What is a good sleeping bag for kids?

QUESTION:
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:Sleeping Bags 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!

Happy trails!
Hiking Lady

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10 comments

  1. Chris says:

    Just wanted to drop an update. I’ve been doing some more research and found the REI Kindercone. It has gotten some impressive reviews and I know, from I’ve used, that REI products are very good quality and last. This bag is about double the price of the Woobie 30 but she’ll be able to grow into it. It has a stuff-sack built into the foot of the bag which can be used to stuff enough of the bottom of the sleeping bag into, and then cinched, until it fits your child. This seems perfect as I know she’ll be using it for years to come.

  2. Hiking Lady says:

    Thanks for sharing, Chris. We all appreciate tips like this! The Kelty Woobie 30 looks reasonably priced too. I looked it up and found it for $24.97 on Amazon. Happy trails everyone!

  3. Chris says:

    I know this is a bit late for the couple visiting Nepal but Kelty makes a sleeping bag for toddlers (42″ long) called the Woobie 30. I’m seriously considering it for our nearly-three-year-old daughter; she’s right at 36″ tall. Though it’s probably not great for trekking or hiking very far as it weights in at about four pounds.

  4. Anna says:

    James,

    We ended up getting the deuter little star exp – it has a zip to extend the bag from 2/3 year old size to 5/6 year old size which extends the useable life a little more and also means extra warmth at the feet in the short term.

    Was plenty warm enough up to 2000m in nepal in december (2yo was in merino thermals & a sleeping bag)and easy to stick in the washing machine at the end of the trip.

    Was a bit of a mission working out how to buy it from the states (most suppliers wont ship deuter to aus even though this sleeping bag is not available here) but used “ship it to” and it was super quick & super easy.

  5. alexdesouza says:

    Infants can’t walk, and letting them crawl to your destination is neither timely nor hygenic. So that means that Mom’s going to carry the baby in a backpack and Dad’s going to shoulder the rest of the gear. Dad may be shocked at the realization that he’s not going to get to carry the same sub-twenty pound pack that he gets to carry on a summer trip with his buddies, but rules are rules! The bottom line: you’re both going to be shouldering some weight, so slow down, take it easy, and lower your mileage expectations.

  6. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi James,
    The REI Lumen 25 is a good one too. It’s the same quality as the Lumen adult bag, which gets pretty good reviews. REI’s private label products, such as this sleeping bag, are generally high quality.
    Have fun camping with your child!

  7. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Anna,
    You are getting your 2 year old accustomed to adventure at a very young age! Yes, a regular Kids sleeping bag will be way too big for your 2 year old. If you have sewing skills, you could buy a kids bag and then cut it down to size, adjust the zipper length, etc. I have not seen any tiny sleeping bags available for 2 year olds. You could try something like this car seat sleeping bag, but I’m a bit concerned it might not keep your child warm enough. If I hear of others I’ll let you know. Safe travels!

  8. Anna says:

    We are taking our two year old trekking in Nepal and need a sleeping bag. I suspect a standard kids (5 foot) bag will be too big and therefore not warm enough but am having trouble finding anything smaller. Do you have any suggestions?

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