Choosing a Summer Sleeping Bag

That big down sleeping bag that keeps you toasty warm while camping in the winter is pretty much useless when camping in the summer. Those features you look for in a winter bag – loft, fill-power, and warmth – aren’t relevant when choosing a summer sleeping bag. So, how do you choose a summer sleeping bag? Here’s what to look for!

Look for a lightweight sleeping bag

Backpackers already know to check the weight before making a purchase. Car campers don’t always consider how much their gear weighs, however. A lighter overall weight for a sleeping bag typically translates to less material, or the use of lighter weight materials. Either way, a lighter sleeping bag means a cooler night of sleep.

Pay attention to temperature rating

While temperature ratings aren’t an exact science, it’s safe to say that nobody wants a 30-degree bag when the overnight low is 80 °F. Not all summer sleeping bags show a temperature rating, but most sleeping bags made by big outdoor brands – such as Marmot and Kelty – will have a temperature rating.

Avoid sleeping bags with a temperature rating much lower than 50 degrees. Even a 50 degree bag may be too warm for some campers, though.

How does the sleeping bag vent?

There’s a lot of variety with sleeping bag design these days. Some sleeping bags are zipperless, some have double zippers, some sleeping bags have zippers on the right, and some zip on the left.

While people don’t always think about where their zippers are, this is an important factor when it comes to summer sleeping bags. Unzipping your sleeping bag gives you more control over temperature regulation.

Also look for features like vents at the toe box for extra comfort.

You don’t need a mummy bag

Mummy bags are designed not only to save space but also to maximize warmth. The mummy sleeping bag contours to your body to eliminate dead space, keeping you as warm as possible.

Rock the old school rectangle style sleeping bag for extra wiggle room and breathability.

Consider a sleeping bag liner

If you haven’t invested in a sleeping bag liner yet, you should. Not only does this make your sleep system more versatile, it gives you the option to sleep in the sleeping bag liner alone on those super sweltering nights.

Consider blankets or quilts

Some people don’t want to buy two different sleeping bags – one for the winter and a summer sleeping bag. Maybe you’re on a tight budget, or you simply don;t camp enough to justify the purchase.

Car campers can totally get by with blankets from home. Space and weight aren’t limiting factors for car camping. Backpackers on the other hand should seriously consider investing in a summer sleeping bag, or even a lightweight down or synthetic quilt for backpacking. Make sure you pick something washable.

Looking to buy a sleeping bag in Northwest Arkansas? Stop by Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters and check out our selection of sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and more!

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