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Sleeping Bags

Sleeping bags come in a wide range of types generally the more you pay the better quality the bag will be. I would recommend that you buy a bag which is warmer than you require, if it's too hot you can always unzip it. Always use a sheet liner so you don't need to wash the bag too often. Pockets in bags are handy for keeping valuables close to you at night.

Down is the lightest most compact and longest lasting insulation available. However if it gets wet its difficult to dry and it there is a reduction in performance. Synthetic bags are easier to dry and retain there warmth even when wet.


Sleeping bag temperature ratings give you an indication of what temperature you can use it in. These ratings vary from manufacture to manufacture. The temperature you can use a bag to is usually inversely proportional to the size. Obviously some of the modern synthetic bags can be considerably smaller for the temperature rating and you usually have to pay for this. For the ultimate performance and the lowest weight, down sleeping bags are still the best. The table below gives you some guidance to the ratings.
SeasonExtreme Min.Comfortable Min.Comfortable Max.
1 Season61220+
2 Season0820
3 Season-4218
3/4 Season-10-214
4 Season-18-106


Single Layer-Mainly suited to summer and lightweight use due to its ability to pack down to a small size.
Offset Double Layer-Eliminates cold spots of the single layer and is warmer. Its normally bulkier than single layer but performs much better in cold weather.
Box Wall & Slant Wall-Used in the construction of down filled sleeping bags. The compartments are filled with down. The slant wall construction is slightly more efficient as there is a slight overlap of filling.

Sleeping Bag Care

Storage: When not in use you should store your bag unpacked in a warm dry place to help it maintain its loft.

Cleaning (Synthetic): The easiest way to clean your bag is to soak it in a bath over night in warm soapy water. Usually avoid detergents and use pure soap. Do not use to much soap or detergent as it may effect the performance of the bag. Rinse and drain it. Great care should be taken as you remove it from the bath as the weight of the filling can cause the outer to rip. You can usually spin dry them and to ensure full loft dry it in a launderette tumble dryer. Some bags can be washed by machine, you'll usually need a large launderette machine to do this in. Always read the label first! Its a good idea to read the label as if you head of in your bag for a prolonged trip the label may not be readable or just not be there on your return.

Cleaning (Down): Down bags are usually best washed by a specialist check with the manufacturer.

K.Vans-Colina 1992-2002