Choosing the right sleeping bag might seem simple – but, thanks to all the options available, making the right choice can be difficult.
We’re here to help you find the perfect sleeping bag for car camping. Our top recommendations are based on comfort, warmth, packed size/weight, and durability.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall Car Camping Sleeping Bag:
Coleman Heritage Big & Tall 20 Degree Sleeping Bag
Best Budget Option:
Coleman Brazos Cold Weather Adult Bag
The Best Car Camping Sleeping Bags
There are so many great sleeping bags on the market today, so we narrowed down a list of about two dozen to just 7 of the absolute best.
Coleman Heritage Big and Tall 20 Degree Sleeping Bag
The Coleman Heritage Big & Tall Cold-Weather Sleeping Bag is the perfect addition to family car amping trips. Its spacious design accommodates taller campers (and all sizes), ensuring a cozy and comfortable night’s sleep, even in chilly conditions.
The Heritage comes in at a price the isn’t too expensive while not being a cheap bag that will let you down on cool or wet nights. It is the perfect go-to for state park and national park car camping adventures!
- Generously sized for taller individuals
- Excellent insulation for cold weather camping
- Durable, high-quality materials
- Bulky, may not be ideal for backpacking
- Might be too warm for summer camping
- Pricier than some other sleeping bag options
Best Budget Car Camping Sleeping Bag
Coleman Brazos Cold-Weather Sleeping Bag
The Coleman Brazos Cold-Weather Sleeping Bag is a reliable companion for family car camping trips. It provides excellent warmth in colder conditions, ensuring a comfortable night’s rest, yet is one of the cheapest reliable sleeping bags you can find. Its affordability and durability make it a must-have for camping enthusiasts on a budget.
Its Fiberlock Construction keeps insulation in place, preventing cold spots and ensuring a consistently warm sleeping experience. The no-snag zipper and roll control design make packing and unpacking a breeze, saving precious time at the campsite. With its combination of comfort, quality, and affordability, the Coleman Brazos Sleeping Bag has undoubtedly earned its place as an essential piece of gear for our car camping adventures.
- Affordable and great value for money
- Effective insulation for cold weather camping
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Not ideal for taller individuals
- May be too warm for summer camping
- Bulky, not suitable for backpacking
TETON Sports Celsius XXL 0 Degree Sleeping Bag
This TETON Sports sleeping bag is perfect for car campers seeking comfort, warmth, and durability during cold-weather camping adventures.
The TETON Sports Celsius XXL 0 Degree Sleeping Bag is built for car campers who need a cozy and warm sleeping bag for cold nights. With its soft lining and mummy-style hood, you will not only stay warm but also keep your pillow clean. Additionally, the ventilation options provided by the top or bottom zipper make it suitable for three-season camping.
- Comfortable and soft lining
- Keeps you warm in below-freezing temperatures
- Easy access with top or bottom zipper
- Bulky and heavy for backpacking
- Chemical smell as reported by some users
- Issues with the included stuff sack
TETON Sports Mammoth Double Sleeping Bag
The TETON Sports Mammoth Double Sleeping Bag was designed with car campers and outdoor enthusiasts in mind. Boasting a sizeable 94″ x 62″ dimension, this sleeping bag provides ample space for couples to sleep comfortably together. The soft brushed poly flannel liner and SuperLoft Elite Hollow Fiber fill ensure a warm and cozy night’s sleep in temperatures as low as 20°F.
One of the standout features of the Mammoth Double Sleeping Bag is its durable taffeta shell, which provides water resistance against light dew or condensation. While the double-wide construction makes it perfect for car camping and tent camping, the sleeping bag may not be the best choice for backpackers due to its heavier weight of 14 lbs.
- Spacious and comfortable for two people
- Designed for cold-weather camping
- Durable and water-resistant shell
- Heavy at 14 lbs
- Can be difficult to pack in the included stuff sack
- Not suitable for backpacking due to size and weight
SOULOUT 3-4 Seasons Camping Sleeping Bag
The SOULOUT sleeping bag offers a comfortable and cozy experience with its 100% polyester lining, ensuring a pleasant rest on varying ground conditions. Its durability is attributed to the high-quality 290T polyester exterior material.
One of the best features of this sleeping bag is its adaptability to different seasons. It will keep you warm and secure even when temperatures approach freezing levels. The waterproof double-layer technology adds to its functionality, shielding you from damp conditions during wet outdoor trips.
Designed with versatility in mind, this sleeping bag measures 33 by 86.6 inches and weighs around four pounds. It can be zipped together with another bag to create a large double sleeping bag suitable for couples or friends. Alternatively, it can be fully unzipped to be used as a picnic blanket or play mat.
- Comfortable and skin-friendly polyester lining
- Suitable for all seasons with near-freezing temperature protection
- Convertible design for single or double use
- May feel chilly at the lower temperature limit
- Initial difficulty in repacking into the compression sack
- Slippery interior fabric may require getting used to
Car Camping Sleeping Bag Buyer’s Guide
Here are the most important things to know when research the best car camping sleeping bag for you.
Camping vs Backpacking Sleeping Bags
Car camping sleeping bags are generally much heavier and bulkier than backpacking bags.
The trade-off is increased comfort. Most backpacking bags are quite restricting with minimal space to move around in.
Car camping sleeping bags, on the other hand, are generally rectangular shaped with plenty of room to move around in. You can even sleep on your side with ease!
Temperature rating is perhaps the most important factor to consider when buying a sleeping bag.
The manufacturer’s temperature rating is the lowest temperature at which the average user will be comfortable inside the bag.
However, we recommend adding at least 10° F if not 15° F to a bag’s temperature rating to ensure you stay warm enough.
For example, a 30 sleeping bag will probably chilly in 30° F but will be perfectly warm in 40° F weather. For 30° F weather, you probably want a 20 sleeping bag or even lower.
It’s better to select a bag that’s too warm rather than too cold. If you’re too warm in your bag, just unzip the side to increase ventilation.
Insulation type is the primary factor that dictates a sleeping bag’s temperature rating.
- 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.
All of these insulation types work well for car camping.
Sleeping Bag Shape
Here are the four main sleeping bag shapes:
- 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.
We prefer rectangular sleeping bags for car camping since they are roomier, more spacious, and most people find them more comfortable.
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.
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 For Car Camping
Here are some common sleeping bag accessories to make your next car camping trip even better:
- Stuff Sack – A small, compression sack with drawstrings to store your sleeping bag inside.
- Storage Sack – A loose, roomy sack (usually made from mesh) to store your sleeping bag inside at home.
- Sleeping Bag Liner – A soft cloth to slip inside your sleeping bag to increase comfort, make cleaning your bag easier, and add up to 15° F of warmth.
A sleeping pad is another accessory to consider adding to your camping gear list. A camping cot is a good alternative.
How to Care for Your New Sleeping Bag
Because buying a new sleeping bag is a big investment, here are a few care and maintenance tips to keep it in good shape for years to come:
- 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, use our sleeping bag cleaning tips or hire a professional cleaner.
- 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.
In our opinion, the Coleman Heritage Big & Tall 20 Degree Sleeping Bag is the best sleeping bag for car camping.
We love it because it’s comfortable, spacious, and has a roomy hood that fits a full-sized pillow. Its 20° F temperature rating is perfect for spring and fall as well as mild winters. Sleep in it unzipped for summertime comfort.
And don’t forget to check out our family camping checklist and backpacking gear checklist for help selecting other camping gear for your next trip.
Wednesday 5th of July 2017
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.
Sunday 25th of June 2017
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.
Monday 26th of June 2017
Thanks John! Lots more of them in the works. Be sure to check out our tent buying guide if you haven't already.