Beginners Guide: Sleeping Bag

Now that you ‘ve read this article and picked out your tent, let’s go to another fundamentally important outfit to have a good night’s sleep in a camping, sleeping bag. Again, it is worth mentioning that these posts are aimed at those who are starting mountaineering, so all the discussions and recommendations contained herein are geared toward camping in Brazil.

Beginners Guide: Sleeping Bag


The choice of a suitable sleeping bag involves two main aspects: its efficiency in maintaining body heat and its”ergonomics” in the backpack ( weight and volume it will occupy). But beyond these requirements, there are still other details can make your life easier in the tightness of a ten …

However, before recommending any sleeping bag model, some concepts and information need to be clear, so let’s go for parts…


It is because of the temperature that we choose a particular sleeping bag, however, when we observe the information of each model we will see that there are three different concepts of temperature: comfort, limit  and extreme. It is clear from the code names adopted what each one represents, but, for better clarification, it follows:

Comfort Temperature:  is the ambient temperature at which a “normal” person – that is, not very resistant to cold and not too cold – will withstand with ease. Usually used as reference the cold that women feel to determine the temperature of comfort (no machismo, are physical and hormonal issues). This is not to say that you will sleep like you are at home, but in general, it will not be the temperature that will keep you from sleeping.

Temperature Limit: It is the room temperature that a person a little more resistant to cold is able to withstand using the sleeping bag.

Extreme Temperature: as the name itself says, in this condition the thing got too serious and the sleeping bag itself will not be enough to keep you warm. You will not freeze, but neither will sleep, so never buy a sleeping bag based on extreme temperature!

Therefore, when buying a sleeping bag, always base on the comfort temperature. In the southern region of Brazil, for example, where winter is strict, for camping in mountains the ideal is a sleeping bag whose comfort temperature is about 0ºC, in this case, even though it is somewhat sensitive to cold, using a suitable clothing You can have a quiet night even in winter.


Ok, I’m going to buy a sleeping bag for a certain temperature, but there are two models with the same comfort levels and a completely discrepant price, and there? And then most likely this difference in price is due to the material used to line the sleeping bag, which may be synthetic fiberor goose feather. The general characteristics/differences between these materials are:

Synthetic Fiber: Synthetic fiber sleeping bags are cheaper than goose feather bags; in contrast, they are bulky and heavier. A good point for synthetic fiber is that if the material is slightly moistened for some reason, its insulation power is not so bad (read carefully: a little dampened, do not think you can get wet and it will be fine). There are still different types of fibers, but I will not go into that merit.

Goose feather:  great insulation capacity, light weight and low volume, that is, a first-rate material! Consequently, its price is salty!

Other Features:

Format:  There are different formats of sleeping bags, in general those of the “sarcophagus” type are the most suitable for mountaineering, as they tend to improve thermal insulation;

Zipper:  I had a sleeping bag whose zipper only went up to the knee, which made it very difficult to get inside. There are models that the zipper goes up to the foot and there is still possibility of “joining” two bags in one zipper, which is good for couples. Almost all models available have internal zipper, but it is always good to pay attention.

Size: Always look for this fact if you have a height of about 1.85 meters – in some models you may need a larger size, so be careful when buying.

Which Sleeping Bag To Choose?

Now that we know a little more about the characteristics of a sleeping bag, I quote below some legal models available in the Brazilian market:

Micron X-Lite (Nautical): light and compact and with the zipper that allows you to attach two sleeping bags. Its comfort temperature is between 5 and 15 º C, that is, it serves very well for Brazilian regions of milder climate, but surely you will suffer a little in the cold seasons of the south of the country.When compared to its “famous cousin”, the Nautical Viper (available in every store), the Micron has a large advantage over the weight and volume occupied in the backpack. In general, it is a good bag for camping in the bush, but avoid using it in low temperatures. Price: about R $ 130,00. Photo:Trekking Club Shop at

Orbit (Deuter) line: Deuter has a very good line of sleeping bags , the Orbit, with three models whose comfort temperatures are -5ºC, 0ºC and + 5ºC.With high quality synthetic fiber lining, these sleeping bags are quite comfortable and have a carrying bag with compression straps that allow you to reduce your volume enough to put in the backpack. Their weight can be considered very good when compared to other models of synthetic fiber with less insulation capacity (the Orbit 0ºC, for example, weighs about 1280 grams, while other similar sleeping bags arrive close or weigh up to 1500 grams – believe me, that makes all the difference in long walks!). Orbit bags can be used quietly for camps in certain Andean and Patagonian regions, taking care to choose the right temperature depending on the local climate. Orbit also has a zipper that can attach two bags to one. Well, deuter is deuter, the quality is incontestable, but like all mountain equipment, the price is proportional. Price: from $ 300 to $ 450.00, depending on the model. Photo: Deuter.

In the Brazilian market are available several other models with technical characteristics and intermediate prices between these mentioned, but, being very sincere, for those who are starting on the mountain I recommend one of these two. It does not pay to pay $ 200 and little in a heavy sleeping bag and medium insulation capacity-or you are willing to invest a reasonable money (Deuter Orbit) or, if you do not intend to camp in very cold conditions and want to save money, compensates Pick up a Micron X-Lite.

 Other Information:

There are items that may slightly increase the insulation capacity of your sleeping bag, such as Sea to Summit Thermolite® Reactor Extreme. I’ve never used it, but they say it works. It will not necessarily increase the capacity of the bag at 14ºC, but it helps.

IMPORTANT: do not forget that the performance of a sleeping bag will be greatly influenced by the thermal insulation-a kind of “mat” of insulation material that should be used at bedtime, after all, it is no use having a super hyper sleeping bag and camping Directly on the floor of the tent, with a lot of humidity. Details of thermal insulation will be discussed in an upcoming article.

Finally, I have camped in rather extreme climates with an inadequate sleeping bag and survived to tell the story (though this was a tremendous irresponsibility and lack of experience). But I practically did not sleep all night and I guarantee you will not want to go through that! Your health is a priority in mountaineering.