Woman in Sleeping Bag Outside of Tent

The Best Sleeping Bags for Camping in 2020

Choosing the right sleeping bag might seem simple – but, thanks to all the options available, making the right choice can be difficult.

Our ultimate guide is here to help you find the perfect sleeping bag for car camping. Our buyer’s guide breaks down the most important factors to consider while our reviews focus on the comfort, warmth, packed size/weight, durability, and special features of each of our favorite camping sleeping bags.

Here is exactly how to choose the best sleeping bag for camping in 2020.

Table of Contents

  1. Best Sleeping Bags
  2. Sleeping Bag Buyer’s Guide
  3. Best Sleeping Bag Accessories
  4. Care, Maintenance, Repair
  5. Sleeping Bag Checklist

7 Best Sleeping Bags for Camping in 2020

Here are the 7 best sleeping bags for camping in 2020:

1. The North Face Dolomite 20

The North Face Dolomite 20

$99.95  in stock
2 new from $99.95
2 used from $88.27
Free shipping
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Amazon.com
as of January 17, 2020 12:48 am

The North Face Dolomite 20 has long been one of our favorite sleeping bags for camping.

Not only does this bag boast a simple and straightforward design, making it an instant classic, but it’s also warm enough for winter use (with the right winter sleeping gear), although it’s best for spring, summer, and fall camping.

The Dolomite 20 is relatively lightweight and compressible for a rectangular bag. The inside is roomy and spacious. It’s also notable for its great water resistance, especially for such an affordable camping sleeping bag.

What We Like:

  • Affordable
  • Classic Design
  • Warm & Spacious

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not Ideal for Taller/Larger Users

2. Coleman All-Weather Multi-Layer

Coleman All-Weather Multi-Layer Sleeping Bag

$109.99
$90.35  in stock
8 new from $90.35
2 used from $54.56
Free shipping
Buy Now
Amazon.com
as of January 17, 2020 12:48 am

The Coleman All-Weather Multi-Layer is one of the most versatile sleeping bags available in 2020.

What’s so unique is that this bag is actually two separate sleeping bags: an inner layer and an outer layer. The outer bag is rated for 32°F to 45°F while the inner bag is rated for 45°F to 55°F. Use either one separately depending on the temperature or use them together for a combined temperature rating of 0°F when camping in the winter.

Other than this versatility, this Coleman sleeping bag is notable for its extreme warmth and comfort. As a rectangular bag, it has plenty of interior space to move around. The main drawbacks are extra weight and bulk, making this a good option for car camping only.

What We Like:

  • Versatile
  • Unique Design
  • Warm & Comfortable

What We Don’t Like:

  • Bulky & Heavy

3. The North Face Homestead Bed 20

The North Face Homestead Bed 20

 out of stock
Buy Now
Amazon.com
as of January 17, 2020 12:48 am

The North Face Homestead Bed 20 is one of the most unique sleeping bags for car camping available today.

Not only does it boast a distinctive-looking design, but it also has a host of special features that make it function differently than the competition. Most notable are the mummy-bag shape, over-stuffed insulation, and massive hood (large enough to fit a normal pillow). In fact, this sleeping bag is like a mummy bag on steroids.

Two highlights of the Homestead Bed 20 are its warmth and comfort. This is hands down the coziest car camping sleeping bag on the market. Plus, it stays warm in cold winter weather conditions without missing a beat. A removable quilt liner gives you the option to add or remove insulation based on the weather. Our sole gripe with this bag, aside from the high cost, is a lack of versatility due to the top-zip design.

What We Like:

  • Unique Design
  • Very Warm & Comfortable
  • Mummy-Shape

What We Don’t Like:

  • Expensive

4. Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed 35 Duo

Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed 35 Duo

$168.73  in stock
Buy Now
Rei.com
as of January 14, 2020 6:33 pm

The Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed 35 Duo is one of the best sleeping bags for camping if a budget isn’t a concern.

Although more expensive than most camping bags, it incorporates a ton of useful features, including some typically only seen in backpacking sleeping bags. The catch is that this doesn’t feel like a backpacking bag at all. In fact, it feels just like you’re sleeping in your own bed at home.

Know that the Frontcountry Bed 35 Duo is actually a two-person sleeping bag. Yet it’s sort of a tight fit for two people, especially those on the larger side. Honestly, the bag is fantastically comfortable for sleeping in alone. It’s also notable for its zipper-less design, heavy weight that mimics a comforter, and built-in sleeping pad sleeves.

What We Like:

  • Very Comfortable
  • Zipper-Less Design
  • Lots of Features

What We Don’t Like:

  • Expensive

5. Slumberjack Country Squire 0

Country Squire 0 Degree Sleeping Bag

 out of stock
Buy Now
Amazon.com
as of January 17, 2020 12:48 am

The Slumberjack Country Squire 0 is hands down our top choice for the most luxurious car camping sleeping bag in 2020.

If money and large packed sized don’t matter, then you won’t find a more comfortable sleeping bag than this one. Not only is it incredibly roomy and spacious, but it’s weight mimics that of a classic comforter. The bag is rated for down to 0°F so you know you’ll stay toasty warm all through the night.

The Country Squire 0 is also notable for its durability. The entire construction is rugged, especially the burly zipper. A removable cotton liner is a nice additional touch. The only area where durability lacks is in regards to water resistance. This bag isn’t water resistant in any regard! So you’ll want to be careful when camping in the rain or other situations where the bag could get wet.

What We Like:

  • Hugely Spacious
  • Warm & Comfortable
  • Durable Construction

What We Don’t Like:

  • Minimal Water Resistance

6. Kelty Galactic 30

Kelty Galactic 30 Sleeping Bag

$89.93  in stock
Buy Now
Rei.com
as of January 14, 2020 6:33 pm

Kelty has an extensive line of great sleeping bags but few are better for car camping than the Kelty Galactic 30.

This sleeping bag is rectangular shaped but filled with down insulation. This is a relatively uncommon combo that makes this bag versatile for both car camping and backpacking (although it’s not nearly as lightweight as the best backpacking sleeping bags).

The Galactic 30 is warm, comfortable, and compresses down quite nicely. It boasts a simple and straightforward design with minimal special features. Although the bag won’t break the bank, it is more expensive than other car camping bags. One other small downside is a lack of insulating power when wet. This is a problem with most down-filled bags, despite spray treatment for water resistance.

What We Like:

  • Simple Design
  • Very Comfortable
  • Rectangle Shape with Down Insulation

What We Don’t Like:

  • Lack of Insulating Power When Wet

7. REI Co-op Siesta 30

REI Co-op Siesta 30 Sleeping Bag

$84.95  in stock
Buy Now
Rei.com
as of January 14, 2020 6:33 pm

The REI Co-op Siesta 30 is a quality car camping sleeping bag at a reasonable price.

Even though it’s last on our list of the best sleeping bags for camping in 2020, don’t discount this bag. It boasts a classic design and great construction throughout. This bag is very durable and will last for years on end.

The Siesta 30 is also lightweight and compressible. It’s warm enough for three-season use but isn’t really warm enough for cold weather camping. It’s actually a decent option for those that mostly go car camping but go on the occasional backpacking trip thanks to its compressibility. It’s also water resistant which is a big bonus for camping in the rain.

What We Like:

  • Affordable
  • Classic Design
  • Comfortable

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not Best for Cold Weather

Camping Sleeping Bag Buyer’s Guide

Camping Sleeping Bags Lined Up Inside a Tent

A sleeping bag must do two main things: keep you warm and comfortable at night. Luckily for car camping, packed size/weight aren’t much of a concern, so you can easily bring a more spacious sleeping bag.

Here’s what you need to know to buy the best sleeping bag for camping:

Camping vs Backpacking Sleeping Bags

As mentioned above, car camping usually doesn’t have the same size/weight requirements as backpacking.

This means that your camping sleeping bag doesn’t necessarily need to be lightweight and compact. You can select a roomier, bulkier model and not worry about stuffing it down to fit into your backpack.

The exception is if you plan to use the same bag for both car camping and backpacking. If you plan to go backpacking on occasion but don’t have the budget for two separate bags, you might be better off buying a backpacking sleeping bag and just putting up with the more confined space while car camping.

Temperature Rating

Perhaps the most single important factor when buying a sleeping bag, temperature rating simply describes the overall warmth of the bag.

The included temperature rating is the lowest temperature at which the average user will comfortably stay warm inside the sleeping bag. So, for example, a 30-degree bag will keep the average user warm down to 30°F.

That said, it’s always smart to choose a sleeping bag rated for a little lower (say 10°F lower) than the coldest temperatures you expect to encounter. This ensures you’ll stay warm even if temperatures plummet. And, if you’re too hot, simply unzip the bag for improved ventilation.

Seasonality

Along with temperature rating, seasonality helps describe the overall warmth of a sleeping bag. You have three main options:

  • Summer Season – Temperature rating of 35°F or higher. Best for warm weather.
  • 3-Season – Temperature rating of 10°F to 35°F. Best for spring and fall, but also usable in the summer.
  • Winter – Temperature rating of 10°F or lower. Made for winter. Too warm for use in summer, although usable in spring and fall.

Unless you plan on camping in the winter, you’re probably best off with a 3-season bag rated for between 15°F and 35°F for car camping.

Insulation

Insulation type also dictates the warmth of a sleeping bag. In fact, it directly relates to a bag’s temperature and seasonality. You have three main options:

  • Synthetic – Cheap, durable, and non-allergenic. These stay warm and dry out quickly, but they’re heavy and bulky.
  • Goose-Down – Quite compressible and very durable, but lack insulating power when wet. Also expensive.
  • Water-Resistant Down – Basically special goose down, but the feathers are specially treated for better water resistance.

Any of these three insulation types works well for car camping, although the best fit depends largely on your budget.

Shape

Camping sleeping bags are usually roomier and more comfortable than backpacking sleeping bags, although they’re heavier and less efficient at heating. You have four main shapes to choose from:

  • Rectangular – Comfortable and spacious, but least efficient for heating and warmth.
  • Semi-Rectangular – Also known as barrel-shaped, these are still quite roomy but are tapered to shave off weight and improve their heating efficiency.
  • Mummy – Most popular for backpacking, but still work well for car camping, especially if you go backpacking on occasion. They are lightweight and the most heat efficient but can feel restrictive because of their narrow design.
  • Two-Person – Designed for two people at once. Best for couples that want to share the same sleeping bag.

A rectangular sleeping bag is best for car camping only while a semi-rectangular sleeping bag is a good option for those that mostly go car camping but throw in the occasional backpacking trip.

Materials & Construction

Pay attention to how the insulation is held to the outer layer of your sleeping bag. A few of the most common designs include:

  • Box Baffle – Utilizes vertical baffles to connect outer shell and inner lining via a series of chambers to keep insulation from shifting.
  • Sewn-Through – The shell and liner are stitched together with the insulation in between (like a quilt). Saves a ton of weight, but stitched areas can let in cold air.
  • Shingles – Similar to sewn-through, the shingles design uses individual pieces. Each piece consists of outer shell, insulation, and inner lining that is stitched together.
  • Layered – Most popular in synthetic sleeping bags, the layered, or offset-quilt, technique features two layers of insulation. The outer shell is stitched to one while the inner lining is stitched to the other..

Ripstop nylon and polyester are the most common materials used for outer shells. We recommend buying a sleeping bag with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish.

Packed Size & Weight

Packed size and weight aren’t hugely important for a car camping sleeping bag. That said, a lightweight sleeping bag is still beneficial for car campers because you can use it for backpacking if you ever want to.

A semi-rectangular sleeping bag strikes a good balance between weight, comfort, and warmth, although the best model for you depends on your needs and preferences.

Other Factors

Here are a few additional factors to consider when choosing a sleeping bag for camping:

  • Length – Most adult sleeping bags are available in regular plus long sizes. Some brands also make short (or petite) models.
  • Zipper Compatibility – Some sleeping bags can be zipped together to create a two-person bag. Look for bags with zipper compatibility if you want to do this.
  • Hood – You lose a lot of heat through your head. A sleeping bag with a hood is ideal for cold weather camping.
  • Stash Pocket – These small interior pockets help keep important items (phone, watch, wallet, etc) close at hand.  
  • Sleeping Pad Sleeve – Certain camping sleeping bags are designed without insulation on the underside. Instead, you slip an insulated sleeping pad through a bottom sleeve to ensure you don’t roll off the sleeping pad at night.
  • Pillow Pocket – A pillow pocket allows you to ditch an actual pillow. Instead, just stuff extra clothes into your sleeping bag’s pillow pocket to create a comfortable makeshift pillow.

Best Sleeping Bag Accessories

Two People Laying in Sleeping Bags Outdoors

A quality sleeping bag goes a long way towards a comfortable night of camping – but the following accessories can make your car camping trip even better:

Stuff Sack  

A stuff sack is a small bag for you to stuff your sleeping bag into. Most come with drawstrings so you can cinch your bag down even smaller. Some sleeping bags come with a stuff sack.

Storage Sack

Unlike a stuff sack that you take into the field, a storage sack is only used at home. These sacks are much roomier, allowing you to store your sleeping bag loosely. Many are constructed from mesh for better breathability to increase the life of your sleeping bag by preventing the insulation from becoming permanently compressed.

Sleeping Bag Liner

A sleeping bag liner is made of soft cloth and is slipped inside your bag. They increase comfort, minimize wear and tear, keep the bag clean, and even help you stay warmer at night. The best liners can add up to 15°F of warmth to your bag.

Sleeping Pad

A sleeping pad is the single most important component of your camping sleep system, aside from your camping tent and sleeping bag itself.

Not only does a sleeping pad greatly improve comfort, but it also adds a lot of warmth and insulation, especially on cold nights.

Your three main options include a closed-cell foam pad, a self-inflating air pad, or an air mattress. Although air mattresses are arguably the most comfortable, I prefer an air pad on top of a foam pad for both car camping and backpacking.


Sleeping Bag Care, Maintenance, and Repair

Woman Sitting in a Sleeping Bag Outdoors

Investing in a quality sleeping bag for camping isn’t cheap. That’s why proper care and maintenance is so important. Treat your sleeping bag right and there’s no reason it shouldn’t last for years on end.

Here are the best tips on caring for and maintaining your camping sleeping bag:

  • Keep Clean – A clean sleeping bag lasts longer. Always wear clean clothes in your bag if possible. A sleeping bag liner also helps keep the dirty at bay.
  • Air Out – Air your sleeping bag out each morning. Just a few minutes will do. Remember not to leave it out in the sun for too long!
  • Spot Cleaning – Spot clean your sleeping bag after each trip. A toothbrush and a mixture of laundry detergent and water works well.
  • Limit Washing – Spot cleaning should keep your sleeping bag mostly clean. If you need to deep clean, it’s best to have your bag professionally laundered by an outdoor care and repair company, especially if your sleeping bag is a high-end model.
  • Hand Wash in Tub – Don’t want to dish out for a professional cleaning job? Then hand wash your sleeping bag in the bathtub instead. Use warm water mixed with special laundry detergent for down-filled items. Work gently with your hands, let soak, and rinse with cold water. Hang dry until completely dry.
  • Proper Storage – Air out your sleeping bag after every trip. Then store loosely – not stuffed into a stuff sack. Either hang your bag or store in a special sleeping bag storage sack.
  • Repair Promptly – Small tears and broken zippers are the most common damages. Use nylon repair tape in the field. Send your bag to a professional for more serious repairs.

New Camping Sleeping Bag Checklist

Couple Sitting on Sleeping Bags Looking at Mountaintop and Lake

To help you better digest the information in our buyer’s guide, we’ve compiled this simple checklist to help you select the best sleeping bag for camping possible:

  • Budget – How much money do you have to spend on your new sleeping bag?
  • Intended Use – Will you use your new sleeping bag primarily for camping or backpacking?
  • Temperature Rating – What will the weather conditions be like where you’re camping or backpacking?
  • Insulation Type – Do you prefer down insulation, synthetic insulation, or a combination of both? Buying a sleeping bag with water-resistant insulation is essential if you plan to camp in a wet environment like Olympic National Park.
  • Warmth vs Weight – Do you prefer a lightweight bag that sacrifices some warmth (you can always add a liner for an extra 15°F)? Or do you prefer a warmer bag that sacrifices some weight?
  • Comfort vs Weight – How important is comfort to you? More important than weight? A mummy bag is the lightest option yet is the most restricting. Rectangular bags are far roomier but tend to weight more.
  • Special Features – Do you want any special features like a hood, foot box, compatible zippers, etc?

Your answers to these questions will help you select the best sleeping bag, whether you want one for car camping only or both car camping and backpacking.


Now We’d Like to Hear From You

Boy Using Headlamp to Read in Tent

We trust that our buyer’s guide has helped you narrow down your choices for the best sleeping bag for camping.

If you have any additional questions for us, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below. At Beyond The Tent, we’re dedicated to helping you find the best sleeping bag for your needs and preferences!

3 thoughts on “The Best Sleeping Bags for Camping in 2020”

  1. Thank you for this guide Jake. You made a very informative guide which may help people begin camping by buying the necessities! I hope to see more guides such as this one in the future.

    1. Thanks John! Lots more of them in the works. Be sure to check out our tent buying guide if you haven’t already.

  2. Thank you for this article. This is the most completed info regarding sleeping bags I’ve ever found. Since summer is around the corner, I plan to take my family for a road trip this summer. I have been looking for some guilds for buying sleeping bags. This is a very usefule article.

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