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Shopping for a sleeping bag can be daunting for the aspiring adventurer, with so many different varieties available, and a wealth of classifications and ratings that could be very confusing if a person doesn’t do his homework beforehand.  Among the terms that may throw a purchaser off is the concept of the sleeping bag being rated by season.  The average person would be correct in assuming that this has something to do with the typical four-season climate, and to which season the sleeping bag would be most appropriate.  However, the season rating is actually more of an indicator of the temperature range in which you would be comfortable using the sleeping bag.  That is, if you truly understand the rating system.  The season rating is a number from 1 to 5, with each number standing for the following values:

 

  • Season 1 – Summer.  Season 1 sleeping bags are best used in conditions where the maximum low temperature is between 5 to 10 degrees C.  As the season associated with rating implies, these bags are best used during the summer months when the weather is relatively warm, or for use indoors, when you have control of thermostat.
  • Season 2 – Spring/Summer.  Season 2 bags are for slightly colder conditions, such as in the late spring or early summer before the heat really starts to sink in.  These bags are also satisfactory for early autumn usage.  The temperature range for a Season 2 bag is between 0 to 5 degrees C.  These bags are considered general purpose, and are a safe choice if you aren’t expecting uncomfortably frigid temperatures.
  • Season 3 – Spring/Summer/Autumn.  Season 3 bags, in spite of the seasons attributed to the rating, are actually for colder climates, with temperature parameters of 0 to -5 degrees C.  Perhaps the first level of sleeping bags for outdoor use in cold weather, these bags will keep you comfortable down to freezing point and below.
  • Season 4 – Winter.  Season 4 bags are for serious dips in temperature, with a range of -5 to -10degrees C.  If you plan to catch forty winks out in the frost and snow and don’t want to end up an icicle, these bags will perform to your expectations.
  • Season 5 – Expedition.  Casual adventurers need not apply for the harsh climes meant for Season 5 sleeping bags, which are designed to endure the toughest weather conditions found on mountain tops and polar regions.  With a comfort temperature range of -10 to -15 degrees C, these bags are for use by specialists and would be considered too warm for use in most regular activities.

Season ratings can be a helpful guide to determining the right sleeping bag to purchase for your own individual needs.  Of course, one should take note that these ratings may differ from your actual mileage with the bag, as they merely represent calculated averages.  They do not take into consideration people who are exceptionally susceptible to temperature changes, the clothes that a person is wearing in the bag, and other such variables.

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