What To Look For
There are several things to consider when shopping for a three-season sleeping bag. First is the comfort or temperature rating. This is an indicator that lets users know at what temperatures the bag will keep them warm. Typically, three-season bags should be rated between 10 and 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Also consider the construction and design of the bag. The exterior or shell should be durable and able to withstand the routine abuse associated with camping. The style, such as mummy or rectangular, may also impact the warmth and comfort of a down bag.
One of the more common pitfalls associated with choosing a down bag concerns the sizing. Size selection is important, as a proper-sized bag will help in retaining body heat -- which is the name of the game with sleeping bags. There are down bags specifically made for men, women and children. Be sure to choose the right size bag. Another potential pitfall is the material the shell of the bag is made with. A shell should be durable, rip and tear resistant, and able to stand up to the rigors of hiking and camping.
Where To Buy
Down bags are typically available at a variety of outdoor equipment retailers, both locally and on the Internet. As with the purchase of any type of outdoor equipment, take time to shop, research and compare prices prior to purchasing. Web sites such as Backcountrygear.com, Sierratradingpost.com and Campmor.com feature overrun and discontinued gear, often at significant savings.
The cost for a typical three-season down bag will be in the $100.00 to $200.00 range. This may seem like a wide price range for a bag, however, there are many considerations in pricing. Manufacturer, warranty, materials, current or discontinued stock, and other factors greatly impact the price of outdoor equipment.
Comparison shopping is important to just about everyone. It just makes good sense to find the best deal and save money in the process. Take the time to find out which features are important and which are not, and then begin the process of searching for the best deals. Use a variety of resources, including local sporting good stores and the Internet. On line, there are literally dozens of outlets that feature down bags, often with "sale" sections.
One of the most important accessories that should be considered with the use of a down bag is a sleeping pad. Pads are available from a variety of manufacturers in several different styles. A foam pad will typically feature an egg-crate design and will roll up for storage and transport. Inflatable pads self-inflate and expand to form a firm layer of cushioning between the bag and the ground. A good pad will protect the bag, as well as help provide a good night's rest.
When choosing a three-season down bag, visit a retailer with a knowledgeable staff and a good selection. For example, stores such as REI, BassPro and Cabelas are excellent starting points. These stores will typically have knowledgeable staff and a selection of products to steer shoppers in the right direction.