Having the right kind of sleeping bag is an essential part of any camping trip, whether trekking through a jungle or hiking through the snow. This modern age has seen vast improvements in the quality of sleeping bags, and there is also now a wide range of them to choose from. This guide will help buyers not only understand the various types, materials and designs of sleeping bag available, but also how to go about purchasing them on eBay.
Types of Sleeping Bag
There are several types of sleeping bags, all designed with different purposes in mind, including different design features and additions. The main types of sleeping bags are:
This is the type of sleeping bag that many will remember from childhood camping trips; these sleeping bags are flat rectangles with a zip running along the side and the bottom. Envelope sleeping bags are very roomy and comfortable, but are not as efficient as mummy bags for keeping in heat, and cannot be folded down into a small a bag.
This is the modern design of sleeping bags, and does, in fact, resemble a mummy. That is because the mummy sleeping bag conforms to the shape of body, which leaves less unfilled space and therefore restricts the airflow – which would cool down the inside of the bag if allowed to move freely. Because of the minimized design and amount of material, these mummy sleeping bags have an optimal amount of heat preservation and can compress down much more than envelope sleeping bags.
Compact sleeping bags are made along similar lines to regular sleeping bags, but are specially designed to be able to compress much further. They do this by design – most are mummy sleeping bags that cut out at extra fabric – and also by coming equipped with compression sacks, which use straps to force the sleeping bag down into a small size bag.
Men’s Sleeping Bags
It is possible to get sleeping bags designed especially along gender lines to account for the differences in body sizes and shapes. Men’s sleeping bags typically have more space for wider shoulders, and may be larger in size to account for the usual height difference.
Women’s Sleeping Bags
Women’s sleeping bags have to account for the difference in women’s typical shapes from men, and often have smaller shoulders to prevent heat from escaping, but instead have more space lower down for the hips and bottom.
Children’s Sleeping Bags
Children’s sleeping bags are designed along similar lines to adult’s sleeping bags, but are smaller in shape – children can use adult-size sleeping bags but this runs the risk of high heat loss due to the larger amounts of empty space there will be.
The insulation of the sleeping bag is important for buyers to consider, as the material used can have a big effect on the size and weight of the sleeping bag, as well as the warmth it provides. The main kinds of materials used for insulations are ‘down’ and ‘synthetic’.
The bird down that is used for sleeping bags is usually duck, eider or a high-quality goose.
Down is extremely efficient at trapping warm air to preserve heat.
Down can be compressed much better than synthetic material – ideal for a compact sleeping bag.
Down weighs much less than the same amount of synthetic insulation, and is very warm relative to its weight.
Down is much more costly than synthetic insulation.
Down must be kept completely dry, as it completely loses insulating power when wet.
Synthetic insulation is typically made from poly fibre, a man-made material.
Synthetic insulation is far less expensive than down.
This material preserves most of its insulating power when wet, unlike down.
Synthetic sleeping bags are much heavier than down ones of the same type, as their warmth to weight ratio is not as good.
Synthetic sleeping bags are not as compressible as down.
These sleeping bags are also less efficient at trapping heat.
As the buyer can see, there are certain differences between down and synthetic sleeping bags that will make them suited for different tasks. Down is more efficient at trapping heat but is useless when wet, whereas synthetic is heavier and less efficient but also cheaper and better in damp conditions. The buyer should consider where they will be camping before purchasing a sleeping bag,
There are many different types of climate rating systems used with sleeping bags, and they can be confusing to decipher if the buyer has never purchased a sleeping bag before – or even if they have. The main types of climate ratings the buyer is likely to encounter will be:
- Upper Limit – this is the temperature at which someone could sleep without sweating or being incredibly uncomfortable.
- Lower Limit – this is the lowest temperature limit at which a man would be able to sleep comfortably.
- Comfort Level – the comfort level is the optimum, and is the temperature at which a woman would be able to sleep comfortably without being too hot or cold. The buyer should look for a range, so the bag can be used in a variety of places and seasons.
- Extreme Temperature – this is the ‘emergency’ temperature of the bag, the lowest temperature at which a person could sleep in the bag without freezing to death.
Sleeping bag temperature ratings are standardised this way in Europe, under the EN 13537 legislation, which may seem overbearing, but as in cases like extreme temperature ratings can mean the difference between life and death. Bags labelled 2 season, 3 season, or even 4 season can cope with a wide range of temperatures, aided by their increasingly technical designs; however, the more seasons they cover the less likely they are to be comfortable during high temperatures.
There are many different additions and accessories that the buyer can purchase to help make sleeping bags more comfortable and efficient, as well as enhance their lifespan. Some of the additions available for sleeping bags are:
- Liner – liners can be placed inside the sleeping bag to both keep the user warm as well as protect the inside of the sleeping bag from tears and other such problems. They are available in everything from silk to fleece, and provide warmth on their own as well as helping to trap layers of warm air inside the bag.
- Mat – a sleeping mat can go a long way to keeping the sleeping bag user warm, as it functions not only as a comfortable place to lie over hard ground, but also prevents the user from lying on cold ground and loosing body heat that way. They can be foam like yoga mats, inflatable or even airbeds – depending on what the buyer will find most convenient and comfortable.
- Compression Sack – compression sacks are a feature of compact sleeping bags, but can be used with regular sleeping bags to help compress them further down when rolled up, reducing their size.
These additional items are not always necessary when purchasing a sleeping bag, however, many campers favour them, as an easy way to keep warm and comfortable in any season, without having to expend any energy or sleep in five different layers of clothing.
Buying a Sleeping Bag on eBay
Now that the buyer has begun to understand the various factors they must keep in mind, they can start searching for sleeping bags online. When searching for sleeping bags on eBay, the buyer should consider:
- Price – the cost of item is often a main factor to consider in any online store, and there are many sleeping bags available on eBay at a range of prices. Buyers can adjust search results by using search preferences to match their budget, and with many items available at both Auction and Buy It Now there is a great deal of flexibility when purchasing items.
- Material – many buyers have a preference for a certain kind of material – and sometimes an allergy against one – but they should also bear in mind that the material chosen will have a large effect on the final price of the sleeping bag.
- Environment – whether picking out a light summer bag or a sleeping bag for arctic conditions, the buyer should be made aware of the fact that sleeping bags designed for cold temperatures are likely to cost more, due to the complexity of designs and materials.
- Local Seller – buying a sleeping bag from a local seller is an ideal way to keep shipping prices down.
If the buyer is in need of any further guidance on how to search eBay, they should make sure to consult eBay’s Search Tips page for more advice on how adjusting their searching style can help to achieve the perfect result. If they have any questions about any of the items they see listed, they should not hesitate to ask the seller.
Camping is a sporting activity enjoyed by many people around the world in all seasons, and it is important that the sleeping bag is perfectly suited to both the buyer and the climate. With this guide, the buyer should now not only understand the various types and materials available, but also how to decipher the rating systems and then purchase the ideal sleeping bag on eBay.
When searching for sleeping bags on eBay, the buyer should keep in mind the added benefits of using PayPal, eBay’s preferred way to purchase with additional eBay Buyer Protection.