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Sleeping Bag Shopping Guide

The Standard:

A 15° or 20°F bag suffices for most three-season trips. Down is a highly compressible insulation and provides more warmth for its weight than synthetic fills, which are preferable for use in wet conditions. Look for a zipper draft tube, a draft collar, and a trim-fitting design for maximum heat-trapping efficiency. Condensation will dry faster on a dark-colored shell.


Adjust the temperature rating up or down if you’re
a very cold or warm sleeper, or if your typical hike exposes you to sweltering desert temperatures or frigid mountain air. Some companies make bags specially shaped to fit the female form.

For This
Choose This
Temp. Rating
Look For
These Features
Summer/ desert40°FBrushed or fleece lining for no-stick comfort, minimal features (hood and draft collar optional), wraparound zipper to open for blanket use
RainforestSynthetic fill, water-resistant shell
Winter0°FAdjustable draft collar, contoured hood, 6″ of extra length for storing water bottles, clothes, and cold-sensitive gear
High mountain/ arctic-20°F or lowerDown fill for compressibility, extra length
for water-bottle storage, extra girth (optional) for layering
Snow cave/ tentlessWater-resistant/windproof shell or bivy sack

For This Sleep StyleLook For
These Features
ThrasherElastic seams (for stretch), semirectangular shape or big-guy girth (for more space), or expansion panels (for adjustable space)
SnugglerMating zippers on same-length bags so you can cozy up with a significant other
PerspirerBrushed or fleece lining (or bag liner), synthetic fill, breathable shell (no laminates or special coatings), two-way zipper

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