Nearly 42 million Americans go camping every year, And, since 2014, there has been a 72 percent increase in the number of campers who camp three or more times a year. To say that camping is popular would be a huge understatement! While there are many crucial pieces of camping gear needed for a successful camping trip, only the tent is more important than a good sleeping bag among camping essentials. Most serious campers know that their sleeping bag can make the difference between a restless night of tossing and turning and a restful night of slumber that will leave them ready to face another day in the woods. For those shopping for the best sleeping bags, it’s important to understand that there is a variety of sleeping bags made for a variety of conditions.
- Best Summer Sleeping Bag: Oaksys 3-Season Sleeping Bag
- Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bag: Farland 20-Degree Sleeping Bag
- Best Kids Sleeping Bag: Revealcamp Indoor-Outdoor Sleeping Bag
- Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag: Kelty Ultralight Sleeping Bag
- Best Double Sleeping Bag: Teton Double Sleeping Bag
- Best Cheap Sleeping Bag: Winner Outfitters Mummy Sleeping Bag
Features to consider when shopping for the best sleeping bags
To choose the best sleeping bags for a number of different conditions, consider the following important factors.
- Environmental conditions will help you determine what bag to buy. If you’re camping in summer when it is 80 degrees overnight, you won’t be comfortable with a 20-degree bag made for winter camping trips.
- If you’re claustrophobic, or toss and turn at night, a mummy-type bag might be wrong for you, even if it is perfect for another camper.
- If you’re over 6 feet tall, you’ll need to look for a longer bag than someone who is closer to the 5-foot mark.
Let’s take a look at some of the best sleeping bags on the market for different camping purposes.
Sleep Great When It’s Warm Outdoors
Summer is a great time to camp, but don’t expect the climate to be the same where you’re camping as it is at your home. Many campsites are higher in elevation, near water, or in woods, all of which make for lower temperatures, especially at night. You won’t need a winter sleeping bag, but you do need one that offers some insulation.
Best Summer Sleeping Bag: Oaksys 3-Season Sleeping Bag
If you’re looking for a summer sleeping bag that will also work for late spring and early fall camping, this is the sleeping bag for you. The weather-resistant design ensures that you’ll stay comfortable.
Sleep Great When It’s Cold Outdoors
Many people who love camping believe they can only camp comfortably during warm-weather months. However, with the right camping gear, staying warm and dry on a cold-weather campout isn’t hard to achieve…as long as you have a good winter sleeping bag designed for cold-weather camping.
Obviously, insulation material is very important. While some people still use down sleeping bags, many today are filled with a lightweight polyester material that provides plenty of warmth. Also, look for a full-length zipper that you can zip all the way up over your face in very cold weather. Sleeping bags with a good zipper will go a long way toward keeping you warm.
Most product descriptions will have a temperature range listed on them to help shoppers choose the right one. For winter camping, look for one that is rated down to about 20 degrees F. or below. If it’s warmer than that, you can regulate your temperature by unzipping your bag. But when it drops below freezing, you’ll be glad you chose a bag that will still keep you warm.
Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bag: Farland 20-Degree Sleeping Bag
Not only will this winter sleeping bag keep you warm in temperatures down to 20 degrees, but its waterproof, weather-resistant design means it will keep you warm and dry even in the most extreme conditions. It is available in rectangular or mummy-shaped configurations and 14 different color combinations.
Taking the Kids Along for an Adventure?
There’s just something about sleeping outside that makes many children simply giddy. Heck, they even like camping in the family room when a real expedition is out of the question.
Most typical adult sleeping bags don’t work well for children, especially young ones. Fortunately for shoppers, many companies make very high-quality children’s designs that can ensure kids have a great time whether sleeping indoors or out. As with adult bags, it’s important to take into consideration what temperature range a bag is designed for. But after that, selection can be made largely on what a kid thinks looks cool. After all, if it doesn’t look cool to kids, camping just won’t be as much fun.
Best Kids Sleeping Bags: REVEALCAMP Indoor-Outdoor Sleeping Bag
This lightweight sleeping bag for kids is perfect for children heading to the woods or just the playroom. It’s rated to 40 degrees. And, it’s roomy enough that even adults can use it if they wish. Even better, you can zip two of these bags together to make a bag big enough for several family members. And it’s inexpensive, so you won’t have to make a big investment.
Lightweight Sleeping Bags for Backpacking
Backpackers have special needs when it comes to their backpacking gear. Not only do they need to be warm and comfortable, but gear must also be light enough to carry along comfortably, and compact enough to not take up too much space in a pack.
When shopping for a backpacking sleeping bag, be sure to look for something waterproof. You won’t have a vehicle to retreat to if your stuff gets wet. Also be aware that a warm, lightweight sleeping bag is likely to cost you a bit more than a heavier design. But it will be well worth the extra cost when you’re putting in miles on the trail.
Best Sleeping Bags For Backpackers: Kelty Ultralight Sleeping Bag
This backpacking-specific Kelty sleeping bag is insulated with “Drawdown,” which represents an evolution of down insulation. In this process, regular down is treated with a molecular-level polymer to create a hydrophobic finish on each individual down plume. This finish allows Drawdown to stay dry longer, loft better, and dry faster than regular down, keeping the user warm in just about any environment.
Camp Lovin’ Is The Best Lovin’
Sometimes camping trips involve significant others, which can have its upsides and downsides. One of the upsides, of course, is the opportunity for a little lovin’ out in the woods…though two individuals in separate bags make that extremely challenging.
Fortunately, that’s not a new problem, and many companies make doubles for couples. Such bags don’t have to be bulky and heavy, as many manufacturers make them lightweight and compactable to take up very little space in your pack or gear box. Note that with two people, there’s already going to be a lot more warmth than with just one person, so choose temperature ranges on products you are considering accordingly.
Best For Couples: Teton Double Sleeping Bag
Perfect for two adults, this double sleeping bag includes a compression sack for travel, and unzips on each side and the bottom for easy access. The soft-to-the-touch liner, draft tubes and mummy-style hood make it just right for snuggling. Also, Its thermal-enhancing, double-layer offset stitch construction means no cold spots.
Camping Gear on a Budget: What You Get for Under $35
While “you get what you pay for” is a pretty apt description, there are some budget bags available that will serve you well. In fact, you don’t have to spend $100 or more to get a quality bag that can keep you warm and comfortable.
Regardless of your price range, keep in mind that the thermal quality and temperature rating is very important—the bag you bring with you will be the only thing separating you from the cold.
Best Cheap Sleeping Bag: Winner Outfitters Mummy Sleeping Bag
This budget Winner Outfitters boasts the features of many others sold at much higher prices. The 350T polyester lining is dry and comfortable, and the bag is machine washable for those bad-weather times when a camping mess is just inevitable. The insulating Hollow Fiber fill allows you to remain comfortable in temperatures between 35 and 40 degrees F.
What should I look for when buying a sleeping bag?
Warmth and comfort are paramount. Just be sure to know what kind of temperatures you will be camping in so you get one with the right insulative value.
Why are sleeping bags so expensive?
While some are quite expensive because of their very warm yet lightweight fill material, what price can you put on a good night’s sleep while in the woods? There are lots of budget bags available for those not wanting to spend a small fortune.
What is the most comfortable sleeping bag?
The most comfortable sleeping bag is one that fits you well, has a soft internal surface, and is correct for the temperatures you’ll be experiencing. The air mattress or ground pad is often a more important comfort factor than the sleeping bag itself.
A Last Tip on Choosing the Best Sleeping Bags
If your bag has a low-quality zipper, it’ll get stuck or otherwise fail at some point, making for a miserable night. The best sleeping bags will have a good zipper and keep you warm all night long. This is a piece of camping gear we recommend spending sometime thinking about and you’ll be happy every time you head for the woods.