Updated on August 17, 2018
They make sleeping bags for different purposes. Units that are manufactured for the backpacker market need to be lightweight, as far as possible. These designs will compromise on everything – comfort and insulation included – to achieve the lightness that the backpacker market needs. Camping sleeping bags are intended for an entirely different market. They are for people who take their cars when they go camping. They are able to carry a good deal of weight in the car, and they demand comfort. For this reason, camping sleeping bags tend to be soft, cushy, bulky and surprisingly – less expensive.
Most people look at sleeping bags as if they were made to the same general expectations. They aren’t. Sleeping bags are always manufactured and marked for the kind of warmth and protection from the elements that they will provide. They call it a bag’s temperature rating. For instance, if you find a bag that says it is rated for 20°F, this is to be taken to mean that you can stay warm and comfortable inside if you sleep in there with a pair of long underwear, and the temperature outside is no lower than 20°F. But there are other things that can affect how warm a camping sleeping bag is as well.
To begin with, a lot depends on the kind of sleeping environment that you expect your sleeping bag to perform in. Placed inside the tent, sleeping bag will doubtless be warmer – the dead air around you in the tent warms up and gives you additional comfort. If you’re outside, putting a sleeping pad under the sleeping bag will make a good deal of difference as well. Some camping sleeping bags come provided with a hood (although as those are generally only mostly found on backpacking sleeping bags). In general, women campers usually seem to prefer warmer sleeping bags. When shopping for camping sleeping bags for women, you could take this into account and buy a model that is a little warmer than you would need for men. Children tend to need warmer sleeping bags too, because their smaller bodies lose heat more quickly.
In general, this would be a wise choice to make for anyone. It’s always a good idea to choose a warmer bag than you actually need. It’s always easy to open the zipper up a little bit and cool a sleeping bag down. In general, -10°F is the highest kind of protection rating for camping sleeping bags.