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Sleep Gear

The Sleeping Bag

Types of Sleeping Bags

Rectangular – ample room to change positions throughout the night. Some rectangular sleeping bags have “zipper compatibility”, which means you can take two individual sleeping bags and make it into a one 2-person sleeping bag. Make sure that if you make this purchase, to buy one bag with a left zipper and the other bag with a right zipper.Mummy – tight fit; retains heat.
Semi-rectangular – somewhere between a rectangular and mummy.
2-person – share a sleeping bag with a significant other.

Temperature Rating

Choose a bag with a temperature rating that’s lower than the lowest temperature you expect to face while car camping. (e.g., The lowest temperature you expect to reach at night is 30 degrees, get a bag that’s rated for 20 degrees or lower).

Sleeping Bag Fill


  • Less expensive
  • Can get wet and does not lose insulating strength


  • More expensive
  • Better weight-to-warmth ratio
  • Cannot get wet! If it does, it loses its insulating strength

My personal favorite sleeping bag is the Army Surplus Sleeping Bag System for its:

  • Low price
  • Inter-connectivity (both bags and bivy have interlocking snaps)
  • High quality (designed for 50°F to -30°F)

The 4 Part Modular Sleep System comes with a:

  • Green Patrol Bag
  • Black Intermediate Bag
  • Waterproof Gor-Tex Bivy
  • Stuff Sack

Used: Price: $40-$50 (Ebay)
New Old Stock: Price: $60-$70 (Ebay)

Sleeping Pad

Don’t make the mistake of not having a sleeping pad. They provide a layer of insulation and cushioning between you and the ground.

Venture Products Self Inflating Air Mat
Cheapest in price and comfortable.
Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest
Light, durable, extremely comfortable, but Bulky.
Therm-a-Rest Z Lite
Light, durable, extremely comfortable and compact!

If you want it to feel more like a bedroom in your tent, then consider an air mattress.

Air Mattress

Better: ALPS Mountaineering Rechargeable Air Bed (Twin and Queen)
Cheaper: Intex Twin or Queen Sized Mattress w/ built in air pump