Fishing Sleeping Bags

There are hundreds of carp fishing sleeping bags to choose from but what’s the difference between them all? Two season, four season, all season, with or without liner – what does it all mean? It’s easy to get a little confused, so in this Anglers' Net guide to sleeping bags, we’ll give you all the information you need to buy the perfect sleeping bag.

If there’s one thing essential when session fishing, it’s a good sleeping bag. Ideally, the only thing you want to wake you from your big fish dreams is, well, a big fish! There seems to be much misinformation bandied about when it comes to sleeping bags, much of this, I fear, is from some of the manufacturers themselves, who seem to upgrade the names to ‘all season’ and such like, when the actual rating of warmth offered by the bag is nothing of the sort.

Firstly then, let’s take a look at what should be the proper sleeping bag seasonal ratings to base your buying decision on. A ‘One Season’ sleeping bag is the lowest rating you can get and is designed for use during the summer season. A ‘Two Season’ sleeping bag is designed for use from late spring once the frosts have gone, through to the middle of autumn, before the frosts come again, but will be built to withstand slightly colder weather than the one-season. A ‘Three Season’ sleeping back is designed for full on use from the beginning of spring to the end of autumn, essentially dealing with frost to frost at each end of the year, but not for full on winter use in sub zero temperatures. Finally, a ‘Four Season’ sleeping bag is designed for use right throughout the year including the harshest sub-zero conditions out on the bank.

So, which should you go for? Well, logic would dictate that a four season bag will cater for all eventualities, but a four season bag will be bigger, bulkier, and much heavier than a one season bag, so do you really want to be lugging all the extra weight around if you only ever fish in the summer? And there’s the key really; you first need to take a look at the conditions you are most likely to be fishing in and buy accordingly. Furthermore, it helps to buy a bag capable of dealing with temperatures a bit lower than you intend to be fishing in, as this way you’ll always have a little warmth in reserve.

You also need to give due consideration to the effectiveness of your bag whilst in use. Any seasonal or temperature ratings given to your bag could actually fall short, depending on how you use it. I, myself, always have my bag unzipped all the way down one side – no matter what the temperature – which guarantees I can be out in a flash and on the rods the second I hear the bite alarm. The point I’m getting at is that no sleeping bag, no matter how good it is, can generate heat, all it can do is insulate the heat already contained within from your body, and so if like me you fish with your bag unzipped all the time, you’re essentially ‘leaking’ insulation the whole time you’re in it, so again you might be well advised to up the level you use to compensate for this. In addition, think about the overall size of the inner. Huge wide rectangular bags may offer lots of room, but they are in fact the worst type of sleeping bag in terms of insulation – a ‘mummy’ style sleeping bag which hugs the body and wraps around your head (trekking style) would be much better at retaining heat, but not good for getting out of in a hurry, so you might still be cocooned within it when you arrive at the water's edge in the middle of the night to hit your rods!

As such, it’s about getting a balance. Picking a bag that will suit for the majority of your fishing in temperature and practicality terms. Most modern sleeping bags for carp fishing in the three and four season band will have liners that can be taken out. These liners are only designed to be used in winter so during summer can be taken out and stored at home to lighten the load.

The other way of solving the problem is to buy a two or three season bag which will suffice for all your spring summer and autumn work, but then get a thermal bedchair cover to ramp up the insulation in the winter. This is my own preferred approach, but I take it a little further by actually dressing myself accordingly as part of the system. My standard bag is a two season bag, lightweight and ideal for all my quick overnight sessions, though as it’s not really designed for early spring and late autumn, I simply wear my thermal underwear and socks when the frosts near, then when we get into winter proper, I throw on the thermal bed chair cover and I’m toast no matter how cold it gets. It’s all about being prepared and dressing for weather, say, five degrees less than it is forecast to be. Before now, I’ve fished week long sessions in sub-zero conditions with no problems at all, but then again, I’m not what you would call nesh {it's a North West word – Google it, I had to! - Ed}, I have a friend who moans about the cold from August to May and uses a four season bag in the height of summer!

Another neat trick to avoid shelling out loads for extra warmth in the winter is to double-bag. Have a normal two of three season bag to cope with your normal spring, summer and autumn use, but then buy another cheap (non fishing) sleeping bag from a camping shop, military surplus store or off eBay. Chances are, this bag will be a slimmer design, and so it can easily be slid into your larger fishing sleeping bag to form a double layer system for a fraction of the price of a four season sleeping bag. 

The last piece of advice I would give is not to scrimp when choosing your sleeping bag, if you’re a regular night angler, as you may well be in it for up to seven or eight hours at a time, more in the winter, so make sure it’s a happy place to be – your body will thank you for it!

So, let’s pick out a few safe bets for a great night's sleep. For those who want a decent rating without the price tag, the Force 8 Sleeping Bag from TFG is a 3 Season sleeping bag ideal for those on a budget. The hollow fibre fleece lined inner retains heat and distributes throughout this comfortable sleeping bag which comes supplied with stash bag. Exit and egress is made easy with heavy duty crash zips. Attaches to the bed chair with head and foot harness. Priced at £29.99, it's a real winner, but you may need to look at a cover when the weather really starts to bite (see combo offer below). Full details HERE.

TFG Force 8 Sleeping Bag

 

Staying with TFG, but bumping up the heat, is the TF Gear Comfort Zone Peach Skin 5 Season Sleeping Bag. It’s called 'comfort zone' for a reason, and this is an immensely warm sleeping bag with a waterproof and breathable peach skin outer and double layer fleece lined inner. The removable inner makes this bag the serious choice for anglers looking for one bag for all year round use, and at only £69.99 this bag offers outstanding value for money when compared to some over the £100.00 mark. Full details HERE.

TF Gear Comfort Zone Peach Skin 5 Season Sleeping Bag

 

Trakker have gained an awesome reputation when it comes to sleeping bags for carp fishing, and the Armotex Sleeping Bag is considered by many to be their best ever. Using the revolutionary Armotexx outer shell, this remarkable sleeping bag retains heat with maximum efficiency, whilst the warmest filling currently available ensures constant heat throughout the coldest conditions. Offering extra comfort, due to unique breathability built into the sleeping bag, which actually wicks away body moisture, ensuring you remain warm and dry throughout your session, this all season bag will keep you toasty throughout. Manufactured from breathable Armotexx Fabric with quick release zips to both sides, universal bedchair fittings and easy access carry bag. Priced at £149.99; full details HERE.

Trakker Armotex Sleeping Bag

 

For the ultimate combination, check out this combo deal on the TFGear Force 8 Sleeping Bag & BedChair Cover, giving all season warmth and comfort. This Force 8 Sleeping system has been constructed to give the angler the most versatile sleeping system possible. Multi layered sleeping bag to offer optimum warmth and comfort whatever the weather or season; breathable outer skin maintains moisture free sleep capsule. One piece internal construction eliminates heat loss, essential in sub zero conditions and a removable insulated micro fleece lining is perfect for summer use. Add to this the Force 8 Storm Skin Cover and you’re laughing, it’s 100% waterproof, fleece lined, and provides unrivalled warmth in combination with the bag. Ideal to use in its own right as snug weatherproof blanket during summer and as a wrap over during deep winter. Priced at just £59.99 for the two, it has to be one of the best deals available, in our view, and feedback from those we know who have bought this system has been excellent. Full details HERE.

TFGear Force 8 Sleeping Bag & BedChair Cover

 

For use as a cost effective liner sleeping bag during winter, check out this Gelert Tryfan Classic Camo 300 DL Sleeping Bag, offering outstanding value, comfort and durability. It features a ridge hood, zip baffle, shoulder baffle, inner security pocket and comes complete with a compression sac. An excellent sleeping bag to create a double bag system in the winter, or as a budget bag for use on its own.  The Tryfan has a 190T/70D polyester shell with a poly-cotton lining and the double layer mono fibre insulation will be sure to keep you warm on colder nights. It packs down into a small size (23 x 35cm) making it easy to carry and weighs just 1.8kg. Priced at just £17.27; full details HERE.

Gelert Tryfan Classic Camo 300 DL Sleeping Bag

 

We hope this sleeping bag guide has proved useful, and don’t forget to check out all the other sleeping bags (and there’s lots of them!) via the Anglers' Net Fishing Tackle & Bait Finder.

Julian Grattidge
December 2010

All prices and offers correct at time of publishing.