What To Look For:
Anything you bring portaging should be as light as possible, compactable, durable and resist water, and the sleeping bag you choose is no different. The dilemma as always is paying the price for the ideal, or saving some money at the expense of something you can live with. That said, try to steer clear of ones that are too heavy, overly bulky or that don’t have some kind of water resistant outer layer. You’ll also want to make sure it’s durable. Many people roll their bags and latch it to the outside of their packs to save space, increasing the likelihood of a tear – which can completely ruin a trip. Consider getting a compression sack, as it will greatly reduce the size of the bag.
There are enough sleeping bag choices to make you go crazy – material, style, construction, fill, loft, temperature rating etc. To make it easier, you may want to speak to someone at a knowledgeable outdoor store and explain to them what you will be using the sleeping bag for and what qualities you feel you need and those you can deal without. (eg. “I can deal with a heavy bag, but I can’t stand a cold sleep.”)
Why You Need It:
It gets cold at night even in the summer, and an unexpected cold spell can be extremely uncomfortable without a sleeping bag. Remember that even if you think you can do without it, sleeping bags can be a useful first aid tool to get your body temperature regulated quickly.
How You Can Live Without It:
Again, I’d recommend bringing a sleeping bag regardless, but I suppose blankets might seem like an alternative. However, they’re not as efficient, and are not usually designed for the rigors of the outdoors like bags. You’ll also want to make sure that it can keep you warm, can dry easily and isn’t too heavy.
On The Cheap:
If you’re only traveling in summer, you can get away with a smaller bag. Of course, if you have something that will keep you warm, it’s doing its job, and you can deal with whatever issues it has (weight, bulk, pink unicorns etc.).
What Will Make Them All Jealous:
The ideal sleeping bag is probably something no one will be impressed with, because it will draw no attention at all. It’ll be light, small and compact in a compression sack, popping out to full size when needed. You’re friends won’t hear about it either, because it’ll be warm enough that they’ll be no complaints over breakfast about the cold wet night before.
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