Sleeping Bag Construction Techniques

Sleeping bag construction

The construction of the bag is even more important than down you put into it. Only a well-built bag allow fluff to offer all its thermal capacity, avoiding cold spots. The compartments must be optimized for volume than down take on its volume, while providing good support to prevent its migration.

Manufacturers also speak of “differential cutting” to describe the manufacturing technique of matching the difference in circumference between the outside and inside fabric, depending on the load down, and its swelling capacity. Note also that some manufacturers choose to distribute the down differentially between the compartments above and below (a ratio of about 55/45 is common; a 60/40 ratio is significant, and for bags that lie flat on pain of loss of thermal efficiency), or increase the lining on some areas (chest, feet …). All this can only be effective if an effective differential cutting!

The thickness of the partitions is also important. Based on tips of investtops, a sleeping bag with “stitched through” compartments generate significant cold spots, which is also sensitive to a pudgy appearance bag, with very thick walls (what one could check with our infrared thermometer).

L are the main types of partitioning are met:

  • the “dive through” but the bags of our comparison are not affected (except the back of the Altair )
  • the vertical partitions, often called “inverted H” used for almost all of our bags;sometimes the walls are slightly inclined (as for Xero 550 and Helium 600 )
  • Keystone construction, supposed to provide better fit and better insulation (in our comparison, only Panyam uses this construction)
  • for bags for extreme conditions, the two compartment is required

(images courtesy of Rab UK)

Other important features: small compartments allow better secure the duvet, as well as side compartments. In general, the multiplication of the compartments is of interest to optimize the distribution of down, but the number of cells also affects the weight, the complexity and hence the price of the bag. The number of compartments and the thickness of the walls are given in our comparison table.

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