Selecting A Sleeping Bag – Bicycle Touring Pro

Selecting A Sleeping Bag

When you’re selecting a sleeping bag for your long distance bicycle tour, there are three main things to keep in mind.

1. How cold is it going to be?

This is an important piece of information that you need to research before you leave home. The location and time of year in which you will be traveling will determine the approximate weather conditions. If you are planning a summer bike tour, you can likely get away with a very small and lightweight sleeping bag. However, if you’re going to be riding across Sweden in the wintertime, you’ll likely need something much warmer. Do your research ahead of time and look for a sleeping bag that can support you in those weather conditions.

2. How much space do you have on your bike for your sleeping bag?

It is also very important to think about the size of the sleeping bag you select. When traveling by bike, the size and weight of every object you carry is crucial, but there is no object that can more easily eat up space on your bike than that of your sleeping bag. You want to try and get the smallest and warmest sleeping bag you can get. That’s the trick! Most of the time, the warmer the sleeping bag, the larger the bag is going to be. So this can be a little tricky. When selecting a sleeping bag, I recommend you actually go to a sporting good store and check out the bags for yourself. This way you can actually see the size of the bag determine for yourself whether or not it is going to be too large for your travels.

3. How quickly can your bag dry if it gets wet?

My last comment about selecting a sleeping bag is that you want to select a bag that, if it were to get wet, could dry very quickly. For this reason, I have never toured with a down sleeping bag. While down is warm and can be compressed to a very small sizes, down is also incredibly difficult to dry in the event that it does gets wet. The last thing you want on a bike tour is for your sleeping bag to get wet and remain that way for days or even weeks on end! For that reason, I recommend a synthetic sleeping bag that dries very quickly after coming in contact with water. While synthetic sleeping bags are typically a bit larger than  down sleeping bags of comparable warmth, I believe it’s worth it to carry that extra weight, as I feel safe in knowing that if my bag does get wet, I can dry it out very quickly.

If you have any questions or comments about selecting a sleeping bag for your bicycle tour, please use the comments form below.

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7 thoughts on “Selecting A Sleeping Bag

  1. Joe Bosher says:

    Hello,
    Ive just found your site and it seems great! i am thinking of cycling accross france and spain this summer and i need to get some appropiate gear together. I need to choose a 1 man tent and also a sleeping bag. I would like the tent as small and light as possible. I am 5ft 11. The same with the sleeping bag, it needs to be very small but it also need to keep me warm enough at night. It would be great if you could give me a little advice on any of this as there is just so much out there and i dont want to buy the wrong thing!

    thanks alot, Joe Bosher (UK)

  2. Ivan giaquinto says:

    Hey, im going to cycle from singapore to europe through central asia. The first months will be in tropical climate then in high mountain-alpine climate. What sort of bag would you suggest?

    • Darren Alff says:

      I would probably go with a down summer sleeping bag. Something like that would probably work for both places – as long as you have the appropriate clothing as well.

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