What is a Mummy Bag?
A mummy bag is a type of sleeping bag which narrows at either end to conserve heat, causing it to look slightly like an Egyptian mummy case. Many manufacturers of sleeping bags make mummy bags, which are usually rated for extremely cold weather. A variety of materials are used to make mummy bags and liners, to meet varying consumer needs. Consumers can order mummy bags directly from the manufacturer, or visit an outdoor supply store to acquire one.
The narrowed bottom of the mummy bag prevents heat loss through the feet. The top of the bag usually features a hood, so that the sleeper's body can be covered from head to toe, usually with a small opening for the face. The side of the mummy bag zips up and down, like a regular sleeping bag, allowing people to get in and out easily. Because of the highly heat efficient design, mummy bags are the sleeping bags of choice for very cold environments.
A basic mummy bag is usually made from water resistant material stuffed with down or polyfill and quilted so that the stuffing will not settle in clumps inside the sleeping bag. Depending on the filling and textiles used, a mummy bag may require special laundering techniques. Many companies encourage the use of a sleeping bag liner that can be easily washed, allowing people to keep their sleeping bags sanitary. Sleeping bag liners can be made from cotton, flannel, or synthetic materials. In warmer weather, some people like to sleep in sleeping bag liners, using the mummy bag as a floor pad.
The design of a mummy bag is usually highly compressible, so that it can be packed into a very small sack. This also leaves a camper with plenty of room to pack other vitally needed supplies such as food, water, and a cookstove. The bags come in assortment of colors, and some campers also stick identifying tags onto their mummy bags to avoid any confusion.
Like all sleeping bags, a mummy bag will last longer if it is well cared for. After camping, the mummy bag should be aired out before being stowed away. If the mummy bag got wet, it should also be laundered to ensure that the filling is clean and dry, so that no mold will grow inside the sleeping bag. Many manufacturers offer a warranty, so that if the bag becomes torn or damaged in some way, it can be sent back to the factory for repair or replacement.
I used to think a mummy bag was a bag for mothers to organize her things and baby's things when she went out, such as diapers, bottles, etc.
I have only camped in fairly warm temperatures, so I have not used a mummy bag, but it sounds very warm and cozy to me.
When I sleep, I don't think I move around very much, so it would be nicer for me to have a snug-fitting sleeping bag, like the mummy bag. I would probably spend less time worrying about bugs, reptiles, and critters getting into my sleeping bag if I was more snuggling wrapped up.
The mummy bag liner seems perfect for me, since I love to camp in the warm months, and I usually get hot easily. The mummy bag seems like it would be comfortable to sleep on top of as well as in.
The mummy bag seems perfect for fall and winter camping trips. Just zip it up, pull over the hood, and you are nice and cozy for how ever many hours you can sleep in the wilderness. I like that you still have a good amount of breathing room, even with the rest of your body covered.
@myharley - I bought a slumberwick mummy sleeping bag liner that has worked well for me.
There are different materials you can buy for these liners and this one is made from a wicking polyester. Any moisture is pulled away from your body and you stay warm and dry.
It is perfect for adding extra warmth to a mummy bag you already own. I have also used this liner on its own when I am camping in the summer time.
The liner is heavy enough to keep you warm, but light enough to make it perfect for summer evenings when the temperature doesn't get that cold.
My husband goes hunting in the mountains every year. Many years there is a lot of snow on the ground and it gets very cold when they are at the high camp.
He always takes his Swiss gear mummy bag when he goes on this trip. Not only is it very warm, but he also has to fit everything he needs on the back of his horse.
The mummy bag is lightweight and doesn't take up much room. In most situations, he would use a regular sleeping bag because he moves around so much. When he is camping in these cold conditions, he likes using the mummy bag so he stays as warm as possible.
I prefer to stay home where it is warm and dry, but he has gone on this trip every year since we have been married.
He has also been looking into a liner that would fit inside his mummy bag for extra warmth. Does anyone have any suggestions about which one of these works best?
@summing-- I suppose the fact that mummy bags taper down at the end might be uncomfortable for some people, especially if you like to wiggle your feet a lot. But it felt fine for me since I'm totally beat when I go camping and I just want to be warm and to sleep.
There are also mummy bags that fit two people, for couples. You could buy one of those if you want more space, but then again, that kind of beats the point of a mummy bag.
As for warmth, I would really recommend investing in a down mummy bag. It creates a lot of warmth. The ones filled with synthetic materials don't do such a great job.
@ddljohn-- I don't agree with that at all. The mummy bag keeps warmer than all the other types of sleeping bags because it fits tightly. It basically maintains your body heat to keep you warm, you don't need circulating air to do that. The air that circulates outdoors is freezing! I don't want air coming into my sleeping bag.
I took my fleece mummy bag to a concert a couple of months ago. My friends and I were outside all night on the freezing ground. My mummy bag was so warm and cozy, I did not feel the cold at all. Even my head was warm thanks to the mummy bag's attached hood that covers my head perfectly.
I've used several different kinds of sleeping bags and the mummy bag is the best one I've had. Oh and it's super easy to carry around, doesn't take up much space either.
Mummy sleeping bags really are the best if you are going to be camping in cold weather or backpacking in conditions where you want to minimize the size and weight of your gear. They are small, light and truly the warmest bags you can find. I have slept in them on a few especially cold nights and woken up toasty, even hot.
But they may not be the best choice for casual campers. If you are car or RV camping or will only be out in the woods for a day or two you may want to bring a roomier bag. You will probably get a better nights sleep and you will not be paying for any features that you don't need.
@ddjohn - I have also seen a mummy sleeping bag that looks like a mummy, literally. It was an item I found at the gift shop at the British Museum. It is a child's sleeping bag that has a sarcophagus printed on the outside. When the child is inside the bag and all cinched up they look like a classic Egyptian mummy.
I got one for my son on a business trip. He has since outgrown it but he loved it while it lasted. He would get inside and all wrapped up and have me say ancient Egyptian incantations that would make him rise from the dead. It was silly but lots of fun.
I've seen a mummy sleeping bag and it really does look like the Egyptian mummies we learned about in Social Science class. But in Science class, my Science teacher also taught us that if we are feeling cold, we should not wrap a blanket or comforter too tightly. He said that we need to leave some room for air to circulate. Because then, the air will become warm and warm us more.
So I'm wondering if a mummy bag is the best sleeping bag because it fits so tightly. I also think that it might be annoying not to have any room to move your legs. I really like the sleeping bags that have been cut out in the shape of a body. It looks like an over-sized astronaut form and you can even walk in them. I think I would feel like a wrapped up newborn in a mummy bag.
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