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The temperature in your tent will quickly follow that of the outdoors. At bedtime, you may find you're too warm unless you peel back your covers. Halfway through the night, you may wake up to your own shivering. Without the benefits of home climate controls, you have to be prepared for everything from muggy evenings to freezing mornings.

Between early May and late October, Algonquin will still subject the interior camper to everything from freezing Arctic high pressure systems to sweltering humid air masses from the Gulf of Mexico. This extreme range of temperatures means you may well have to consider a variety of sleep gear.

Sleeping BagsSleeping PadsOverbagsLiners

Sleeping Bags

Rectangular Bags:

These are the economical bags that serve to introduce so many people to summer camping. While they do have spacious interiors, their bulk and weight are quite evident when being packed for interior camping.

Their other drawback becomes evident when temperatures drop. Every cubic inch of unoccuppied air in these spacious bags takes heat from the camper's body, typically resulting in extra clothes being worn to bed.

Barrel Bags:

These bags have moderately tapered sides which limit the air voids that one's body otherwise would have to heat. The head area has the same straight type of opening as the rectangular bag.

Their dimensions provide some room to move about, but do account for part of the bag's weight and bulk.

Mummy Bags:

These tightly fitted bags are designed to greatly reduce the air-voids that one's body would otherwise have to keep warm. Because one's head and neck loose a lot of heat, these bags have a hood-like closure built-in. This design is also popular because its compact design makes it lighter and less bulky to pack.

Some people find the close fit of this kind of bag to be somewhat claustropobic and limit its use to cold weather camping.

Insulation Fills:

Regardless of its shape and style, a bag's overall ability to keep the camper warm depends on its insulation fill.

Down has the reputation for being the most light, compressible, resilient and efficient insulation. Coming from the fluffy underlayers of birds, it is quite expensive. With down being very suseptible to dampness, special measures should be taken to retain its dryness.

Synthetic fill come in a range of types ... resin-bounded fibres ... heat-fused fibres ... chemically treated fibres. These fibres exhibit varying combinations of cost, bulk, efficiency and durability.

Sleeping Pads

There are two types of sleeping pads available to the interior camper ...

  • Self-inflating foam mattresses range in thickness from 1 to 2 inches, in length from 4 to 6 feet, in weight from .5 to 3.5 pounds and in R-value from approximately 2 to 5. Opening the air-control valve of one of these unpacked mattresses allows its unique construction to flex itself into an extended shape and to draw air into its internal cells. Closing the valve keeps the air inside, until one decides to reverse the process for repacking.

  • Foam pads are the economical and lighter alternative. Made of flexible high density foam, they range in thickness from 5 to 15mm, in length from 4.5 to 6.25 feet, in weight from .2 to .85 pounds and in R-value from approximately .7 to 2.


When in a sleeping bag in cold temperatures, one's perspiration vapour creeps outward through the bag's insulation. Once this humidity reaches that part of the insulation that's near the outside low temperature, it condenses into dampness. If this effect compounds, it produces a wet and cold sleeping bag.

The use of an overbag keeps this dew point effect outside of the main bag and allows for quick drying of the lighter overbag during the course of the day. The added thickness of an overbag has the an additional insulating benefit of between 5 and 10 degrees celsius.


These are designed to prolong the life of a sleeping bag by reducing wear and tear of its inside surface. They are usually made out of a cotton or silk blend material.

Those sleeping bags that have a slick or clammy inside surface will feel more comfortable in summer with a cotton liner.