Sleeping bags and mats
What are the key differences between down and fiber sleeping bags?
In general, down has the advantage of being the best of nature’s insulators while still being a super lightweight material. Therefore, down sleeping bags often have the advantage of reaching the same performance as a fiber sleeping bag and still be lower in weight and take up less space – better heat-to-weight ratio. However, down generally has the disadvantage when it comes to wet conditions.
Why should I pick a fiber sleeping bag?
The filling in a Nordisk fiber sleeping bag is a synthetic product made from "fiber hairs” that trap air. The finer these fibers are, the better. It has a very high level of insulation and is highly durable additionally, it dries quickly, doesn’t absorb water and it only requires a minimum of maintenance.
Fiber filling ensures a sleeping bag with a pleasant and soft feel combined with high elasticity and very good heat insulation.
Compared to down filling, a synthetic sleeping bag requires less care in cleaning and storage - and it also performs better when wet. Furthermore, since synthetic filling is less costly than down, a fiber bag offers relatively good value for less money.
Why should I pick a down sleeping bag?
Down bags are very soft with a unique weight-temperature ratio. Choosing down you get small pack size and lower weight, but the trade-off is that it is more vulnerable to moisture and getting wet. Down has the greatest warmth-to-weight ratio of all insulation materials. It also breathes better than any other material. Nordisk only use high quality European down some of which have a special treatment to make them dry faster called Crystal Down® Dry.
Read more about our Crystal Down®.
What size sleeping bag should I pick?
It is very important that a sleeping bag is neither too big nor too small. Both scenarios will compromise the heat retention. Always make sure you are somewhat below the “body length” count that is stated under “Measurements” for each sleeping bag on out website.
Medium: Up to 175 cm.
Large: Up to 190 cm
X-large: Up to 205 cm.
Additionally, be aware of other measurements such as width at the shoulders and hips.
If you wish to store clothes in your bag, maybe size up to make sure there is space.
Where is Nordisk down sleeping bags made?
We are very proud to declare that all our down sleeping bags are handcrafted and produced in our own factory in Görlitz, Germany. We’ve been doing it since 1983 and have a team of very skilled seamstresses who handle the daily production. Therefore, we can also always repair or refill your sleeping bag so as if it was new again.
What kind of fabric is used in Nordisk sleeping bags?
The fabric used for sleeping bags is divided into two main categories: The shell and the lining.
The shell fabric typically has the job of ensuring that no fibers or down leave their intended place. The shell fabric can be thicker and more rugged to protect the sleeping bag when in use.
The lining is the part that is in contact with your body and is therefore often thinner, lighter, and softer to offer maximum comfort. For Nordisk sleeping bags, we use a variation of soft nylon, brushed polyester or cotton depending on the type of sleeping bag. Generally, the lining fabric is chosen to optimize perspiration management and the softness inside the bag.
Are Nordisk sleeping bags PFC-free?
Yes. Nordisk sleeping bags are PFC-free with the sole exclusion of Arctic as this has waterproof features and needs a coating that can be trusted.
Temperatures and shapes
What is meant by comfort, limit, and extreme temperature?
Sleeping bags are presented with three different temperature measures. The measure is generally for a male adult, but it’s only a guideline as every person will have different needs for regulating heat etc.
The highest temperature at which you can sleep without sweating intensively defined with the ventilation zippers open, arms outside the bag and the hood open all the way. It is also the lower limit for the average woman (this value is 5 degrees Celsius higher for a standard man).
This measurement is defined as the lowest temperature at which a person has a good night's sleep without waking from being cold. It is also the lower limit for the average man.
This is a measure for the temperature where you will not be comfortable but only be able to “survive the night” and protects the user from hypothermia.
To achieve these standards, see size and shape.
Using a liner for the sleeping bag or wool night clothes can obviously help increase the temperature inside the bag.
Why am I freezing in my Nordisk sleeping bag?
A few factors can be the cause of you freezing in your sleeping bag, even though it’s made for the required temperature. Sleeping bags insulate by trapping air in the fibers/down filling, this air is warmed up by your own body heat. Having too big a sleeping bag will increase the amount of air having to be warmed up, which can make it seem colder. Conversely, too small a sleeping bag will also give a colder experience (compressing the filling).
A few things can be done to maximize the performance:
- Make sure to put out your sleeping bag at least 30 mins before you plan on using it. This way the fibers/down aren’t compressed and have a chance to puff up, making them able to trap more air. Do not move too much in the bag.
- Do a few exercises to get your blood flowing before going inside the sleeping bag. (Not so much that you start sweating, as this will have a negative effect).
- Warm up the sleeping bag before going to bed by putting it around you as a blanket.
What’s the difference between a curve, mummy, egg, and brick fit?
Curve, Mummy, Egg, and Brick is simply a description of the shape of the sleeping bag. The different models are to accommodate different shapes and sizes to give the best possible performance needed.
A sleeping bag with a snug fit slimming in at the waist and feet but broader at the shoulders and hips.
A sleeping bag with a somewhat tight fit. Broad at the shoulders but slimming in all the way to the feet. This may vary depending on the individual sleeping bag.
The Egg (comfort) fit has a lot of the advantages of the curve and mummy but gives a bit of extra space in comparison. It’s normally thicker/more insulated to achieve the same temperature.
A sleeping bag with a rectangular fit, a lot of space and can be zipped all the way up to be used as a duvet or blanket. Offers great comfort but a poorer performance overall.
Why should I choose a curve fit?
The curve shape by Nordisk is the optimal balance between insulation and space. Most people sleep in a “running” position where the body makes an s-shape. The curve shape allows more comfort and space for this position. Gives more room for the shoulder/chest and knee/lower leg areas.
Why should I choose a mummy fit?
The mummy shaped sleeping bag has the best insulation to weight ratio as it seals your body tightly and therefore is the most thermally efficient. The mummy shape gives the most warmth for its fill, but it also has a limited internal space.
Why should I choose the Egg shape?
For those who want some extra space, but still want a technical bag designed to withstand tough conditions, the egg-shaped sleeping bag is the right choice. Not as tight fitting as a mummy or curve shaped bag, but much better insulating than a rectangular sleeping bag.
Why should I choose a Brick fit?
The rectangular sleeping bag is spacious and comfy as it provides extra space for those who really like to move inside the bag. All our rectangular models have an all-around zipper making it possible to use the sleeping bag as a blanket as well.
What is meant by Crystal Down® Dry Down?
In some of our more extreme sleeping bags we use the down filling Crystal Down® Dry Down. This down is treated with a PFC-free durable water-repellent coating that makes the individual down clusters moisture repellent as well as faster drying. All this without compromising the insulation power of the down.
What is the down/feather ratio in Nordisk down sleeping bags?
It is impossible to make sure that every sleeping bag is 100% down without any feathers being present. In any Nordisk down sleeping bag there will be a minimum of a 90/10 mix, which means that 90% are down with 10% being feathers. In some of our more exclusive models we promise at least 95% down and 5% feathers. Feathers are not harmful and are so fine they also help insulation and keep structure.
The above is monitored by RDS – read more on our website.
What does “cuin” mean?
Cuin is a measure of the insulation factor/power in any down product. Cuin is short for “cubic inches”. So, the count for the individual product in cuin is the amount one ounce takes up in cubic inches in a standard measure tube. Nordisk down sleeping bags go from 600 cuin up to 800+, which means that one ounce down in e.g., Phantom 220 takes up 700 (EU) cubic inches. The higher the cuin, the finer the down, the more air the down traps within it. Another term for this is Fillpower/loft.
What is the quality of the down in Nordisk sleeping bags?
We develop equipment for explorers, exploring the most difficult places to reach in the world and therefore, all our down bags are filled with Crystal Down® – a selection of the absolute finest and most voluminous European down. A single Crystal Down® can have a diameter of up to 4 cm and white fluffy ”arms” to entrap air and ensure optimal insulation. It takes up to 1000 pieces of Crystal Down® to reach just 1 gram of filling. Crystal Down® is our code of conduct to nature. We ensure that the down we use live up to standard European down ethics.
Where is the down in my Nordisk sleeping bag from?
Nordisk Crystal Down® are from European freerange birds and is an upcycled residual product from food production. We get our down from birds with access to healthy food, water, shelter and light. Nordisk Crystal Down® primarily derives from a species called Koluda, which is a large type of goose. This ensures a high quality and large sized down clusters. Our down is of course RDS certified.
Maintaining your sleeping bag
Can I safely wash my down sleeping bag from Nordisk?
Yes. Always try to air the sleeping bag first, as this is preferred. Sleeping bags can be washed once in a while, however you have to use caution when wanting to clean your down sleeping bag. Use a down wash and if your machine has it, a down washing program on a low (30°C) temperature. Make sure the washing machine is detergent free. Tumble the sleeping bag dry on a low-temp. dry cycle and throw three tennis balls into the tumbler to re-fluff the down.
It can take 4-5 hours – if not dry, redo. Hang it up afterwards.
Can I safely wash my fiber sleeping bag from Nordisk?
Yes. Only wash your sleeping bag if it’s dirty or smells. Use a very mild machine wash at 30°C and afterwards tumble dry at a low temperature. Follow the washing instructions on the tag that’s found inside the pocket.
How often should I wash my down sleeping bag from Nordisk?
ou should neither wash your sleeping bag too often nor never. After extended use of a down sleeping bag the down fibers will slowly absorb sweat and oils secreted from the body. Another sign that your sleeping bag, is in need of a cleaning is if the down starts to get flat - a proper wash and dry will often restore it to its former puffy glory.
How should I store my Nordisk sleeping bag?
It is always advised to store your sleeping bag out of the compression bag. The best-case scenario is to hang it on a coat hanger in a closet or laid out. Alternatively use the storing sack that accompanies the sleeping bag, do not keep it stored fully compressed. This goes especially for down sleeping bags, as compressing it over a long period of time can harm the down. Also make sure to store it completely dry and avoid humid environments.
How should I care for my sleeping bag?
During the trip make sure to:
- Get the sleeping bag out of the stuff sack and hang, lay, or toss it somewhere dry (occasionally).
- Avoid laying on sharp rocks, edges or the like.
- Keep dirty clothes and food out of your sleeping bag
Care after use:
- Shake the sleeping bag before packing it up.
- If possible, dry the sleeping bag (i.e., in the sun) before storing to reduce dampness and mold.
Care before storing:
- Clean the outer fabric - often wiping with a wet wipe or moist cloth is enough on nylons.
- If it's dirty you might consider washing your bag, but don’t do it excessively.
- Do not bleach, wring, or iron your sleeping bag!
- Never store moist – neither the sleeping bag itself nor the room it’s stored in.
- Douse a cotton ball with lavender oil and drop it inside to avoid last season’s odor during the off-season storage.
Why is my Nordisk down sleeping bag leaking feathers(down)?
It is normal for all down products to sometimes leak some feathers. It is impossible to avoid but do not fear - what is getting through your down product is usually just some of the feathers, and not the insulating down. When a feather eventually sticks through, do not pull it out as this will sometimes enlarge the hole in the fabric. Instead, gently pull it back by holding the fabric and massage the fabric afterwards and most often the leak will be stopped.
Sometimes you need to pull out the feather, then make sure to hold the down back and only pull out the feather.
What is meant by R-value for sleeping mats?
R-value is a measure of the insulation factor of a given product. To protect you from the cold from the ground, the sleeping mat serves as a protective layer. The degree to this protection is based on the thickness and insulation of the mat. The mats’ effectiveness against the cold is denoted by R-value. The higher the R-value the higher the insulation level. As a rule, a “summer” sleeping mat has an R-value from 1-3, 3-Season requires a value from 3-5 and winter is 5+ depending on the extremities of the cold. Always check the specs. Thickness does not directly correspond to a higher R-value.
What kind of sleeping mat should I use?
When buying a sleeping mat, the shape influences both performance and comfort. Choosing the right shape, size, weight and thickness therefore determines how warm and how comfortable you are laying, when using the mat. Nordisk has four basic shapes:
The classic shape usually used for larger mats. It offers great comfort as it normally is both longer and wider - and often also thicker.
The mummy shaped mat shaves off a little weight, but still ensures relatively high comfort. It has a much better pack size than a rectangular mat and a lower weight.
This shape shaves off all unnecessary material and thereby minimizes weight and pack size - it only insulates where it matters.
This is the ultimate mat, where only the most critical parts of the body are protected. It is extremely packable and is mainly for use where weight is key. Use another solution (or none) for your legs.
What sleeping mat should I use for my Nordisk trekking tent?
The type of mat you use for your trekking tent is dependent on the circumstances of your trek and what kind of tent you bring along. For our smaller trekking tents, such as the Lofoten, Telemark and Svalbard you do not have a lot of space in the sleeping cabin. This means that you won’t always have enough space for a rectangular sleeping mat that is too thick/high. Be especially aware of the thickness, as too thick of a sleeping mat can mean that your feet will touch the “ceiling” and get wet due to condensation or rain.
When choosing a mat, make sure to look at both the dimensions of the tent as well as the mat. The sleeping mat should not rub up against the sides of the tent, as this changes the shape of the tent, which helps water get in.