If there is something that can make your camping trip more successful it is no doubt wonderful night’s sleep in a comfy and warm sleeping bag. Waking up in the morning when you are fully rested and recharged gives you the morale to tackle the day’s activities with a lot of ease. It can be very frustrating to achieve this state of restfulness, if the sleeping bag is not doing the job it is supposed to do: keeping you warm and comfortable. This could be worse especially when as an adult you go camping with kids and it gets really cold at night.
You have to know how to choose sleeping bags for kids if you don’t want to be up all night. There is a lot of great stuff out there especially for the parents who do not believe that kids camping bags are luxury items. When it comes to choosing the sleeping bags for your children, you need something cute, small, and comfortable to keep the kids warm while camping.
With a little research and advice, you are on your way to becoming an expert on what to pick from the shopping mall. Having some insight about how kids’ sleeping bags are made, their different shapes, sizes, temperature ratings and so forth are just a few of the things that will help you choose the right sleeping bag for your kids.
BONUS: If you still doubt about whether to take your kids camping, read this short article about summer camping for children.
Components of sleeping bags for kids
Sleeping bags are made to be used in different weather conditions such as the extremely cold arctic temperatures while others are made for milder climates. Sleeping bags keep you comfortable by trapping and holding an amount of air just next to your body. After reading this article, you will most likely know what perfect sleeping bags are.
Your body then warms the trapped air and the sleeping bag creates a barrier between the warm air inside the bag and the cold air that is outside the bag. This is why sleeping bags that fit more snugly are preferred. Your body will warm faster when there is less air space to heat than when the airspace is big.
Let us look at other components that you should consider when thinking about how to choose sleeping bags for kids.
Type of Insulation
Many campers prefer synthetic insulation over other types of insulation, as it is relatively cheap and its overall performance is rated above average. It is basically made from a polyester fabric which gives it an edge over the competition. When looking at the sleeping bag reviews, you will see 100% polyester fill. Now you know what it is. The advantages of using synthetic insulation made from polyester include:
- Cheaper than down fill
- Dries quickly and works well even in wet conditions
- Available in various sizes, beautiful colors, shapes easily too
- It’s non-allergenic, which is great for the kids sensitive skin
Down Fill Insulation
This type of insulation is harvested from duck or goose, two birds that love swimming. It is believed to be the best quality as it consists of high-insulation undercoat found in all water birds. In the UK, for example, all the sleeping bags labeled as “Goose-Down Fill” must contain a minimum of 85% goose feathers. Just the same way that these down feathers keep the geese warm when they are swimming in cold water, it is the same way that the sleeping bag fill will keep your children warm.
Benefits of down fill insulation
- It is suitable for both sleeping bags for kids and backpacking bags due to its lightweight insulation fill
- It is durable and lasts longer compared to cotton or synthetic fill
- Offers high insulation to weight ratio, which helps you stay warm even when it is light in weight
Cons of down fill insulation
- Expensive when compared to its counterparts, that is, cotton and synthetic
- Takes time to dry completely and may even lose some of its insulation properties
- Hard to wash as it cannot be cleaned using a washing machine
Outer Shell Fabric
When choosing a sleeping bag for kids, you have to consider the outer shell. Most sleeping bags for home use are made from cotton, which makes them highly suitable for mild-weather camping or when you just want to sleep in your backyard. Sleeping bags whose outer shells are made of polyester or nylon are costlier because it is believed that the polyester or nylon shell increases the strength of the bag and helps prevent against ripping or shredding on the sharp edges of pebbles.
Other outer shells are treated with a coat of durable water repellent chemical, which is an invisible wall that makes water to bead up and roll off as opposed to soaking through the outer fabric.
To help reduce the space of the pack, a majority of the camping bags come loaded with either a stuff sack or the option to buy one separately. As much as the stuff sack provides an excellent mode of storing and carrying the sleeping bag when you go camping, it is not recommended to keep the sleeping bag in the sack for prolonged periods. Keeping it hung loosely on a wall somewhere such as your garage is a better option.
A good sleeping bag for kids will be one that they can stuff up easily to save time and so that when camping, they too can help in stashing the sleeping bags away in the morning.
To keep the fill from bunching in a certain area while thinning in another, which might result in cold spots, many designers offer baffles together with the bag. Sleeping bags made of Goose-down fill are prone to thin with time and that is why the designers ensure to use a type of baffle system. To produce high quality baffles, the baffles are made using rectangular shape, which is then filled down.
It is very important to pay careful attention to the hood when it comes to choosing sleeping bags for kids. If you are go camping with your kids at very low temperatures, chances of your kids losing a lot of heat through the scalp of your head are very high. This is where having a hood comes in handy as it will help prevent the heat from escaping through the scalp of your kid’s head.
The Inner Lining
Sleeping bags with linings made of polyester or nylon are said to be of better quality because they are soft, smooth and they feel great on the skin. The most high-end ones use silk for their inner linings, but they also help you get the most pampered sleep you can wish for.
You need to also consider breathability when thinking about which lining is best for your kids because it allows the perspiration to leave easily and not be trapped in the sleeping bag. If this perspiration does not leave the sleeping bag, it will become cold and make your body feel cold and this is not nice especially for the kids.
The international standard size for sleeping bags’ zippers is 5 through 8. But there is another expensive sleeping bag, which contains a draft tube, which is actually an embedded tube that runs along the zipper. The draft tube plays a very big role as it helps to keep the warm air from escaping via the coils of the zipper.
A zipper guard is another important feature that you should never ignore on your research on kids’ sleeping bags because it prevents the fabric from being caught in the zipper.
Everyone turns and tosses in their sleep and kids are no exception. This however might cause them to slip off their mattresses or pads. Therefore, it is advisable to look for a sleeping bag that incorporates an in-built loop inside as well as outside to offer a point of attachment to the sleeping pad.
When considering the temperatures ratings for the sleeping bag you want to buy, just know that you will not get a fixed temperature range as most manufacturers have different parameters.
Different people feel hotness or coldness differently based on issues such as age and gender. Most manufacturers’ ratings are approximations therefore if you feel like it’s a bit warm, you open up the bag.
If you were an adult, we would go to the hot or cold sleeper thing as some people give off more heat at night, thus needing few blankets while others need quite a number of blankets and they will still wake up cold.
If you know whether your kid is a hot or cold sleeper, then buy them the appropriate sleeping bag.
Read more about sleeping bag temperature rating in our extensive guide about the types and features of sleeping bags.
Shapes and sizes
Another tip to consider on how to choose sleeping bags for kids is the basic shapes in which they come: double, mummy, semi-rectangular and rectangular.
- Mummy sleeping bags are the most popular because they are light in weight and have better insulation qualities.
- Rectangular sleeping bags are mostly suited for mild and warm weathers. They also cost less
- Double sleeping bags are preferable if two or three kids will agree to share.
- Semi-rectangular sleeping bags share in the design of mummy and rectangular shapes. Due to their lightweight, they are suitable for backpackers.
To read more about the shapes and sizes of sleeping bags click here.
BONUS: Download this informative “Care of Down and Synthetic Sleeping Bags” guide from Utah State University. It will give you the understanding on how to take care of your sleeping bag, be it kids’ or adults’ sleeping bag.
Well, there you have all the relevant information, which will guide you when you go to do your shopping for the next camping vacation. You are indeed spoiled for choice for both kids and parents sleeping bags. Now that you know what you need to look for, go out there and get it.
Remember, that your kids grow fast. Therefore, among other factors listed in this article, consider how frequent you go camping with your kids. If you are an outdoor freak and go camping nearly every weekend, it is wise to invest in more that one sleeping bag for kids, because, chances are, you will be camping both in warm and cold weather.
If you, however, go camping 2-3 times a year, a low budget sleeping bag is fine. Even if you go camping in cold weather, you can take an extra blanket, which will keep your kids warm and you wallet fuller.
What do you think?
Drop a comment below to let us and other people know what you think about this article. Do you have any valuable tips about sleeping bags for kids or sleeping bags for babies? Have you had a good / bad experience with some particular type or model of kids’ sleeping bag? Let us know…