Camping is a great way to get out into nature and have a fun-filled family holiday, something you might want to know before setting off on your trip is whether sleeping bags are warmer than blankets. You might not want to buy brand new sleeping bags for everyone but you might want to after reading more about the benefits.
Sleeping bags are warmer than blankets as they surround the body to keep in the heat the body produces. They are also warmer as they have fewer pockets of air that can cool the body. Sleeping bags are made from innovative technologies to provide more comfort and warmth.
In this article, we will go through different aspects of blankets compared to sleeping bags, what makes sleeping bags warmer and why they are both good contenders for camping.
Are Sleeping Bags Warmer Than Blankets?
Sleeping bags surround their users in ways a blanket cannot, offering superior insulation and trapping in body heat in warm pockets of air. This means that sleeping bags are generally much warmer than blankets and more suitable for use in colder temperatures.
The warmth of sleeping bags and other camping gear is measured by a warmth-to-weight ratio. Sleeping bags offer far more insulation for their weight when compared to blankets.
For example, a 5lb sleeping bag can protect you all the way down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit while a 5lb blanket can only protect you down to 32 degrees. You would need upwards of five blankets to match the warmth of that one cold-weather sleeping bag.
Most sleeping bags have been designed for use in certain temperatures, and a quick look at the label or product features should tell you which ones. Some sleeping bags are intentionally made lightweight for summer months, while others have been designed for use in the cold. 4-season bags are the best investment for serious campers since they can be used year-round in all sorts of weather.
Sleeping bag insulation can be made from natural materials like down or a synthetic kind of insulation such as polyester. Typically, synthetic insulation has a heavier warmth-to-weight ratio – meaning that a synthetic bag with the same temperature rating as a natural down bag will weigh more.
This makes down sleeping bags the better option for many campers looking for a lightweight bag with high compressibility. On the other hand, synthetic bags perform better in wet conditions like rain or snow.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Sleeping Bag?
In addition to being the warmer option, there are several other advantages of sleeping bags over blankets.
For campers, sleeping bags can protect you from other elements besides just the cold. Frost, wind, and rain are all made much more tolerable in a weather-resistant sleeping bag. Most sleeping bags are designed to be used even in damp conditions and offer at least some level of water-resistance or waterproofing.
Allergy-sufferers love that sleeping bags typically don’t collect dust and dirt when in use or while stored like blankets do.
Sleeping bags that are customized to account for differences between genders offer campers even more comfort and protection from the elements. Women are naturally more cold-natured and produce less body heat than men, so bags for women include more insulation.
Sleeping bags designed for women are also typically wider in the hips and narrower in the shoulders than men’s sleeping bags. This allows for women to sleep more comfortably while preventing any extra pockets of space for heat to escape or cold air to get in.
Sleeping bags can even be used unzipped as an insulated blanket. This is a convenient option when you want bedding that is easy to clean and can be used on the ground without getting damaged or ruined like a normal blanket would. Many campers like to use extra sleeping bags as floor mats for extra cushioning and protection.
In addition, with a sleeping bag you also have the ability to zip 2 together to make a double-sized bag – or purchase an oversized double bag. This is a great feature for couples, a mother and child, or anyone simply wanting a bigger sleeping bag.
Sleeping bags typically compress far better than blankets for easy transportation and storage. In fact, some of the options available on the market today can roll down to just a few inches. Other features such as carrying cases, packing rolls, hoods, built-in pillows, and stash pockets also make sleeping bags a more convenient option for many campers.
When Should You Use A Sleeping Bag?
If you are going to be camping in especially frigid temperatures, a blanket alone is likely not going to be able to trap enough body heat to keep you warm. In contrast, a good-quality winter sleeping bag is going to be rated down to around 20 degrees Fahrenheit! In fact, as mentioned earlier in this article, the best cold-weather bags on the market can be used even in temperatures down to minus 40 degrees.
If you are hiking to your destination, a compressible sleeping bag that can easily fit into your pack is going to be far more convenient than trying to stuff a blanket into your gear.
In addition, anyone who camps often or requires protection from the elements (like rain and snow) will enjoy the many benefits of sleeping bags over blankets.
Many RVers also choose to use sleeping bags in their indoor accommodations due to ease of use, cleanliness and warmth. Most sleeping bags are the perfect size to curl up with on the couch or use in a kid’s bunk. Kids enjoy getting to pick their own sleeping bags and it could be a great way to get them more excited about the family trip.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Blankets?
The use of blankets can be more convenient for some campers who don’t like having to purchase and carry around tons of outdoor equipment and supplies. The ability to simply grab a pile of blankets from home can sometimes make more sense for spontaneous adventurers, large families, or trips in an RV.
In addition, with blankets you are not limited to a certain size as you are with a sleeping bag. Some people simply don’t like the feeling of being confined and can’t stand the thought of being zipped up in a bag all night.
In some cases, blankets can be more durable than sleeping bags. For example, a thick woven blanket is less likely to rip or tear when caught on a branch or other object than some thin, cheaply-made sleeping bags.
Sleeping bags are also generally more vulnerable to heat than blankets and must be used with caution around a campfire. Because of this, wool blankets are preferred by many campers due to their fire-resistance and the ability to use them closer to the fire.
When Should You Use A Blanket?
When you are on a budget, blankets can be a better option for your camping adventures. If you don’t camp often, live a minimalist lifestyle, or don’t have any place to store additional camping gear – it might make more sense for you to just repurpose the existing blankets you have at home while on your trip.
Blankets are also a better option when you or your family members don’t particularly like to be confined in a sleeping bag. They also allow for more flexibility, such as in the case of a young child who may start off the night in their own cot before crawling over to yours.
Large families may not want to invest in such a large quantity of sleeping bags when they can just grab their own blankets from home and call it a day.
Many families prefer to bring along a mix of both sleeping bags and blankets, to be layered together or used in different situations. If you have some family members who prefer sleeping bags and others who prefer blankets, this will also likely end up being your solution.
Rather than worrying about everyone having matching gear, go with whatever will help everyone have a good night’s sleep. (Unless you need the specialized cold-weather technology of a sleeping bag for very low temperatures.)
With the ability to protect you from the wind, rain and frost – today’s modern sleeping bags are an amazing innovation to shield you from the elements. With a far superior warmth than blankets, a good-quality sleeping bag is a wise investment for anyone who camps often, sleeps out in freezing temperatures, or prefers top-of-the-line gear. Overall, a well-researched sleeping bag purchase can make all the difference in your next camping trip or RV adventure. Happy trails!