Characteristics of Sleeping Bags

The sleeping bag is one of the most important elements of the equipment, since it will have much to do with the way we will rest.

At there are countless brands of sleeping bags, which have different types of labeling to indicate their thermal capacity, so you should be well aware of what is expressed on the label.

The main characteristic that we must take into account is the thermal capacity and the weight, which must be according to the activity that is wanted to realize.

– Thermal Capacity –

The thermal capacity is determined mainly by the following characteristics:

  • The thickness of the insulation layer and its quality. Must be able to store large amount of air.
  • Technical details:
    These are three: the collar, the insulation of the zipper, and the hood.
  1. A) The thermal collar.- It is a fence or collar that surrounds the neck, which is closed by adjustment cords and is indispensable to avoid the loss of heat by the upper part of the body.
  2. B) The zippers .- should not be the point where a sleeping bag loses heat, so they must be covered with protective bands of considerable width to cover the closure.
  3. C) The hood .- is essential because at temperatures below 0 ° C you should protect your head while you sleep. The hood in conjunction with the collar prevents heat loss from the top.

– Types of Filling –

In general there are two types of insulation filler that are: natural or feather and those of fiber or synthetic that currently exists in a lot of options.

PEN: The pen is the best insulation, lightest and compressible that can be found in the market. It is ideal for all types of winter activities with low humidity, because when there is too much moisture, the pen loses its insulation capacity, for example on traversing lakes or frozen oceans where humidity is very high.

The quality of the pen is expressed in the mixture of the amount of pen vs. The “nerve” of it, ie a 90/10 feather sleeping bag is better than an 80/20. The amount of pen in a sleeping bag is expressed in cuin (cubic inches). This material has the following characteristics:

• Extremely compressible
• Light
• Low volume and high heat holding capacity

• If it gets wet it loses its insulation capacity.
• If it gets wet, it will dry
• It is necessary to wash it with special agents
• It is more expensive.

SYNTHETIC FIBERS: Synthetic fiber is an insulator of great quality of volume, variable thermal capacity according to the mark and of easy use and care. The synthetic fiber, unlike the pen, does not lose its insulation properties under high humidity conditions, and it is also quick drying.

There are a multitude of synthetic fibers of filler, Quallofil, Izotherm, Hallowfill, Polarguard 3D, etc; All with different characteristics according to their manufacturers. These materials have the following characteristics:

• Drying faster than the boom
• Do not need extra care when washing
• Lower price

• Considerable volume, greater than the pen
• Higher weight and lower heat holding capacity

In general we could say that a pen sleeping bag is more convenient for winter expeditions to very cold and dry places, and for all general use it is more advisable to have a sleeping bag made of synthetic fibers.

– The volume –

The volume of the sleeping bag should be taken into account for the activity to be performed, since if it is desired to carry out activities in which the space in the backpack is limited, the volume of the compressed sleeping bag should be as small as possible; But if the activity that is going to make the space that can occupy is not important, you can buy a sleeping bag of large volume.

It is advisable to get a sleeping bag with a good relation between heat capacity and tablet volume.

Another factor to take into account is the size, since if it is too large for the user, there will be more hollow spaces, in which there will be more air to heat, which will cause the thermal sensation of the sleeping bag Radically lower.

Reference Weights:

– Temperature range –

It refers to the temperature at which a sleeping bag can cover its function in optimum conditions.

Extreme Temperature: Temperature below which the user can suffer damages or even hypothermia.

Comfort Temperature: The temperature at which the user is comfortable.

Maximum temperature: Upper limit of thermal comfort, above said temperature would be uncomfortable to be covered with sleeping bag.

The temperature ranges depending on the brand are usually specified in the labels but as already mentioned above, the labeling is different in all brands; The most common is that the three temperature ranges (Graph) appear, or that only the comfort temperature is specified.


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