Considerations in Selecting a Sleeping Bag for Backpacking

Selecting a quality cold-weather sleeping bag is essential in preparing for the autumn and winter months, camping at elevation, and weathering sudden temperature shifts on the trail. Available options range from light, warm, down-filled bags that are susceptible to moisture to water-resistant, bulkier synthetic bags.

When purchasing a bag, consider its specific temperature rating, often defined under ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and EN (European Norm) rating systems. EN 13537 was the sole global standard until 2017 when ISO introduced a new standard (ISO 23537) that has emerged as an industry norm. Both systems use a similar approach of testing sleeping bags using heated manikins garbed in a hat, top and bottom long underwear, and a closed-cell foam sleeping pad.

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