If you’re planning to spend a night in the great outdoors, perhaps with a clear night sky above you where countless stars are visible, then you want to be sure that you’re able to catch some z’s and aren’t sweating or shivering all through the night.
The most important thing that you’ll take with you on a camping trip is your sleeping bag.
Get the right one, and you’ll sleep perfectly, waking up refreshed for a great day of fishing, hunting, or simply hanging out at the campfire with your friends, family, or loved one. But if you get the wrong bag, then it won’t be a comfy night at all.
The key to choosing a sleeping bag is the two ratings that you’ll find on them.
We’ll now go through each type of rating, as well as the different levels, and what weather they will suit.
The Temperature Comfort Rating – What is it?
The Temperature Comfort Rating is the scale that you’ll find mainly on women’s sleeping bags. It has four different ratings. They will show you what level of comfort that the bag provides to the ‘average woman’ or ‘average man’ when they sleep inside the bag at that temperature. Let’s have a look at the ratings.
Extreme – As the name suggests, this is the lowest possible temperature that a woman could sleep inside the bag and not get hypothermia or even die. Of course, if you think that you’ll be sleeping in your bag somewhere that has this temperature, then you need to select a warmer bag.
Lower Limit – Unless you’re a very hot sleeper, you won’t want to pick a bag that has a Lower Limit temperature rating that’s the same as where you plan to sleep in the bag. A man who is in the fetal position could get a good night’s sleep at this rating.
Comfort – If you’re a woman and you don’t get extremely hot or cold during the night, then this is your level, as the ‘Comfort’ level is what you’ll get your best night’s sleep in. So, find a bag that has a ‘Comfort’ temperature the same as the temperature where you’ll be sleeping in the bag.
Upper Limit – Now, if you’re a very cold sleeper, then you’ll probably want to be looking at the Upper Limit number. This is the temperature where a man could just about get through the night without sweating buckets.
The Season Temperature Rating – What is it?
You’ll find this rating on all bags, but it tends to be used for men’s bags more than women’s bags. It’s a bit simpler than the comfort rating. Let’s look at it.
Season 1 – This is the typical summer season. If you’re going somewhere with sweltering heat, then this is the right bag.
Season 2 – It’s not the heart of the summer, but either summer is around the corner, or it’s just ending, as this is ideal for early autumn or late spring.
Season 3 – Bags that have this rating are fine for a mild evening, but still where it could get cold, like early spring or the end of autumn.
Season 4 – This is for winter. These bags are heavy and warm. They’ll get you through a cold night, maybe even when the temperature gets below freezing.
Season 5 – If you’re going to be sleeping somewhere extremely cold, then Season 5 is for you.