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Complete Guide to backpacking sleep system

For backpacking adventures, a good night’s sleep is essential. Apart from food and water, another important thing is a sleep system. With the right sleep system, one can get at least five or sometimes more hours of quality sleep, even if conditions are not ideal. The following items are a part of every backpacking sleep system, i.e., a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and pillow. Each item plays a significant role in providing overall comfort. 

Today bike packers are increasingly choosing quilts over sleeping bags because they are lighter, simpler, and less bulky. A backpacking quilt is a great lightweight option to regulate the temperature most nights, except for the coldest ones. For a summer trip, a quilt is the best to minimize weight, and it’s better if bike packing bags have less weight and space occupied by gear.

A backpacking sleep system: For Quality Sleeping 

A good night’s sleep is essential for a good backpacking experience. Hence, one must take time to find a suitable sleeping system. A backpacking sleep system refers to individual components one needs to sleep and how they complement each other. Most of the time, travelers can get a good night’s sleep by enhancing their sleep system using the right sleeping tactics. Before going to bed at night and the next morning, there is often a large shift in the factors affecting a good night’s sleep, including heat-generating metabolism; ambient temperatures; sleep is deeper early and lighter towards morning.

Therefore, a backpacking sleep system for a good night’s sleep not only needs to be warm and comfortable but also must be lightweight, moisture resistant, keeps warm when wet, dry quickly to avoid adding weight to the load, easy to deploy and pack up, compressible and easy to launder and maintain, both on the trail and back home. The minimum sleeping system must include a sleeping bag, quilt, bivy, sleeping liner for extra warmth, a sleeping pad, pillow, and adequate shelter. 

How to select a backpacking sleep system?

The first component of a backpacking sleep system is a sleeping bag. Sleeping bags come in different sizes. Therefore, the best way to test out bags is by getting in them to see what fits the best. It is also important to consider the level of ventilation available in the sleeping bag design. So, select the bag that can provide a comfortable fit. The bottom line is today, the manufacturers make high-performance, lightweight bags shaped in ways that are way more comfortable to sleep in. The second component of the sleep system is a sleeping pad. It provides both comfort and warmth when you are sleeping on the ground. Good sleep can greatly impact comfort and warmth, particularly in colder conditions.

Sleeping pads are of three types Foam, Self-inflating, and Inflating Pad. The more comfortable option is the inflatable pads, which are more compact. Before selecting, consider the R-Value or temperature rating. Another component of the sleep system is a pillow. Backpacking pillows are either inflatable or filled with synthetic fill. Select a light pillow that can provide the comfort and support needed. Another factor to consider as part of the sleep system is clothing. Selecting the right level of clothing to sleep on depends on the tolerance to cold conditions and the ambient temperature.

Significance of a bikepacking quilt

A bikepacking quilt is generally lighter as it does not include some parts that are on a sleeping bag. They are around 20% to 30% lighter overall. Due to fewer parts like zippers and a hood, they can pack smaller. It can keep warm enough like a sleeping bag would in frigid environments. Quilts come with neck collars, width options, and improved attachment systems today.

One must use a quilt as normally, a sleeping bag does not offer much insulation when compressed underneath you. A sleeping bag is essentially dead weight as far as bikepacking goes, so having a quilt wrapped 3/4 of the way around your body is a win. Lastly, when looking for a bikepacking quilt prefer a lightweight and that packs fairly small.

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