As long as sleeping bags have existed, there have been different ways to measure their effectiveness. Testing methods have improved year upon year, and yet Australia has failed to come to the party. It’s important now, more than ever, that the sleeping bag industry evolves with the rest of the world.
The Old EN Method: Since 2005, all European brands have been required to use the EN testing method. The EN method was devised by European manufacturers to test their bags; however, the method was never uniformly adopted in Australia. Some brands used EN, some didn’t. The problem was that the industry in Australia didn’t have a compulsory, standardized testing mechanism.
The New ISO Method: The ISO method is Europe’s new standard. ISO testing is conducted in laboratory conditions and simulates 3 temperatures to establish 3 temperature ratings for each bag. We’ll unpack the ISO method some more a little later. For now, all you need to know is that Australia’s sleeping bags still aren’t bound by this system, or by any compulsory, standardized testing method.
Steve Edmonds of Blackwolf is disappointed that more Aussie brands aren’t measuring themselves against the ISO standard, having recently made the decision to test all new Blackwolf products under the new criteria.
“It’s disappointing to me that our industry has not adopted standardized testing for sleeping bags,” Steve explained.
“It creates confusion, and consumers don’t see a fair like for like comparison between brands. Blackwolf’s entire new range of sleeping bags will be held to the ISO standard, and we look to embrace our industry’s continued evolution when it comes to providing a high quality, safe product.” Steve continued.
So, what is the ISO method? ISO testing happens at 3 temperatures, known as Comfort Temperature, Limit Temperature, and Extreme Temperature. Here’s what each means:
Comfort Temperature: Comfort Temperature is the lower limit at which a person feels comfortable inside their sleeping bag while laying in a relaxed position, on their back, wearing a thin thermal, long johns and socks.
Limit Temperature: Limit Temperature is the lower limit at which a person feels comfortable inside their sleeping bag while laying in a curled position wearing a thin thermal, long johns and socks.
Extreme Temperature: Extreme Temperature is the temperature at which a person can no longer rely on their sleeping bag to prevent hypothermia or freezing. Basically, if it’s this cold – hopefully, you’re not relying on this sleeping bag to keep you warm.
The new method is much simpler and allows consumers to add their own resilience to the cold into the equation when making a purchasing decision. But why has a brand like Blackwolf decided to adhere to a testing method that isn’t compulsory in Australia?
“We’ve decided to hold ourselves to the ISO standard, set a benchmark in this category because it shows our customers that we are offering a high-quality product. If you’re purchasing a product without a globally recognized test, how can you be sure that your new sleeping bag will do what it says on the label?” Steve said.
Check out Blackwolf’s new range of sleeping bags at www.blackwolf.com.au