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. Some of them are 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.
The length of a sleeping bag should fit the height of your child. Some sleeping bags are adjustable in length, meaning that they can be shortened with a drawcord or snap fasteners. 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
- Kelty Big Dipper 30
- Big Agnes Duster 15
- Morrison Outdoors Big Mo 40
- The North Face Youth Eco Trail Synthetic 20
- Deuter Starlight SQ
|Feature/Product||Kelty Big Dipper||Big Agnes Duster 15||Morrison Outdoors Big Mo 40||The North Face Youth Eco Trail Synthetic 20||Deuter Starlight SQ|
|Weight||2 lbs. 15 oz. (1340 g)||2 lbs. 14 oz. (1300 g)||1 lbs. 3 oz. (539 g)||3 lbs. (1360 g)||2. lbs. 5 oz. (1150 g)|
|Fits Height||Up to 5′ (152 cm)||4′5″-5′6″ (134 – 167 cm)||Up to 4´6´' (137cm)||Up to 5′5'' (165 cm)||4’3’’- 5’7’’ (130 - 170 cm)|
|Adjustable||Yes (spiral zipper)||Yes (snap fasteners)||No||No||Yes (zipper)|
|Insulation Type||Synthetic CloudLoft||Synthetic M4||Hi-Loft Polyester||Synthetic Recycled Polyester||High-Loft Hollowfibre|
|Face Fabric||66D Polyester Taffeta||Polyester||100 % Ripstop Nylon||50D recycled Ripstop Polyester||70D Polyamide, 75D Polyester|
|Packed Volume/Size||10 x 15 in. (25 x 38 cm)||10 x 11 in. (25 x 28 cm)||8 x 15 in. (20 x 38 cm)||9 x 16 in. (23 x 40.5 cm)||8.7 x 13 in. (22 x 33 cm)|
|Limit Temperature||30° F (-1° C)||15° F (-9° C)||40° F (4° C)||20° F (-7° C)||n/a|
1. Kelty Big Dipper 30
The Kelty Big Dipper 30 sleeping bag for children can adjusted to follow the growth of your kid as the spiral zipper at the footbox can be unzipped to reveal 30 cm (12 inches) extra length. It is insulated with 31 ounces (0.88 kg) of Cloudloft Synthetic Insulation, which gives the Big Dipper a limit temperature of 30 ⁰F (-1 ⁰C). The design is child-friendly as the materials are robust, the mummy-shaped opening is elastic rather than closed with a drawcord, and Kelty has even made an anti-snag design for the zipper with two parallel strips of webbing run down both sides of it. If your kid prefers a rectangular-shaped sleeping bag, the brand also offers the Callisto 30 with similar tech specs as the Big Dipper.
2. Big Agnes Duster 15
The Big Agnes Duster 15 is another great sleeping bag for kids. It is adjustable in length like the Mountain Hardwear’s sleeping bag above. The Big Agnes Duster 15 sleeping bag has snap fasteners for adjusting the length – you simply fold the end of the sleeping bag and use snap fasteners to secure it. It is also equipped with hooks and loops which allow you to adjust the width of the sleeping bag and has a sleeve at the bottom for easy attachment to a sleeping pad. The Big Agnes sleeping bag also features high-quality M4 synthetic insulation, comfortable polyester lining and sturdy water repellent face fabric. For easier drying it is equipped with two loops at the bottom. It comes with a stuff sack and is only available in one color.
3. Morrison Outdoors Big Mo 40
Morrison Outdoors provides sleeping bags, or rather sleep suits, for the very youngest of 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), 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.
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 Big Agnes sleeping bag above, The North Face Youth Eco Trail Synthetic 20 can keep your child warm even when it is literally freezing.
5. Deuter Starlight SQ
German Deuter offers four sleeping backs for children – the Little Star for children between 98 and 130 cm (38’’-51’’) tall and the Deuter Starlight, Starlight SQ and Starlight Pro for children between 130 and 170 cm (4’3’’- 5’7’’). The difference between the latter three is basically the amount of the high-loft hollowfibre insulation and thus an increasing warmth, weight and pack size correspondingly. For this list we chose the Deuter Starlight SQ (with the ‘medium’ amount of insulation) as it is slightly more rectangular in the footbox than the other two, which means it can be unzipped into a comfy quilt blanket. It can also be adjusted in the length to accommodate your child’s growth, as the last 30 cm (12’’) can be unzipped from the footbox.