Originally developed and then implemented in Europe on January 1, 2005 US manufacturers and Retailers have only recently started migrating to the new standard.

The new standard is based on a realistic standardized testing method using heated lifelike mannequins to determine the actual comfortable temperature that can be maintained in a particular sleeping bag.   The rating is then presented to the consumer as an average number for men and a second separate average comfort level for women. The testing mannequin is dressed in a single layer of long underwear and a hat then placed in the bag on top of a sleeping pad.

While this number is an average and will not be exactly applicable to all consumers it does accomplish one great thing.  Now that retailers appear to be demanding more accurate ratings in the form of the EN 13537 rating.  It will allow consumers to at least determine their own personal baseline for the rating system and make more educated and accurate decisions when purchasing sleeping bags.

 

In the past, individual sleeping bag manufacturers did their own testing and rating.  This standard rating system appears as though it might be a remedy for the over zealous manufacturer.  This rating system may not be perfect but is a giant step in the right direction for a standard method of categorizing sleeping bags.

We asked  Jim Giblin  ASTM F08.22 Chair (OIA Working Group Lead) Softgoods Design Lead at  Cascade Designs Inc. what he thought of the new standard.  Here is what he said:

“EN 13537 has done great things for the industry in regards to providing research data and helping the customer, both in providing accuracy of temperature ratings and making a purchasing decision. But as it stands now we feel it is not good enough. The rework happening with EN 13537 should help, but if they don’t reduce the overly complex nature or the lack of testing parameters the industry will step up and refine the standard.”

 

Editorial:

“Here at Sierra Designs we’re all for the EN 13537 testing standard,” said Becky Larsen, product manager for Sierra Designs sleeping bags.  “The EN test ratings allow us to get a better feel for how a certain bag will perform in a variety of conditions, as well as how we can best customize our men’s versus women’s bags to keep each user group more comfortable.  Ultimately, these measurements assist us in designing bags that meet the high performance standards customers expect from Sierra Designs.  And as it becomes the standard by which all bags are rated, EN testing will also benefit shoppers by providing a more exact rating system that can be compared across brands.”

 

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