If you are headed out into the woods, choosing the right sleeping bag is a huge deal. After all, you will be spending 8 hours a day in it, maybe even more. If you are up in the air as to what to look for, here are some key points that can help you figure out how to choose a sleeping bag.
This is probably the single biggest thing to consider when you choose a sleeping bag. Choosing the right rating will keep you from freezing in a Wyoming winter or sweating to death on a Texas spring night.
When choosing a temperature rating, choose one that will be good to around 15 degrees lower than the lowest temperature that you expect to encounter. Remember that you can always unzip a bag if it is a bit too warm, but you can not add extra insulation in the field.
In general, for a Summer bag you would want a rating of 30 degrees, a three season bag should have a rating of 15 to 30 degrees and a winter bag should be rated to lower than 15 degrees.
Sleeping Bag Shape
Bag shape is another big concern and the type you get will be a personal choice. It really depends how you sleep. Do you want to be snug or do you want to move around.
Most people will choose a rectangular shaped bag that give you plenty of room. This is by far the most popular shape but you can also get a semi-rectangular or a mummy bag. Couples can even choose a 2 person bag.
If it is possible, try to find a high end sporting goods store where you can test out a few bag designs.
You have 2 basic choices here, synthetic and down filled. If you want an affordable bag, synthetic is what you should be looking for. The good thing about synthetic, besides affordability is that it is hypoallergenic and it will still keep you warm if it gets wet.
If you have the money and are not allergic, down is a fantastic choice. It is lightweight, performs better in cold climates and can be greatly compressed for better storage.