Ask Baz

Changes in Latitudes, changes in attitudes…

Here’s an observation from someone who has spent a lot of time in outdoor stores recently, mainly in support of our sleeping mats:

The most common question asked of a customer regarding the purchase of a sleeping bag is “What is the coldest temperature in which you anticipate using the bag?”

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This is, of course, not an inappropriate question: it’s necessary to know that an end-user will be warm when the temperature drops. But – the question overlooks two factors:

  1. The key to comfortable sleep is to think of a sleeping bag, liner and sleeping mat as a system – if all components are appropriate for prevailing conditions the system will work well. Using a thermal liner means that you can purchase a less-warm (less bulky and less expensive) sleeping bag.
  2. A sleeping bag may only very occasionally be used in the lower temperature range which a consumer specifies – and is often used in conditions which are much, much warmer.

The lesson here is not to overlook the number of summer and early autumn nights in which a sleeping bag will be used – and to ensure that a sleeping bag will work in those conditions by offering plenty of ventilation options.

Conventional wisdom suggests that sleeping bags with a foot box zipper will be of the non-technical variety, and therefore not suitable for use when conditions do get colder or wetter – but Sea to Summit has never been a company bound by conventional wisdom.083_Latitude_Lt_III_fot_box

Our new Latitude sleeping bag is something of a chameleon: it has a technical hood with the same construction as our Talus backcountry bag, a cozy draft collar and an oversized draft tube, all designed to seal in warmth in frosty conditions. It has a 2D Nanoshell™ which will shed external moisture and high-quality 750-fill Ultra-Dry Down, so it will perform well even in high-moisture environments.  But – it also has the roomy cut of our best-selling Trek series and is equipped with both a side zipper and a separate foot box zipper. You can, therefore, open the foot box to cool your feet, or unzip the side zipper for ever-increasing amounts of ventilation, or unzip both and open the sleeping bag flat like a quilt or duvet.

Paired with the right liner and sleeping mat (for instance the Reactor or Adaptor liner and the Comfort Light sleeping mat), the Latitude will form the heart of a sleep system which will keep you comfortable not only when the mercury drops, but also on warm and humid nights.

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Ventilation is at the heart of a flexible sleeping bag, which is why Sea to Summit offers superior ventilation on the Micro, Trek, Traveller, Basecamp and Latitude models.

So – if the outdoor store where you are considering purchasing a sleeping bag doesn’t take the time to ask how warm temperatures may be when you go camping – it might be time for a change in Latitude.

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