Staying Comfortable On The Trail
Backpacking is a popular, low-cost recreational activity almost anyone can enjoy. If you’re planning on an overnight backpacking trip – especially in a chilly region- you’re going to want a sleeping bag.
Choosing the right sleeping bag is more involved than you might think, especially for people who usually shop in Big And Tall. Backpacking means you have to carry everything; ergo, a larger person, who requires a larger sleeping bag, will have more weight on their shoulders than they might otherwise like.
Fortunately, bag manufacturers are well aware of this. Here are some Big And Tall sleeping bags made for backpacking.
The NEMO Disco Down Sleeping Bag
The top choice for big, lightweight sleeping bags is the NEMO Disco Down. This bag has everything you’d find in a traditional sleeping bag; it stays warm in temperatures as low as 15°F, has a comfortable down filling, and even includes thermal gills – a zipper-based venting feature for warm nights.
This bag is ideal for backpacking because of its size. This bag only weighs 2 pounds, 11 oz.
When folded, it compresses to 18 x 9 inches and 6.6 L. The down insulation means it’s literally light as a feather.
It’s arguably the best sleeping bag for backpackers – a bag that can accommodate a 6-foot man and still manage to compress down enough to be comfortably carried. With all these features, it’s no surprise that its only downside is the cost. If you’re backpacking on a budget, you may have to look elsewhere.
Big Agnes Hog Park Bag
The runner-up choice is the Big Agnes Hog Park 20 sleeping bag. This bag is built for big people, or those who need room to toss and turn.
You should especially consider this bag if you’re sensitive to down; it has a fill of thermolite polyester fibers that retains warmth down to 20°F. However, it weighs more than its competitor, clocking in at 6 pounds, 7 oz, and only compresses to 16.7 L.
In that same vein, the Agnes Hog Bag is considerably less expensive than the NEMO, in part due to the synthetic filler. It’s the ideal choice for a backpacker who’s willing to spend a little extra for high-end equipment, without breaking the bank.
Tough Outdoor All Season Hooded Bag
The bargain choice for budget-conscious campers is the All Season XL sleeping bag – at only $40, this bag is considerably cheaper than the other two. If you’re trying to keep costs down, then this is your best option.
This bag is the roomiest out of the list, fitting people up to six feet, six inches tall. It’s a good choice for people who shop in Big And Tall, or those who air on the side of claustrophobic.
This bag weighs 5 pounds and collapses to 15 x 8x 8 inches, making it easy to transport. It is good down to 40°F. Its creators recommend you use this bag for nightly temperatures between 60°F and 40°F for maximum comfort.
Sleeping Bag Accessories
In addition to finding the perfect sleeping bag, you should also find the right pad. In order for these bags to stay warm during chilly nights, they must be aided by adequate insulation, most notably below.
The ground constantly leeches warmth from you, causing your body to work much harder to maintain your temperature.
For the most comfortable experience, consider purchasing a pad to go beneath your sleeping bag. This pad will help you conserve heat, stay warm, and stave off the morning dew.
If you consider yourself a bigger person, you may need to double up pads, or find one with extra cushioning. It’s estimated that a pad will account for a third of your overall insulation, making it the difference between a warm and cold night.
At A Glance
The Nemo Disco Down is the best; it’s light and large. It is also the most expensive.
The Big Agnes Park Bag is synthetic, making it heavier, but also cheaper. The Sleeping Hooded Bag is the absolute cheapest, but not good below 40°F.
Don’t be afraid to get creative, or go a little bit over budget. The right sleeping bag (and pad) can make or break your backpacking trip. Make sure you’re comfortable on the trail during the day, and on the ground at night.