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Camping with kids always has a way of bringing new challenges to parents. Especially if your child doesn’t tend to sleep through the night on family trips. You may not have realized, but one of the reasons your child may not be sleeping through the night while camping is because they don’t have the proper sleeping gear.
I often cringe at all the products that are geared towards new parents and look at them as just another gimmick to waste money on. Let me be 100% clear, that kids sleeping bags DO NOT fall into this category.
You may think that the old sleeping bag handed down from your uncle works great for your kids camping trip, but actually, most experts recommend that children sleep in sleeping bags that are specifically designed for them. This is because kid’s bodies differ from adults in numerous ways which affect how they (and ultimately you) sleep while camping.
If you want your kids to sleep well and stay warm while camping (two of the biggest factors in reducing whining), then get them a good sleeping bag. It’s hands down the best investment that you can make in your family camping gear.
Our family invested in good sleeping bag for our kids when they were tiny, and we’ve never regretted it. In fact, most of my kids have a nicer sleeping bag than I do, and every chilly morning I wake up in our tent, with cozy kids who slept through the night, I’m glad we opted for the best sleeping bags we could find for kids.
Spoiler: My favorite kid sleeping bag is this one! It’s amazing quality and super warm too!
- Top Pick: The North Face Eco Trail Sleeping Bag For Kids
- Marmot Trestles Kids Sleeping Bag
- Big Agnes Wolverine Camping Sleeping Bag For Kids
- Kelty Castillo 30 Camping Sleeping Bag
- Kelty Big Dipper Adjustable Childrens Camping Sleeping Bag
- Lucky Bums Youth Explorer Children’s Camping Sleeping Bag
- Teton Sports Jr. Kids Sleeping Bag
- Wenzel Backyard Girls Sleeping Bag For Camping
What is a Sleeping Bag Temperature Rating?
To help you choose the best kids sleeping bag, most sleeping bags are categorized based on a temperature rating (though not all childrens sleeping bags have a temperature rating). A sleeping bag temperature rating is the lowest outside temperatures the bag is able to withstand while still keeping the person inside warm. Most temperature ratings include a range of outside temperatures which the bag manufacturer recommends the bag be used for.
These temperatures are usually tested in a lab, so it’s important to overestimate a bit when buying a sleeping bag as real-world use will probably not match the exact lab results. We typically plan that our kids will stay warm in their sleeping bag, until about 10 degrees above the temperature rating. So if our child has a 20 degree sleeping bag, I know that on most nights, their child sleeping bag will keep them warm until about 30 degrees (If they are dressed well).
Why Do Kids Need Smaller Sleeping Bags?
Although it may seem better to buy an adult sleeping bag that your child may one day grow into, this can be one of the biggest things that keeps kids cold while camping. This is because the way a sleeping bag works is by insulating the heat which your body is producing, thus keeping it in the sleeping bag to keep you warm.
Kids are smaller and naturally produce less body heat, which means it will be difficult for them to produce enough to keep a large sleeping bag warm for themselves. A kids sleeping bag should be just a little bit larger than they are so that they can warm up the entire sleeping bag and stay warm on a family camping trip. Buying kids an adult sleeping bag lead to them waking up in the middle of the night because they are cold.
How Warm Should a Kids Sleeping Bag Be?
Like adults, children tend to sleep a little better when the temperature of their room is a little bit cooler. That being said, kids don’t maintain their body temperature as efficiently as adults. So, when you shop for a sleeping bag, make sure you know what the weather of where you will be going will be like. You’ll probably want to add about ten degrees to the rating of the sleeping bag you are buying to make sure your kid is snuggly and warm.
For example, if you are camping somewhere where the temperature drops to 32 degrees Fahrenheit at night, purchasing a bag rated for 30 degrees for your child is probably not warm enough. You probably need to buy a sleeping bag rated for 20- or 15-degree Fahrenheit weather instead.
If you are camping in the mountains, like our family usually does, the best kids sleeping bags have a temperature rating of 20 degrees or lower. If you know that the weather isn’t going to get too cold, a 30 degree kids sleeping bag will usually do the trick. Just remember to keep in mind that morning temperatures are usually significantly colder than daytime temperatures. I know that when we camp in the desert in the spring, the mornings are usually about 45 degrees, which will necessitate a 30 degree childrens sleeping bag.
Most kids sleeping bags that you’ll find at a big box retailer are rated to 40 degrees and above. These sleeping bags for kids are best reserved for backyard campouts, slumber parties, or camping in really hot weather.
Different Sleeping Bag Styles
There are a few different sleeping bag styles out there, and the one which your kid prefers will widely depend on how active they are when they sleep, and how easily they get cold.
Rectangular Sleeping Bags For Kids
Rectangular sleeping bags are exactly as their name implies—they are the shape of a rectangle. These sleeping bags for kids are generally roomier and allow for your child to move around in their sleep. Rectangular bags don’t usually have a hood and provide slightly less insulation than the other types as the top generally has a wide opening.
Mummy Sleeping Bags for Kids
The mummy-style sleeping bag has a tight fit. Generally, your child will not be able to roll over without rolling the entire sleeping bag. This style of sleeping bag for kids usually comes with a hood and generally keeps better insulated against freezing temperatures. These sleeping bags also tend to weigh less than their rectangular counterparts.
Semi-rectangular Sleeping Bags for Kids
A semi-rectangular sleeping bag is a cross between the mummy and the rectangular style. These childrens sleeping bags generally have a hood and are more form-fitting than the rectangular sleeping bag, while still allowing a small amount of room for movement inside the bag. Sometimes this style of sleeping bags can be referred to barrel-shaped.
How To Keep Kids Warm At Night While Camping
Aside from getting a really warm kids sleeping bag, there are a few thing that you can do to help your kids stay warm at night while camping. The first is to make sure that they are sleeping on an insulated ground pad. This is one of the best ways to make sure that kids stay warm in their sleeping bags, since it prevents cold air from coming in from the ground.
Dressing kids to stay warm at night, is also really important on family camping trips. When we know that it’s going to be cold at night while camping with kids, we make sure to layer all of our kids clothing. First, everyone wears merino wool base layers.
We love these kids base layers because they not only insulate the kids, but wick moisture away in case they start sweating. We also make sure that the kids are wearing wool socks (these are my favorite all around kids wool socks), and that they wear a knit beanie to prevent heat loss out of their head. If the night is going to be extra cold, we sometimes have the kids wear fleece pajamas on top of their merino wool base layers.
Best Kids Sleeping Bags For Camping
Here’s our breakdown of the best camping sleeping bags for kids. All of these are high quality kids sleeping bags that will keep your kids warm and comfortable while they’re camping.
Looking for baby and toddler sleeping bags? Read our comprehensive review of the best camping sleeping bags for baby and toddler.
Suitable for children up to 5ft tall.
This is very similar to the North Face sleeping bags that we got for our kids over a decade ago that we absolutely SWEAR BY (they don’t make the same model still). Our kids have never gotten cold in their North Face kids sleeping bags, even when we wake up to thick frost or snow, and mom and dad are shivering.
This is a semi-rectangular sleeping bag complete with a hood to keep your child warm while also allowing them more room to move than a traditional mummy-shaped bag. Constructed of polyester, and filled with synthetic fibers, your child can stay warm in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
As added features, this bag contains straps allowing it to be easily tethered to a sleeping pad, as well as media pockets for your child to store electronic devices. This sleeping bag is made of fully recycled materials.
Best Features Of The North Face Eco Trail Sleeping Bag
-Made from recycled materials
-More room to move than a traditional mummy sleeping bag
-Lots of added features
Downsides Of The North Face Eco Trail Sleeping Bag
-Only one zipper which is diagonal across the front of the bag
Suitable for children up to 5ft tall.
This is a mummy-style sleeping bag for kids, highly rated for its excellent performance in damp conditions. It has a synthetic filling and is made of a special polyester blend making it soft to the touch. Although this kids sleeping bag is a mummy shape, it has a rectangular foot box, with a separate zipper, so your child will still be able to move their feet freely throughout the night.
The main compartment has a two-way zipper, making it easy to unzip inside and out so your child can control the temperature to their liking. The bag is lightweight, only weighing 24 ounces, giving your child maximum warmth for size. The Marmot Trestles bag is rated for temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
Best Features of the Marmot Trestles
-Foot box with separate zipper
-Has a hood for maximum warmth
Downsides of the Marmot Trestles
-May not be warm enough in very low temperatures
Suitable for children and pre-teens up to 5ft tall
The Big Agnes Wolverine is a kids synthetic sleeping bag for camping that is designed to fit your kid even as he or she continues to grow. It is a mummy-style bag with a hood, providing maximum insulation down to temperatures as cold as 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
This kids camping bag has some nice features, such as a pad sleeve where a sleeping pad can be inserted so your child doesn’t roll off their pad in the night. Big Agnes has done a great job to make kids sleeping systems that really work for kids and we LOVE the pad sleeve on the Big Agnes Wolverine. It ensures that your child doesn’t roll off their sleeping pad during the night so they have a more comfortable nights rest while camping.
The hood will also contour to your child’s head, providing a more comfortable fit. The bag is also easily compressible, and only weighs 2 pounds 6 ounces, making it a good lightweight kids sleeping bag.
Best Features of The Kids Big Agnes Wolverine
-Rated for very low temperatures
Downsides of The Kids Big Agnes Wolverine
-must be used with a rectangular pad
Suitable for children under 5ft tall.
The Kelty Castillo 30 is a rectangular sleeping bag for kids that is modeled after the same one sold by Kelty for adults. It is insulated with Cloudloft filling to keep your child warm on nights as cold as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. This camping sleeping bag for kids is lightweight, and easy for even the youngest children to pack up. There is one zipper that runs the entire length of the bag which allows it to be unzipped and used as a quit.
Best Features of The Kelty Castillo Kids Sleeping Bag
-Quality insulation to keep your child warm
-Easy for a child to unzip and pack themselves
Downsides of Kelty Castillo Sleeping Bag for Kids
-Not known to lock out moisture
Adjustable length. Recommended for children age 4-12 who are under 5ft tall
The Kelty Big Dipper children’s sleeping bag is a double quilted mummy-style bag rated for temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The bag is stuffed with synthetic material, so no need to worry about any allergies.
The bag has an expandable foot box with its own zipper which gives an extra twelve inches to the bag when unzipped. That feature makes this sleeping bag great for really young kids as well as well as older kids and tweens, since the sleeping bag length can be changed to grow with your kids.This sleeping bag weighs only 2 pounds 15 ounces so it’s an excellent lightweight kids sleeping bag.
Best Features of the Kelty Kids Adjustable Sleeping Bag
-Adjustable length with zippered footbox
-Extra soft and comfy because of double quilting
Downsides of the Kelty Kids Adjustable Sleeping Bag
-Heavy compared to similar bags of the same warmth (because of the adjustable length)
Recommended for anyone under 5’8”
The Lucky Bums Youth Explorer camping sleeping bag is a rectangular sleeping bag constructed from polyester and stuffed with synthetic filling. This sleeping bad is longer than most at 74” and can be used by your child until they reach the height of 5’8”, making this a great older kid sleeping bag or as a sleeping bag for teens and tweens.
Because this sleeping bag is longer than most, it is not suitable for young kids or toddlers, since they won’t stay warm enough in it. Consider this a small adult sleeping bag instead. This is one of the best budget sleeping bags for kids that’s actually really good quality. We have this same sleeping bag for our son, and he’s always warm and toasty.
Unlike most rectangular bags, this one has a hood with a drawstring for maximum warmth. This sleeping bag is rated for temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit and weighs only 3.7lbs.
Best Features Of Lucky Bums Kids Sleeping Bag
-can be used by your child much longer than other sleeping bags
-rectangular, but has a hood
Downsides Of Lucky Bums Kids Sleeping Bag
-Not as warm as similar bags in the space
-The lightweight material is prone to tears
Suitable for children under 5ft tall
This is a rectangular sleeping bag for children made out of Taffeta with an interior flannel lining. This bag is designed with your kid in mind, and instead of having to teach them to roll their bag, they can simply stuff it into the sac it comes with. This bag is rated for temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit and weighs only 2.65lbs.
The Teton Sports Jr. sleeping bag also comes with some added features, like pockets for cell phones or flashlights, and can be fully unzipped and used as a quilt for extra versatility while camping with kids.
Best Features Of the Teton Sports Jr Sleeping Bag
-Comfortable quilt lining
-No need to roll the sleeping bag
Downsides Of the Teton Sports Jr Sleeping Bag
-May not keep your child as warm in the very cold weather
-Does not have a true hood
Suitable for girls up to 5ft tall.
This mummy-style sleeping bag is designed especially for girls, who tend to need a little more help to maintain warmth than boys. The outer material of this girls sleeping bag is synthetic, while the inside is packed with down feathers. This girls sleeping bag can keep your little princess warm in temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only that, but this sleeping back is light as a feather at only 2.2lbs, and can easily be carried by your child on a hiking or camping adventure.
Best Features of The Wenzel Girls Sleeping Bag
-The fit is specifically designed for a girl
-Zipper has draft protection
Downsides of The Wenzel Girls Sleeping Bag
-Stuffed with down feathers, which could cause issues with allergies
-Not warm enough for those really cold nights
-Not known to lock out moisture
Overall, the best sleeping bag you need to purchase for your child will vary based on where you will be going and what kind of temperatures you will be sleeping in. But either way, once you invest in a sleeping bag for your child, you, and your child, will likely sleep much better on your next family trip.
The warmest sleeping bag for kids is the Big Agnes Wolverine. It has a temperature rating down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
In addition to a sleeping bag, we recommend that kids sleep in merino wool base layers. They are amazing since not only do they insulate kids, but they also wick away moisture if they got too warm during the night.
The best way to keep kids warm while camping is to dress them in layers. This includes good base layers (we absolutely LOVE merino wool), wool socks, and an insulating layer on top of their clothing such as fleece or down. A knit winter hat also does a great job at preventing heat loss and keeping kids warm during camping.
The most important thing that you need to consider when deciding if it’s too cold to camp is your kids camping gear. If kids have a good kid specific sleeping bag and layer well with items like merino wool, fleece, and down, kids can easily camp in temperatures down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.