Sleeping bag temperature ratings have been a confusion amongst many camp goers for a large number of years now.
But the question is, why?
Why do campers purchase a sleeping bag that they think will be warm enough, yet they get out on their trip and end up being super cold, often times causing them to sleep in their car to compensate.
But it never really helps.
And if you’re backpacking, it’s impossible.
Either way, I feel sorry for everyone that has to go through the HORROR of freezing their butts off through the night and having a completely bad nights sleep.
Do not worry anymore though, because I will be talking about sleeping bag temperatures and how to actually find the right bag for the temperatures you’ll be camping in.
First & Foremost, What Is A Sleeping Bag Temperature Rating?
When manufacturers create their sleeping bags, they have a rough estimate on how well the bag will perform in the wilderness due to the materials/fill they use for it.
When it’s been tested multiple times, they give it a SURVIVAL rating.
The temperature rating on all sleeping bags is actually the temperature you will survive at!
A survival temperature simply means you can use the sleeping bag as low as the survival temperature says, and if you go lower that, you risk getting hypothermia and other related illness.
Comfortable Temperature Rating
More often than not you will only see manufacturers giving survival temperatures for their sleeping bags, but naming it “temperature rating”.
However, sometimes they provide the comfortable rating as well – but very rarely.
This should’ve been your first hint as to what the heck these companies are selling to us.
Basically, a comfortable rating is what you are expecting in the first place.
A comfortable rating is exactly that, how comfortable you will feel in the temperature conditions outlined in the product description.
Why Do They Do This?
Because they can get away with it, that’s the simple answer.
For example: If they have a sleeping bag that will keep you alive at -15 degrees, why would they rate it 0 degrees when they can rate it much lower and receive more money for it?
In saying that, they should definitely provide the user with a comfortable temperature rating as well (meaning all the time and not when THEY feel like it!), ultimately to avoid confusion and a complete and utter headache out in the wilderness.
I hate how they provide the survival rating only.
It just means newbie campers have to find out the hard way – which shouldn’t be the case.
And when that happens, campers decide that the experience was too bad for them. They usually just avoid camping at all costs for the rest of their life.
What You Should Do Instead
To avoid being another victim of the “survival rating” confusion, consider spending more money and getting a bag that has a much lower temperature rating.
Why would I recommend this?
If you’re planning on camping in 10 degree conditions and your new sleeping bag is rated for 10 degrees, do you know what this means?
You will survive at those temperatures, NOT be comfortable and warm!
You will be shivering for the entire night and your camping experience will be a bad one.
To be on the safer side, get one that’s rated 0 degrees at the very least, or even lower than that just to ensure you will absolutely stay warm while on the trip.
Life’s too short to make too many mistakes.
Learn from mine and thousands of other campers mistakes and you will do fine.
Please share this article with your friends & family.
If I helped you avoid a cold nights sleep in the wild, I’m sure YOU can help someone just from sharing it with people you know!
I’m glad you found this article before you risked going on your camping trip and having a bad one.
Or are you here because you have already been a victim of a cold nights sleep?
Love to hear your thoughts on this. Tell me in the comments below!