Camping in the cold climates and waking up to those breathtaking scenes is an experience of a lifetime. But if you are not prepared for this kind of weather, then your experience will quickly turn miserable.
You need to have the right kind of sleeping gear but how to choose between a sleeping bag and a blanket? In harsh weather conditions such as on a campsite, in the national park, a camping blanket would work perfectly but if you’re sleeping near a frozen lake, or on base camp of a mountain in snow conditions then you need a sleeping bag.
Let’s find out the pros and cons of both these options and see which one comes out on top.
A Sleeping Bag
Sleeping bags are a part of camping for a long time, and they have been around long before blankets, or any other sleeping gear was a thing.
With time the technology that is used to design and develop these sleeping bags has improved significantly, and now you can find a sleeping bag for any situation or weather.
The good thing is that now you can find a sleeping bag for any type of weather. In most cases, you will find these bags with some ratings that will indicate the temperature they are suitable for.
Most of these sleeping bags have a standard European rating system with numbers such as EN13537. With this rating system, there are three different temperature based categories: T Extreme, T Limit, and T Comfort.
The blankets for camping have a similar design and look of a camping quilt. These blankets are great for light backpacking and are better for summer camping. But you won’t find any blankets that have any straps to tie them down in cold weather.
You can use these blankets inside your sleeping bags to make them more comfortable and for better protection against colder weather.
There are different down varieties available for these blankets, and you can also find fleece, cotton, and wool. Wool will be best suited for cold weather, while all other materials are better suited as lightweight options during the summertime.
Sleeping Bag vs. Blanket Camping: The Comparison
Here’s a comparison of some points to keep in mind when making your choice.
Normally, sleeping bags feature weather-proof polyester or nylon shell with a fill. This fill can be synthetic or down.
On the other hand, a blanket might also have that weather-proof nylon shelling and have down or synthetic fill. However, blankets are also available in cotton, fleece, and wool.
Shape and size
On the upside of a sleeping bag, there is a zipper and a hood. They will keep your body warm, including your head. There are different sizes and shapes of sleeping bags available.
Whereas, a blanket is normally available in a rectangular shape, and there are no extra features available in terms of shapes and size.
Weight and space
In terms of weight and space blankets are better than sleeping bags because these bags take a lot of space, and they also have some weight on them. Blankets are way smaller, and they are great for lightweight backpacking.
Different types of sleeping bags are available at different prices. The ones with more fill are rated for cold weather, and they are pricey as well. Similar is the case with the blankets, but they are not as expensive as sleeping bags. So for budget options, blankets are better.
In case of a sleeping bag, as you zip yourself inside it, it becomes pretty warm inside, so it is very much suitable for cold climates. But they also come with different ratings for different seasons.
You can either buy one for the warm weather and one for the cold weather. These bags tend to trap the air inside, and your body heat will warm that air.
On the other hand, a blanket is just a layer that you need to throw over yourself to get that extra warmth. It will be a lot handier for you in the warmer weather, or you can use it as a liner for your sleeping bag when it gets a lot colder outside. For ease of use and working, blankets are better.
Merits & Demerits of a Sleeping Bag
- Different sizes and shapes.
- You just need to unzip it and use it as your blanket or quilt.
- Different insulations are available.
- If you are allergic to down, then you can opt for synthetic fill.
- These sleeping bags offer full body protection.
- Highly comfortable.
- Bulky and heavy
- Not the ideal choice for long-distance hiking.
- If you move a lot during your sleep, then you might get tangled up in your sleeping bag.
- At times you might end up feeling overheated and even sweat in your sleep, and it will make you feel cold and really uncomfortable.
- Too many snug fit bags might make you feel restrictive.
- Down-filled sleeping bags might cause an allergic reaction.
Merits & Demerits of a Blanket
- Blankets are very compact and lightweight.
- They function very well as your cover in the summer season as well as a liner in your sleeping bag in cold weather.
- Blankets are extremely easy to carry.
- These blankets are very small, and you might find it very difficult to cover your entire body.
- Blankets are not that great when it comes to keeping you warm if you are hiking in cold climates.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need a blanket with a sleeping bag?
It all depends upon what type of sleeping bag you have and what the weather conditions are outside. If you are camping in a frigid region, then you might need a blanket with your sleeping bag, provided that your sleeping bag is not rated for freezing temperatures.
You might not need a blanket if you have the right kind of sleeping bag with you that can protect you from cold and keep you warm in freezing temperatures.
Are sleeping bags better than blankets for babies?
When we talk about babies, then it is better that you put them inside a sleeping bag so that they remain safe from the cold climate.
Babies need more protection against cold weather, and for them, sleeping bags will be a much better option as compared to blankets. We will suggest that you go for a sleeping bag for your little one.
Which one is the better option for light backpacking?
Sleeping bags are bulkier and heavier as compared to blankets. If you are looking for the right option for light backpacking, then you need to choose blankets because they are incredibly light, and they also don’t take much space.
Which one is the right choice for moist conditions?
Sleeping bags tend to lose their insulation with moisture. Therefore, you have to be extremely cautious and protect them from dampness in such conditions. On the other hand, blankets are way better in moist conditions.
Can I increase the warmth of a sleeping bag or a blanket?
You can increase the warmth of your sleeping bag by using a blanket on the inside. You can also wear more clothes. On the other hand, there are not many options available to increase the warmth of a blanket unless you use fire to do so.
Both sleeping bags and blankets are excellent choices for you on your next camping trip to the mountains. But if you have to choose only one, then the best option for your next camping trip is a sleeping bag because there are types made for different temperatures.
You can also use a sleeping bag for normal weather conditions and add a blanket to it if you want to fight cold. But this will really restrict your movement inside the bag. The best option for you to choose is a sleeping bag. Just make sure you make the decision based on the weather rating.
So have you made up your mind yet?