There are many things to consider when choosing a sleeping bag. You need to decide what type of camping you plan on doing and what kind of conditions you will most likely be in. Will you be backpacking the whole Appalachian Trail or will you be driving to a lake and camping next to your car. The two most common styles of sleeping bags are down and synthetic. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Synthetic Sleeping Bags
- Great for damp conditions. If a synthetic bag gets wet it will still keep you warm and maintain its loft. Most synthetic bags also have Primaloft & Polarguard, which are made of water resistant material.
- More affordable than a down sleeping bag
- Durable and easy to clean. It can be washed in a front loading washer
- If you like to throw your gear in closet when you get home than synthetic is the way to go.
- A little bit heavier than down.
- It will not pack as small when in a stuff sack.
- Not as warm as down.
Down Sleeping Bags
- Will last a LONG time with proper care.
- Has a soft touch and is considered more comfortable than synthetic.
- Very compressable and lightweight.
- Superior warmth compared to synthetic
- If down gets wet, it will lose its insulation and not keep you warm. It must be dried before it will function properly again.
- It is more expensive.
- Cleaning and maintenance require more attention and time.
How to Choose the Right Sleeping Bag
If you will be putting in miles in cold climates than a down sleeping bag is the way to go. They are the best in a warmth to weight ratio. Over the long haul, a few ounces can make a difference.
If you will be in conditons where you might be getting wet, than a synthetic bag would be a good choice. They are very reliable and inexpensive for the quality you will get.