Why buy a sleeping bag for camping?
If you’re camping in tents, a sleeping bag is the best possible way to sleep comfortably on the ground. A sleeping bag works as a mattress and blanket in one; they’re soft and plush, more comfortable than sleeping right on the ground while keeping you wrapped up and warm. This saves space when packing, especially since almost all camping sleeping bags fold or roll up nicely and compactly. They may come with their pillows for extra comfort and space-saving properties. A great sleeping bag will not only keep you comfortable, warm, and dry at night while camping but can be a lifesaver when conditions get harsh. If you find yourself in freezing or below-freezing temperatures, a well-insulated sleeping bag designed for such conditions will keep your body temperature from dropping too low.
What should you look for in a sleeping bag for camping?
- Warmth: If you don’t see yourself hitting the trail in freezing temperatures, don’t buy a below-freezing bag because when you get a chance to use your sleeping bag in decent weather, you will be roasting in it. Remember that temperature ratings indicate temperatures you will survive in, so getting a warmer bag than your needs is not a bad idea. The stuffing your sleeping bag contains will further impact its insulation capabilities. Synthetic stuffing is more affordable, fast-drying, hypoallergenic, and will keep you warm even if it gets damp. Down stuffing is lightweight, compressible, durable, extra warm, and often water-resistant.
- Weight and Size: A lightweight, compact sleeping bag will give you more options in taking it on the trail without weighing you down and compromising your hike. Naturally, weight is less of an issue if you drive to a campsite and set up camp. Lightweight sleeping bags come at a cost, so if the extra weight doesn’t bother you and your camping routine, don’t sweat it.
- Durability: Sleeping bags for camping receive rugged use compared to nonoutdoor sleeping bags, so finding a durable option is never a bad idea. Look for a sleeping bag that is machine washable if possible for easier cleaning after each trip. A water-resistant or, better yet, completely waterproof material and anti-snag zippers are also nice touches that you will appreciate for comfort, a longer service life, and all-around convenience.
Does the shape affect a sleeping bag?
The shape of your sleeping bag will have an impact on its warmth and roominess as well. If you want a sleeping bag that provides extra space to stretch out your limbs and roll over in, look for a classic rectangular sleeping bag, especially those that fully unzips so you can use it as a comforter. Mummy-shaped sleeping bags are rounder around your shoulders and upper body and taper down by the legs. These are ideal for anyone who wants a snugger, warmer fit instead. A barrel-shaped semi-rectangular sleeping bag provides a middle ground between the space and warmth provided by the previous two shapes. You can also find double sleeping bags if you’re camping with your spouse or significant other and want to cuddle up in the same sleeping bag at night.
oaskys Camping Sleeping Bag
This sleeping bag features a lightweight design with a half-circle hood that is great at retaining body heat.
Pros: When it comes to camping, cutting costs on a sleeping bag can be risky. While these were designed for use in 50 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, the waterproof, weather-resistant, breathable fabric seems much warmer than its temperature rating would indicate and helps keep you dry in damp conditions. This is especially true when utilizing the adjustable drawstring to close the half-circle hood for a compact fit that does well to store your body heat. It’s a good budget option for backwoods camping and is available in three different sizes and 13 possible colors.
Cons: Though not too heavy to carry around while camping, this sleeping bag is a bit bulky, so that it will take up a bit more packing space even with the included carrying bag. It also has to be wiped clean as it’s not machine washable or dryer-friendly.
Bottom Line: An all-weather, waterproof sleeping bag is always a worthwhile investment, especially one that’s as affordable as this model. It’s suitable for camping throughout most of the year, will keep you nice and dry, and is adjustable enough to be comfortable for people who run hot and cold at night.
Ohuhu Double Sleeping Bag with Pillows
This puffy sleeping bag is large enough to fit two people and features two-way zippers that can be used to create two separate sleeping bags.
Pros: This is the product for a versatile sleeping bag that can be used individually or combined into a queen-sized XL bag. It’s designed as a two-person sleeping bag, but you can also detach it down the middle to separate it into two separate bags. It features a strong, water-resistant polyester outer fabric and a soft inner lining of hollow cotton for lasting comfort throughout the night. It also sports double-sided zippers on each side so that either party can slip out of the side of the sleeping bag when combined. While this sleeping bag is designed for above-freezing temperatures, it’s still very warm and becomes even more so when shared with your companion on a chilly night. Two pillows and a carrying case also come included.
Cons: Due to its double size, this sleeping bag is naturally heavier than most. It’s also water-resistant rather than fully waterproof.
Bottom Line: Whether you’re camping with your spouse or simply looking for a more versatile sleeping bag to give you a better bang for your buck, you can’t go wrong with this double-sized model. You can use it to curl up in the same sleeping bag with your significant other or separate it into two different sleeping bags when camping with friends or other family.
Coleman Mummy Cold-Weather Sleeping Bag
This extra-large sleeping bag features both a drawstring closure to help trap body heat and a zip-open bottom for extra ventilation on warmer nights.
Pros: For those looking for a bag that will keep them warm in freezing weather, a mummy-style sleeping bag is a great pick. It’s designed to keep you cozy and warm thanks to the quilted body, insulated foot box, and drawstring hood that can be further used to trap body heat. While the added warmth this sleeping bag provides comes with extra bulk and poundage, this product does compress easily and is suitable for those as tall as six foot two. It also features an amazing zipper that plows fabric away while being zipped so it won’t become stuck and unusable. There’s also a zipper along the bottom for extra ventilation if you run hot when you sleep.
Cons: This bag will be too hot for most in warmer weather, even when mitigated by unzipping the bottom zipper to let in more air. It’s also on the heavier and pricey side.
Bottom Line: If you enjoy cold weather camping, you’ll want a sleeping bag that will keep you warm on even chilly, freezing nights. Even if you’re on the taller side, you’ll be able to rest comfortably inside this sleeping bag without your feet or upper body poking out.
Idea Nuova Cozy Lightweight Sleeping Bag
Keep your child warm with this cartoon-themed sleeping bag that's the perfect blend of adorable and cozy.
Pros: If you’re in the market for a sleeping bag for your little one, this model is a perfect choice. It’s sized specifically for children ages three and up, and they’ll love how it features their favorite cartoon characters to boot. Available in 24 possible prints, you shouldn’t have trouble finding a design your child will love. It’s an excellent and affordable sleeping bag, especially since it has a convenient carrying bag for easy portability. The lightweight feel, less than two pounds, makes it even easier to transport. While spot cleaning is an option, you can also throw this sleeping bag in the washing machine if it gets very dirty.
Cons: This sleeping bag is best suited for down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s not a great choice for chillier temperatures without an extra blanket or comforter. The zippers aren’t particularly strong and may break after a few trips. Although the sleeping bag is machine washable, you’ll want to air dry it rather than in the dryer.
Bottom Line: Most kids love it when their belongings feature some of their favorite cartoons or characters, and this sleeping bag fits the bill perfectly. Its cute print isn’t the only aspect this sleeping bag has going for it, either. Its lightweightness, portability, and easiness of keeping clean make this a winner.
ECOOPRO Warm-Weather Sleeping Bag
This lightweight sleeping bag compresses down tightly for maximum portability and won't feel too heavy or smothering in warm weather.
Pros: This polyester and nylon model is an excellent choice for those seeking a trail-ready lightweight sleeping bag on warmer nights. This sleeping bag is comfortable for nights around 50 degrees Fahrenheit and up or indoor camping year-round. In colder conditions, you can also unzip it and use it as a comforter over a heavier sleeping bag for extra warmth. This product is also compressible and condenses down to less than a foot in size for easy transportation and won’t weigh you down even on long hikes as it only weighs 1.7 pounds. The fabric is also waterproof and breathable to keep you dry and comfortable in damp weather.
Cons: If you’re on the taller or larger size, this may not be the sleeping bag for you, as the compression straps make it not especially roomy. Since it’s designed as a warm-weather sleeping bag, this model doesn’t retain body heat, so it’s not a great choice for people who run cold at night.
Bottom Line: Camping under the stars, beside a lake or river in balmier weather on the warmer nights of the year is always an attractive proposition. On such nights, you don’t want a bulky, heavyweight sleeping bag to smother and overheat you, which is where this lightweight, breathable product comes in handy.
Sleeping bags aren’t just for slumber parties. There are plenty designed specifically for camping to provide you with the comfort and warmth you need while roughing it out at a campsite or in the woods. Since they’re lightweight and roll into a tight, compact ball, they won’t add too much extra weight to your pack.