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The Mighty Sleeping Bag

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Northern Dancer, Jul 3, 2017.

  1. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    They are every where and come in different sizes,
    designs, shapes, material, purposes, and styles.

    Pryce-Jones, a Montgomeryshire Welsh entrepreneur,
    developed the bag and exported around the world in the late 19th century.

    So...with the history dealt with let's look at the modern day sleeping bag.

    Next to the careful selection of the tent your next essential piece of equipment is the sleeping bag. It is part of your shelter and an important one at that. But...looking around and listening to the conversations I don't think a lot of people take it all that seriously. Cost seems to be the underlying factor when purchasing a bag. True, a good bag costs a bit more but you shouldn't have to mortgage the house. :)

    A couple of things to keep in mind when you look for a bag. ONE - remember in the final analysis it will be your body heat that keeps you warm. It will be the bag that traps the heat in. TWO - the size. A lot of people will miss this and purchase "an on sale bag" only to discover when they get it home that it was designed for a child. Not good for a guy who is six - five. THREE - most people forget that you need a pad or ground cover to ward off the penetrating ground cold. Sometimes it is more important what's on the bottom than the top.

    Here are a few other things -

    What are the conditions you are planning to use this bag? Four, three, two or only one season? Is it for tent, cabin or trailer?
    What's it made of? Can it be easily cleaned or does it require special treatment?

    What shape is best for you? Mummy sounds good - but they don't call it a mummy without a reason.

    What does the tag say about the temperature rating. If it is not on the label by pass the product. Remember the temperature guide is the best condition and does not take into account variables.

    Here is a mistake a lot of people make. They roll the sleeping bag up and put it away for the next trip. If possible hang your sleeping bag up and out. I personally recommend that you stuff the sleeping bag into the container to maintain the durability and integrity of the material if you can't hang it.

    Use an inexpensive insert that will provided extra warmth AND help keep your sleeping bag clean longer.

    These are a few suggestions. I'm open to questions and discussion.

    You get a good sleep now.

    Madman4800 and killeroy154 like this.
  2. killeroy154

    killeroy154 Survivalist

    Very well put, and great advice. I have 3 sleeping bags. My wife bought me a 40 and a 0 degree bag, and the 3rd bag I bought was a mummy bag. The ones that my wife got me are rectangular with plenty enough room to move around, but on the bulky side. I purchased a military mummy bag last year, got it for 35 bucks on ebay, it's rated for 20 degrees and I didn't want to invest a lot in one because I didn't know if I'd like them. It's very warm, but I like getting in a bag not putting one on. I can't move around in it. I have to unzip it to think or make a decision. There are some excellent bags on the market, and they are improving yearly.
    Madman4800 likes this.
  3. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    Very true @killeroy154. I drool when I'm in that part of the store. Rows of them - every size shape and oh ya, big buck items. Sure beats the ol' blanket roll of years gone by. Though, they still sell them but not with the material of that day.
  4. Alexandoy

    Alexandoy Survivalist

    When I was younger, sleeping bags are unheard of. We use pup tents that are made of sturdy canvas that has no flooring. Our usual flooring is the empty sack of rice made of jute (like cloth, not nylon). And our bed is a soft blanket. When the weather is cold, it gets really cold although we have the jacket for that purpose. But now, it is not a good idea to go on campout without a sleeping bag. It is comfortable and safe too against ants and other crawling insect. And it’s cozy when 2 people are in one tent having their own sleeping bags.
  5. rz3300

    rz3300 Explorer

    This is definitely one of the most crucial and critical things to make sure that you pack and pick a good one. I cannot tell you how many I have been through, and that might give you an indication of the frustration I get when the one I think is good just cannot cut it.
    Madman4800 likes this.
  6. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist



    Stuff Sack -----> To keep the warmth of an air trapping fibre sleeping bag it should be stored at home outside of its compression stuff sack. A stuff sack is for transporting purposes only; whenever your bag doesn’t have to be in it, let it breathe and unfurl. When on a trip, after arriving at a campsite, take the sleeping bag out of the stuff bag and let its fibres loft inside the tent, ready for bed later that night. Like a pillow I will take a moment to fluff it up before retiring.
    Storage Bag -----> A storage bag is a loose, breathable sack that makes storing a sleeping bag between trips easy. It won’t compress or deform the insulating fibres. You can purchase large net type laundry bags for this at any Dollar Store or similar store. If possible hang your sleeping bag in full and on occasion turn the top and put at the bottom. Take a moment to fluff it up. To revive your camping enthusiasm hang it outside on occasion.

    Air it Out -----> While on a trip take time on a beautiful sunny day to hang the sleeping bag on a cloths line. This helps to remove *moisture that has collected from your body the night before. Do the same when you get home after your trip. I recommend a whole day.
    Keep It Clean -----> Before storing the bag, make sure it’s clean and dry. And yes if it is necessary get it professionally cleaned. MAKE SURE THAT YOUR LOCAL CLEANERS ARE ABLE TO FOLLOW THE MANUFACTURERS INSTRUCTIONS. When you are out avoid getting into your sleeping bag sweaty and dirty. Use an insert that is easily washed. There are cleaning products that you can purchase at your local outdoor store - make sure you follow the manufacture's recommendations.
    Wearing Clothing to Bed or Loaning Your Sleeping Bag to Another -----> It is a debate I know - but I don't wear day time clothing in my sleeping bag. For one thing - you don't know who will be sleeping with you that night. What I mean to say is did you bring spiders in with you? Or some other creepy crawlers? It would never occur to me to wear another guy's underwear so why would I use another guy's sleeping bag? It's your preference, but there are some things I don't loan.

    *I have a thread posted about tent moisture.


    Madman4800 likes this.
  7. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    About Being as snug as a Dog in your Sleeping Bag. upload_2017-11-21_20-29-19.jpeg

    I had an opportunity to share with youth who are planning their winter camp early in the new year. This is one question that was asked. "How come my sleeping bag is always damp in the morning?" On closer examination I learned he would go into a fetal position into the depths of his sleeping bag to keep warm. The problem is - I'm not sure about the air quality he would be breathing after awhile AND very definitely he would be exhaling air, rich in carbon dioxide.

    But where does the moisture come from?
    We call it condensation - water that collects as droplets on a cold surface when humid air is in contact with it. [synonyms: moisture, steam. water droplets]

    You give off several pints of water vapour at night, and that can also condense on the surface.

    If you are using a Mummy Bag your face will be outside the wrapping. If you are using a rectangular bag you might want to wear a balaclava and not bury yourself in the depths of your sleeping bag. Keeping yourself from sweating in the bag is a bit of trial and error. Use the zippers to let out excessive heat. Remember it is your body that keeps you warm. The sleeping bag acts as an insulator and keeps the air warm between the covering and your body. Sleep on a good pad or cot.


    ...and some other tips - don't go to bed cold. Do some jumping jacks to warm up the body. Skip the drinks - especially the caffeine. But if you must - have a night bottle. You don't even have to get out of your sleeping bag to go. Take a hot water bottle to bed with you and put it at your feet. You can wrap a hot flat rock too. :)
    Madman4800 likes this.
  8. killeroy154

    killeroy154 Survivalist

    Great advice on sleeping bags, thanks @Norther Dancer. Some of the advice sounds, elementary, but a person forgets when they are out having a good time, or are just unaware. I found out the hard way a few years back. I think you posted something about this before, when I first came to this site, and it was one of those moments that I realized what I done wrong. My brother and I were camping, of course it was a fishing trip also, it was very frosty at night, and we would sit around the camp fire till late. Of course my front was very toasty, I even unzipped my jacket while sitting there, when I crawled in my sleeping bag my back and sides (love handles) were cold. I figured the bag would warm me right up. I froze for most of the night. I could not get warmed up, and I was miserable. I avoided going camping during very cold weather after that until I read what you posted, I think it was one of your posts? Anyhow I'll give you the credit. It was one of those A HAA moments. More like Duh on my part, but I just didn't realize.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
  9. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    My first experience saw me going to bed cold with a blankets piled on top of me. I gave little attention to the bottom. I couldn't understand for the life of me why I was so cold. And you're right - the advice is elementary. But I tell ya - it took a while to figure it out. Like how cold do you need to get before you change to better ways?

  10. Madman4800

    Madman4800 Survivalist

    Going to bed to warm can be bad as well. I have seen people jump in there bags fully clothed and wake up the next morning complaining of being cold. If you get to warm you need to remove those layers or you are going to sweat and freeze your but off. Also, a sleeping bag that is to big can be bad as well. Large open spaces in your bag can trap cold air. I think its a good idea to have a bag for each season. I love the old blanket roll in the summer.
    Northern Dancer likes this.
  11. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    Going to bed warm is perfectly fine.... but you are right if you are over heated. Wearing cloths is always a debate. Certainly in the summer time you should not be wearing clothing to bed. Two reasons among others - first, you don't know what is sleeping with you and second you might be inviting other creatures to visit you. The problem with wearing all your cloths to bed in the winter is the fact that you smother the air that is around you and thus keeping the cold air cold. I recommend that one does not do that and I also recommend that one has sleeping bag socks or booties. I use down filled booties that keep my feet warm during the night.

    This what the professionals say are the basics for winter -
    1. Shake up your bag. ...
    2. Wear a hat. ...
    3. Go to bed warm. ...
    4. Wear fresh clothes. ...
    5. Don't put your face in your sleeping bag. ...
    6. Go to bed with a water bottle full of hot water. ...
    7. Eat and drink before going to bed. ...
    8. Use the appropriate rated sleeping bag.
  12. Faust

    Faust Explorer

    I don't use a sleeping bag anymore.
    I run hot so I sleep nude but always woke up with a soaked sleeping bag while the tent floor, walls, my S/O's sleeping bag and even the dog were bone dry. Even my cot would be soaked through.. I assume it was a condensation thing so I found an vintage Ayers wool blanket (made in Lachute, Quebec) and haven't had an issue since.

    Sometimes I will sleep outside on my cot beside a little fire as I don't have to worry about melting a sleeping bag. There was one trip I did on Thanksgiving weekend in the Rocky Mountain House area that I was cold but a two piece set of thermals that solved that.

    So there is an alternative to the over priced 2-3 season sleeping bags, and being a natural fiber it has oodles of benefits that blow away sleeping bags.
    (FYI: If the wool blanket is known to be vintage it can be pricey, even at a thrift store so always keep an eye out for them at garage sales and what not).
    Northern Dancer likes this.
  13. killeroy154

    killeroy154 Survivalist

    I'm getting to the point where I am not comfortable in a sleeping bag. I move around to much. I have been thinking about making a down quilt.

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  14. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    ...I can appreciate comfort is the essence of a good nights sleep. Spending time doing research will pay dividends. People who have slept near me tell me I toss and turn frequently at night making the standard mummy bag impractical. So I have a rectangular bag and make the necessary adjustments - usually be using an insert. The sleeping bag that I use [summer and winter] is 6 foot 8 inches by 40 inches wide. Both have storm welts, heavy duty two-way zipper, the winter one has buttons, and both have warm cotton flannel lining and the outside is poly cotton canvas.

    Each to their own - and that is the secret...you have to have a sleep system that suits your needs. [And probably your pocket books too.]
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