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What is a good sleeping bag?

Posted by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 1:23 PM
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Last yr I did a leader outdoor overnight. I used a polyester fill Ozark trail sleeping bag from Walmart that cost, maybe $20. I think it was temp rated 30-50 degrees. The temp got down to 52 degrees, and I was FREEZING! I had fleece pjs on and had to add an extra layer of socks, sweats, sweatshirt, fleece hat, mittens, extra blanket and was still cold.

BRRRR!   30-50 degrees, my foot!!

I vowed that night that I will not make my girls go through a night like that if I can help it.

So, what have you found to be a good sleeping bag for temps that drop below 65 degrees at night? Also include the lowest temp experienced that you/your daughter stayed warm.


If you have any tips for sleeping outdoors also include them. I don't know why, but we were told to change out of our day clothes, including underwear, and wear clean dry pjs and socks to sleep in. Said we would stay warmer. Whether that is true or not, I couldn't tell you.

by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 1:23 PM
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by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Skip Walmart, or Target. For good camping gear, you are going to spend a lot more than $20. Those are cheap for a reason. Check out sporting good stores, and get recommendations from the employees. Write them down, then check for reviews online. Then, hunt down the one you like for the best price you can. Expect to spend around $50 for a good quality, outdoor bag rated for cold weather. 

Putting a pad under the bag will help- you won't be directly on the cold ground. Cots do not help much, because the air is circulating around the body, instead of just on top of the body. 

Land while it is NOT a method you can do with Girl Scouts, skin on skin is better than piling on the clothing. Seasoned all season outdoor campers will tell you that you stay warmer sleeping naked or nearly naked, but again, obviously that isn't something you can do with scouts. 

A mummy style bag (if you can stand them) will help keep the heat in better, but personally, I hate being that confined. 

Lastly- the good, old fashioned bed roll. Use two blankets that are thick a d warm. 

Stay away from polyester fill bags. Also, anything that has a nylon interior isn't going to radiate the body warmth. You want something with a flannel interior, or a fleece interior. 

As for brands, these are decent-





The North Face

To salvage the ones you have, I would pick up a cheap pad, and use a cheap fleece blanket inside of it. It won't be perfect, but test it out in some 50* weather and see how it goes before attempting it with the girls. You might find it works just fine, or it may not. But, it's worth trying it before dropping $50-100 on a new bag. 

by on Feb. 1, 2013 at 8:39 AM

Personally, I like my old cotton one, it is not made of the slippery material at all, just like a big blanket wrapped around you.  That's the same kind I have bought my kids.  My daughter has not yet slept out in the cold, but my son did with BS, in February at Washington's Crossing.  BS say to change all clothes because you might have sweated during the day and then the clothing is damp, even if you don't feel it, so you change everything.  Also, air mattress not recommended in the cold, pads as above recommended.  Btw, for the tall people out there, they do make tall sleeping bags, fabulous if you are tall like me.

by on Feb. 1, 2013 at 12:03 PM

I always bring extra blankets camping. It seems like no matter what, the girls are freezing. I also like the cotton sleeping bags, I have some really old ones, they are super heavy to carry, but much warmer than my expensive Kelty one that's supposed to be for very low temps.

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