A good kids sleeping bag is the most important piece of gear you need to ensure your family camping trip is filled with happy memories, as opposed to sleepless nights of discomfort.
We’ve tried nine top-rated sleeping bags for kids — from notable outdoor gear purveyors to top-ranked Amazon finds — to discover the best kids’ sleeping bags for camping.
For the most comfortable sleeping experience under the stars, we recommend the REI Coop Kindercone 25 (available from REI) for its high-quality features and customizable sizing. For older campers or side sleepers, we love the LLBean Kids Adventure Sleeping Bag (available from LL Bean) for its overall comfort and great features. Finally, for a purchase on a budget, we are fans of the ANJ outside (available on Amazon), which keeps children warm at a great price.
Read on to find out the ins and outs of kids sleeping bags, what you need to find the best one for you, and why these are our favorites.
Here are the best kids’ sleeping bags we’ve tested ranked, in order:
- REI Coop Kindercone 25
- LL Bean Kids Adventure Sleeping Bag
- ANJ outside
- Kelty Kids Mistral
- Coleman Kids Plum Fun
- Hiker with pillow
- Ace Camp Glow
- Celsius Junior Nipple
- Wenzel Blue Moose
How we tested children’s sleeping bags
I’m Janelle Randazza, the parenting editor of Reviewed. I’m an outdoor enthusiast with almost 30 years of camping experience: I’m also an equipment enthusiast. On date nights, my husband and I are more inclined to hike or go to REI than to a Michelin star restaurant.
I’ve camped on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington in a snowstorm, on Joshua Tree in a heat wave, at the bottom of the Grand Canyon in the spring, and in more national parks than I can remember during many trips across the country. Since becoming a parent, I have also become an RV enthusiast. (A hobby I scoffed at as “fake camping” when I was childless.)
Some women love diamonds. I like a well-structured piece equipment that I can versatile the heck out of. I’ve tried more sleeping bags in my life than most women have had on handbags. When it comes to sleeping bags, I know my stuff.
According to many kids sleeping bag reviews online, just because a seller (especially on third party sites) claims to be selling a kids sleeping bag doesn’t mean the bag that arrives will be the size of the kids sleeping bag. ‘a kid. It happens often enough that we think one of the most important tests was how well these bags fit kids 5 feet tall or under. If what we received was not really a children’s bag, as was the case with the hiker– he docked some serious points.
Next, we tested usability. We encouraged our 8 year old, his friends and cousins to try out the sleeping bags to see if they were comfortable enough to sleep in. They then tested zippers, hoods and special usability features. We also got their feedback on the feel of the liner fabric. Bags with uncomfortable liner fabric were retested for bias. If they failed with two or more children, these bags were sent to the bottom of the heap.
We weren’t able to take all of the bags on official camping trips, but we made ourselves comfortable in each one to test the warmth and comfort. Since I’m just over 5’2″, I was able to test all the bags myself except the Kindercone and the ANJ. Our 10 year old son and niece tested the ones that were too comfortable for me. That said, I climbed into each of these bags to determine the overall comfort of the fabric, ease of use, and durability of each feature.
We looked at every component of these bags, from hoods and zippers to drawstrings, baffles and insoles. Every feature has been tested for quality and ease of use.
We then combed through online reviews to determine how the bags held up to extended use and numerous washes. If a child’s sleeping bag doesn’t wash well, it won’t last. Most of the bags we tested had good washability ratings; those who did not, however, also lost points.
What you need to know about children’s sleeping bags
Why do you need to buy a children’s sleeping bag? Can’t you just get an adult of them to grow? If you’re buying a sleeping bag for anything other than lying on a living room floor, the answer is no.
The reason you need a kid’s sleeping bag comes down to warmth. The air pockets created in an oversized sleeping bag are essentially conductors of cold air. To stay warm, you need a well-fitting bag, that goes for adults too. If you see an extra-large sleeping bag on sale and you’re only average size, you want to skip the sale and splurge to buy one that’s right for you.
You will probably struggle to find a down sleeping bag designed for young children. There is a reason for this. Poly-filled sleeping bags are (in our opinion) the only choice for kids. They dry faster in case of liquid spills, overnight humidity or even humidity from the elements. Also, in almost all cases, poly-filled sleeping bags are machine washable.
Be sure to check reviews on how well a sleeping bag holds up in the machine wash. We’ve done the legwork for you here in our rating, but if you decide to buy a sleeping bag from another listing, do your due diligence with that.
While down bags are generally lighter and can be smaller than most other bags, if you’re car camping, there’s no reason to seek out a down sleeping bag.
On most bags, you will see a temperature rating printed on the outside of the bag. Most often you will see 40°F or 30°F for children’s bags, but for adults it can go down to negative 40°F.
It’s important to know that just because a bag says it’s a 30°F bag doesn’t mean you should expect a good night’s sleep if temperatures reach 30°F; it just means you won’t get hyperthermia. If you’re planning on going to winter camp with your kids, be sure to buy a kids camping sleeping bag that covers the temperatures you’ll be sleeping in.
Likewise, you don’t want to get a 20°F bag “just in case” if most of your camping will be during the summer. This bag will be too warm for comfort.
Know the components of your bag
There are a few technical things you need to look for when shopping for a kids sleeping bag. While you can get super technical with even more details and features than listed here, these are components that we consider essential when buying a sleeping bag and may not be items that a novice knows.
Bag shape: Mummy and rectangular are the two leading shapes of sleeping bags. A rectangular bag can often be unzipped on three sides, allowing it to double as a quilt or picnic blanket. People tend to prefer rectangular bags over indoor sleeping bags.
A mummy bag is usually the preferred shape for outdoor sleeping bags because the contoured bottom helps retain heat and keep feet warm. A mummy bag, however, can sometimes be uncomfortable for side sleepers.
Cord: A drawstring allows you to tighten and loosen an area of a sleeping bag. When these cords are positioned around the collar or hood of a sleeping bag, they can be tightened to prevent heat loss.
Suction tube: This is an insulated tube that runs the full length of the zipper inside the bag. It prevents heat from escaping and prevents cold air from entering the bag. We never recommend buying a sleeping bag without a draft tube.
Baffle: The seams that run through the outside of a sleeping bag are called baffles. They work like padding and hold a sleeping bag’s insulation in place so it doesn’t shift or bunch up when a bag is stored or washed. Baffles help to minimize cold spots and heat loss. If you see a bag without sewn baffles, don’t buy it.
Sole: This is the area of the bag where the feet go. It is important to consider the size of the insole when buying a sleeping bag. Although preferences may differ, we personally like a shorter footbed for kids. While slightly older children or more experienced campers may prefer a longer footbed where they can store a water bottle or items they want to keep close, for smaller children a longer footbed long turns into a bottomless pit of lost toys.