How to Choose a Down Sleeping Bag

Since time immemorial, ancient hunters were forced to spend the night outdoors, often in cold and unfriendly environment. It is unclear when exactly, but because of those nights anyone ever first invented the sleeping bag. Several people who lived in the 19th century claim to the name “father of modern sleeping bag,” but from a distance of time is hard to tell who really deserves this title. But surely it is unclear who first began mass production and got rich from it – sir Pryce Jones, a former assistant seller. Already in 1876 he patented product grade wool close in appearance to today’s rectangular sleeping bag and managed to sell quite armies around the world, including the Russian army purchased 50 000 pieces. Actually sleeping bags in their present form first started to produce a lot later than the company.

What really warm people using down sleeping bag? The thought of a warm summer day on the beach, memories of family or imaginary aroma of hot tea with rum?
In fact, the heat released from the body of the sleeper, which thanks to the insulating properties of sleeping bag remains inside, supports degrees around the body relatively high and allow night outdoors at low temperature. The human body releases up to 200 watts of heat at rest her lost through three processes. Timekeeping is convection when heat dissipation is transmitted to the air spaces around the body and leave aside if said air that acts as a carrier of this heat is able to move and left volume of the down sleeping bags imaged on Pimasleepingbags.com.
With less importance they are radiation and conduction cooling, as in the last heat is given directly to the contact body to the fabric of the bag. In conduction plays a major role surface on which to lie down, because there is the main body contact with the bag. But underneath insulation based role play and the pad under the sleeping bag – mat or inflatable mattress, sleeping bags so actually the most effective “top” where no other than their material.
What is comfortable night outdoors? Modern lovers of mountains and nature have different and often conflicting desires – one wants to feel well and at 20, and at -20 in the same sack else wants to go to bed directly with shoes or rifle in the bag, others want to brings in 45-liter backpack with everything sleeping bag for 3-day march with nights in the open. These requirements and the huge supply of various manufacturers and importers make choosing a sleeping bag heavy conundrum, so I’ll try a little to dispel questions at least the basics and focus on the proper selection criteria. Several important things are the leading characteristics of each sleeping bag – the shape and weight conditions (temperature and humidity) of which can be used and, last but not least – the material from which it is made. Below consistently will discuss each of these characteristics.
The shape of sleeping bags is basically two types – rectangular (also called envelope) and mummy.
There transitional species between these two basic types – t. Pomegranate. “Barrel” type for example, or some specific forms as a half-sack for the body from the waist down or those that allow movement of arms or legs and movement without removing the bag. I will focus only on the two main forms. The first type has two advantages they have, that allows freedom of movement inside and can be folded and used as a blanket. Favorite is summer camping along the coast and as a rule usually is filled with textile wool. It definitely makes it unsuitable for high mountain or cold weather. Mummy, so named because of its resemblance to the shape of some ancient Egyptian funerary traditions, tapering towards the legs closed tightly and has a hood. Repeat the maximum shape of the human body and thereby minimize void spaces between it and the bag and unnecessary openings, through which the convection takes place and accordingly the heat loss. Last but not least the optimum shape and save substantially by expensive materials for the construction and reduces the cost. In more serious models of this type often quite facilities for the convenience of the user, such as a separate zip for ventilation of legs, extra pocket for use as a pillow, double tightening around the neck and face protection for inside zip and others.
Often manufacturers are making the same pattern “left” and “right”, ie mounted left or right zip. This allows such sleeping bags to join in a larger in order to save space and maintain the temperature. It is often used in sacks type Envelope and Trisezonnite sacks, while modern A Four (you specify below what these terms mean) mummies zipper runs diagonally across the bag (due to convenient anatomical opening and closing) and a similar connection is impossible. The whole area of ​​modern sleeping bags is divided by seams of separate chambers, the goal is even distribution of filling a full article. In each manufacturer has developed unique technology solutions for the shape, number and size of these cameras for optimal distribution of the filling. Quality indicator is such coating of these seams with hydrophobic materials. Important is the bag for carrying sleeping bag. Especially in feather products and those of synthetic fluff she compression type, ie special belt tightening by allowing to minimize the volume of the sack and occupy as little space. It is important to know how to compress the various bags. These natural fluff just crammed into the bag, taking soil from one end and treads fine until these synthetic fluff is first wound and then forced into the bag.
It is vital to know compression only be used when handling and use, home heard Keep unfold and free sprawled on the hanger to maximize long keeping the metrics. Weight, especially when worn on the back, is also a major factor. Currently, the market has a huge variety and you can find bags for extreme temperatures between -20 and -30 degrees and weighing about 2 kg and below and compact and quality Trisezonni are weighing 600 to 900 grams.
On the pictures below you can see the difference in weight at the same size sleeping bags.
And speaking of temperatures, this is the time to clarify what they mean these degrees marked by the manufacturer most of the bag of sleeping bag. These temperatures are only a dry bag, not directly exposed to the wind (sleeping in a tent) and during use no more than eight hours.
The first, often referred to as a comfort shows in what degree or higher will sleep peacefully in the bag on a T-shirt and shorts, without being cold. Low or “Limited Edition” Comfort indicate when you will feel the same way, but if you use the bag wearing and extreme minimum indicates the lower limit of use where the sack gives you protection, but hardly will not fight the cold for survival. Some manufacturers put and upper temperature limit. This is the temperature at which the sleeping bag can be used without risk of sweating.
Naturally these degrees depend on individual physiological characteristics of the user heard and how it is frost-resistant and cold-blooded. And more importantly, whether it is sated and relaxed, or all day climbed wet and chilled at high altitudes. But still enough correct benchmark for how and where you can use and rely on protection from the sack.There are generally two systems to determine these temperatures. One is the so-called American, used mostly overseas and it shows the results given for each bag individually tested it people. As you can guess, this is pretty subjective method, but generally the manufacturers who use it to make mass testing and try to adhere to correct, as far as possible digits.
European manufacturers use a single standard – EN 13 537 by 2005, which determines the temperature range based on laboratory testing for heat standardized dummies. Used 60 kg dummy woman and 75 kg dummy man, taking into account the peculiarities of metabolism in men and women. Results are 4 values ​​(but not always identified as such by producers) – Upper comfortable margin – temperature to which man will sleep comfortably without sweating, upper comfortable temperature – comfortable for women, lower comfortable – comfortable to male and extreme – one in which man could survive without frost, but on the verge of serious trouble. Naturally this system is a subjective factor, because it is still a model, but at least ensure that if you compare two sacks, they have shown some results of a single standardized test.
Clearly, if you weigh 104 kg as the author of these lines, test 75-pound mannequin is really just a guide to what to expect of winter bivouac under Maliovitsa example. Let’s continue with the materials for the production, which actually ensure these temperatures. What is the mechanism that enables this better insulation and what are the secrets of the making of modern sleeping bags? And before, and now, sleeping bags are made from materials which contain within itself a large percentage of air. It is this air, but closed in tight spaces without scope for actually doing real work and act as the most effective barrier to the cold (this applies for all concerned Below materials). Its excellent properties as an insulator long been known and used extensively in many areas, such as industrial EPS insulation actually built mainly from air bubbles trapped in the still small but numerous kuhinki.
The first sleeping bags were made of animal skins, most of reindeer. The coat of deer, with its two layers, upper and lower hard fluffy ideal material holding between hair very air that actually acts as an insulator. Even more effective, but less frequent as the material is skin wolverine, ravenous beast of taiga inhabiting mainly Siberia and to a lesser extent sub-polar regions of Europe and North America. Its unique insulating properties have been long known to the tribe of the Evens in Russia and from it they were doing children’s sleeping bags. At the dawn of jet aviation helmets of Russian high-altitude pilots have also been lined with the skin of the beast. In the northern regions of Siberia, Alaska and Arctic Canada local hunters still use handmade leather sleeping bags, but the size and weight make them inefficient to carry on their backs, and the price (60 euros for a small skin of caribou in the souvenir shop in the Finnish north) and relative inaccessibility of deerskin like material (unless you’re a hunter or owner of half-wild herd), not to mention that of wolverine make this type sleeping bags exotic, available only for modern nomads living in the same land where free lives and reindeer.
A separate factor is the environmental effect and increasingly rare hunting of animals for their fur. But despite all these shortcomings, there are still companies that produce leather sleeping bags on special orders for polar explorers. As a peak unmatched so far, bird fluff remains the best filler in the manufacture of modern bedrooms heard. Save excellent insulating properties, it is relatively lightweight and allows the collection of the sleeping bag in a small volume and maintaining a relatively wide temperature range in its use. The very types of fluff are also very different, but the best down is that collected from polar eider bird living in the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Some time ago the most fluff it has collected on the Norwegian archipelago Svalabard north of Scandinavia, but since Norway prohibit disturbance of birds and collecting feathers from them (because collectors, among others trample nests and interfere with reproduction) and make serious fines for offenders, the cost of this type of fluff that never was low reached heaven, as far as at all possible on the market.
More common and is used goose and duck down last resort. It is important to know must be only waterfowl and in this regard I must say that cheap Chinese fluff obtained from birds in cages watched for meat does not have the qualities. Which once again puts Chinese products in a dubious light. Highest quality goose down is collected from farms with semi-free living birds around reservoirs in central and northern Europe, as the best is Puhalo of the chest. Largest manufacturers of feather products continuously led battles to acquire quality raw material and some even develop their own farms. Depending on the subsequent processing of Puhalo is obtained varying in quality and raw material properties. First remove the feathers from Puhalo like this never happens 100% due to purely technological impossibility. In the catalogs of manufacturers always observes the ratio of down to feathers. It is often 70/30, 80/20, 90/10 and 95/5 even in the best quality products. Divisions feathers fluff dry and humidity control him to prevent rot. Namely poor moisture resistance and a tendency to rapid and irreversible decay are the biggest drawback of natural fluff.
Large manufacturers have introduced processes of impregnation and processing Puhalo to improve drying and minimize the effects of moisture and progress in this area is great. Second important indicator of the quality of Puhalo on the label of the products is called. In free translation is something like “filling capacity”. How is it calculated?Edano ounce of down is placed in a special cylinder and allowed to rise maximum, then pressed with a weight of 68.4 grams. What has received volume in cubic dyuymove exactly FILL POWER or FP. The higher is this index, the greater the volume occupied Puhalo at the same weight, and more warm. Products from the middle class, which enjoys feathers of birds bred primarily for meat have about 500-650 FP while really quality products down by European birds bred specifically for this purpose, FP reach the range of 750-800. I must say that, as is evident from the entire scheme of the process, this is a metric unit measured in Anglo-Saxon measures and more often it may encounter on the labels of British and American products, though already widely cat enters labeled indicator.
Before we finish with natural fluff, one legitimate to question – how much quality down sleeping bags. The answer is difficult and ambiguous, but a good product from a reputable company easily reaches price from 600 to 700 dollars. Dignified and effective substitute for natural down are synthetic fiber called artificial fluff in colloquial language. Modern technology able to produce incredible shape fiber and twisted together in three different long together with up to 7 channels on each axis. A vernacular that is so polyester hollow fiber, which somewhat mimics the structure and type of Puhalo. Despite the advanced technology, artificial fluff has one flaw and it has lower elastic fibers in comparison with the natural fluff and more easily and irreversibly broken when folded compressed storage bag. Leaders with the manufacturers of similar materials with Thisulate 3M and Thinsulate Litefort, DuPont with Hollofil-808, Hollofil II and Quallofil and Fiber Industries with PolarGuard HV, PolarGuard 3D and PolarGuard Delta. All three companies price and therefore quality grow from left to right in the list of their products. Quallofil, Thinsulate Litefort and PolarGuard Delta is considered one of the finest modern synthetic fillings, but also many different companies produce similar materials. And companies themselves inventors of a material often ceded or sold the rights and manufacturing technology to other companies. Sacks with such synthetic fillings are much easier to operate and maintain compared to those of natural fluff.
And something very important, even wet, synthetic fluff retains its insulating properties and dries much faster than the natural filling. These products are not threatened by decay and wash in a relatively normal manner. Temperature indicators their approach, and lately often overlap with those of natural fluff and are significantly cheaper than him. Some companies are experimenting with combined sleeping bags, the lower part on which rests, of synthetic fibers, and the top of the bag is a natural fluff, but these are more exotic products. Finally, mention ordinary textile and wool (mostly of artificial textiles) as commonly used filling for sleeping bags, but it is applicable to low-cost products suitable only for summer outings in the low and nights indoors.
In materials for sleeping bags very important is the fabric of which is stitched together himself heard and cameras insulating material. It has a dual purpose, firstly the outer layer of strong synthetic material to protect from moisture penetration from outside (rain or as melting snow). Quality modern sleeping bags are the most common with an outer layer of one of the variants of RipStop. While the inner layer of the bag must be soft tissue, pleasant to the touch and to keep moisture from perspiration away from the filling. To regulate this process a kind of “breathing” and vlagoobmen a sleeping bag, good manufacturers use a development of the US company Gore & Associates (Goretex is their most famous product) – Dry Loft. This is a breathable membrane which is applied as a coating on the fabric of the outer layer, allowing moisture from the inside to be removed by evaporation, but precludes this from the outside to enter as a liquid. Experts indicate several similar technologies and often focus on one another better, but correspondingly more expensive solution in this direction – British material Pertex.
Before concluding section material, I want to point out something very important. In order to have a well-functioning sleeping bag for a long time, it must be stored in expanded and dissolved form at home and compressed in the bag only when necessary to the cost of mountains and forests. Regardless of its material should not be left damp and as soon as possible should be dry well. Regarding the washing bag of natural fluff, some consider it absolutely unacceptable and considered dry cleaning for only solution. But actually a dirty sweat and long use of natural fluff heard no job for which it was provided and money will bring back many of its original properties. Naturally, this must be very cautious and in no case a monthly process. Bags of synthetic fluff best also be cleaned at handedly hand wash in lukewarm water with a special detergent (eg Nixwax Down Wash). Sends heard never squeezed and left alone to drain on a rack, the aim is pumping only be done on the vertical axis, while it is very important to pay for better drying and filling him constantly.
Last but not least we can divide sleeping bags and groups according to what purpose will be used. Type Envelope with cheap thin filling is already clear. More serious mummies we clean conditionally divided into two types according to the temperature range they cover and the volume and weight – low mountains, warm and such a high mountain cold bivouac. From the very names of the types of bags it is clear that if the first is recommended for use only in the warm and moderately cold seasons, then the second cover and the availability and the coldest season of the year. Again I emphasize this distinction is really a bit hypothetical and does not mean that this or that bag is fit only under a roof or just sleeping in a snow cave. The type bags are always lighter (as already mentioned above under kilogram) and much more compact (1/3 of the volume of a winter bag).
Their comfortable temperature is less than or about 0 degrees, extreme maximum of -10. The materials that are made are often the same as Four-class and certainly the weight and size are a leading factor. The goal is easy to be carried in a backpack by the general tourist and used as a universal bivachna equipment from a wide range of users – hikers, hunters, fishermen, bikers etc. I must say that in this category has a unique quality products who invested as advanced materials and price sometimes even surpass Winter bags and are designed for true professional adventurers seeking the best for most small volume and weight. A Four mummies of high mountain usually weighing about 2 kg and about three times larger volume of bags are made of maximum quality and advanced materials, with many extras and additional devices. The main objective here is reliable protection against low temperatures. The weight and volume are also a priority, but only after it has reached the required temperature indicator for use. Their comfortable temperature is about -10 to -15 degrees, and extreme close down and often well below -30 degrees. The mass products of both types differ in price. On the Bulgarian market at the moment quality bags are between 120 and 200 lev and the best winter models start at around 200 lev, but mass price is quite high.
Recently, not only for sleeping bags, it becomes obsolete another division. The first are mainstream products that actually benefit from hikers without claims to blend with the environment. Even purposely to have a bright visibility as needed, using contrasting color combinations that the field can be seen from afar. In tactical sleeping bags Given that those who use them – military, hunters, photographers animals. Looking deliberately camouflage effect and want to merge with the surrounding background. So here the colors are mostly different ranges of green, brown and camouflage patterns. Often there is a difference in the material of the bag and additional accessories and pockets – some companies sell such a pocket gun inside the body of the sleeping, others have a special enhancement for sleeping directly with military boots, others allow you to pull your arms and legs out and man to move, shoot or filming without coming out of the sleeping bag. As is clear from these “extras” here is the emphasis on convenience of army type users – they can keep the weapon and equipment ready and need to change their position or use the rifle or camera without losing time out of the bag.
For each of the three aforementioned groups sleeping bags, Four-and Tactical were conducted separate tests, as understandably the most serious related to snow camp in the mountains this was a Four-sleeping bags.
But keeping chronological order will first introduce you to the test result of Trisezonnite sleeping bags. He was held on a sunny autumn day with air temperatures around 10 degrees and light winds. The place chosen to test a wooded area of ​​Vitosha mountain with an altitude of about 1000 meters. As test dummy is author of these lines, which is basically the Bulgarian standard sizes for male -180 cm height and just over 100 kg weight. I will not discuss in detail each of the tested models from different manufacturers, but let’s describe the criteria that take into account.

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