Backpacking, camping and scouting are great outdoor activities for children and adolescents, but they do require some proper equipment such as a good backpack, sleeping pad, sleeping bag etc. A good sleeping bag keeps your child comfortable and warm while he/she is camping out in nature. The offer of high-quality sleeping bags for kids is, unfortunately, very limited in comparison to the many options for adults. However, some brands do make great sleeping bags for kids. Note that the sleeping bag must fit the size of the child to be thermally efficient. Sleeping bags for kids are therefore shorter and narrower than sleeping bags for adults to snugly enclose the body of the young outdoor enthusiast. Using a too big sleeping bag is almost like wearing a too big insulated jacket – it will not keep you warm because a big percentage of the body-warmed air will escape to the outside through the gaps. A too spacious sleeping bag also takes longer to heat up for a small person because a bigger volume must be filled with body-warmed air.
Below we selected and reviewed the best sleeping bags for kids to make your buying decision a little easier. We only listed high-quality sleeping bags that come for a great price. The sleeping bags in this review are suitable for children who measure from 3′3″ (100 cm) to 5′6″ (167 cm) in height – see the table below. One of them is adjustable in length to follow the growth of your child. If you are looking for a sleeping bag for a toddler/baby you should check out our first-hand review of the Morrison Outdoors Little Mo. All sleeping bags in this review are suitable for three-season outdoor activities; spring, summer and fall.
1. Buying a Kid’s Sleeping Bag – What is important?
Sleeping bags have either synthetic or down insulation. Down insulation provides better warmth for the weight and compressibility but is also very expensive and quickly loses its insulating properties if it gets wet/moist. Synthetic insulation, on the other hand, is cheaper and retains warmth even if it gets wet or moist.
Sleeping bags for kids typically feature synthetic insulation because they have a limited utility span – at some point the child will need an adult sleeping bag and thus it doesn’t make sense to buy a very pricey down sleeping bag. Furthermore, down sleeping bags are mostly aimed towards pros who need super light gear for their demanding trips. Note that synthetic insulation comes in a range of qualities and that the best can almost compete with down. On this list of the best sleeping bags for kids we made it a priority to include products with high-quality synthetic insulation. Some of the products do come in down versions as well, but unless your kids are going camping in very cold weather, synthetic insulation should do the job.
Weight and Packed Size:
A sleeping bag should be relatively light and pack small, especially if it will be used for on-foot outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking and scouting. Light equipment will allow your child to hike faster and easier. In this selection we listed the lightest sleeping bags for kids we could find without compromising quality.
The face fabric should be sturdy to extend the lifespan of the sleeping bag. It should also be water-resistant to prevent the sleeping bag from getting soaked in case of rain or high humidity.
As mentioned above, the length of the sleeping bag should fit the height of your child somewhat in order to be thermally efficient. Sadly, fewer and fewer children’s sleeping bags can be adjusted in length, so it can be expanded gradually to follow the growth of your child. Check out the table below to see which height(s) each listed product fits.
Since the widely used EN 13537 temperature rating standard does not apply to children (it applies only to adult men and women), manufacturers of sleeping bags for kids typically use their own methods to determine which temperatures their sleeping bags are suitable for. Note that these ratings do not apply perfectly to everyone because for example women get colder faster than men. Therefore, it is important to test the sleeping bag close to home before using it for real.
In this review we only listed mummy sleeping bags as these are the most versatile; they snugly enclose the body to provide good warmth and can be unzipped for ventilation.
We only list top-tier products. Read how our selections of best hiking products differ from others here.
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2. The Best Sleeping Bags for Kids Review
The Best Sleeping Bags for Kids – List
- Marmot Banzai Trestles 35
- Kelty Kids Mistral 20
- Morrison Outdoors Big Mo 40
- The North Face Youth Eco Trail Synthetic 20
- REI Co-op Kindercone 25
|Feature/Product||Marmot Banzai Trestles 35||Kelty Kids Mistral 20||Morrison Outdoors Big Mo 40||The North Face Youth Eco Trail Synthetic 20||REI Co-op Kindercone 25|
|Weight||1 lbs. 13 oz. (840 g)||2 lbs. 9 oz. (1200 g)||1 lbs. 3 oz. (539 g)||3 lbs. (1360 g)||3 lbs. 54 oz. (1474 g)|
|Fits Height||Up to 4 feet (122 cm)||Up to 5 feet (152 cm)||Up to 4´6´' (137cm)||Up to 5′5'' (165 cm)||Up to 5’6’’ (167 cm)|
|Adjustable||No||No||No||No||Yes (via stuff sack)|
|Insulation Type||Spirafil LT||Synthetic CloudLoft||Hi-Loft Polyester||Synthetic Recycled Polyester||Polyester fibers|
|Face Fabric||70D 100% Polyester||190 T Polyester Taffeta||100 % Ripstop Nylon||50D recycled Ripstop Polyester||Ripstop nylon|
|Packed Volume/Size||7 x 16 in. (19 x 41 cm)||10 x 17 in. (25 x 43 cm)||8 x 15 in. (20 x 38 cm)||9 x 16 in. (23 x 41 cm)||12 x 16 in. (30 x 41 cm)|
|Limit Temperature||35° F (-2° C)||20° F (-7° C)||40° F (4° C)||20° F (-7° C)||25° F (-4° C)|
1. Marmot Banzai Trestles 35
The Marmot Banzai Trestles 35 sleeping bag is intended for the youngest outdoor enthusiasts. It fits children who are up to 4 ft. tall (122 cm). Besides one full-length two-way YKK zipper, this kids’ sleeping bag features a second “fold-down” zipper for easy access and added ventilation. Both zippers have draft tubes and an antisnag construction for child-friendly maneuvering at night. The Marmot Banzai sleeping bag is also equipped with a comfortable lining, durable face fabric, a cozy 3D-hood with a drawcord for cold nights and an internal stash pocket for small treasures. It is filled with Spirafil™ high loft insulation, which provides good warmth (both in damp and cool conditions, down to 35 ºF/2ºC) and compressibility, when packed in the stuff sack. The Marmot Banzai Trestles 35 sleeping bag for kids comes in a unisex color combination of an orange shell with a blue interior.
2. Kelty Kids Mistral 20
The Kelty Kids Mistral sleeping bag for children is available in two versions, rated at 20 ºF and 30 ºF respectively. The Kelty Kids Mistral 20 is insulated with 30.51 ounces (865 g) of Cloudloft Synthetic Insulation, while the lighter version has 26 ounces (740 g) of the same insulation. That makes the Kelty Kids Mistral 20 slightly more bulky when packed, but otherwise the two models weigh the same and fit children up to a height of 5 feet (152 cm). Each version is available in two cool color combinations. The design is child-friendly as the materials are robust, and the baffle construction is offset to prevent cold spots. Included is a conveniently sized stuff sack, so your child can pack up the Kelty Kids sleeping bag by itself rather having someone else (you!) roll and compress it for 10 minutes to fit into some narrow holster.
3. Morrison Outdoors Big Mo 40
Morrison Outdoors provides sleeping bags, or rather sleep suits, for the smallest hikers and outdoor people! The newly established brand, which is named after the founder’s son, offers sleeping bags for babies (age 6 months to 2 years) and toddlers (2-4 years) up to 4´6´’ (137cm) tall, the Little Mo and Big Mo respectively. Each size comes in a down version and a synthetic version. For this list, we chose the Morrison Outdoors Big Mo 40 which utilizes synthetic insulation, thus being suitable for ambient temperatures (40°F to 60°F / 4°C to 15°C). The good thing about the Big Mo 40 (and Little Mo 40) is that it features adjustable open-and-close sleeves, so that your toddler can have the hands free while awake, and tucked away snugly inside the closed sleeve when asleep. The two-way zipper provides total ventilation control, so it can be more or less zipped depending on how warm your child is at night. Read our first-hand review of the smaller, but almost identical Little Mo 40 for children aged 6 months to 2 years here.
- Open-and-close sleeves
- Fully-enclosed footbox
- Two-way zipper for adjustable ventilation
- Limited age range
Where to buy?
Also available at:
4. The North Face Youth Eco Trail Synthetic 20
The North Face Youth Eco Trail Synthetic 20 sleeping bag is the most sustainable option on this list as it is mainly made of recycled materials, for example the 100% recycled synthetic insulation which provides warmth even when wet. The shell is also treated with a PFC-free Durable Water Repellent to prevent the sleeping bag from getting wet if your child gets caught in the rain. It is slightly more expensive (approx. 20 $) than the brand’s other sleeping bag for youths – the Youth Aleutian 20/-7, but otherwise has quite similar tech specs. Like the Kelty Kids Mistral sleeping bag above, The North Face Youth Eco Trail Synthetic 20 can keep your child warm even when it is literally freezing.
- Sustainably produced
- Internal pocket for valuables
- Other details like the fitted hood and tie-down loops to secure bag to sleeping pad
- Higher price (due to sustainable materials)
Where to buy?
5. REI Co-op Kindercone 25
The REI Co-op Kindercone 25 sleeping bag for kids is the only product on this list which can be adjusted in length to follow the growth of your child. The method is unassuming, but somewhat ingenious. The stuff sack is attached at the foot box of the sleeping bag, so you can simply cinch it around whatever amount that is superfluous for your child’s current height. The fact that the stuff sack is attached entails that it is impossible to lose, but also makes it a bit harder to pack until your kid has the method down. The REI Co-op Kindercone 25 sleeping bag is equipped with a two-way antisnag coil zipper, so it can be used to ventilate the legs as well. The hood is adjustable with a drawcord, but also has a stretch opening around the face for a good fit. Color-wise, the lightweight durable ripstop nylon shell is grey while the interior is a bright red tartan made of soft polyester taffeta.