Ultimate Guide to Buying the Best Sleeping Bag for Camping

Buying a sleeping bag – and the right one, at that – is essential for a great camping trip.

A cheap sleeping bag just won’t cut it. They’re usually uncomfortable, heavy, and not very warm. They don’t last very long either.

While a cheap sleeping bag might work okay while car camping in perfect weather, there’s no way it will cut it when the weather turns sour. That’s not to mention the misery you’ll experience if you attempt to take a cheap sleeping bag backpacking.

What I’m trying to say is that buying a quality sleeping bag is very important. Spend a little more money upfront when you buy a sleeping bag for camping, and you’ll get one that’s comfortable, warm, lightweight, and durable.

Below is Beyond The Tent’s complete guide to buying a sleeping bag for camping and backpacking.

Our sleeping bag buyer’s guide shows you everything you need to know to find the best sleeping bag for your needs and preferences.

Index

  1. Basics
  2. Camping Buyer’s Guide
  3. Best Camping Camping Sleeping Bags
  4. Backpacking Buyer’s Guide
  5. Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags
  6. Best Sleeping Bag Accessories
  7. Care, Maintenance, and Repair
  8. Buyer’s Checklist
  9. Additional Resources
  10. Resources Used

Sleeping Bag Basics

Buying a sleeping bag starts with evaluating your budget.

We always recommend buying the most expensive sleeping bag you can comfortably afford. Not only will the quality be better, it will also last much longer.

The next factor to consider is your sleeping bag’s main use. There’s a big difference between a camping sleeping bag (for family camping and car camping) and a backpacking sleeping bag.

Spend some time thinking about where you’ll be using your new sleeping bag. Different weather conditions require different types of sleeping bags.

For instance, you’ll need a much different sleeping bag for camping in Olympic National Park than while mountaineering or camping in the desert.

Keep your needs, preferences, and budget in mind as you go through our best sleeping bag buying guide below. Now here’s how to buy a sleeping bag!

Buying a Sleeping Bag for Camping

If the campground is your destination, a camping sleeping bag is what you need. Consider the following factors when buying a sleeping bag for camping.

Camping Sleeping Bag Temperature Rating

Temperature rating is perhaps the single most important factor when buying a sleeping bag for camping. You absolutely need a bag that will keep you warm.

The temperature included in the rating is the lowest temperature at which the average user will be comfortably warm inside. For instance, a “30-degree” sleeping bag will keep you comfortable in 30°F weather and warmer.

Remember that most manufacturers base their temperature ratings on a user wearing long underwear and using a sleeping pad for increased insulation.

The three most common categories for camping sleeping bags, based on temperature rating, are:

Summer Season – Sleeping bag with a temperature rating of 35°F or higher. Best for camping in warm weather.

3-Season – Sleeping bag with a temperature rating of 10°F to 35°F. Best for camping in spring, summer, and fall.

Winter – Sleeping bag with a temperature rating of 10°F or lower. Made for camping in winter weather. Probably too warm for summer camping.   

Most car campers and family campers won’t need a sleeping bag rated for under 15°F. Most buy a sleeping bag with a 15°F to 35°F temperature rating.

Expert Tip: Buy a sleeping bag with a temperature rating 10°F to 15°F lower than the temperatures you expect to camp in. This will keep you warm if the temperature plummets. Simply unzip the bag for increased ventilation if temperatures are warmer than expected.

Camping Sleeping Bag Insulation

The temperature rating of your sleeping bag is largely dictated by the type of insulation it contains.

When it comes to a sleeping bag for camping, most people buy a sleeping bag with one of three types of insulation. These are synthetic, goose-down, and water-resistant down.

Synthetic – Sleeping bags with synthetic insulation are the cheapest option for camping. They’re warm and dry out very quickly. Your sleeping bag will still keep you warm even if it gets wet. Synthetic insulation is also durable and non-allergenic. The main drawback is that these bags are bulky and heavy – they don’t pack down very small.

Goose-Down – Sleeping bags with goose-down are more durable and much more compressible than synthetic. The downsides are a higher price tag and a lack of insulating power when wet.

Water-Resistant Down – Water-resistant down is basically goose down with better water resistance. The feathers are specially treated to improve water resistance. These bags are just as durable and compressible as their traditional goose-down counterparts.

Camping Sleeping Bag Shape

Sleeping bags for camping are usually roomier and more comfortable than sleeping bags for backpacking. The downside to the increased space and comfort is more weight and less heating efficiency.

You have four basic shapes to choose from when buying a sleeping bag for camping. These are rectangular, semi-rectangular, mummy, and two-person.

Rectangular – Most sleeping bags for camping are rectangular. This shape provides the most comfort and roominess. However, it’s the least efficient shape for heating and warmth.

Semi-Rectangular – Also called barrel-shaped, semi-rectangular sleeping bags are a good option for campers that go on the occasional backpacking trip. Their tapered design makes them lightweight and portable. It also improves their heating efficiency while still providing plenty of room.

Mummy – Mummy-shaped sleeping bags are most common with the backpacking crowd. However, they’re also a good bet for car campers that go backpacking on an regular basis. They’re small, lightweight, and provide the utmost in heating efficiency. At the same time, their narrow shoulder and hip widths make them restrictive.

Two-Person – These camping sleeping bags are designed to sleep two people at once. They are the best choice for couples that want to share a single bag. Some single-person rectangular models with zipper compatibility can also be zipped together to create a two-person sleeping bag.

Camping Sleeping Bag Construction

The construction of your sleeping bag doesn’t matter near as much when you’re camping as it does when you’re backpacking, thanks to less wear and tear.

The main area of construction to pay attention to is how the insulation is held between the outer shell and inner lining.

Box Baffle – Utilizes vertical baffles to connect outer shell and inner lining via a series of chambers. This keeps the 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 the 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. Each individual piece is then stitched together.

Layered – Very 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. This adds weight but restricts cold air from seeping through the stitches.

The material used on the outer shell and inner lining is also important to consider. 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 for camping.

Polyester and nylon taffeta are the most common materials used for the inner lining of camping sleeping bags. These materials are comfortable and breathable.

Camping Sleeping Bag Weight

Weight doesn’t factor into the picture much when you buy a sleeping bag for camping. You usually just throw it in the car rather than lug it over miles of rugged wilderness.

With that said, buying a lightweight sleeping bag for car camping still has some benefits. Chief among these is the ability to use it for backpacking if you want to.

We recommend that you buy a sleeping bag with the semi-rectangular shape as a good in-between. They’re lighter than rectangular bags without restricting you as much as a mummy bag.

The key is to strike a balance between weight and roominess. It all depends on which quality you prefer most in your new sleeping bag.

Other Camping Sleeping Bag Factors

There are a few other factors to consider when buying a sleeping bag for camping.

Length – Most adult sleeping bags are available as regular or long. Some manufacturers also make short (or petite) and X-long sleeping bags.

Zipper Compatibility – Some sleeping bags can be zipped together to create a two-person bag. Ensure zipper compatibility if this is desired.

Hood – You lose a lot of heat through your head. If you’re camping in cold weather, consider buying a sleeping bag with a hood. Most cinch tight with a draw cord.

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. This ensures you won’t roll off your sleeping pad during the night.

Pillow Pocket – A pillow pocket allows you to ditch an actual pillow while camping. Instead, you stuff extra clothes into your sleeping bag’s pillow pocket to create a comfortable makeshift pillow.

Best Sleeping Bag for Camping Recommendations

Here at Beyond The Tent, we’ve used dozens of different camp sleeping bags over the years. So we know exactly what to look for when buying a sleeping bag.

A few of our favorites, broken down by category, include:

Best Camping Sleeping Bag for Roominess

The North Face Dolomite 20 Sleeping Bag is our top choice for campers that prioritize roominess.

The bag is incredibly spacious with a temperature rating of 20°F. It features a rectangular cut and synthetic insulation. It’s an old school camping bag with a price tag of just under $100.

Learn more about the North Face Dolomite 20 Sleeping Bag.

Best Camping Sleeping Bag for Warmth

The North Face Inferno 0 Sleeping Bag is our top choice for campers that prioritize warmth.

The mummy-style bag is designed for mountaineering in weather down to 0°F so you know it will hold up in almost all weather conditions. It features water-resistant down insulation and a generous cut for increased roominess. The bag is also available in -20°F and -40°F models for those braving extreme cold.

Learn more about the North Face Inferno 0 Sleeping Bag.

Best Camping Sleeping Bag for Couples 

Two-person sleeping bags don’t get a whole lot better than the Nemo Tango Duo Sleeping Bag and Slipcover Combo.

The two-person 3-season bag is rated for 30°F weather. It’s compatible with two 25-inch wide sleeping pads (sold separately) greatly reducing the bag’s overall weight. In fact, the water-repellent down sleeping bag is so light many people take it backpacking.

Learn more about the Nemo Tango Duo Sleeping Bag.

Best Camping Sleeping Bag for Women 

Designed specifically with women in mind, the Marmot Trestles 15 Sleeping Bag for Women is our favorite women’s sleeping bag.

The mummy-style bag is made for 3-season use in temperatures as low as 15°F. It’s lightweight, comfortable, and very packable. In addition to being cut to match a woman’s shape, the bag features extra insulation in the hood and feet.

Learn more about the Marmot Trestles 15 Women’s Sleeping Bag.

Best Camping Sleeping Bag for Children

Like the adult version of the same bag, the North Face Dolomite 20 Youth Sleeping Bag is the best of the best.

The rectangular sleeping bag is perfect for camping trips, sleepovers, and even introductory backpacking. It’s rated for 20°F and uses synthetic insulation. You can zip the bag all the way down and around the foot box to create a comforter.

Learn more about the North Face Dolomite 20 Youth Sleeping Bag.

Buying a Sleeping Bag for Backpacking

If you plan to head into the backcountry, you need to buy a backpacking sleeping bag. Consider the following factors when buying a sleeping bag for backpacking. 

Backpacking Sleeping Bag Temperature Rating

Buying a sleeping bag with an adequate temperature rating is even more important for backpacking than camping. Unlike a normal camping trip, you won’t have a nearby car to warm up in if the weather turns for the worse.

It’s even more important to choose a backpacking sleeping bag that will deal with the coldest weather you might encounter. If you expect to experience 32°F temperatures, bring a bag rated at 20°F or below just in case. Sleep with the bag unzipped, or draped over you, in warmer conditions.

The three most common categories of backpacking sleeping bags, broken down by temperature rating, are:

Summer Season – Sleeping bag rated for 35°F or higher. Best for backpacking in the summer.

3-Season – Sleeping bag rated for 10°F to 35F°. Designed for use in spring, summer, and fall.

Winter – Sleeping bag rated for 10°F or lower. Best for backpacking in the winter.

3-season sleeping bags are the most popular choice for backpacking. Most are rated by the European Norm (EN) 13537 testing protocol to ensure a worldwide standard for temperature rating. All ratings are based on the sleeper wearing long underwear and using a sleeping pad.

Backpacking Sleeping Bag Insulation 

Your sleeping bag’s insulation doesn’t keep you warm itself. Instead, it helps trap your body heat inside your bag. The best insulation lets the smallest amount of body heat escape your bag.

You have two main choices of insulation when buying a sleeping bag for backpacking. These are synthetic and down (duck/goose). Most down sleeping bags are treated for water resistance. A less common option is a blend of down and synthetic insulation.

Synthetic – The benefits of synthetic insulation are that it’s cheap, quick-drying, non-allergenic, and continues to insulate even when wet. Polyester is the most commonly used synthetic material.

The downside to synthetic filling is its weight. These bags are heavier than down sleeping bags. They also don’t provide a very high warmth to weight ratio.

Serious backpackers tend to pass on synthetic insulation because of its weight and bulk. However, casual backpackers should still consider buying a sleeping bag with synthetic insulation, especially for their cost savings.

Duck/Goose Down – The benefits of down insulation is that it’s lightweight, extremely compressible, durable, and breathable. The warmth to weight ratio is the best of the best.

Down insulation is available as duck down or goose down. Each has its own list of benefits. Goose is a little more expensive but lasts slightly longer (up to 25 years vs 20 years). It’s also just a little warmer.

Water-Resistant Down – The biggest disadvantage of down over synthetic insulation is its poor water resistance. Even just a little bit of moisture causes it to become matted, sacrificing its comfort and heating efficiency.

That’s why almost all modern down sleeping bags are made with water-resistant down filling. The treatments treat the down at a microscopic level to help it withstand dampness. These treatments also help the down dry faster when wet.

Remember, however, that water-resistant doesn’t mean waterproof – you still don’t want to get down insulation wet (though a bit of moisture is fine).

Down/Synthetic Combo – A new backpacking trend is combining water-resistant down and synthetic insulation in a single sleeping bag. The goal is to provide the benefits of each while eliminating the drawbacks of each.

Most of these combination bags use the two types of insulation in different parts of the bag. For instance, synthetic at the bottom and down at the top. A handful use a mixture of the two materials throughout the entire bag.

Backpacking Sleeping Bag Shape  

If you’re in the market for a true backpacking sleeping bag, you basically have one option for shape.

Mummy-shaped bags are designed specifically for backpacking. They’re tailored to the shape of the human body to reduce overall weight while increasing heating efficiency.

Specs vary for mummy sleeping bags from model to model and manufacturer to manufacturer. It’s a smart idea to compare shoulder/hip specs before buying a sleeping bag. Remember that the tighter the fit, the lighter and warmer the bag.

Unfortunately, many people find mummy sleeping bags too restrictive for a good night’s sleep. Consider selecting the most spacious mummy bag you can find or even buying a narrow semi-rectangular bag if you prefer more space to wiggle around at night.

Backpacking Sleeping Bag Construction

Backpacking sleeping bags use the same basic methods of construction as camping sleeping bags.

The methods used to hold the insulation between the outer shell and lining are box baffle, sewn-through, shingles, and layered. Read more about these techniques in our camping sleeping bag buyer’s guide above.

All backpacking sleeping bags come with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish on the outer shell. These shells are made of either ripstop nylon or polyester.

Backpacking Sleeping Bag Weight  

Weight is another factor that’s much more important to think about for backpacking than camping.

It’s important to find the best ratio of weight and roominess when buying a sleeping bag for backpacking. You want one that’s lightweight so that it doesn’t weigh you down but that still provides a comfortable place to sleep.

This is another area where mummy-shaped sleeping bags really shine.

Other Backpacking Sleeping Bag Features

A few other factors to consider when buying a sleeping bag for backpacking include:   

Length – Most backpacking sleeping bags are available in short (or petite), regular, or long. Some manufacturers also make X-long sleeping bags.

Zipper Compatibility – If you like the idea of zipping two bags together to create enough space for two people, look for sleeping bags with zipper compatibility.

Hood – Always buy a sleeping bag for backpacking with a hood. The hood limits the amount of heat you lose through your head, keeping you warmer.

Stash Pocket – Keep your important items (phone, watch, wallet, etc) safe and close at hand with these small interior pockets.

Sleeping Pad Sleeve – Certain sleeping bag models come with an uninsulated underside. Slip your sleeping pad through this sleeve for warmth and to ensure you don’t roll off the pad at night.

Pillow Pocket – Most backpackers don’t want to carry a bulky pillow with them. A pillow pocket lets you stuff extra clothes into a space in your bag’s hood to create a makeshift pillow.

Draft Tube – A tube filled with insulation that runs alongside the zipper to keep warm air from escaping.

Draft Collar – Tubes of insulation located at the shoulders to keep body heat from escaping out the top of the bag. Generally only found on 0°F bags or lower.

Trapezoidal Foot Box – Available on some mummy-shaped bags, this type of foot box gives your feet more room to make for better sleep.

Best Sleeping Bag for Backpacking Recommendations

Here at Beyond The Tent, we’ve used dozens of backpacking sleeping bags over the years. So we know exactly what to look for when buying a sleeping bag for backpacking.

A few of our favorites, broken down by category, include:

Best 3-Season Backpacking Sleeping Bag

The North Face Furnace 20 Sleeping Bag is our top choice for backpacking in spring, summer, and fall.

With a temperature rating of 20°F, the down-insulated bag is as durable as they come. Though it’s a mummy-style bag, it’s much less tapered than most of its competition. This makes the bag roomier for increased comfort.

Learn more about the North Face Furnace 20 Sleeping Bag.

Best Winter Backpacking Sleeping Bag  

Few bags hold up to sub-freezing temperatures quite as well as the Marmot Never Summer Down Sleeping Bag.

Rated for temperatures as low as 0°F, the bag is a favorite of cold weather backpackers and mountaineers around the globe. The mummy-style bag has a number of special features including an anatomically designed foot box, nautilus multi-baffle hood, insulated draft tubes, and draft collar to maximize heating efficiency.

Learn more about the Marmot Never Summer Down Sleeping Bag.

Best Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Bag  

When it’s ultralight that you’re after, you better consider buying a sleeping bag like the Marmot Plasma 30 Sleeping Bag.

Designed to weigh as little as possible, the 3-season mummy bag clocks in at a remarkable 1 lb. 8oz. Despite this low weight, the bag stays warm in temperatures as low as 30°F. The bag uses water-resistant goose down for insulation.

Learn more about the Marmot Plasma 30 Sleeping Bag.

Best Entry-Level Backpacking Sleeping Bag  

Our choice for the best entry-level backpacking sleeping bag is the Marmot Trustles 30 Sleeping Bag.

The bag is rated for 30°F weather and warmer. It’s lightweight, durable, and packs easily. Thanks to its sub-$100 price and synthetic insulation, it makes a great choice for those looking to start casually backpacking for the first time.

Learn more about the Marmot Trustles 30 Sleeping Bag.

Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag for Women  

The Kelty Cosmic 20 Down Sleeping Bag for women is our favorite women’s sleeping bag made specifically for backpacking.

It features a special tailored design to better suit a woman’s body. It also features increased insulation at the foot box and hood. Beyond this, the 3-season bag is rated for 20°F and is insulated with water-resistant down.

Learn more about the Kelty Cosmic 20 Down Sleeping Bag for Women.

Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag for Children  

Adults don’t get to have all the fun. For the child in your life that loves backpacking, you can’t go wrong with the Lucky Bums Serenity Youth 0 Sleeping Bag.

The lightweight compact designed is built with a child’s dimensions in mind. It’s smaller both for lighter weight and better heating efficiency. The bag is rated for 0F° conditions so the child in your life will be plenty warm even in very cold conditions.

Learn more about the Lucky Bums Serenity Youth 0 Sleeping Bag.

Sleeping Bag Accessories

There are a variety of sleeping bag accessories you can invest in when buying a sleeping bag. Though not strictly essential, they can make your camping or backpacking trip even better. A few of the most useful include:

Stuff Sack  

A stuff sack is a small bag for you to stuff your sleeping bag into. Most come with drawstrings so you can tighten your bag down even smaller. The majority of sleeping bags come with their own stuff sack but they’re also sold separately.

One of our favorite stuff sacks is the Liberty Mountain 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.

Storing your sleeping bag tightly rolled can drastically reduce its life. A storage sack prolongs sleeping bag life by preventing its insulation from becoming permanently compressed during storage.

The Cocoon Nylon Mesh Sleeping Bag Storage Sack is a great option.

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 sleeping bag liners can add up to 15°F of warmth to your bag. You can also sleep in only the liner when the weather heats up.

You can’t go wrong with The Friendly Swede Sleeping Bag Liner.

Sleeping Bag Straps

Lash your sleeping bag to your backpack with sleeping bag straps. A set of these is perfect for backpacking.

We recommend Coleman Sleeping Bag Straps.

Sleeping Pad

No sleeping bag accessory is as important as a quality sleeping pad. Buying a sleeping pad will greatly increase the quality of your sleep while camping.

The benefits of a sleeping pad are numerous. Chief among them are increased cushioning and better insulation. Using the pad as a layer between your body and the ground can make a cold night in your bag a lot warmer.

Because there is such a wide variety of sleeping pads to choose from, we always recommend trying a few out in person. This allows you to get a feel for what each offers, especially the cushioning, length/width, and packability.

The most popular sub-types of sleeping pads are:

Air Mattress

Created specifically with car camping in mind, these bulky sleeping pads are the thickest and most comfortable of all.

In fact, an air mattress is very close to a real bed. Most are sized so you can use regular bed sheets on them. Some even feature built-in pillows.

While the comfort and easy inflatability (with a portable pump) are nice, air mattresses are also heavy, bulky, and lack insulation.

The Intex Classic Downy Airbed is a good option for those on a budget while the ALPS Mountaineering Rechargeable Airbed is perfect for those that want something with more features.

Air Pads

These sleeping pads are in between an actual air mattress and a foam pad.

Air pads must be pumped up manually. Many come with a portable air pump.

The pros of an air pad are their comfort, light weight, and packability. Most can be easily used for backpacking. Their biggest con is that they’re expensive and can be punctured/ripped in the field.

Our favorite air pad for camping is the Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Camper Mattress.

Self-Inflating Pads

These sleeping pads are similar to air pads except, as their name implies, they don’t need to be pumped up manually. Simply open a valve and they inflate by themselves.

Most self-inflating pads combine air for comfort and foam insulation for increased warmth. These pads are comfortable, compact, and provide great insulation. On the other hand, they’re the most expensive option.

Start your search for the perfect self-inflating pad with the ALPS Mountaineering Comfort Series Air Pad.

Foam Pads

These are the most basic type of sleeping pads. Because they’re lightweight and simple, many people favor them for backpacking.

Other benefits of foam pads for camping are their durability, excellent insulation, and water resistance. They’re also the cheapest option.

The downside to foam pads is they’re less comfortable than other options.

We recommend the ALPS Mountaineering Foam Camping Mat.

If you buy an air pad, self-inflating pad, or air mattress, be sure to buy an air mattress repair kit as well, especially if your main use will be backpacking. We like the Gear Aid Seam Grip Field Repair Kit.

Sleeping Bag Care, Maintenance, and Repair

Buying a sleeping bag for camping or backpacking is a big investment, especially if you dish out a lot of money for a top quality model. There’s no reason why a sleeping bag treated with care shouldn’t last for 20+ years.

Using Your Sleeping Bag

Proper sleeping bag care starts with using your bag right. Here are our top tips on how to use your sleeping bag the right way:

On the Trail

A clean and dry sleeping bag is a long-lasting sleeping bag.

Keep yours clean and dry by always sleeping in clean clothes. When I go camping, I bring along a separate pair of long underwear and socks that I only use for sleeping.

Use a sleeping bag liner to create a layer between your dirty body and your sleeping bag. Wash your liner after each trip.

Air your sleeping bag out for a few minutes each morning. It’s good to get the air circulating through it. Just don’t leave it in the sun for too long.

At Home

Caring for your sleeping bag doesn’t end on the trail. It’s just as important to treat it right at home in between trips.

Start by spot cleaning the bag after each trip. Make a mixture of laundry detergent and water. Then use a toothbrush to spot clean the areas around the hood/collar and anywhere else that is noticeably dirty.

Don’t actually wash your sleeping bag unless it’s absolutely necessary. I personally prefer to have my sleeping bag professionally laundered by an outdoor care and repair company like Rainy Pass Repairs.

If you decide to go the DIY route, be sure to avoid the dry cleaners. The solvents used are too strong for your sleeping bag’s insulation. Handwash your bag in the bathtub instead.

Fill the bathtub with warm water and a gentle laundry detergent designed for washing down-filled items. Work the bag gently with your hands and let soak for 10 or so minutes. Drain the tub and rinse the detergent off with cold water. Work out the remaining water with your hands until the bag is as dry as possible.

Though it takes a long time, air drying is the best way to dry your sleeping bag after washing. I hang mine in the garage overnight so that it stays out of the sun.

Storing Your Sleeping Bag

Properly storing your sleeping bag will add years to its life. Here are a few of the best tips on how to store your sleeping bag the right way:

Air out your sleeping bag as soon as you get home. I do this by hanging it in a dark, cool space like my garage. After it’s aired out, store the bag in a special sleeping bag storage sack.

Storage sacks store your bag more loosely than a normal stuff sack. This helps reduce damage to its insulation.  

Repairing Your Sleeping Bag  

Minor damage happens in the course of normal sleeping bag use.

Small tears and broken zippers are the most common types of damages. A nylon repair tape is your best bet while in the field. For more permanent repairs, we recommend sending your bag to a professional like Rainy Pass Repairs.

Your Sleeping Bag Checklist

We just listed a whole lot of information about how to buy the best sleeping bag for camping or backpacking. All that information can be daunting!

That’s where our short and sweet sleeping bag checklist comes into play:

  • Budget – How much money do you have to spend on your new sleeping bag?
  • Type – 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 a lot more
  • Additional Features – Do you want any additional features like a hood, foot box, compatible zippers, etc?

Answer each of these questions when buying a sleeping bag to ensure your choice is the right one for you.

Additional Resources

A sleeping bag is just one piece of gear you need for a great camping trip.

Check out our Complete Guide to Buying a Tent for everything you need to know about buying the best tent for your camping or backpacking trip.

Those that are new to camping will also find our Camping for Beginners Guide and Family Camping Checklist very helpful.

Thanks again for using our camping sleeping bag buyer’s guide as your resource for buying a sleeping bag!

Please let us know if you have any questions about buying a sleeping bag in the comments below.

We’d love to help answer any of your camping or backpacking questions!

Resources Used

3 COMMENTS

  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.

  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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