Sleeping Bags: On Buying and Using One in an Truck Sleeper
When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, many truckers use sleeping bags as their bedding.
Because of the custom size of truck sleepers and mattresses, using a sleeping bag can be much easier than using sheets and blankets for sleeping.
Alternatives to using a sleeping bag to staying warm in the winter are a mattress heat sheet reflector pad (the heat of which is reflected from your body back to your body) or a heating pad (powered from outside itself). The problem with these units is that they reflect heat only from one side (unless you roll up in them). Electrically powered heating pads (or electric blankets) can become too warm; if there is no power source, they provide only the type of warmth that a standard blanket will.
When buying this product, you will want to bear in mind the following specifications:
Some units also come with a small pillow. The inclusion of this extra may or may not figure into your consideration of using one in your truck.
The first sleeping bag that Mike used in the truck (manufactured by Coleman) eventually became so badly worn -– in both the fabric that he laid on and the underlying insulation -- that it had to be thrown away. If Vicki had known about the wear and tear in time, she might have been able to patch it as she did hers when it became worn.
Vicki's unit (also manufactured by Coleman) was purchased at the same location but at a different time from when Mike had bought his. Both of the bags were supposed to be able to be zipped to others of their kind, but unfortunately, the two bags had two different kinds of zippers, making their ability to be zipped together impossible. Drivers who go camping with their families may also want to consider whether or not two similar units can be zipped together.
What Specification Was the Deal Maker or Deal Breaker?
When Mike went shopping for a new sleeping bag, he knew he was looking for a product to be used within his truck; therefore, he was not focused on the shell material being impervious to moisture, as an overnight camper or hiker might encounter when using his product outdoors.
Mike was particularly interested in the lining material of his bag. He did not want material that would not wick away sleep-related sweat. So, he shopped around until he could find a bag with lining containing at least some cotton. When you shop for yours, you may want to research the durability of sleeping bag lining material. If some other material works better for you, by all means get it.
Mike got a new Field and Stream sleeping bag at the temperature rating that he wanted. He did not realize before he bought it that widths of these products vary. He was very surprised the first night that he crawled into it inside his truck because it was 3 inches narrower than the one he threw away! We share this "width story" with you so that you will be aware when you buy one.
Some drivers might like to zip their sleeping bags closed at night to stay cozy warm (especially if they are used to turning their trucks off at night when the weather is nippy). For them, having a feature that allows the bag to be zipped easily might be especially handy. Some bags also have a feature to help prevent the loss of heat through the zipper.
Vicki noticed that after the first commercial machine-wash of her Coleman sleeping bag, some of the insulation bunched up in the foot. Although the bag is sewn together at regular intervals, having a feature that prevents the shifting of insulation would have been nice.
A Personalized Fit
Before buying a sleeping bag, you would do well to know what kind of a sleeper you are: cool or warm. Sleepers generate different amounts of body heat at night. In our home, Vicki snuggles under blankets while Mike usually tosses them off. When we're on the road, we each have a sleeping bag that meets our needs.
If you get cool at night and like lots of blankets, you might want to consider getting a bag that will keep you warmer. If you have a tendency to throw off blankets in the middle of the night because you're hot, you might want to consider a bag that will not be so warm.
The kind and amount of insulation (or fill) in the bag should be one of your considerations. Will your bag have goose down or synthetic filling? If you are allergic to goose down, then obviously you will want to go with a synthetic fill. Bear in mind what temperatures will be like in the areas where you'll be driving in the winter and whether or not you will be parking in places where you will not be allowed to idle your truck to stay warm.
Besides everything already described and assuming that you aren't going to be rolling up your sleeping bag a lot and putting it back in its sheath for storage, about the only other consideration you may wish to make is the color or pattern in the unit. Vicki doesn't particularly care for the color on the outside of her bag or the pattern on the inside (because its comfort is more important to her than its looks). But what is in yours may make a difference to you.
Vicki Simons is pleased to
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