined to keep its insulation next to your skin (hence mummy bags are better than square bags). When you zip two bags together, you create a huge dead space between your bodies, even if you snuggle close. Plus, there is a huge vent between your heads. Thus, zipping together will actually make you colder at night because you are negating the benefits of the design of the bag.
  • Thank you for sharing! You're correct in that the shape of the bag might not lend it well to transforming into a double sleeping bag. Bags designed for two people (actual double sleeping bags) are better at trapping heat than two individual sleeping bags zipped together. However this is something that can still be done, if not for warmth, just to be closer to your camping partner. I appreciate your insight! -Lauren
    Comment made on 3/27/2017 by Lauren from Colorado
  • Snuggling up with your honey is worth it!
    Comment made on 9/25/2016 by Jason from Cincinnati
  • Your item #1 is not correct. Sleeping bags are destined to keep its insulation next to your skin (hence mummy bags are better than square bags). When you zip two bags together, you create a huge dead space between your bodies, even if you snuggle close. Plus, there is a huge vent between your heads. Thus, zipping together will actually make you colder at night because you are negating the benefits of the design of the bag.
    Comment made on 9/25/2016 by Jason from Cincinnati
JOHN
9/22/2016 at 11:39 PM
Additionally, the clothes you wear to bed should be clean and fresh. Wearing the tee shirt or socks you wore all day while hiking, climbing, etc. hold moisture which will make you colder. Important; sleep with your face out of the bag as well since your breath will also fill your bag with moisture and make you cold.
  • Good point, John! It is important to change into fresh, dry clothing before crawling into your bag to stay warm. Thanks for adding this important tip! -Lauren
    Comment made on 3/27/2017 by Lauren from Colorado
NAHIM
9/18/2017 at 4:25 AM
All you have to do is buy 2 sleeping bags and zip them together, just make sure that they are the same. Or if they are bags with hoods, make sure one is left and one right hand zipper. i found some sleeping bags here can you chek them out https://itday.com/camping/guide-choose-best-double-sleeping-bag-camping/
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