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The Best Sleeping Bags and Pads

Death from exposure is the greatest killer of all in the outdoors. Choosing a sleeping bag that will keep you warm and dry, especially in adverse conditions, is critical. Sleeping bags come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, insulation materials, and temperature ratings. There are many things to consider when shopping for a worthy sleeping bag, which include the following:

  • Choose a bag that is rated for at least ten degrees or so colder than what you expect to experience…you can always unzip a bag to cool down if need be.
  • Whether you choose a mummy style bag, or more traditional shape, make sure a bag is long enough and wide enough to fit you properly, as being relatively comfortable is critical to getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Down and natural insulation materials possess superior warmth and insulation qualities, but they can be bulky and slow to try. Synthetic materials are much lighter and dry much faster when wet. Choose the bag that will best fit your particular needs and activity. 

No matter what bag you decide on, the most important thing is to keep it dry at all times and protect it with your life…as it could very well save yours! I keep my bag in a waterproof stuff sack when out in the field, and then placed inside a heavy duty contractor bag for added protection.

In regard to sleeping pads/mattresses, this too is a critical decision. Sleeping right on the ground, on a bare tent floor, or worst of all, on top of one of those big, cheap air mattresses is a recipe for disaster! The ground, and especially the air inside those big air mattresses, cools down significantly at night…even in warm weather, and becomes a major source of conductive bodily heat loss. A foam sleeping pad, or small, heavily insulated inflatable pad are the best options. Below are my top pick brands for bags and pads. Click on the photos below for more info and to order yours today through our Amazon affiliate service