Camping Equipment - Sleeping Bags

camping - sleeping bag

The military teaches us to be flexible, travel fast and travel as lite as possible. The importance of these factors can’t be emphasized enough. Especially in an outdoor environment where being flexible means adapting to ever changing conditions. Breaking camp in a hurry often involves traveling fast and with purpose. Finding another location for a temporary setup can be an uphill battle in the middle of the night at an unfamiliar encampment. 

That said, choices must be made under conditions like this. To transport everything you need for comfort will mean carrying more weight. More weight is going to slow down your travel. Going forward we’ll cover some sleeping bag options and important considerations.

For purposes related to the sort of survival required by most Veterans in the urban environment, we’ll cover two types. The one I prefer is a camping sleeping bag. A good bag in this category will provide the Veteran with total warmth, comfort and some features. The next category we’ll cover will be backpacking. A good bag in this category will provide warmth, features and less weight. Because I’m an old guy and I prefer the comfort as stated earlier, I’ll talk about these bags first.    

Camping Sleeping Bags: Think of this the way you might think of a 1970’s model Lincoln or Cadillac. It’ll have thicker cushions useful for sitting on as well as laying down. Don’t under estimate the sitting part. Out on a site, it might just be the only soft place you have to park your butt. When you lay down, you compress the insulation in the bag. That reduces some of the warmth you’ll feel from the bottom. The better cushion or padding you have, the warmer you’ll be.

All that cushion, padding and insulation I’ll assume you like too, comes with a price. The price is not only measured in dollars and cents but also in weight. When we transport our nice comfortable Cadillac style outdoor sleeper in our car, the extra weight doesn’t matter. When a soldier carries it on his back, every pound matters.

Another terrific thing about the outdoor variety is all the room you can enjoy. If you are a camper who will toss and turn all night, these roomy outdoor beds are for you soldier. They allow for all the flipping, tossing and turning room you’ll ever need. They can be purchased in sizes large enough for two people to rest in comfort.

If you like functions and extra stuff, the heavier one has some options. Now don’t forget that extra stuff means extra weight. You can have zip pockets or Velcro to store your money, watch or bracelet. You might also like having double zippers that join 2 bags together if you prefer. If you’re concerned about rainy weather, and you should be, a shell will provide added protection. Sometimes the ground isn’t a dry as you think. a nylon or polyester shell can save you allot of grief.

Lets not get out of this section with mentioning one more thing. For the soldier that likes all the bells and whistles on his 1970’s model Lincoln. The camping style might also come with yet another nice feature. When you’re surviving in the wild or in an urban area, it’s going to get dirty. No matter how clean you are, the inside will get dirty and start to smell bad. A sleeper liner will help you with that. Un-zipping and removing the liner for quick cleaning is much easier than washing the entire bag. Oh, did I forget to mention that extra comfort equals more money and more weight?  

Backpacking Sleeping Bags: With these lite weight beauties, think performance. You might have noticed by now that I really like cars. Along that line, I’ll compare these to a brand new Chevy Corvette. Low, sleek, aero dynamic but very little wiggle room. These are designed to be efficient and light weight. They are made to accommodate the weekend hiker and camper to the adventurous warriors in zero degree temperatures.

Everything is negotiable and totally interchangeable with these bags from the heat and weight ratings to the materials. The bottom padding for example might be made from some synthetic material that doesn’t compress as much. The surrounding insulation might be made of a down for warmth. They’re usually not made with a great deal of wiggle room as I mentioned above. Minimal material means less weight. Just like that Corvette, these babies can also be expensive. These are made for precision first and foremost.

No matter which style best fits your situation, soldiers should consider the following before they buy it. Not getting a good nights slumber or a good afternoons nap can create health issues or break you over time. It’s better to have more than what you need when it comes to your outdoor bed than less. Especially where your warmth is concerned, being prepared for cold climate is key. You can always unzip the bag or lay on top if you get too warm. If you under buy and your outdoor bed doesn’t keep you warm, in some situations you can die. 

One more thing I feel deserves careful consideration and that is the shape. Generally speaking you’ll find three shapes for your enjoyment. The rectangular, simi rectangular and the mummy shaped. They also come in long sizes and short sizes based on your height and other unique factors. There’s really no price worth more than your health, comfort and quality of life. The one you choose can make the difference.