There are certain brands that come up again and again as being the best sleeping bags if you are taking your kids camping. Investing in a smaller, child size sleeping bag is a great way to ensure that your child will stay warm when faced with a cold night of camping. The smaller the bag, the less space that their bodies will have to heat up, thus ensuring they get a good night’s sleep. If your child is less than 5ft tall and you are on the market for a serious option for camping, backpacking, or sleep away summer camp, the following are the sleeping bags with the best reputation for warmth, quality and comfort.
1. Deuter Little Star
This is one of the smallest high quality designs around. The full length is only about 3.8 ft. and it is designed to fit a body size of up to 3 ft. It has an extra soft hood to help your child’s head stay warm, and also has a foot section that can be expanded by 30 cm. The 2-way zipper is designed to be easy for kids to use, and the Little Star even has a secret internal pocket that your kids will love to hide their treasures in.
- One of the smallest designs you can get for camping with a toddler
- Has a zipper extender that lets you change it from a size that fits a 2-3 year old, to a size that fits a 5-6 year old.
- The temperature rating is 40 F, so it isn’t the best option for cold nights
Intended use: Summer camping
Available from Deuter.com
2. Kelty Woobie
The Kelty Woobie is designed as starter model for kids. The size makes it suitable for kids up to about age 6. It has a temperature rating of 20 degrees F, so the Woobie will definitely keep your child warm on those cold nights when camping. The kid friendly features include sidewall construction and a flip-down top panel. It doesn’t have the zipper extension like some of its competitors, so if your child finds the size too big you can tie off the end with the cinch sack so it is smaller and there is less room to heat.
- You can pinch off the end with the stuff sack to shorten the length for younger children
- Very warm
- 2 Zippers
- Child friendly design
- Might be too warm for indoor sleepovers.
Intended use: Camping, Hiking, Cold nights
Good for ages: up to 6 years
Available from Backcountry.com
3. Big Agnes Little Red
The Big Agnes Little Red is a great option if you have a child who moves around a lot when they are sleeping. The Little Red has an integrated pad sleeve that attaches your Little Red to your sleeping pad, so you don’t have to worry about your kids rolling or sliding off their pad onto the cold ground while they are sleeping. This feature is a big factor in helping keep kids warm (the pad is sold separately and must be a 20″ x 48″ rectangular pad). Having the pad attached to the Little Red also helps to prevent your child getting twisted up, which can be uncomfortable. The temperature rating is 15 degrees, so this is intended for serious, cold weather camping and hiking.
- Integrated pad sleeve that keeps the child from wriggling off the mat and stops the bag getting twisted up
- Great for cold weather camping
- Only comes in one color.
Good for Ages: 2-5
Intended use: Camping, Hiking
Available from CampSaver.com
4. REI Kindercone
The Kindercone is a great option if you would like a style that can grow with your child. Some of the higher quality options are pricey, so you don’t want to have to constantly buy new bags as your child grows. To shorten the size you stuff the bottom of the bag into the built-in sack until you get it to the length that you want, then you cinch the sack so the size is the right length for the child. The Kindercone can be used for kids as young as 2 or 3, and since it can fit kids up to 5 feet you can use the Kindercone until they are ready to switch to an adult sized bag. The Kindercone has a reputation for being great quality, good value and an all-around fantastic option.
- High Quality
- Grows with your kids
- Not the lightest option
- Does not compress down small, so might be a bit big to take hiking
Good for Ages: 2-3 +
Intended use: Summer Camps, Car camping
Available from REI
5. Coleman Kids 50 Sleeping Bag
The Coleman Kids 50 Sleeping Bag is a great option for most kids aged around 4 to 10. The temperature rating of 50 Degrees makes it a good choice for sleepovers, camping in the summer and camp.
- Glow in the dark
- Good for kids up to 5ft.
- Not good for cold weather camping
Good for Ages: 4-10
Intended use: Good for late spring, summer and early fall camping
Available from Amazon
6. Kelty Big Dipper
The Kelty Big Dipper is another very popular, high quality sleeping bag that your kids will love. Like the Deuter Starlight EXP, the Big Dipper has an expandable section that lengthens the size by 12 inches. It is a modified mummy style, so it is comfortable and can keep kids head warm without being too tight or restrictive.
- Well-constructed and designed
- The zipper expander means it can grow with your child
- Slightly Bulky
- Too heavy to use for hiking
Good for Ages: 4-12
Intended use: Summer car camping, summer camp, sleepovers
Available from BackCountry.com
7. Big Agnes Wolverine
The Big Agnes Wolverine is very similar to the Big Agnes Little Red; it is just designed for a slightly older child. The difference between the Wolverine and Little Red are that it is a little longer (60 inches vs 53 inches), and a little heavier (2lb 6oz vs 1lb 13oz). Other than those differences, the basic design with the pad sleeve that can stop your kids from wriggling off their sleeping pad is the same as the Little Red. Both designs are a great option for kids who really move around when they are sleeping.
- Super Warm
- Great for kids who move around a lot when they sleep
- Only comes in one color
Good for Ages: 5-10
Intended use: Hiking, Camping
Available from BackCountry.com
8. The North Face Youth Dolomite 20
The Dolomite is a great alternative to the mummy style that is so popular in kids bags. Some kids don’t like the restrictive feeling of the mummy style, but there aren’t that many high quality options that are rectangular. The Dolomite is very warm, but it also has the option to be unzipped and turned into a blanket – which you cannot do with the mummy style. Another great thing about the Dolomite is that it has a highly compressible insulation, making it a good option if you are looking for a warm, light versatile design for hiking.
- Rectangular shape is good for kids who find the mummy style too restrictive
- Very warm
- Compresses well
- Wraparound foot box zipper turns the bag into a blanket
- Too warm for indoor sleepovers
Good for Ages: Fits kid up to 5 ft.
Intended use: Camping
Available from Back Country
9. Teton Sports’ Celsius Junior +20
The Teton Sports’ Celsius Junior is another option if your child doesn’t like the mummy style designs. The Teton is less expensive than the North face Dolomite, but it is generally regarded as good quality and it will keep your kids warm and comfortable while camping. The Celsius Junior +20 is a little longer than other kid’s styles, at 66 inches long, so you may be able to get a few extra years out of it. It has a flannel lining, two-way zippers, an interior pocket, and comes with a stuff sack.
- Good quality
- You can’t zip it down all the way and turn it into a blanket
Good for Ages: 5-10
Intended use: Camping, Sleepover, Summer Camp
Available from Amazon
Features to Consider:
When you are shopping for a sleeping bag, the most important thing to consider is when and where your child will be using it. If it is only going to be used on sleepovers or occasionally for summer camping, there are many comfortable inexpensive options to choose from. If your family are frequent campers, who camp in a variety of temperatures it is best to spend some researching features. The following are a few things to look out for:
Shape – Generally children’s sleeping options are either a rectangle or a mummy shape. Mummy shaped is tapered at the legs and the feet to keep in the warmth, while rectangle are good if kids don’t like feeling restricted. Some of the benefits of a mummy style include being lighter for carrying, as well as warmer since there isn’t as much space to heat, they are generally considered best for camping and hiking. Rectangular shapes can be roomier and more comfortable for some people, you can also generally unzip them and turn them into blankets, making them good for summer camps and sleepovers.
Weight/Bulk– If you are hiking or camping where you will have to carry a pack, the weight of the sleeping bag is going to be an issue. Look for designs that weight around 2 pounds or less. You should also look at the dimensions of the stuff sack, to see how bulky the sack may be.
Temperature Rating – The temperature rating on camping bags is the lowest temperature (air temperature) where the bag will keep you warm. Most kids camping designs have a temperature rating between +15°F and +35°F, although there are quite a lot of other factors that determine how warm your child stay while sleeping, so the temperature rating is meant to be used as a guide only. Summer Season styles are +35°F and higher, 3 season products are +10° to +35°F , and winter season are considered +10°F and lower.
Insulation Type –The two types of insulation that sleeping bags are made of are either synthetic or goose-down. Pretty much all of the kids designs are made with synthetic insulation, not only because it is much less expensive, it is also quick drying, very durable and not allergenic. If you would like to get a goose-down filled design, one option is the Western Mountaineering Tamarak Sleeping Bag ‑2C ‑ Children to Youths. Marmot used to make a style called Sorcerer 20F that could fit kids, but they don’t seem to be making it anymore. Another option would be to buy a woman’s size goose down bag and tie off the bottom to shorten the length, then just adjust the length as your child grows.
Built-in sleeve– Some models feature a built-in sleeve to fit a sleeping pad under the bag. This is a helpful feature if you child is a restless sleeper and slides of his or her pad frequently.
Pillow pockets are a nice to have feature that allow a allow a small pillow or stuffed up clothes to be put inside of the pocket to make a pillow.
Hoods are useful if you are planning on doing any cold weather camping. Since you lose heat from your heat, a built-in hood allows you to cinch the hood with a draw cord around your head to help you stay warm.
Interior or Exterior Pockets–Kids love having secret pockets to put flashlights or toys in to help them feel secure.
Draft tubes – Draft tubes are insulation-filled tubes that run along the length of the zipper. Having a draft tube helps to stop warmth from escaping through the zipper.
Is it worth investing in a high quality kid’s sleeping bag? Yes, not only can you buy durable bags that can grow with your kids throughout the years, your kids will be warmer and more comfortable. Even though the initial investment is a little steep, they will pay off over the years as they help keep your kids happy and warm while camping.