Posted 23 October 2022

In 2005 the European Outdoor trade introduced a temperature test for Sleeping Bags EN 13537.

This produced a standard assessment of Sleeping Bag Performance and allowed a fair comparison between models and brands. You could then see that one bag was warmer than another but this was not a guarantee of the performance.

Some other misunderstandings creep in and here is some advice on how to interpret the suggested temperatures

The test is conducted in a climatic chamber on a new sleeping bag that has had no extra treatment.

However, the performance of the sleeping bag you buy is affected, sometimes adversely by environmental conditions such as heat, wind temperature, humidity insulation from the ground and the clothes you are wearing. The temperatures given by the test are based on the performance inside the climatic chamber. When used outside the performance will be influenced by the outer conditions. Under the European test, the bags are tested in dry conditions and humidity can radically worsen the performance in wet conditions the thermal loss is much greater than in dry conditions.

Sleeping in Hammocks has become very popular and this also affects the performance of the Sleeping Bag. Experts advise some insulation beneath you and waterproofing around you to protect the bag and the performance will be much less than the EN test suggests.

This is what one expert says Finally, Even with a good quality sleeping bag, you don’t have the same warmth as a tent, camping mat and sleeping bag combo. My sleeping bag is good for up to -17°C and I was damn nippy sleeping through -2°C, even with thermals and proper clothing. It was a pretty crappy night’s sleep.

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