Are you trying to find a great kids’ sleeping bag for camping? Read on for tips!
First, you’ll want to think about sizing. Dead air in sleeping bags reduces their insulating capability, so don’t choose a bag sized for a 5-foot tall 12-year-old for your 4-year-old munchkin!
That said, you won’t want to shell out for a new sleeping bag every year, so do buy a bag that has some extra space. You can always stash extra clothes or a hot water bottle in the bottom of a too-big bag to help maintain warmth.
Remember that when kids’ feet push up against the bottom of a bag, the insulation is compressed and that part of the bag won’t stay as warm. So don’t stuff your kiddo into a too-small bag! Some kids’ bags are adjustable, meaning you can zip off the portion that’s too long.
Next, what temperature will your kid be sleeping in? Bags come with a rating for the coldest temperatures they’ll work in, but it’s best to assume that a bag won’t be quite as warm as it promises. Temperature ratings are based on the assumption that a sleeping pad will be placed underneath the bag for extra insulation.
Mummy-shaped sleeping bags are often somewhat warmer, but rectangular bags tend to be more comfortable. For most kids’ needs, rectangular will work just fine.
When it comes to materials, there are lots of totally charming sleeping bags for kids made out of cotton (looking at you, Crate and Kids Llama Sleeping Bag!). But for camping you really need materials designed for the outdoors like nylon and polyester, which perform well when wet. (Remember the risks of both rain and pee.)
As far as internal insulation, lots of adult bags feature down insulation, but kids’ bags are likely to have synthetic insulation, which does far better when wet. On a related note, you’ll want to make sure zippers are both snag-free and heavy-duty, since kids may test zippers’ limits.
For most of us, budget is another important factor. This is particularly true for kids’ bags, since you may need to replace the bag every few years due to growth and to wear and tear. Fortunately, kids’ sleeping bags tend to be pretty affordable.
Most kids need a sleeping bag for car camping, but kiddos heading out on a backpacking trek will want the lightest possible model that will keep them warm. Aim for a bag weighing around 2 pounds.
Here are a few models of kids’ sleeping bags worth checking out:
- Coleman Kids 30-Degree Sleeping Bag (good bargain)
- Coleman Plum Fun 45 (great price, designed for warmer temperatures)
- REI Kindercone 25 (adjustable length, attached stuff sack)
- Kelty Big Dipper 30 (adjustable length)
- Kelty Kids’ Woobie 30 (for younger kids)
- REI Co-op Radiant Sleeping Bag (lightweight for backpacking)