Sizing Guide for Sleeping Bags
By Steve Kopitz
It may seem like a simple process of selecting a size of a sleeping bag but there actually is a lot to look into. Here we will cover sizes, styles, shapes and other bits of information to ensure you are making the best selection when buying a new sleeping bag for yourself or someone else.
Sleeping Bag Sizes
Sleeping bags are sized in both length and width so you can size a bag larger or smaller based on your size or specific needs.
Length: Sleeping bags are divided into four different sizes; short, regular, long and extra long. These sizes will impact how the sleeping bag fits you based on your overall height. A typical run through of the sizes is as follow; short – under 5’4”, regular – under 5’10”, long – under 6’6”, extra long – 6’6”+ or those looking for additional room. Some using sleeping bags for backcountry camping prefer longer bags to allow them to store supplies in the bag at night. Look for size charts to get precise sizing from brand to brand. Click here to shop Long Sleeping Bags.
Width: Typically the width will increase slightly as the length increases. Those with wider shoulders will want to pay special attention to the width to ensure they have adequate room to fit comfortably in the sleeping bag.
Sleeping Bag Styles
Sleeping bags are available in mens, womens, boys and girls.
Mens: Mens sleeping bags are going to offer the largest overall shape offering a bit more width in the shoulders.
Womens: Womens sleeping bags will offer a bit more insulation in the toe box and upper body as women tend to get colder in these areas and need extra warmth. These bags will also be a bit wider in the hips while being shorter and narrower in the shoulders.
Kids: Kids sleeping bags offer all the great technology found in adult bags but in a scaled down size.
Sleeping Bag Shapes
You may think all sleeping bags have the same shape but there are actually a couple different shapes available. Depending on your preference and the specified use of your sleeping bag you will want to choose one of the shapes accordingly.
Mummy: Used for backcountry or colder conditions mummy style sleeping bags are going to offer a tighter fit that will form around your body shape. These bags offer a narrower fit in the shoulder and hip area to give more warmth. Side sleepers or those who like a bit more room should look for a bit larger shoulder and hip area to ensure enough room to be comfortable.
Rectangular: This is the basic style of sleeping bag used for standard camping or car camping. This style offers room for side sleepers and great amounts of warmth. Not typically recommended for backcountry as they don’t pack down as small as mummy bags.
Semi-Rectangular: A semi rectangular sleeping bag is a mixture of a mummy bag and a rectangular bag. These offer a more “barrel” shape and are able to be used for regular camping and can be packed down for mild backcountry use.
Double Bags: Double bags work great for couples doing regular camping. A bit too bulky for backcountry camping these sleeping bags work great for traditional car camping. Double bag sleeping bags give you the opportunity to sleep under the same blanket as you do at home.
Things to Keep in Mind When Sleeping Bag Shopping
What You Wear to Sleep: Many make the mistake of trying on a sleeping bag in their everyday street clothes. It’s advised to try a sleeping bag on in the same clothing style you will be wearing to bed while camping. This will give you a greater idea of how the sleeping bag is going to fit.
Sleeping Pads: If you own a sleeping pad or will be purchasing one you will want to be sure to size the pad and sleeping bag accordingly. You will want the pad and sleeping bag to fit well together.
As you can see there is a bit more to sizing a sleeping bag than most think. So before you buy a new sleeping bag be sure to evaluate all the options above with an emphasis on what you will be using the bag for.