If you’re planning on taking a sleeping bag with you on your next camping trip, you’ll need to make sure you have the right size compression sack. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the right size sack for your sleeping bag.
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Sleeping Bag Sizes
There are three standard types of sleeping bags:
-youth or junior,
Youth or junior bags are designed for kids up to approximately 5’5” in height. If your child is close to this height, you might want to consider a regular size bag, which is made for people up to approximately 6’2” in height. Long sleeping bags are just that—longer. They provide extra space at the foot of the bag and are made for people up to approximately 6’6” in height. When you know what size of bag you need, you can start looking at specific models.
Consider the type of insulation used in the bag as well. The most common types are down and synthetic. Down is more expensive but has a higher warmth-to-weight ratio, meaning it will keep you warmer with less weight and bulk. Synthetic insulation is less expensive but doesn’t insulate as well when wet. It also holds up better over time than down does. If you plan on using your sleeping bag in wet conditions often, synthetic insulation might be the way to go.
How to Measure Your Sleeping Bag
Once you know the shape of your sleeping bag, here’s how to measure it for a compression sack.
-Roll your sleeping bag out flat.
-For a mummy bag, start at the bottom of the footbox and measure up one side, across the top, and down the other side to the bottom of the footbox. This is your “shoulder girth.”
-Next, measure from the bottom of the footbox to the top of the hood. This is your “length.”
-For a rectangular bag, start at one corner and measure across the top and down one side to get your “shoulder girth.” Then measure from the same corner straight across to the opposite corner to get your “length.”
-Now that you have both measurements, refer to sizing charts for bags offered by different manufacturers.
Compression sacks usually have two dimensions: length and girth. The length is always measured lying flat, so it’s really just measuring how long your sleeping bag is fully extended. The girth is a measurement of how wide around your sleeping bag is when fully extended – kind of like its “waist size.” To get this measurement, lay your sleeping bag out flat and then use a tape measure to go all the way around it. Keep in mind that most compression sack manufacturers will make several sizes – so don’t worry if yours doesn’t exactly match up with theirs. Just choose the size that’s closest.
Compression Sack Sizes
Compression sacks come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but most of them can be categorized into one of three sizes: long/skinny, short/fat, or medium. The best compression sack for you will depend on the type and size of sleeping bag you have, as well as your personal preferences.
Long/skinny compression sacks are great for fitting a long, slender sleeping bag into a smaller space. They typically have a rectangular shape and range in size from about 18 to 30 inches long. Short/fat compression sacks are designed for shorter, bulkier sleeping bags. They usually have a more cylindrical shape and range in size from about 16 to 20 inches long. Medium compression sacks are a good compromise between the two extremes and can be used for a variety of sleeping bag types and sizes.
When choosing a compression sack, it’s important to make sure that it’s big enough to fit your sleeping bag (with a little room to spare) but not so big that it’s bulky and difficult to carry. It’s also important to consider the type of closure system the sack has. Some have drawstrings that can be tightened by hand, while others have straps that need to be fastened with buckles or clips. Whichever type you choose, make sure it’s easy for you to use so you don’t end up frustrated on your camping trip!
How to Choose the Right Compression Sack Size
There are a few things to consider when purchasing a compression sack for your sleeping bag. The size of the sack will determine how much volume you can save, but keep in mind that over-compressing your sleeping bag can damage the down fill, so it’s important to find a sack that strikes a balance between size and compressibility.
The first thing to consider is the shape of your sleeping bag. Mummy bags are narrower at the shoulders and wider at the foot, while rectangular bags are more uniform in width. Mummy bags will require less material overall, so you can get away with a smaller compression sack. If you have a rectangular bag, you may need a larger compression sack to accommodate the extra width.
The next thing to consider is the fill power of your sleeping bag. Fill power is a measure of the loft, or fluffiness, of the down, and it’s usually expressed as an integer between 500 and 950. The higher the fill power, the more air pockets there are in the down, and therefore the more volume the bag takes up. A slept-in bag will also take up more volume than a freshly fluffed one. For this reason, it’s important to choose a compression sack that’s just big enough to fit your sleeping bag so you can avoid over-compressing it.
Finally, consider the weight of your sleeping bag. Heavier bags are usually made with thicker materials that are less compressible. If you have a heavy sleeping bag, you may need to choose a larger compression sack or one with reinforced corners to make sure it can withstand repeated use.