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4th Royal Eltham

 

Sleeping Bags

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The Basics

What to look for

One of the most important pieces of kit you can buy which, even in quite mild weather, has the ability to turn a fun weekend into a nightmare.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Basics

Sleeping bags cost from £15.00p to literally hundreds. You don't need to spend hundreds if you are aware of some of the basics. Even with a good quality bag you will still get cold if you place it directly onto the floor of your tent. The times we have seen our scouts complain of being cold, even though they have the entire contents of their Ruc-sac piled on top of them. You need to put several layers between you and the ground. When you are in your bag you squash it!, what appears to be a nice plump piece of bedding on top, is in fact just a few millimeters thick beneath you. What you need during warmer weather is a ground mat and at least one blanket between you and the ground. During colder times even more blankets are needed. Most importantly, NEVER sleep in you daytime cloths, always use "jim-jams" or sleep in your underwear. If you were cold during the night and wore your day cloths, what do you put on to warm up in the morning? We have camped in snow and ice and these tips really do work.

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What to look for

Sleeping bags are often measured by the seasons (which the manufacturer claims) that they will keep you warm during. 1 season being Summer, 4 seasons being all year. They can also be measured by the weight of the insulating material (normally man made), obviously the heavier they are the more "seasons" in which they will keep you warm. The "mummy" type bags are designed to follow the contours of your body, leaving less room around you for cold air. There are bags which contain Duck Down. These are quite expensive but are very small when packed and light to carry, ideal for hiking. The better quality bags will have a zip baffle, hood and even shoulder baffles with draw cords to close the top around you keeping cold air out. These are also particularly good for encapsulating your mate. Quite amusing to watch him or her bouncing around the site looking for a savior!

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Zip baffles - An insulating flap which runs the length of the zip and helps to keep the cold air (and cold zip) away.

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Shoulder baffles - An insulating flap around the top of the bag which forms a seal to help keep cold air out.

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Ground mat - A rectangular piece of neoprene (bubbly rubber) which, when laid beneath a sleeping bag, helps to keep the cold and damp out.

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