What is a good sleeping bag for kids? I want to take my 8-year old daughter on a backpacking trip next summer to the Rocky Mountains, and I want to find an affordable sleeping bag, but also want to make sure she’s warm enough on cold nights in the mountains.
-Sara, New Mexico
ANSWER: Thanks for the question, Sara. Investing in a cozy, lightweight down sleeping bag for yourself is one thing, but buying one for your child is another. Sleeping bags are a big investment, and kids will grow out of them and may lose interest in backpacking and camping. Here are my tips on buying a sleeping bag for kids:
- Synthetic, not down. Kids are more likely to have something spill on the bag, and wet down is not only uncomfortable but dangerous. On a cold night in the mountains it is not safe to sleep in a wet bag, and down takes a long time to dry.
- Kids specific. The sleeping bag will be smaller, so take up less volume in your daughter’s pack, and will be lighter weight. Plus, it will cost a lot less than an adult bag!
- Teenager? If your kid is a tween or teenager and serious about backpacking, invest in an adult bag. If your kid has done a lot of backpacking and camping and loves it, then it is worth investing in an adult bag if they are old enough. Kids bags are generally sized to fit children below 5 feet tall, so once your kid is a pre-teen they may have already outgrown the bag, and you’ll need to get them an adult bag. Since your daughter is 8 and it sounds like she has limited backpacking experience, I’d stick with a kids bag. However, a 12 year old who is serious about camping and backpacking should get an adult bag they can use for years.
A good sleeping bag for kids that is durable, warm, and fits the above criteria is the North Face Tigger +20 bag. It is very lightweight for a synthetic bag, is rated to 20 degrees Fahrenheit so will be good for most family backpacking trips, and fits kids up to 5 feet tall. Similarly, the private label REI sleeping bag, the REI Lumen +25 for kids, is good quality, and slightly less expensive.
Have a great backpacking trip with your daughter, Sara!
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