How are warmpeace sleeping bags tested?
A proper test if any!
What are your intentions and aims when testing your outdoor equipment? As a producer, there are at least three things that stand out:
- To ensure that the equipment meets the current and official standards;
- To determine the equipment’s possibilities, strengths and weaknesses and to implement that knowledge into our work;
- To make it easier for potential customers to orientate themselves among all the alternatives and possibilities.
A professional tester would perhaps add a fourth point:
- To objectively verify the product specifications provided by the producer.
The question of whether it really is necessary to test every single piece of equipment is a common one. Products with certain guaranteed parameters and qualities intended to maintain personal comfort, health, and sometimes even life, should definitely be tested. I’m sure you’ll agree that sleeping bags fall into this category, and testing sleeping bags has recently become a popular and contentious topic.
Laboratories vs. the real world
Tests results in compliance with EN 13537 are limited to popular temperature ranges and do not provide any information about how the sleeping bag deals with moisture or being used for several days in a row. We therefore rely on a whole range of tests when assessing Warmpeace sleeping bags, and the aggregated results provide a relatively precise assessment of each sleeping bag.
EN 13537 lab tests as a base
These tests give us an overview of what kind of insulation the sleeping bag offers when it is new and dry. The test assumes that the heat in the bag is generated by a user with precisely defined and constant physical parameters and who generates a consistent amount of heat. The test results are therefore not entirely relevant for the user. This is why we consider the lower limit to be the only really important result this test provides. The lower limit is basically a numeric representation (by no way a guarantee) of whether this is a light sleeping bag for the summer, a medium three-season sleeping bag, or a winter or polar sleeping bag. These rough categories may actually be more useful to users and make it easier for them to reach the same decision as when basing their choice on temperature ranges.
If you want your sleeping bag to work properly and to have a long lifespan, it is imperative that it has maximum moisture resistance and moisture control. Heat spreads 36 times faster in a damp environment than in a dry one, and is led away from the human body just as quickly. The standards mentioned above do not usually apply when the sleeping bag is moist.
At Warmpeace, we try to monitor how well the sleeping bag functions when affected by moisture, either from the surrounding environment or the body inside it. This is done on the basis of measurements determining the down filling’s natural ability to imperceptibly absorb significant amounts of water, as well as measurements regarding the breathability and water resistance of whatever fabric the sleeping bag is made of.
Wide-ranging practical tests
In the winter of 2018/2019, we decided to complement the above-mentioned lab tests with a practical test. Five testers with varying physical parameters are all provided with the same sleeping bag and test it during a ten-day cycle in the conditions the sleeping bag is primarily intended for. The testers note down and share their feelings, opinions and findings. This is then supplemented with the records from thermal cameras that document the amount of heat each tested sleeping bag releases throughout the test.
The aim of the practical tests is to verify and complement the lab tests and increase the relevance of the information we provide our users with.
The test results simply state the measured qualities without applying any kind of value to them. They simply help everyone choose the ideal sleeping bag for them based on their needs and intentions.