Sleeping outdoors is a wonderful experience, with plenty of fresh air and all of nature's sounds to lull you to sleep at night and wake you for a new day. But, in order to sleep well, your body needs help staying warm during the night. Your sleeping bag keeps you warm while you get some much-needed rest, which makes it one of the most important pieces of your outdoor equipment. (In a critical situation during bad weather or if someone gets hurt it can even save a life.)
The sleeping bag itself does not generate any heat - you and your body warm the air inside. The sleeping bag is supposed to function like a thermos and keep the heat around your body. When choosing the sleeping bag you will use on treks, there are several criteria that are more important than others:
• Low weight: you will be carrying everything you pack, so every gram counts. A sleeping bag that gives a lot of heat in relation to its weight is ideal.
• Packability: limited space in the backpack means that your sleeping bag must be able to be compressed so it takes up little space.
• Proper temperature. Warmer sleeping bags weigh more and you do not want to carry unnecessary weight. At the same time, the sleeping bag must keep you warm at the right temperature in the area you are visiting. A rule of thumb is to be prepared for the cold.
If your sleeping bag is on the border in terms of temperature, there are different ways to enhance its warming capabilities. For example, a regular sleeping bag sheet raises the comfort temperature of a sleeping bag by a few degrees. Learn more by watching the film below or read our tips about sleeping well outdoors.
Johan Skullman, equipment expert, talks about how to get the best sleep in your sleeping bag
Waterproof bag and airing
Remember to pack your sleeping bag in a waterproof bag in your backpack so it is always dry when you take it out. After you get up in the morning, it is a good idea to air the sleeping bag for a while, for example on top of the tent if the weather permits, before you re-pack it. You always sweat a little during the night and body moisture that collects in the sleeping bag weakens its ability to insulate.