A 3-season sleeping bag refers to a sleeping bag which offers good all-weather protection, being capable of withstanding temperatures of between +10°C to +35°C.
Sleeping bags for camping are classified according to their seasonal temperature rating, while 3-season bags themselves are the most popular choice for infrequent campers.
Some may argue that the weight that the insulation adds makes a 2-season a better choice for summer, but you’ll be very happy to lug that weight should a could spell hit your camp. To help you make an informed choice we’ll be explaining the various temperature ratings of sleeping bags for camping, while also showing you a few extras to consider to improve your trip in general.
Seasonal Sleeping Bag Ratings
Seasonal ratings are used to classify sleeping bags according to the temperature range through which they can keep you insulated and warm. Here are the basic seasonal classifications and their temperature ranges:
- 1 season/light sleeping bag: 50°F and above
- 2 season/summer sleeping bag: above 41°F
- 3 season/all-purpose sleeping bag: 24°f to 41°F
- 4 season/winter sleeping Bag: 23°F and below
1-season sleeping bag
As the lightest, most compact option, 1-season sleeping bags are best suited to hot, dry climates. They compress further than any other sleeping bag, perfect for fitting into a backpack. Many use 1-season sleeping bags for camping at a hostel rather than out in nature with your tent, acting as a layer between you and the foreign bed, or as a sheet.
Cheap but durable, the best 1-season sleeping bags feature extras such as built-in netting to protect against insects and both anti-microbial and moisture-resistant fabrics.
2-season sleeping bag
Offering protection perfect for cool summer nights, 2-season sleeping bags carry a similar density to their lighter counterparts with the added warmth supplied by an extra lining. Despite the padding, these sleeping bags fit a very specific temperature range, supplying too little warmth for most nights spent outdoors.
If you are uncertain about where the weather is heading, taking a 2-season sleeping bag for camping may leave you putting on layers and layers of clothes in an attempt to stay warm. Those living in hot regions of the world may prefer the comfort of the additional liner but if any degree of frigid weather approaches, you’ll be better off with a 3-season sleeping bag.
3-season sleeping bag
Available in an assortment of shapes, quality ranges and sizes, 3-season sleeping bags are the most commonly used sleeping bag for camping. Well-padded and almost always snug and comfy, a 3-season sleeping bag is intended for use throughout spring, summer and fall.
Yet, its fantastic mid-way density and good overall heat retention makes it a popular choice for winter as well, and the definite favorite for the colder half of the year in warm climates. Keeping you warm at temperatures as low as 24°F, you have endless options at your disposal when selecting a 3-season sleeping bag.
4-season sleeping bag
Otherwise known as a winter sleeping bags, 4-season sleeping bags are essential for braving snow and frigid temperatures. Highly insulated with some of the highest fill counts out there, these sleeping bags typically feature full zippers, shoulder and neck baffles, and complete hoods. Large, hefty and suited only to the cold, the weight will be no problem when you are packing for extreme adventures. The lightest 4-season sleeping bags are filled with goose down, but this comes at a considerable cost.
European Sleeping Bag Temperature Ratings
While most sleeping bags commonly found are classified according to a seasonal value, European temperature ratings are at times used instead. Termed the EN 13537, here is a brief look at what each refers to.
- Upper limit – The ‘upper limit’ refers to the highest air temperature at which the average male can sleep comfortably which sweating excessively
- Comfort – The ‘comfort’ rating refers to the lowest air temperature at which the average female can sleep comfortably whilst in a relaxed sleeping position
- Lower limit – The ‘lower limit’ refers to the lowest air temperature at which the average male can sleep comfortably in a curled position without waking for eight hours
- Extreme – The ‘extreme’ rating refers to the lowest temperature which the average female can sustain for six hours without risking death from hypothermia.
Is a 3-Season Sleeping Bag Best for Me?
Although 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-season sleeping bags are all available, 1-season bags offer very little protection from the elements and are only suited to hellishly hot summer nights. Most people find very little value from single-season sleeping bags, opting for rather a 2- or 3-season bag instead when camping in warm climates.