What exactly is a sleeping bag temperature rating and how do manufacturers rate their sleeping bags?
Today I will be diving into the world of the sleeping bags.
I want to show you WHAT a temperature rating really is; to help you understand how the entire system works.
Lets get started!
A Sleeping Bag Temperature Rating (This is what they usually advertise)
After manufacturers finish creating their sleeping bags, they test it out in the field.
They will get a fair idea about the quality of the bag and how warm it can keep you.
Upon discovering this information they will go ahead and slap a temperature rating on it before putting it on the market.
This is where it gets confusing for 95% of buyers.
Is this the comfort rating?
What the hell are they showing us?
Yes, this is the rating you’ll find on 99% of tents on the market.
In some instances the manufacturers will show the survival rating and comfort, but this is rare to find, and when I do I get a massive surprise.
Companies want to get the best dollar for their product, and if that means showing the temperature that you’ll stay ALIVE in WHILE inside their sleeping bag, they will gladly do just that.
So what is a survival rating?
It is exactly that my friend.
A survival rating is the temperature that you’ll stay alive in.
For example, if you have a 0 degree sleeping bag and you use it in -20 degree temperatures, you risk hypothermia and other related illnesses.
However, if you use it in exactly 0 degrees, you may not be toasting warm but at least you’ll be warm enough to not freeze to death!
This rating is not what you’ll find on sleeping bags, although I wholeheartedly believe that this is the one they should use because it will lead to less people getting confused.
Using the “survival rating” as the advertised temperature rating but not telling anyone is just confusing people, especially newbies!
Avoiding the Confusion
I want you to leave this article knowing everything about sleeping bag temperatures.
This is what you need to know…
Product descriptions show the SURVIVAL RATING.
If it does not say “comfort rating”, it will always be the survival temperature rating.
A Rule of Thumb
I always like to go 20-25 degrees below the survival rating just so I can be comfortable and warm in the ORIGINAL advertised rating.
If it sounds confusing, here’s an example:
- There is a 0 degree bag
- I want to be toasting warm in 0 degrees, not “borderline shivering”
- So I get a -25 degree sleeping bag instead
- Now I’m actually toasting warm in 0 degrees
If I purchased the 0 degree bag in the first place I probably would’ve been shivering in 0 degrees.
However, that 0 degree bag will keep me warm in 20 degrees, which is good for summer camping.
See what I mean?
If not, ask me in the comments below! Lets get a dialogue going 😀