How to choose the right Sleeping Bag for you

A good night’s sleep can make or break a camping trip – sleep is everything right? There’s just something so satisfying about having your bedding just… right. Not too hot so that you have to flick it off, and not so cold that you’re shivering the night away.

To help, we want to make sure you’ve mastered your sleeping arrangements before it comes time to pitch your tent. All sleep-jokes aside, there are a number of factors, ratings and conditions you need to keep front of mind when choosing the right style for you. Follow our guide below to make your nights in the outdoors is a time of rest and recharge.


First things first, the climate. Before you do anything, ask yourself where and when you intend to go camping. The answer will directly impact the style, sizing and temperature of your sleeping bag. Just imagine heading on a three-week summer coastal trek with a bulky, over warm sleeping bag… or perhaps an inland winter trip with a lighter, cooler rated style – the thought makes you shiver!

You also need to consider temperature extremes when planning your bag requirements – weather is unpredictable and you need to accommodate for heatwaves and cold snaps. For example, you’d want a +5 rated comfort bag all year round for coastal areas and a zero-rated bag for inland areas during winter. Check out our climate maps for temperature ratings!

What type of sleeper are you?

Have you ever thought about whether you’re a ‘warm’ or ‘cold’ sleeper? Not many people do. It may be a little too late to have the conversation over a campfire once you’re there, right? So to find out what type of sleeper you are, consider how you would sleep at home with the temperature set to 18 degrees and if you are travelling to a warmer or colder climate and tick off the checklist below.

  • In 18 degrees, would you only sleep with a sheet? You are a warm sleeper.
  • In 18 degrees, would you rug up and use an extra blanket? You are a cold sleeper and should subtract 5 degrees from the overnight minimums on our comfort maps.

The fit of your sleeping bag

Did you know the more space you have in your bag, the more heating your body has to do to keep warm? Extra leg room might be a great idea at the time, but it can work against you if you don’t allow for this in your bag’s temperature rating. The shape of your sleeping bag, the type of activities you’ll experience on your trip and what you’ll be eating during the day are all equally important in generating heat. Consider a mummy shaped bag with tapered leg sections to minimise the space to heat.

How your sleeping bag works

Trust us, it’s not as simple as it looks. Even once you choose the right ratings, using your sleeping bag incorrectly can make you feel cold. To avoid burning more energy than normal through the night, we recommend avoiding cotton clothing and adding additional blankets on top to ‘get warmer’. Both actions counteract the warming effects of a sleeping bag, crushes the insulation and limits the amount of air captured in the bag. We also recommend storing your sleeping bag out of its carry bag during summer and as soon as you get to your campsite to ensure the insulation lofts quicker and isn’t crushed so that you can get as much use as possible in the coming years.

5 Hot Tips

  1. Not everyone experiences the cold or heat the same.
  2. If you camp all year round, you will likely need more than just one sleeping bag.
  3. Your shelter has a massive impact on your warmth.
  4. Daytime temperatures are no indications of nighttime temperatures.
  5. If you don’t know, ask an expert – that’s us!

So there you have it – you’re now a sleeping bag expert in the making. You should now be in a position to select, store and use your sleeping bag correctly without much difficulty. If you’re still stuck we recommend speaking with your local OZtrail outdoor and adventure experts. To find your nearest store, click here.

Follow the map and key below for the average, seasonal temperatures in Australia. 




December, January & February


March, April & May  + September, October & November


June, July & August

Leave a comment