Buying a new bag?

In 2008 the EU brought in a standard method to rate NEW sleeping bags (EN 13537)  and also now (EN 23537). The new EU rating gives each sleeping bag a temperature rating at four levels – upper limit, comfort rating, lower limit and extreme rating. (You may also see ‘transition zone’ but you should ignore this.)

The level we are interested in from 2018 is – Lower Limit rating.  At the Lower Limit the sleeping bag MUST be rated to -2C degrees or less.

Already have a bag you want to use?

If you have an older style bag then a rating may be sewn into the label. A 3 season bag is likely to be OK – if in doubt check with us.

2 season bags will not pass by themselves, they will be accepted providing that there is an additional thermal long sleeve top and additional long johns plus additional thick socks OR the season level is uprated by either a fleece or silk liner. A cotton liner is not be acceptable. Again, check with us if unsure.

1 season bags are not permitted.

Sleeping bags with no season rating are NOT accepted.

Should the filling be down or synthetic?

To combat heat loss, 2 basic insulation types are commonly used: down and synthetic.

Choose a down bag if you want superior warmth, compressibility and durability. Though initially more expensive, down’s superior durability makes it a good value over the long haul.

You might want to avoid down if your sleeping bag is likely to get wet, it doesn’t keep you warm when wet. Some will have a water proof outer to prevent them getting wet.

Choose a synthetic bag if you want both good performance and a lower price tag. Short-staple synthetic bags offer excellent compressibility, while continuous-filament synthetic bags are lofty and more durable.
Synthetic fills are usually the better choice if there is a good chance your sleeping bad will get wet as they tend to maintain warmth even when wet.

How heavy should it be?

It needs to be carried all weekend so it should be as light as possible. However, it’s normally the case that the lighter the bag the bigger the price tag!

Look at a selection of sleeping bags which meet the temperature requirement highlighted above and compare their weight and price.

Ideally the sleeping bag shouldn’t be any heavier than 2kg.

What shape should it be?

The sleeping bag should not have corners! It should be fitted to the shape of the body (Mummy shape),
getting narrower towards the feet. It should have a hood to surround your head.