Camping with kids is all hiking, campfires, and s’mores until it’s time to zip into the tent. Picking the right sleeping bag for your child can be the difference between a well-rested night in the fresh air and a cold, uncomfortable camper. We went to the pros at Big Agnes, a Steamboat Springs outdoor gear company, for tips on finding the perfect sleeping bag for campers from tots to teens.
Many young children start out with the rectangle-shaped sleeping bags adorably adorned with their favorite Disney characters. While these bags are perfect for slumber parties, they simply won’t cut it in the chilly mountain air. Sleeping bags from big box stores typically have inconsistent insulation, which can lead to frosty little toes. Carl Johnson, Big Agnes’ public relations manager, says a mummy-shaped bag—preferably with a drawstring hood—will keep your kid cozy after the campfire is out.
Johnson says a sleeping bag needs to fit your child less like a sized pair of shoes, but rather like a winter coat. “Most sleeping bags come in a height range,” Johnson says. “If a bag is too long, there will be extra air inside that won’t be warmed by body heat.” Again, cue the cold feet.
Of course, those little feet are worth every penny to keep warm, but don’t feel like you need to get the top-dollar, super lightweight option. Johnson suggests choosing a do-it-all bag in the 15- to 20-degree range. This designation is for what a person could survive in, so plan on using it in temperatures starting around 40 degrees. And if backpacking isn’t on the agenda, a synthetic insulation sleeping bag will work great and won’t dig so deep into your budget. Remember: Any camping sleeping bag will cost more than the Queen Elsa and Lightning McQueen versions, but most also come with a patch repair kit and are durable enough to hand-down from child-to-child.
No matter which sleeping bag you decide on, we’re sure as long as you have a warm little camper, you’ll have a happy little camper.
Best Picks From Big Agnes
For Your Toddler: Little Red 15 ($69.95)
For Your Kid: Wolverine 15 ($89.95)
For Your Teen: Haybro 15 ($99.95)
Note: All Big Agnes sleeping bags include a sleeve that holds the pad (sold separately) in place. This way, your kid won’t roll off and wake up on the ground.