Per the EN/ISO standard’s language: “In this range, a strong sensation of cold has to be expected. First, wearing the right layers can make a world of difference. If a bag is too small, you’ll end up compressing insulation and creating cold spots. For example, some thru-hikers opt for sleeping quilts, which forego the traditional mummy shape for a minimalist blanket-style design. It is one the easiest ways to get outdoors for people of all experience levels, and simply put, any time spent on the trail has a way of soothing the... For all the minimalist backpackers and bikepackers, thru-hikers, and ounce-counters out there, the lightweight gear world is full of options to complete your sleep system. The same holds true for older people: you tend to lose muscle mass as you age, and therefore older people have a tendency to feel colder than younger people. In reality, it works much like a thermos: when you put a warm object inside, the sleeping bag helps that object stay warm (that object we're talking about is a human body). Technically, EN offers four ratings, but "EN Comfort" (the air temperature at which an average female can sleep comfortably through the night) and "EN Lower Limit" (the air temperature at which a standard male can sleep for eight hours without waking) are the most relevant. Thus, to be safe, buy a bag that is a “bit too warm” than a “bit too cold.”. Extreme Range Does Your Backpacking Tent Need a Footprint? This water coats the sleeper over the course of a night with a thin film of water. This experience is what makes understanding the modern EN/ISO temperature ratings for sleeping bags so important. Cold sleepers – refer to the EN/ISO tested ‘Lower Limit’ rating as a starting point and choose a bag with this rating at 5-10 degrees below the lowest temperatures you plan to … If you have a bedtime partner and they complain about how warm you make the bed, then you are probably a hot sleeper. Free FedEx Ground shipping on orders over $50 in the lower 48. The numbers included along the continuum are merely points of reference between ranges, helping you to estimate where you might find the sleeping bag to provide ample insulation. You may have noticed that the EN rating system described above lists a higher temperature for women to sleep comfortably than men, and this is based on general presumptions about muscle mass. I tend to adjust the thickness of these depending on potential weather conditions, and I’m not afraid to put on even more layers if the need arises, making sure I maintain the room I need inside to prevent compression of the sleeping bag’s loft.” Additionally, you might wish to read other articles about sleeping bags on this site: Less than ten years ago, a sleeping bag temperature rating was the manufacturer’s “best guess” how warm the bag was for the “average person.” They arrived at this rating by giving bags to testers or employees, who then tested the bags in various environmental conditions or in an “ice box.”, However, the “average person” is a rare person. As a climbing ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park... Sleeping Bag Temperature Ratings Explained, Best Ultralight Sleeping Bags and Quilts of 2019. It's a tough job but somebody has to do it. Two high-end sleeping bag brands stand out in terms of the warmth of their non-EN/ISO-rated bags: Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering. Fortunately, we’re all way more diverse than that, as are the places and conditions in which we camp. Read the Fleece Clothing Guide to understand why cotton is just awful for camping and hiking. These are all unanswered questions. When backpacking, it's a no-brainer to bring a solid set of baselayers, an extra pair of wool hiking socks, and a warm hat. Remember, much of a sleeper’s warmth is lost to the ground. Finally, the age of your sleeping bag can greatly impact its warmth. What if you’re damp? They are a great help in finding a bag that will meet your needs. This pad provides relatively low insulation. Ever wonder how a sleeping bag rating correlates to performance at camp? Here, a standard man is “in a situation of fighting against cold (posture is curled up inside the sleeping bag), but in thermal equilibrium” and not shivering. All Therm-a-Rest sleeping bag ratings have been made using the most updated testing standards, making the switch when the ISO standard was introduced in 2017. This rate of heat loss then goes into determining the various upper/lower limits of the sleeping bag, as well as helping to determine the “comfort zones” of the sleeping bag. The EN 13537 testing standards went a long ways towards removing the “total guesswork” out of determining how warm a sleeping bag actually is. In addition, reading reviews of a particular bag can be helpful. The higher the TOG, the warmer the sleeping bag. According to the EN/ISO standards, she is “not feeling cold,” in a “relaxed posture.” Sounds comfortable, right? This means that you should try your best to find a bag with the right fit and one that doesn’t have a ton of dead space. The sleeping bag is then placed on top of a thin closed-foam sleeping pad. Thus, a “cold sleeper” still needs to remain vigilant that they buy a sleeping bag that’s on the “upper end” of the “comfort range” of the EN 13537 ratings system. There are so many considerations to keep in mind: down or synthetic? She snorts when she laughs, is known to dye her hair with vibrant streaks of color, and simply does not sit down. The EN 12537 test uses thermal underwear, which is a good clothing choice to test. The results are tallied and the ranges of Comfort, Transition and Risk are established, along with the defining limits of these ranges, Comfort, Limit and Extreme, respectively. R-value is the key metric, which ranges from less than 1 (a summer pad like the Sea to Summit Ultralight with very little insulation) up to 8 or even higher (a winter pad like the Exped DownMat XP 9 with goose down bonded to the interior). However, despite all the variables, the EN/ISO standards are still the best way to help you figure out a baseline performance level for a sleeping bag. For example, in the Cascades of Washington State and the Colorado Rockies, two places where we frequently backpack, it's fairly common for the temperature to dip down to around freezing at night. Are you used to sleeping outside? If you don't zip the bag completely and batten down the hatches, it's easy to let cold air in, which is the last thing you want to do (unless you're hot and this is intentional, of course). Each manikin wears a specific base layer, similar to the layer a camper may wear. Well, it involves placing a heated mannequin that wears a hat and a thin layer of upper/lower thermal underwear inside a sleeping bag. The appropriate temperature rating for cold-weather adventures depends on the conditions, but expedition bags can run all the way down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. For example, our top-rated pad, the popular Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite, has an R-value of 3.2. Side sleepers and those who toss and turn frequently at night may be the exception, but most backpackers will want some room in their bag but too much. It’s a pretty endless list of things that come together to affect how warm we sleep in the backcountry. Each manikin wears a specific base layer, similar to the la… Here is the latest EN/ISO graphic that the Therm-a-Rest team has developed with the definitions of the ranges indicated: Comfort Range It’s important to note that unlike the old sleeping bag rating of a single temperature that applied only to a fraction of people, the EN/ISO sleeping bag rating is read in ranges of temperatures–not a specific rating–reflecting the very subjective nature of warmth for a wide spectrum of body types. Synthetic: How to Choose Sleeping Bag and Camp Quilt Insulation, Every Corner Considered: Designing a Therm-a-Rest Sleeping Bag, Backpacking TV: Choosing the Right Sleeping Bag and Mattress. For example, the Feathered Friends Swallow 20 YF is one of the warmest 20-degree bags we've ever slept in. Never sleep in a sleeping bag while wearing cotton clothing. When we go backpacking, we think of the sleeping bag and pad as one united package, and always make sure to have a combined sleeping bag rating and R-value that will keep us happy at night. Below we offer more information on what the EN/ISO ratings mean to you, as well as how to evaluate non-rated bags. Cold Sleeper – A cold sleeper goes to bed with every blanket piled on top of them, yet still wakes up cold. The EN test, all by itself, does not peg a sleeping bag to a specific temperature bag rating. Clothing Before heading out, test the hood and draft collar, and make sure you are proficient in cinching them all the way down.
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