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How to buy Sleeping Bag

What season?

  • One Season – Summer bags. Good for keeping in the car, or using for sleepovers.
  • Three Season – Rated for spring or autumn, these bags are also a warmer option for summer camping however not warm enough for the winter.
  • Four Season – These bags will keep you toasty in the winter months and comfortable all year round. Consider less clothing layers when using these sleeping bags in the summer.

Temperature ratings appear on some sleeping bags, displaying the minimum temperature for use. Keep in mind, the minimum rating is an extreme comfort rating; if you’re sleeping bag is rated for -7ºC you’ll be in for a cold sleep if it’s actually -7ºC out.

As a rule, when buying a sleeping bag choose one that will keep you comfortable in the conditions you’ll be using it in. A three season bag can be used for most conditions, just use an extra liner if it’s cold, and don’t wear your woolly PJs when it’s warm.

What materials?

Shell - Made out of either Cotton & Canvas, or Nylon.

  • Cotton & Canvas shells are well suited for RV and cottage use. They are bulky and difficult to compress, but offer good warmth.
  • Nylon shells are light and compressible, and make storage and transportation easier.

Insulation - Bags are filled with either Synthetic or Down insulation.

  • Synthetic is bulkier, but will stay warm and maintain loft even when wet.
  • Down bags cost more, take longer to dry, but are lighter and more compressible.

Lining - Flannel, fleece, or synthetic.

  • Flannel and fleece are warm and cozy, but bulky. These linings are more suited to car and cottage camping.
  • Synthetic linings are light, breathable, and wick moisture.

What shape?

There are Mummy, Rectangular, and Semi-Rectangular sleeping bags.

  • Mummy Sleeping Bags – The warmest, can be constrictive, and often come with hoods. These sleeping bags are a good choice for backpacking because their reduced shape reduces weight and saves space.
  • Rectangular Sleeping Bags – Roomy, and can be zipped together to create a larger sleeping bag that two people can share. A great choice for car and RV camping.
  • Semi-Rectangular Sleeping Bags – A compromise; mid-range for warmth and room.

What size?

Sleeping bags come in different lengths and sizes. Many are available in men’s, women’s and kid’s sizes, as well as regular and tall lengths. If you are tall, or would like to keep extra gear warm during the night, a longer sleeping bag will come in handy.

Choose a sleeping bag that fits you best. When in doubt, come down to the store. Our friendly staff will happily pull a sleeping bag off the wall, and let you get in and try it out. This way you’ll be sure you have a sleeping bag that works for you.

 


Sleeping Bag Washing Instructions 

Over time and use perspiration and dirt will slowly begin to soil the fibres of your sleeping bag and you will find your bag becoming less efficient at keeping you warm and comfortable on your adventure. We recommend occasional cleaning as an important factor in ensuring it maintains maximum loft, warmth and longevity of service.

DO NOT dry clean. DO NOT bleach. DO NOT iron. 

  • Your bag can be cleaned professionally by a cleaning service that specializes in cleaning down materials
  • We recommend against having your bag dry cleaned as the chemicals can break down fibers,  strip oils in down and will severely reduce loft and thermal efficiency 
 
Soap
 
  • Use a gentle, non-detergent soap 
  • Don't use liquid soap, or a very strong soap or detergent
  • For down, use a technical down wash such as Nikwax Down Wash
  • For synthetic bags, use a special synthetic cleaning product such as Nikwax Tech Wash
  • If you need to use a detergent, only use a mild powdered form 
 

 Washing

  • Wash gently by hand or use a large capacity front-loading washing machine on the gentle or delicate cycle
  • Do not use a top-loading machine with a central agitator  (the opposing forces of the agitator will stress seams, weakening or ripping them, and destroy the baffles in the bag)
  • Washing temperature should be around 105F or 40C
  • Close all zippers and attach all Velcro fasteners before washing 
  • Also, check inside the washer for sharp edges and metal burrs that might cause damage to the bags shell fabric
  • We recommend that you use the minimum amount of cleaning agent and pre-scrub the head and foot sections and any stains before washing the entire bag
  • Rinse several times to remove all the dirty, soapy water, until the water is crystal clear. If hand-washing, gently press the water out
  • If a laundromat spin extractor is available, rinse two to three times, use the extractor, and repeat
  • Do not wring your sleeping bag 
  • Use the extra spin cycle to remove excess water 
  • Do not lift your bag from one end when wet and transporting from washer to dryer (this can place stress on the seams, lift the entire bag all at once from underneath)
 
Drying
 
  • Do NOT hang dry
  • Do NOT dry in the sun (the UV will damage the nylon)
  • Tumble dry in a large commercial dryer on lowest heat setting; it's important that the dryer is large enough for the bag to flop freely around
  • Place clean tennis ball(s) with no markings in the dryer when the bag is almost dry. This will help restore the loft by breaking up clumps of insulation
  • Drying takes several hours, and you should check your bag often to ensure it's not overheated
  • As a down bag dries, look for clumps of wet down and shake the bag gently to redistribute the down. Sometimes the down in the draft tube will need some gentle massaging during the drying cycle
  • As a synthetic bag dries, check for even distribution of fill material. Gently massage the bag if any bunching is detected
 
Storing
 
  • Be sure your bag is completely dry before storing to prevent mildew from forming
  • To prevent compression of the insulation, do not store the bag in its stuff / compression sack in between uses
  • After your bag is dry, store loosely in a cool, dry, well ventilated area to extend the life of your bag and help it maintain its loft
  • Cotton or mesh storage sacks or extra-large pillow cases work well as they allow for air circulation
  • Do not store in a space where temperatures could exceed 125 degree Fahrenheit
 
 
Additional Information
  • To help keep your sleeping bag clean during use and reduce the frequency of cleaning, you can sleep in long underwear that is used only for sleep or you can use a bag liner
 

Proper care and storage of your sleeping bag will make sure that you are prepared for your next adventure, whether it is a carefully planned family trip, or a spur of the moment hike in the mountains with friends; you will have a warm, dry and comfortable sleep. 

Shop the web store for Sleeping Bags and Nikwax cleaning washes