Sleeping bag
Credit: Karina Y
Manufacturers have taken most of the guesswork out of buying the right sleeping bag—it’s now likely that a bag rated to 0°C will actually keep you warm right down to freezing. With that in mind, here’s what you need to consider when shopping for a new bag.

Temperature rating: Start by considering the coldest temperature you’re likely to sleep in. Summer-only campers will find a 5 to 10°C bag perfect for most of Canada. For three-season camping, start at a 0°C rating, or go as low as –12°C for the mountains or the Arctic. For four seasons, drop to at least –20°C. And if you tend to sleep cold, subtract another 5° for any time of year.

Filling material: Pick a down bag if weight and packability are priorities. Otherwise, synthetics are easier to care for, usually less expensive, warmer when wet and hypoallergenic.

Sleeping style: Front, back, side or sprawl—yes, they make a bag for that. Some have extra warmth on the top side, perfect for those who don’t thrash around at night. For toss-and-turners and hot people, there are now bags more like duvets. Mummy bags are warmer, but more constricting. Rectangular bags are roomy, but bulky.

Other factors: Always look for bags that are lighter, that pack smaller and that have longer zippers. Any other extras—such as venting footboxes and handy pockets—are a bonus.