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Choosing the Right Sleeping Bag: 6 of the Best Options

Spending the night in the great outdoors doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. With the right sleeping bag, campers, backpackers, and hikers of all kinds can enjoy a cozy night’s sleep under the stars or in their tent or cabin. There are plenty of sleeping bags to choose from, for all climates, seasons, and activities–and to fit all budgets. They range in insulation, fabric shells, and even shape. Knowing which kind will lead to the best nigh’s sleep starts with understanding a few key differences between the many options.

What sleeping bag should I buy?

The answer depends on how it will be used, how often, and by whom. Just like other kinds of camping equipment, sleeping bags offer different levels of durability, portability, and warmth. First, decide if it will be used mainly for camping or backpacking and in which primary season of the year. It will make it much easier to narrow the available options.

Sleeping bags: backpacking vs. camping

The primary difference between the two is in weight and portability. Sleeping bags used for camping are generally roomier and weightier. Backpacking sleeping bags, by comparison, are light and streamlined, fitting snugly around their occupant at night. Since a backpacker must fit everything in their pack and carry it while they hike, lightweight material that takes up the least amount of space possible is key.

Sleeping bags: summer vs. winter

Every sleeping bag has a temperature rating, which indicates the lowest temperature the sleeping bag can handle to keep its occupant comfortable. Summer bags are designed for temperatures of 30 degrees Fahrenheit and above. They are lightweight, contain less insulation, and take up a small amount of room when rolled or packed. Winter sleeping bags, however, are thicker and heavily-insulated. Designed for temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit and below, they take up more room in a pack thanks to their additional filling and heavyweight shells.

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From kids sleeping bags to heavy-duty adult versions, here are six of the best options to consider.

Coleman Palmetto Cool Weather Adult Sleeping Bag

The Coleman Palmetto Sleeping Bag is a standard rectangular bag, at 75 x 33 x 4 inches and 5.4 pounds. Designed for temperatures between 30 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s perfect for family camping trips or sleepaway camp. With smooth zipper operation, it’s easy to roll and pack, and features a Quick Cord to keep the roll compact. It’s machine washable and made of 100% polyester. The fabric is a bit rough to the touch and not as breathable as other polyester bags.

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Coleman Kids 50 Sleeping Bag

For younger outdoor enthusiasts, the Coleman Kids 50 bag will keep them warm and comfortable in temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit. At 14.1 x 7.9 x 7.9 inches and 2.43 pounds, this bag is perfect for young campers up to five feet tall. Kids love the fun, glow in the dark fabric and the interior pocket for flashlights or a favorite stuffed animal. Parents will love the ZipPlow zipper that keeps the fabric snag-free, and the Comfort Cuff design to keep the softest fabric around the child’s face for a more comfortable sleeping experience. Some buyers caution that the zipper can split after several uses and that the fabric is prone to tear with heavy use.

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Sleepingo Double Sleeping Bag

This roomy, two-person Sleeping bag is rated for 32 degrees Fahrenheit and higher, and is perfect for camping and hiking. At 87 x 59 inches, it’s big enough to sleep two adults comfortably and comes with two travel pillows. The outer shell is waterproof for dewy nights under the stars, with high-grade polyester fabric for maximum durability. The bag can also be unzipped to create two individual sleeping bags. With a lifetime warranty, this sleeping bag is a favorite for frequent outdoor adventurers. We found that the fabric allows too much air to flow through in cooler temperatures and that the bag may not be long enough for taller users to sleep comfortably.

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Winner Outfitters Mummy Sleeping Bag

This Winner Outfitters mummy-style sleeping bag is perfect for cabin or tent camping in moderate to cool temperatures. With extra quilting to eliminate drafts, it creates a cocoon of warmth from head to toe. It’s easy to roll and pack into its matching compression sack and is lightweight, measuring 87 x 32 x 4 inches and just 3 pounds. With a snag-free zipper and machine washable fabric, it’s easy to care for and store. A common complaint is that the zipper can slip off of its track if not used with extra care and we think the bag may feel constricting to users over six feet tall.

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Teton Sports Mammoth Sleeping Bag

The Mammoth Double Sleeping Bag is just as big as its name suggests. At 94 x 62 x 3 inches and 16.53 pounds, it’s big and sturdy enough to fit two adults comfortably. With an extra-soft liner and cozy mummy-style hood, it’s the perfect sleeping bag for couples to snuggle up together under the stars. It comes in two temperature options: 20 degrees and above, or zero degrees and above, and its thermal enhancing, double layer stitching will keep the cold at bay. Like most sleeping bags we reviewed, the zipper is prone to slipping. Also, this bag requires a bit more maintenance than other bags since the fabric must be washed by hand and air dried.

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Ecoopro Warm Weather Sleeping Bag

This lightweight, warm-weather sleeping bag is perfect for camping, hiking, or hunting trips. The Ecoopro Sleeping Bag is made to keep campers comfortable in spring, summer, or fall. This bag is recommended for temperatures of 48-50 degrees Fahrenheit and higher. With its nylon covering and soft cotton lining, it’s breathable without letting in the cool air. It comes in multiple colors and is weather resistant. At 83 x 30 inches and 1.65 pounds, it’s light and easy to pack. There may be some quality issues with the zipper, as well as a lack of roominess in the bag for larger adults.

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