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Most sleeping bags have a rating with several temperatures, one for the upper temperature limit, one for the average woman to sleep in a comfortable position ("Comfort"), one third for an average man in a curled position ("Lower limit"), the last ("Eemphasized") for bare survival, as defined in the EN 13537 Standard

Here's two examples:

Others bags, though, report one single value. Here's two of them:

I guess those are using a different standard. How do those ratings compare? I think it's critical to have a mean to compare the two kinds of rating to get an objective idea.

  • Just wondering why this question got two downvotes in a day. – Dakatine Dec 17 '14 at 9:35
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The answer might be already hidden in the answer to this question: In the US, there seems to be no standardized norm for sleeping bags, i.e. every manufacturer can write onto the label whatever they want – which can be more or less realistic... Basically this means that they will possibly write the most impressive number onto the label they think they can get away with.

If you want to sell your bags also in Europe, they have to be certified according to EN 13537 which is based on a standardized test. One might argue about how realistic that test is but it should* provide at least equal conditions for the temperature ratings across different products and manufacturers.

However, this certification is surely not cheap and therefore manufacturers (especially smaller ones like Feathered Friends) might abstain from it due to cost reasons, especially if they don't target the European markets anyways. Larger manufacturers (such as North Face) might use the greater freedom of the US arrangement to produce a bag for the non-European market that can be slightly cheaper without the EN certification.


*Obviously there are significant deviations and measurement precision problems among different testing labs which seems to spoil this comparability, as can be read from this report some major manufacturers commissioned.

  • That would actually mean that those single value ratings are close to useless. That would somewhat help in comparing models of the same manufacturer and not much more... correct? – Dakatine Nov 17 '14 at 16:16
  • possible, yes. At least you have to assume that the figures given are more or less useless or not comparable. As Ryley stated in the answer I have linked, they might write a rating at their bags which they expect protects them from being sued for, plus some error margin. – Benedikt Bauer Nov 17 '14 at 16:55
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    as I side note, I just discovered that the test for the EU standard are actually quite random, which leaves me quite lost. Reference: outdoorindustry.org/pdf/EN13537TestLabComparisonMethod.pdf Disclaimer: that read hurts. – Dakatine Nov 17 '14 at 17:24

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