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Sleeping bags for vacation camps, cycling, or hiking tours

Why is it important to find the right sleeping bag?

For vacation camps or multi-day hikes, the question always arises as, which sleeping bag is suitable. Sleeping bags are now available at very reasonable prices compared to the past years; you can almost say more performance & comfort at the same price. Nevertheless, you can also buy sleeping bags that cost 100 Euros or more. Indeed, expensive sleeping bags are better because they combine comfort & weight. But what you should consider for a youth camp: a sleeping bag must withstand a lot. You cannot expect that the kids are always careful with an expensive piece. They might lie with the sleeping bag around the campfire. Very quickly, flying sparks burn holes in the sleeping bag. Or which teenager airs his high-quality down sleeping bag sufficiently every morning? It's packed away wet, and that's it. So: who wants to buy a sleeping bag for his kids should include this in his purchase decision. It must be robust, practical, indestructible, and, of course, warm.

In a fire tent with sleeping bags around the camp fire
In a fire tent with sleeping bags around the camp fire

What other requirements are to be considered?

Sleeping bag and critical temperatures at zero
Sleeping bag and critical temperatures at zero

Are you going to use the sleeping bag mainly needed for camps or also for multi-day hikes? On camps or overnight stays in the house, the weight certainly plays no role. On hikes, however, weight plays a decisive role. It makes a difference whether you carry 2000 grams or only 500 grams of the sleeping bag.

Packing dimensions are also an important issue when hiking. It must be possible to pack the sleeping bag small. A down sleeping bag can usually be packed smaller than a sleeping bag with synthetic fiber filling.

When hiking, it often happens that you must pack your sleeping bag wet. In this case, the sleeping bags with synthetic fiber filling have advantages. These dry faster, require less maintenance, and can also be packed slightly damp. Down, on the other hand, should be dry and well aired before packing.

For what season and outdoor temperatures is the sleeping bag needed? At summer camps, simple sleeping bags will suffice. However, when we held our Easter camps in the freezing cold, a warm sleeping bag was needed. Those who didn't have one brought a second sleeping bag or 2-3 blankets. And when spending the night in the fire time (yurt), the blankets were good to protect the sleeping bag from flying sparks.

What else to consider?

  • If necessary, an excellent insulating mat, a bivy-sack, or a poncho to spend the night outdoors in the rain.

  • The inner cover must be breathable, outer cover as water repellent as possible. A 100% cotton inner cover is pleasant - because not everyone tolerates cotton/polyester blend. Still, this sleeping bag is somewhat heavier.

  • Length & width of the sleeping bag: not so crucial for children, but for tall teenagers, the length of the sleeping bag does play a role. The tighter the sleeping bag fits, the warmer, but also, of course, less "freedom of movement."

  • Mummy sleeping bags should be so long that you can comfortably pull the hood over your head.

Here again, an overview of what to look out for when buying a sleeping bag.

On a hike you need a slepping bag with low weight
On a hike you need a slepping bag with low weight
zusammenpackbarer Schlafsack von Vorteil.

  1. Hiking or camping

    • Low weight is essential for hiking

    • Small pack size is necessary for hiking

    • On tent camps, weight & packing dimensions do not play a role

  2. The season

    • In cold temperatures, whether camping or hiking, sound insulation is essential. Rule of thumb: the lower the temperature range, the higher the price and weight of the sleeping bag.

    • If necessary, take a warm sleeping bag, a second sleeping bag (camp), or blankets. For hikes in the cold season, you must dig a little deeper into your pocket if you want to spend the night outside.

  3. Robustness & care requirements

    • Can my child handle the sleeping bag with care?

    • Does the sleeping bag go on a hike?

    • Will the sleeping bag be used outdoors?

    • Will the sleeping bag be used in a fire tent?

  4. Filling material: synthetic fiber or down

    • Synthetic fiber: dries faster, is easier to clean than down, insulates even when the filling is a little wet.

    • Down: lightweight, favorable packing dimensions, takes longer to dry, warms up faster than synthetic fiber, requires more care, needs longer airing than synthetic fiber, more expensive than synthetic fiber

    • Personally, I have always taken very sturdy, inexpensive sleeping bags to summer camps. For the Easter camps, a second old sleeping bag. On cycling or hiking camps (Whitsun & summer), a light synthetic fiber sleeping bag.

    • Furthermore, we usually had 4-5 old spare sleeping bags on camps ready. Because it did happen that a few children came with very thin sleeping bags, or a sleeping bag got "torched" because they were too close to the campfire.

Example what happends if you sleep to near on a camp fire with your sleeping bag
Example what will happend if you sleep to near on a camp fire with your sleeping bag

Examples to need a good and robust sleeping bag

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