The zipper side is determined by the side of your body the zipper is on when you are lying in the bag on your back.
Right (Hand) Zip
Left (Hand) Zip
Generally, sleeping bag temperature ratings are divided into 3 categories: 32°+, 20°-32°, 20°-.
Summer/Warm (32°): These bags have much less insulation which also makes them more compressible and lighter. Ideal for nights that hove rin the 40°-60° range. Although the rating goes down to 32°, we don't recommend these bags as temperatures approach freezing. Keep in mind that wet conditions significantly impacts the insulating quality of these bags.
3-Season (20°-32°): Typically warm enough for late spring, summer and early fall in the mountains when temps can dip below freezing for extended periods of time. These bags also keep you cozy in the 40°-50° range. They're too warm for sleeping in temps above that.
Winter/Frigid (20°-): These bags are crucial to your survival, not to mention, comfort. Wet/damp conditions can significantly impact the rating so that has to be a serious consideration. If you are not an experienced mountaineer/ice climber/backpacker, please consult an outdoor store with experienced staff to help you pick the correct temperature rating.
Unless you are a hard core thru-hiker or a minimalist backpacker, the answer is yes! Besides the temparature rating, nothing impacts your sleep quality more than a good sleeping pad. A good pad keeps you off the ground which can be freezing and/or wet. This helps improve the temprature rating. Just as important is the fact that the pad gives you a softer sleeping surface that reduces pressure points and pads rocks and branches.
They can be used to secure your sleeping bag to the sleeping pad. They can also be used to hang your bag so it can dry out. Sometimes the interior of your tent will develop dew in the morning and your bag can become wet. We recommend hanging your bag up to dry out before packing it to continue your journey.