When you’re packing for a camping trip with young kids, you might wonder, “Does my toddler need their own sleeping bag?”
The answer according to me, is yes, it’s best to get a youth or toddler sleeping bag for your kids. Sleep is the most important thing on a camping trip, so be sure that you set your child up for success with a kid’s sleeping bag. No one wants cranky campers at breakfast because they didn’t sleep well.
Kids and toddlers lose heat quicker than adults due to high surface area and low body mass, so keeping kids warm. It’s important to choose sleeping bags designed for your child’s size, rather than opting for an adult bag.
We have an assortment of sleeping bags to choose from in our house so it’s easy to pack the right one. From children and adult-sized bedding to seasonal bedding. Here, I’ll be discussing the finer points of sleeping bags for kids, including special features, styles, and my favorite brands.
Best Sleeping Bag for Kids
The adjustable Big Agnes sleeping bag is an amazing sleeping bag. It starts as a toddler sleeping bag and can be adjusted up to a youth sleeping bag with ease.
Features to Look For
As you begin the hunt for a warm toddler sleeping bags, there are a few factors to consider. Size is important, but you also want to look at the time of year you’ll be camping and the overall comfort of your little one.
Some of the things I add to my checklist while sleeping bag shopping include:
Temperature rating is an important feature. We live in a cold climate and like camping in the shoulder seasons, so we’re looking for warm sleeping bags for toddlers. We’re no stranger to colder nights and the preparation that comes from staying warm in your tent.
Sleeping bags come in three temperature ranges, these are:
- Summer: 30°F and up
- Winter: 15°F and under
- Three-Season: 10°F to 40°F
For little ones, we get colder weather sleeping bags over the warm weather sleeping bags. Unless you’re camping in extreme weather when you know it will be too hot or too cold for this rating. This is usually a safe choice, especially with the addition of extra blankets in the tent.
The next point I consider when selecting a kids or toddler sleeping bag. This point differs by child and activity. The two main styles of sleeping bags are:
Rectangle sleeping bags are traditional kids sleeping bags in a rectangle shape. They resemble a comforter that has been folded in half and zipped together.
Pros: Roomy for kids who like to stretch out.
Cons: It doesn’t retain heat as well as the mummy style.
Best For: Summer camping, and indoor slumber parties.
Mummy sleeping bags get their name from their shape. When zipped warmly inside your child will feel cozy and wrapped up like a mummy.
A mummy bag is excellent at retaining heat. They form around the entirety of a child’s body and use a hooded feature for the head and face.
Pros: Retain heat well and won’t be kicked off at night.
Cons: Restrictive. They leave little room to move around.
Best For: Cold weather and outdoor camping
Sleeping Pad Sleeve
A final option for the style of your child’s sleeping bag is a sleeping pad sleeve. These handy pockets are fixed to the bottom of the sleeping bag. It allows for a sleeping bag or thin air mat to be slid into the sleeve.
This is one of my favorite children sleeping bag features. If your kiddos are anything like mine, you’ll find their sleeping bags slipping and sliding off sleep mats at night. The sleeve keeps the pad under them for a good night’s rest.
Pros: Maintains sleeping pad position throughout the night.
Cons: The sleeping pad needs to fit the sleeve. In most cases, this means buying a matching sleep pad for your sleeping bag. Some parents have noticed their kids who toss and turn a lot will flip the whole thing over anyway.
Best For: Families who sleep on individual sleeping pads and kids who wiggle while sleeping but don’t roll.
As parents, cost is an element we all consider. Sleeping bags for toddlers are something of a specialty product. You’re likely to pay a little more than you do for a generic rectangle adult sleeping bag at Walmart or Target.
The price depends on things like:
- Special features
- Temperature ratings
A good quality kids sleeping bag can run anywhere from $50 to $350. I know, that’s a wide range. Fortunately, most of the bags you see should be under $100.
Note: Just because a sleeping bag costs more doesn’t mean it’s more effective. There are many ways to find affordable kids sleeping bags.
The final feature I consider for a kids sleeping bag is length. This is an important one. While we might be tempted as parents to use what we have, adult sleeping bags are too long and therefore too cold for young campers.
The perfect sleeping bag length depends on your child’s height. They likely fall into two categories:
- Youth Sleeping Bag: Typically under 60”
- Toddler Sleeping Bag: Under 42”
Some sleeping bag companies don’t recommend children under the age of three using a sleeping bag. Fortunately, modern innovation has created suitable alternatives for our tiniest campers.
Adjustable Toddler Sleeping Bags
Adjustable sleeping bags for kids are a camping revelation. They extend the life of your child’s sleeping bag by growing with them.
One of my favorite bags for this purpose is:
Big Agnes is a mummy-style sleeping bag for campers 4’5” to 5’6”. It includes a no-draft collar, zipper, and wedge, and is suitable for temperatures as low as 15°F.
I love Big Agnes because it not only grows with the camper but includes an integrated half-sleep mat sleeve. This keeps the upper portion of the sleeping pad in place but lets little campers move their feet easily. This is a great sleeping bag.
Pros: Mummy-style bag for added warmth. Adjustable inner drawstring to extend. Includes stuff sack.
Cons: Some reviewers felt the sleeve wasn’t long enough.
Weight: 2 lb 14 oz
For Children: 4’5” to 5’6”
Temperature Rating: 15° F
The REI Kindercone is a great backpacking kids sleeping bag. It’s rated for 25°F and weighs 3 lb 3 oz. The bag is made from recycled polyester and includes a right zipper enclosure. It has a maximum extended length of 5’ or 60”.
I like that the REI Kindercone uses the mummy style and has a roomy hood with an adjustable cord. The cord helps keep little pillows from slipping around at night while maintaining plenty of breathing space.
Pros: Recycled shell for a reduced carbon footprint. Anti-snag zip. Water repellant shell.
Cons: A little heavier than the Big Agnes. Some reviewers found the REI Kindercone bulky to pack.
Weight: 3 lb 3 oz
For Children: 5’ (60”)
Temperature Rating: 25° F
Color: Red, green, or blue
Rectangular Sleeping Bags for Kids
Rectangle kids sleeping bags are nice for hot nights. They’re also best suited to older kids who can regulate temperature and readjust the sleeping bag through the night.
Some of my top choices for rectangle sleeping bags are:
The Kelty Calisto rectangle sleeping bag is made from polyester and taffeta and filled with down. This is a great warm weather camping sleeping bag because it unzips completely into a blanket.
I like this sleeping bag for older kids, as it stretches out to 5’ (60”). It’s suitable for temperatures of 30° F and weighs 2 lbs 9 oz. This makes it a bit better for hiking than the REI Kindercone above.
Pros: Unzips completely to form a camp blanket. Great for older kids.
Cons: Some reviewers felt the 30 °F temperature rating was too generous.
Weight: 2 lbs 9 oz
For Children: 5’ (60”)
Temperature Rating: 30° F
Color: Italian plum or midnight blue
Another REI Kindercamp product. This time, a rectangle kids sleeping bag suited to 40 °F. The temperature rating change could be due in part to the style. It’s good for kiddos up to 5’ (60”), and again, has a recycled polyester shell.
This is a great bag for kids who like the extra leg room while camping. I’d stick to summer camping with this bag, but I like that it includes a water-resistant shell and carrying bag.
Pros: Extra leg room. Made from recycled polyester for a greener camp experience.
Cons: A bit bulky and heaver for backpackers. Better suited to car camping with kids.
Weight: 3 lbs 1 oz
For Children: 5’ (60”)
Temperature Rating: 40 °F
Color: Blue nights, zion red, or violet blossom
Mummy Sleeping Bags for Kids
Mummy sleeping bags the best for cold weather camping and are among my favorite styles for young campers. They help keep campers cozy all night long and are great for cool nights.
Here are some of my top mummy sleeping bag picks:
The Kelty Mistral bag uses offset quilting to reduce cold spots throughout the sleeping bag. The mummy fit hugs the sleeper through the body but includes a large foot box. The natural shape lets fidgety sleepers wiggle their feet and toes comfortably.
This is a good choice for older kids. It’s suitable for those 5’8” (68”). I like this option as a 3-season sleeping bag. It has a temperature rating of 20 °F, and weighs 2.65 lbs.
Pros: Large foot area for extra wiggle room. Offset quilting to reduce cold spots. 3-season sleeping bag.
Cons: A bit long for smaller campers.
Weight: 2.65 lbs
For Children: 5’8” (68”)
Temperature Rating: 20 °F
Color: Deep lake and huckleberry or gingerbread and deep teal
This Marmot kids sleeping bag is the one we bought for our son now that he’s 5. He loves having his own sleeping bag and we trust Marmot for a lot of our camping gear.
It has a water-resistant polyester shell and anatomically shaped foot box. Like the Kelty, it offers extra foot wiggle room for fussy sleepers. Marmot sleeping bags also have a small stash pocket, perfect for keeping your headlamp close.
The Marmot is a quality backpacking sleeping bag weighing 2 lbs 9 oz. It packs snuggly into the included sack and has a temperature rating of 30°F. It has high loft insulation for an even temperature throughout and suits sleepers of 5’ (60”).
Pros: Anatomical foot area for wiggle room. Nice weight for backpacking.
Cons: Some reviewers found the bag too cold for the 30°F and recommend it as better suited to 50°F.
Weight: 2 lbs 9 oz
For Children: 5’ (60”)
Temperature Rating: 30 °F
Color: Cobalt blue
Mummy Sleeping Bags for Toddlers
The mummy sleeping bag style benefits extend to toddlers as well as children. Little sleepers tend to squirm at night, and mummy sleeping bags ensure blankets stay in place.
I only have one recommendation for toddler-sized mummy-style bags.
Big Agnes Little Red
Like my first Big Agnes recommendation above, the Little Red has a synthetic shell with a down filling. The mummy-style sleeper is designed for young children up to 4’5” and has a temperature rating of 15°F.
Unlink the Big Agnes for older kids, this toddler-sized version has an integrated full sleeping pad sleeve. No worrying about your child rolling off the pad at night. The full sleeve offers more security than the half sleeve.
Pros: Full sleeping mat sleeve. Small design for toddlers. Cozy hood with external cord lock.
Cons: Some reviewers felt the bag should be better insulated along the bottom.
Weight: 1 lb 12 oz
For Children: Up to 4’5”
Temperature Rating: 15 °F
Wearable Sleeping Bags for Toddlers
For the extra small and extra squirmy sleepers in our lives, wearable sleeping bags are an amazing innovation. Much like sleep sacks for infants, these sleeping bags are worn, rather than simply slept in.
I love wearable sleeping bags for toddlers. They’re warm, effective, and fill a large gap in the children’s sleeping bag niche. Here are some of my top recommendations.
Morrison Outdoors Big Mo
At first glance, The Big Mo 20 looks like a long puffy jacket. On closer inspection, you’ll see the bottom is sewn shut. The bag has a temperature rating of 20 °F and is best suited to children ages two to four. It includes attached mitts to keep fingers warm.
I like that Big Mo uses fleece and down-filling with internal baffles. This keeps kiddos cozy and retains an even temperature throughout. This sleeping bag is also ridiculously light at only 13 oz and rolls up small.
Pros: About the size of a water bottle when tightly rolled. Lightweight and warm. Contained foot box for maximum temperature control.
Cons: Some reviewers suggested removing the mitts so children could drink while wearing the sleeping bag.
Weight: 13 oz
For Children: 42” (ages 2-4)
Temperature Rating: 20 °F
Color: Plum purple or moss green
Morrison Outdoors Little Mo
Another winning design by Morrison Outdoors. The Morrison Little Mo is a baby sleeping bag suited to children 6 months to 24 months old. It has a length of 32”, and a temperature rating of 40 °F.
Like Big Mo, Little Mo rolls up tightly into a bundle about the size of a water bottle. At only 16 oz, it’s a backpacker’s dream in terms of weight. This sleeping bag zips from the bottom for easy access during diaper changes. It’s also machine washable and filled with a synthetic down.
Pros: Machine washable. Bottom zip for easy diaper changes. Meets AAP recommendations for infant sleep safety.
Cons: Some reviewers found the arms a bit long for tiny campers.
Weight: 16 oz
For Children: 32”
Temperature Rating: 40 °F
Color: Blazing blue or racing red
Sleeping Bag Alternatives
Along with the many options for sleeping bags for toddlers and children, there are sleeping bag alternatives to try. These are great options if you don’t want to buy a new sleeping bag right now, or need a quick fix.
Sleeping Bag Liner
Sleeping bag liners go inside sleeping bags for an added layer of warmth. You can turn an adult sleeping bag into a children’s sleeping bag by adding a smaller liner to the bag.
Down quilts are a cozy sleeping bag alternative. This is a great option on a warmer evening when kids might want to kick the covers off. Be cautious about the age range and size of children with quilts. This is more of an older child alternative.
Rumpl Puffy Blankets use hollow-core silicone insulation and a water-resistant polyester shell. They include a cape clip to wear the blanket as a shawl or cape around the campfire. They also have sewn loops on the edges and corners. This allows them to close up like a sleeping bag.
Like down quilts, Rumpl blankets are better suited to older children. Toddlers may have trouble pulling blankets up to stay warm.
How to Make Your Kids’ Sleeping Bag Shorter
My family has been camping for a long time and I admit even the most prepared campers make mistakes. There have been times I’ve rushed the packing process and grabbed an adult bag for my little guy by mistake.
For safety reasons, I recommend using sleeping bags designed for children whenever possible. However, in a pinch, there are a few hacks I’ve used to remedy the situation.
- Hack 1: Shorten an adult bag by tying up the end of the bag and securing it with paracord or a shoe lace.
- Hack 2: Stuff the too-long end of the sleeping bag into the stuff sack and pull the drawstrings tight.
- Hack 3: Stuff a pillow into the bottom of the bag to take up empty space.
I hope some of this helps if you find yourself in a similar predicament. These hacks are useful when family friends are visiting with children and don’t have their own sleeping bags.
Sleeping Bags for Toddlers FAQs
Many friends and readers have questions about kids sleeping bags. To make the hunt for products easier, I’ve combined a few of the most frequently asked questions I get here:
Why get a kid-specific sleeping bag?
The size of a sleeping bag dictates warmth and comfort. Too much space in a sleeping bag lets heat escape in the night, leaving your little one cold.
Can my toddler sleep in an adult sleeping bag?
If a sleeping bag is too long, a child runs the risk of sliding down into the material at night. This is dangerous and could lead to suffocation.
Are sleeping bags safe for toddlers?
If they’re old enough to sleep with blankets, then they should be safe in a sleeping bag. Smaller kids sleeping bags are better choices to reduce the amount of material surrounding them.
As always, I hope this blog has inspired you on your search for cozy children’s sleeping bags. Stay safe and have fun out there!
I’m Molly Foss, aka Momma Critter. I’ve been camping since I was 9 years old and I always wanted to be Robin Hood and live in the forest when I grew up. I’m excited to share my love of camping with my son as he grows up. My favorite thing to do while camping is roast marshmallows over the fire.