Sleeping Bag Features, Options and Accessories

Sleeping bags and sleeping systems can be quite sophisticated. Which of the following accessories or add-ons are important? How important is simplicity in this context, eschewing most if not all of the options listed below?

What about the following zipper options?

  • snag free zipper,
  • left and right hand zippers for zipping two bags together,
  • two-way zippers for ventilation,
  • draft tubes to cover the zipper,
  • quarter or half length zippers to save weight,
  • ¾ or full length zipper in order to use the bag as a quilt?

What about the following design elements at the top and bottom of the bag?

  • hoods (yes bags are available without them),
  • a hood that folds flat on warm nights,
  • draft collars,
  • chest pocket for small items,
  • extra length to store extra clothes or boots,
  • draw strings or zippers in the foot box area for adding or subtracting foot room and for increased ventilation?

What about the outer shell?

  • dark colored shell to absorb radiant heat from the sun,
  • waterproof and breathable shell covering for sleeping out in the open,
  • waterproof and breathable shell only at the foot and hood with a water resistant body,
  • built in pockets for a sleeping mat and/or a pillow?

The above options only cover a part of the accessories commonly available, but you get the idea. Click on this link for an overview of sleeping bag/sleeping system designs: Alternative Sleeping Systems.