Choosing The Right Sleeping Bag

Buying a sleeping bag used to be a whole lot simpler. You would look at the sleeping bags available, choose the style and colour and that was it. Often it would mean that you would shiver or swelter through your outdoor adventure, depending on the weather but that was a part of the experience, right?
These days sleeping bags Australia are a lot more sophisticated and you can purchase the right bag for your trip to ensure that sleeping is a pleasure not just something that has to be endured. If you’ve ever shopped for a sleeping bag you would have heard about the temperature ratings that distinguish one from another.

What is a sleeping bag temperature rating?

The temperature rating system originated in Europe and is referred to as EN13537 the idea being that there is a standardised rating system across the industry to make choosing the right sleeping bag easier for the consumer; sleeping bag temperature ratings are suggested rather than absolutes.
The manufacturer will rate each of their sleeping bags by making assumptions about the materials used in the construction of each bag and/or, by having bags tested in conditions of controlled temperature such as an air-conditioned room or cold-room.


If you’re a warm sleeper (i.e. your body generates a lot of heat and you use less covers to keep warm) the bag’s temperature rating is probably pretty accurate for you.
If you’re a cold sleeper (i.e. you have a slow nighttime metabolism and don’t generate much body heat meaning you need blankets to keep warm) assume the bag’s temperature rating is at least 5⁰C warmer than stated on the bag. That is, a bag rated at 0⁰C should, for you, be taken as rated at +5⁰C.

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When looking to buy a sleeping bag it is better to look for one that is at least 5-10⁰C colder than your sleeping temperature. Such a bag will be suitable in a wider variety of temperatures.

Remember, it’s always easier and more practical to warm up with thermals, extra clothes, or a sleeping bag liner. We all sleep better when cooler than we do when warmer, so erring on the side of cooler is a logical decision.

Sleeping bag facts:
1. Your metabolism keeps you warm not the sleeping bag
Sleeping bags do not generate heat themselves, instead how warm that you stay relies on the amount of metabolic heat that you generate. This varies depending on the food consumed, exhaustion level and hydration.
2. Create a sleeping system
Often a sleeping bag, regardless of the rating, is not enough on its own. Generally manufacturers like Caribee make an assumption when deciding on their sleeping bag temperature ratings, that you will also be using equipment such as camping beds or a camping mattress as well.
3. The design
Is it a tight fit, have a hood or lots of zippers that will allow the heat to escape? These are all factors that will add or detract heat when a sleeping bag is used.

When you are deciding on the best temperature rating for you and your kids sleeping bags make sure that you take into account:
- The time of year and the expected weather
- Other gear that you will be using such as tents and camping beds
- Whether you normally sleep ‘hot’ or ‘cold.

If you want any further information on choosing a sleeping bag with the right temperature rating for you, please give us a call or shoot us an email and we will be more than happy to help!
Have a look at our range of sleeping bags, camping beds & sleeping mats to find one that suits you!

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