You might not associate your warm, snuggly sleeping bag with hazardous chemicals, however high-performance synthetic sleeping bags often contain PFAs/PFCs, flame retardants (FR) and other toxins that can be harmful.
In this blog post, we’ll examine why non-toxic sleeping bags are important, how to choose one, and what PFA/PFC-free alternatives are available. We’ll explain why it’s crucial to invest in a top quality sleeping bag that won’t put your health at risk while providing excellent protection against the elements.
- Flame retardants, PFCs, and waterproofing chemicals commonly used in traditional sleeping bags can have detrimental effects on human health and the environment.
- Non-toxic sleeping bags reduce exposure to hazardous substances, protects the environment from chemical waste, and supports eco-friendly production processes.
- When choosing a non-toxic sleeping bag, it’s important to include factors like brand certifications, temperature ratings, insulation types, and weather resistance.
What are PFAs and PFCs in Sleeping Bags?
Non-toxic sleeping bags help minimize your exposure to harmful chemicals often found in camping gear.
Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAs) and Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFCs) are chemical compounds that can be found in many sleeping bags, often used to provide flame retardancy as well as to make the fabric more waterproof and durable.
Explanation of PFAs and PFCs
PFAs and PFCs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are man-made chemicals that contain carbon and fluorine atoms. These commonly used toxins are added in camping gear and conventional sleeping bags for its flame retardancy, waterproofing, water repellency, durability as well as thermal insulation qualities.
The long chain PFAs and PFCs molecules have strong binding properties which helps to reduce surfaces from becoming wet or flammable. Due to the stability of these molecules, they can persist in the environment for centuries before being degraded into harmless elements; meanwhile potential affecting human health through frequent skin contact with them or by inhaling fumes released during their use.
For these reasons it is important to choose non-toxic sleeping bags that do not include toxic PFAs or PFCs inside their material.
Reasons to avoid PFAs and PFCs
PFAs and PFCs are chemical flame retardants used in many outdoor products, including sleeping bags. However, they can be hazardous to human health and the environment due to their persistence.
Studies show that exposures to these chemicals could lead to increased risks of cancer, reproductive issues, liver damage as well as effects on the immune system. They may also contribute significantly to climate change by depleting the ozone layer that protects us from ultraviolet radiation.
As a result it’s important for outdoor enthusiasts who want safe and healthy experiences when out in nature and camping activities should take steps towards obtaining non-toxic sleeping bags with no PFAs or PFCs present in them.
Non-Toxic Sleeping Bags without PFAs and PFCs
Therm-a-Rest Questar 0F
- The cold-weather winter sleeping bag in Therm-a-Rest’s top-rated and award-winning Questar line of warm and packable down backpacking bags
- 650 fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down absorbs 90% less water and dries 3 times faster without using dangerous PFCs
- With Additional Room for Multiple positions (W.A.R.M.) fit means it allows for various natural sleep positions while maintaining thermal efficiency
- SynergyLink Connectors integrate the bag with a pad for optimal efficiency and comfort; zoned Insulation maximizes warmth and saves weight
- Regular left-zip bag measures 80x31.5x5.5 inches, fits heights up to 6 feet, packs to 8x10 inches, and weighs 2.69 pounds; storage sack and compression sack included
The Therm-a-Rest Questar 0F is free from PFAs and PFCs and is crafted with polyester material and durable water repellent (DWR) protection for wet weather conditions. Furthermore, its lightweight design weighs just over two pounds making it highly packable.
The sleeping bag has an impressive temperature rating of 0°F (-18°C), making it ideal for use in cold climates and winter camping trips. The mummy design also ensures optimal insulation to keep you warm while still allowing room for movement in the torso area.
Rab Solar Eco 0
- Sustainably Made | This sleeping bag promotes a low-impact lifestyle by using 100% recycled fabrics in the lining, insulation, and outer as well as using a fluorocarbon-free DWR treatment.
- Temperature Rating | Rab Sleep Limit: (5°C) 40°F; EN Rating: Comfort: (12°C) 54°F, Limit: (8°C) 46°F, Extreme: (-4°C) 25°F
- Tough Exterior | Recycled Atmos polyester ripstop fabric is plenty tough to handle life on the trail.
- Low-Bulk Warmth | Stuffed with synthetic insulation which will keep you warm even when wet, the Solar Eco line of sleeping bags was designed specifically to eliminate unnecessary materials, reducing weight and bulk.
- Temperature Rating | Rab Sleep Limit: (5°C) 40°F; EN Rating: Comfort: (12°C) 54°F, Limit: (8°C) 46°F, Extreme: (-4°C) 25°F
The Rab Solar Eco 0 sleeping bag is PFA/PFC-Free and is crafted with 100% recycled Stratus synthetic insulation as well as a 100% recycled fabric – so you don’t have to sacrifice performance for sustainability. And, because of its versatile central zip design and ultra lightweight composition, it’s ideal for camping or backpacking trips without compromising on safety or comfort.
VAUDE Sioux 400
- 2-Season (for late spring to Early autumn),
- Pleasantly warm
- Eco-friendly and fair manufacturing
The VAUDE Sioux 400 is a PFA/PFC-Free sleeping bag, made of polyester, with exceptional insulation and breathability thanks to its 3-season synthetic fill which allows better air circulation to keep you warm without getting too hot or sweaty.
Moreover, this chemical-free bag features water repellent surface fabric that helps keep moisture away while wicking away your body’s moisture and perspiration from the inside out.
Exped MegaSleep 25/40
- Sleeping Bag & Blanket in One - The Exped MegaSleep Duo is a supremely versatile 4-in-1 sleep solution, offering multiple configurations and temperature ratings
- Perfect for Spring or Summer - With lightweight synthetic fiber filling, the thermal performance is ideal for a cooler summer night
- Adaptable Insulation - Sleeping bag can be turned - heavier insulated side up for cool nights as low as 25°F, lighter insulated side up for warmer nights of 40°F
- Turns into blanket - Wraparound zipper allows sleeping bag to quickly and easily convert into blanket
- Sustainability is Our Second Nature - The Exped Mega Sleep Duo includes fabric eyelets that allow attachment to camping pads including EXPED sleeping mats, certified climate neutral through myclimate
The Exped MegaSleep 25/40 is a roomy, rectangular 3-season sleep system, with a PFC-free shell and liner material, and lightweight microfiber insulation for maximum comfort in any outdoor environment. The bag features a temperature rating of 0F / -18C.
Sierra Designs Get Down 35
- Think Outside: A perfect combination of warmth, packability, and weight for camping novices and pros alike, it's no wonder that the Get Down sleeping bag won Backpacker Magazine’s 2021 Editor’s Choice Award.
- Features: Anti snag zipper tracks for easy use | Hood cinch to keep in heat when the temps drop | Hand pocket to use bag like a blanket for bed-like comfort | Lower zipper location gives bag a more relaxed fit for comfort and more room to wrap around when not fully zipped | Compressible and compact down bag
- Specs: ISO Limit: 25F/-4C | ISO Comfort: 35F/1C | Min Weight: 1lb 11oz/0.76k | Fits Up To: 6'/183cm | Fill Weight: 12.3oz/349g | Stuff Size: 15"x7"/38.1cmx17.78cm
- Materials: 550 fill power DriDown that is PFC-free and is certified to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) | 20D Polyester ripstop
- Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty – When purchased from an authorized retailer, Sierra Designs products are warranted to the original purchaser against manufacturing defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product. Contact our Customer Service team for prompt service or to answer any questions.
Aptly called the “Get Down”, this lightweight, 3-season, down sleeping bag is constructed with PFC-free materials, and has been specifically designed for women, with extra insulation around the core and feet area.
The combination of DownTek water repellent down and thermal efficiency provides ultimate heat retention. This zipperless concept allows for much easier entry than traditional mummy bags, while still providing a snug fit where most warmth is needed to remain comfortable at night.
Combined with features such as an adjustable hood and face gasket, this sleeping bag is ideal for camping trips or backpacking adventures in extreme weather conditions.
Kelty Cosmic 20F
- TRAPEZOIDS, MAN: Turns out this funky shape is ideal for helping sleeping bags retain heat. Trapezoidal baffle construction improves our best selling Cosmic sleeping bag for 2021. Fan favorite and campsite staple with improved Thermal Efficiency
- GET DOWN: Light, compressible, warm to boot; what’s not to love about Down Fill? The Cosmic features 550 fill Kelty treated DriDown insulation, with sustainably sourced materials that are easy to pack, use, dry, and keep your buns toasty.
- ENTRY LEVEL VETERAN: Priced even lower for 2021, the Cosmic is more budget friendly than ever while retaining it’s well deserved reputation for a do-it-all backpacker’s slumber companion. First time campers and old timers rejoice
- DUAL ZIPPERS: Two sliding, locking zippers with anti-snag draft tube - unzip from the bottom to stick a foot out and self-regulate heat while enjoying mummy-bag comfort. Zippered internal stash pocket for cell phone or headlamp
- KELTY QUALITY: Good craftsmanship speaks for itself. Since 1952 Kelty has designed and manufactured quality, useful, and durable goods for the everyman (and woman) seeking to enjoy life outside. Headquarters in Colorado, USA
The Kelty Cosmic 20F sleeping bag is a great choice for those looking for eco-friendly and non-toxic outdoor adventures. It offers 600down fill power to keep you warm without the use of any flame retardant chemicals, so you can sleep safe and sound in this responsibly constructed sleeping bag.
Not only is it non-toxic, but it also features ethically sourced down which helps reduce environmental impact as well. It’s designed with a mummy shape that makes it lightweight and compact while still providing ample insulation from the cold outdoors.
The best part? The Kelty Cosmic 20 isn’t just affordable – at just $123 it provides some of the most value when compared to other PFA/PFC-Free Sleeping Bags on the market!
Benefits of PFA/PFC-Free Sleeping Bags
By investing in a PFA/PFC-free sleeping bag, you are helping to reduce environmental impacts, minimize health risks and encourage the use of recycled materials.
Reduced environmental impact
Using PFA/PFC-Free sleeping bags is one way that outdoor enthusiasts can make a positive contribution to the environment. The elimination of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) and PFAs which are often found in conventional camping gear, helps reduce emissions of these toxins into the natural environment.
Brands such as Sierra Designs have made a commitment to eliminate PFCs entirely from their line of sleeping bags due to recognized environmental concerns. Additionally, many brands are striving for higher levels sustainability by using recycled materials in the construction on their products or ensuring that tough ethical standards are met during production and supply chain activities.
REI Co-op has gone even further, ranking different brands based on how they manage environmental impacts associated with their products. By using a non-toxic sleeping bag rather than traditional options campers will be supporting an eco-friendly approach that leads to reduced detriment to water systems and other areas due to harmful chemicals being released into nature.
Safer for health
PFA/PFC-free sleeping bags are an invaluable option for outdoor enthusiasts who prioritize health and safety. These sleeping bags provide excellent insulation without introducing the risks associated with perfluorocarbons (PFCs).
PFCs are commonly incorporated in many camping gears such as rain jackets, tents and sleeping bags, but research has shown them to be extremely persistent and potentially harmful for your health.
By avoiding the use of these chemicals, non-toxic sleeping bags promote a healthy sleep environment where you can rest free of worries that the flame retardants from your outer clothing might enter your system while you rest.
Responsible brands like Kelty instead prioritize the use of safe materials when crafting their products—from goose down since it’s naturally flame resistant to infusing water repellent coatings without using any PFAs or chemical therapies that could pose a risk to health over time.
Use of recycled materials
Using recycled materials in the production of non-toxic sleeping bags presents a great opportunity to save resources and reduce our waste. This can lead to energy savings, reduced emissions, and help us conserve natural resources such as petroleum-based synthetic fabrics, water, animal fur or feathers used for insulation.
For example, thermal-Q synthetic fill in some backpacking sleeping bags contain up to 70% recycled polyester while Big Agnes’s Synthetic Sierra Down family of camping sleeping bags use post-consumer plastic bottles salvaged from landfills as their main insulation material.
These brands also offer other benefits with their use of eco-friendly materials: not only does using recycled materials reduce manufacturing costs but it cuts down significantly on carbon footprints too.
Certification for non-toxic sleeping bags
Certifications exist for non-toxic sleeping bags, providing assurance that no harmful chemicals or flame retardants have been used in their production. Such certifications are important to guarantee the safety and health of consumers who use these products.
The Bluesign Standard is one example, guaranteeing only safe materials are used during product manufacturing as well as ensuring every stage of the process has low environmental impact.
Oeko-Tex also provides a certification platform that tests textile products and ensures they do not contain any hazardous substances which can pose a risk to human health. They also ensure all raw materials used are free from PFCs (polyfluorinated compounds).
This helps maintain strong consumer trust since it shows brands compliance with safety regulations when producing sleeping bags without compromising customer comfort or quality of sleep experience.
Academic Research on PFAs and PFCs
Understanding the impacts of PFAs and PFCs on human health and environmental impact is a key part of choosing a safe, non-toxic sleeping bag for your next adventure.
Impact on health and environment
PFAs and PFCs have been linked to significant environmental contamination and various adverse health effects. Exposure can cause developmental issues, reproductive health problems, hormone disruption, immune system dysfunction, and further decrease of life quality in affected communities.
Not only do these toxins harm human health but they are also detrimental to the environment as well – due to their strong persistence in the atmosphere; referred to as ‘forever chemicals’ they have caused a depletion of the ozone layer.
Furthermore, chemical pollution has found its way into food sources thus exposing individuals living close-by industrial plants or waste sites with higher levels of PFAs than those not directly exposed.
How to Choose a PFA/PFC-Free Sleeping Bag
- Check the label for confirmation that it is a non-toxic sleeping bag: Look for eco-friendly certifications such as The Nordisk Ecolabel, or chemical-free materials like GOTS Certified Organic Cotton.
- Consider the insulation type and fill: Choose a synthetic fill with recycled polyester, or down that has been sustainably harvested from certified sources.
- Select lightweight options: Choose thinner and lighter materials to reduce weight and size of your sleeping bag without sacrificing warmth.
- Research brands: Look for companies that prioritize sustainability and non-toxic outdoor gear, including sleeping bags, such as Kelty and Wildkin.
- Consider fill power: A higher fill power indicates more pliable down feathers; this will translate into more compact packaging with increased warmth-to-weight ratio.
- Check temperature rating: Purchase based on your climate zone, frequency of use and travels with an appropriate temperature rating.
It is important to consider the value of non-toxic sleeping bags when purchasing gear for camping and outdoor activities. In choosing a PFA/PFC-free sleeping bag such as ones offered by Teton, Patagonia, Kelty Cosmic or Sea to Summit, you can rest assured knowing that it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals like flame retardants.
These non-toxic sleeping bags are also more eco-friendly with their use of recycled materials like Seealp 500’s down filling and packaging and other brands’ organic cotton fabric shells.
Furthermore, they provide safer insulation compared to other synthetic material options. For those wanting an even more sustainable choice with certifications for non-toxicity on top of all that—Merino Wool Sleeping Bags from Wildkin offer just that! Ultimately, choosing a non-toxic sleeping bag helps reduce environmental impact while improving safety and comfort during your outdoor adventures.