Sleeping Bags

A warm and comfortable sleeping bag is the foundation for a good night’s rest. Sleeping bags come in many shapes, sizes and prices, but here’s what you should be looking for …

– Consider a mummy bag, which is warmer, smaller and lighter than square bag.

– A bag with a 20 degree rating will keep you warm on all but the coldest nights in New England. A liner or an extra blanket will add warmth on the colder nights.

– Goose down makes great insulation, it’s light and compresses really well. Down, however, suffers from two problems – it won’t insulate when wet and it’s more expensive that synthetic insulation. Most Scouts – particularly when starting out – should get a bag with synthetic insulation such as Polarguard or Thermolite.

– Don’t forget the sleeping pad! A pad provides comfort, but also insulation against cold from the ground. Therm-a-Rest makes both self-inflating pads (combo air and foam) and closed-cell foam pads for camping and backpacking. Avoid “air mattresses” as these are subject to punctures.

– Shop at the Scout store or a specialty outdoor retailer (you can find several online retailers in our Shop for Scouts section). WalMart may have great prices, but the sleeping bags you find there are more suited to backyard camping than to real wilderness camping.

– You can find a good quality bag for around $50-$75 through most specialty retailers.