5 tips for choosing the right sleeping bag

5 tips for choosing the right sleeping bag

Choosing the right sleeping bag can make or break your trip.

Being too hot, too cold or having something too short can result in you tossing and turning all night and not having enough energy to enjoy yourself the next day. In this blog, we have put together our top five tips for finding the best sleeping bag, based on our years of experience and most frequently asked questions.

1. Don’t buy a bag that’s much warmer than what you need

A warmer bag is more expensive, heavier and bulkier. They can even be more restrictive and less comfortable as they strive to maximise warmth at minimum weight. If you’re getting too hot in your bag it’s not as easy as sticking a leg out like it is at home because it’s going to be a lot colder in your tent than it is in your bedroom. So how do you choose the perfect camping sleeping bag? Choose a bag suitable for the conditions you will be using it in most, and be prepared to wear some extra layers if you need to. You’ll be carrying those warm layers anyway so you might as well use them. 

2. Should I purchase a down sleeping bag?

Treated down is an unproven technology that only reduces water absorption by about 30% and we don’t know how much it will reduce the lifespan of the down. The DWR on the outside of Montbell sleeping bags is more than enough to deal with the condensation that forms on your bag during the night inside your tent. If you are using your bag in really difficult conditions you should use a waterproof sleeping bag or sleeping bag cover to provide total protection. Or consider a synthetic sleeping bag like the Montbell Burrow range that uses silicon-treated Exeloft that holds less than 1% of its weight in water.

3. You need a proper mattress

The temperature ratings on sleeping bags assume you will be properly insulated from the ground. Your sleeping bag will not protect you from the cold ground. If your mat is not warm enough you will be cold no matter how warm your winter sleeping bag is. Check out our two most popular sleeping mats - the MONTBELL UL AIR PAD 180 and the MONTBELL UL CAMP PAD 38 180, or explore our full range of sleeping mats here.

4. Compression sacks are heavy. Instead, use a stuff sack or forgo a sack altogether

You’ve seen those compression sacks with straps that allow you to squeeze your bag to the smallest possible size? Well, they weigh around 200g which will often wipe out any weight savings you have made by spending extra on premium, lightweight materials in your sleeping bag. Montbell sleeping bags come with a stuff sack that has an extra drawstring which allows for a little extra compression without adding much weight. To reduce weight even further, consider leaving the stuff sack at home and you will be left with a lightweight sleeping bag. If you stuff your sleeping bag directly into the bottom of the waterproof liner in your backpack it will make more efficient use of the space by filling all the nooks and crannies. A sleeping bag in the stuff sack is an awkward cylindrical shape that has to be packed around and will leave airspaces.

5. Try before you buy

A sleeping bag is all about comfort and should be something you look forward to using. You wouldn’t buy a jacket or a pair of boots that you hadn’t tried on in the shop, so why shouldn’t you try a sleeping bag too? While you are inside the bag, ask yourself whether you might need a larger bag for more comfort or a smaller bag for greater efficiency. Feel out the restriction the bag imposes on your body position and comfort. Warmer bags will have less room inside them, particularly in the legs. Montbell sleeping bags use the super spiral stretch system which allows so much movement inside the bag you’ll be able to pull your knees up to your chest! Visit us in-store and we will help you find the perfect sleeping bag for you.