Kids’ Sleeping Bags – Are they worth it?

    Kids grow.  Fast.  Many parents will argue that paying full-price for equipment that kids are going to outgrow in one season (or less) is simply a waste of money.  I get it.  There is a lot of gear out there built specifically for kids that just isn’t necessary.  Modifications of adult equipment can be made, cheaper stuff can be purchased and no one is worse for the wear.

    Before having my own children, I was absolutely convinced that kids’ sleeping bags were a “luxury item”.  Something that was cute, weighed a little less, but really served no good purpose.  After getting my facts straight, seeing how my kids manage camping (with their own cute, small bodies), and doing a bunch of research, I would make the claim that kids’ sleeping bags are the KEY to keeping kids warm while camping.

    The science behind it is actually pretty simple:  A smaller sleeping bag means less space that a child’s body has to heat up to keep them warm.

    That’s it.

    So, I went to work trying to get my hands on as many kid-specific sleeping bags that I could.  I wanted to see them side by side.  I wanted my own children to test their features, point out their favorites and do a lot of camping.  We certainly didn’t test them ALL (though wouldn’t that be AWESOME?!?!) and I will mention others that I would recommend in this post (based on the reputation of the company that makes them, recommendations by others I trust and features they boast.)  As always, as I have the opportunity to test others not mentioned here, I will add the feedback to our gear reviews.

    To be honest, the testing process is still in session.  We have a lot of camping time left in the season.  Some of these bags’ true performance will only be affirmed after fall trips where temperatures dip near freezing (yes, we are that “crazy”).  I will certainly report on our findings throughout the season.  As always, these reviews are our honest, personal opinions.

    Each of the following sleeping bags are thoroughly explained on their own gear review page.  This is a great feature of our new site, and all reviews from now on will be posted this way.  You can find a list of those reviews at the tab marked “Gear Reviews” and in the slider at the top of the blog.

    Kelty Woobie +30

    Teton Sports’ Celsius Junior +20

    Big Agnes Porcupine +15

    Deuter Starlight EXP ~+40

    As a parent, it is important to note that kids’ sleeping bags usually don’t have a temperature rating (and if they do now, they won’t for very long as regulations change.)  I AM including the ratings in this post because I think they are a great way to help compare the different bags (roughly.)  However, here’s the scoop: there are a TON of factors and variables that change how warm your child will stay in a bag.  Besides just your child’s body in general, whether or not they are using a sleeping pad (and what kind), the air temperature, the relative humidity, the wind speed, and how many bodies they are sharing the tent with (or if they are sleeping outside) all HAVE to be factored in.  Obviously, it’s not very cut and dry.  No matter what bag a child is sleeping in, make sure they are dressed appropriately for the weather (wool or synthetics, hat if needed, extra layers to add on if needed, socks, etc. etc.)

    After our own continued testing with the four bags mentioned above, here are our findings (again, please see each bag’s individual review for many more details):

    If your child does not like being confined to a “mummy-shaped” bag: Go for the Celcius from Teton Sports or the Big Agnes Bags

    If your child is young (under 3) and/or short (or has younger siblings coming behind them): Go for the Kelty Woobie

    If you would like a great summer bag that can expand with the growth of your child: Go for the Starlight EXP from Deuter

    Here are some photos comparing the bags when laid out and packed up:



    Other Sleeping Bags that are definitely worth checking out:

    (If we DO get a chance to review them, we will certainly pass on our findings here!)  If you have personal experience with these bags, please feel free to weigh-in.)

    Big Agnes Little Red – I haven’t seen this bag physically, but it is smaller than other kids’ sleeping bags, yet bigger than the Woobie (Fits up to 53″ compared to the 42″ of the Woobie.)  Big Agnes bags, however, are excellent and I am sure this would be no exception.

    Deuter Little Star EXP – Another I have yet to get my hands on, but comes recommended by many of our outdoor-enthusiast friends.  Fits up to ~51″ and has a (really good conditions) rating of around 40 degrees F.  Again, those numbers are a good guess, but it would seem logical that this bag would be more fitting for warmer conditions than Little Red.


    Bottom Line: Kids’ sleeping bags are absolutely worth the investment (of around $100, depending on the quality of the bag).  This is definitely a piece of gear where you get what you pay for.

    They keep kids warmer, safer and happier (which can go a LONG way on a family camping trip!)


    I want to know!  What bags do you love, which features do you find important?  Which ones have you tried (or want to try)?

    In case you missed it above, be sure to check out the coupon code from Tiny Trekker (TTSB10 for 10% off any sleeping bag or padand enter to win a Teton Sports’ Celsius Junior +20 on its review page!

    This review was possible through the generosity of Teton Sports, Deuter, Kelty and Tiny Trekker.  However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own.  Additionally, some of these links ARE affiliates.  If you choose to use them to purchase a kid’s sleeping bag for your child, it helps offset the cost of this blog in a (very) small way.  Thank you!  See our full disclosure here.

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      1. Great review of some of the great kids bags out there. We also (via a birthday gift) got our son (3) a great new sleeping bag this year – we found it important, especially when camping in a colder climate to get gear that works for him. We got the Mountain Hardware Mountain Goat Adjustable 20 Sleeping Bag and we/he loves it. The adjustable footbox is great and it’s kept him toasty warm. He loves the little pocket to keep his headlamp/little car/etc. We also like the fact that it’s synthetic so that if it gets damp/wet it still retains some of the warmth and is easy to care for.

        One tip that one of the sales people gave us for adjusting the length of sleeping bags for kids (ie. with the big agnes) is to put the excess length into the stuff sack and cinch it closed. This creates a shorter footbox for small kids and keeps their toes warmer.

        • Oh I love that tip about adding the excess length into the stuff sack! I still make the claim that kids’ bags are worth it just for the smaller girth too, but this is a great idea to help with the length! Thanks, Suzi!

          • I’m all about the kids bags but even kids bags are long for the 2 to 5 year old crowd (especially when the temperature drops). The “growing” sleeping bag is great and that’s what we chose in the end, however it’s not that common and I thought this was a great solution.

      2. Christopher Sorel says:

        Yes kids sleeping bag are important for cold weather camping for sure. You are not crazy I camp all year with my kids ever since my son was 3 and daughter 4. They love the smell and colors in the fall. Winter is just as fun. You know the best part is cmap grounds are empty and feel like you have the place to yourself.

        They are now 7 and 8. Taking them on their first back woods canoing and woods camping. No showers, toliet, power, cell phone or comvience store. 5 days off the grid is great!! Wawa Canada back woods is great place

      3. We have one kid’s sleeping bag from LL Bean and it’s really nice to have. Eventually, we need to invest in a couple for our youngest two sons. We love to go camping!

      4. I agree 100%. My son used to use a short down women’s marmot sleeping bag. It kept him warm, but the extra weight he carried was ridiculous for a 9 yo that weights 48 lbs. I found a Sierra Designs Dragonfly 40 on sale for $11 and got two. He LOVES IT. I have been late in the fall on the Appalachian and it kept him warm. Its a surprisingly technical bag for the price.

      5. I sure do wish I could find a nice 600+FP down bag. Something under 100. I may end up getting a quilt made for him from one of the online vendors. He would like that. Actually, a 3/4 length hammock under quilt could be used then he could use it when he’s bigger also. Hmmm.

      6. Our kids love their Mountain Hardware Mountain goat sleeping bags. We have one for each kid, SO WORTH THE $$$.

      7. Great timing for this post Amelia!! I am in the market for five new bags, one for each of my kids.

      8. definitely a fan of good quality kid bags! although sadly there are not enough down kids bags on the market– i know, i know, the warm when wet issue, but there is a need for LIGHTER kids bags that are warm and well made. we’ve had several brands in the last few years and have finally found some ones we really like. we bought less expensive kelty bags first and ended up paying for that choice. they were poorly made and not warm enough (with busted zippers that kelty won’t warranty)… should’ve known better, for as much as we use them, buying nicer bags to begin with would’ve have been well worth the money. we recently bought two marmot sorcerer juniors and really like them. they are pretty light for the temp rating, seem to be of equal quality to the adult bags, and will last them into their teenage years. thanks for the post!

      9. We bought a North Face Tigger last year for our daughter (who was 2). It’s synthetic and rated 20 degrees. I chose it using REI’s compare feature- at the time it was the warmest, smallest, and lightest child’s bag they had and it was under $100. We used a zip tie on it during camping to make it smaller and then cut it off for storage. This year she seems to be doing ok with it the length it is. I’m hoping it will work for her for several years.

      10. Thanks for the reviews. There is so much choice out there these days it’s hard to know what is best for your child. We are just about to take the plunge into camping with the kids…wish us luck! 🙂 Josie

      11. What about the risk of suffocation. My son went camping and I was startled to hear that in the middle of the night he was found screaming in his adult size bag saying that he couldn’t get out. It turns out that at some point he had rotated completely and his head was where his feet were supposed to be. luckly an adult who was with him had to pull him out by his feet because they couldn’t find the zipper on the bag in the dark. Poor kid was covered in his own sweat and i was so worried that he could have suffocated. Has anyone ever heard of a 7/8 year old suffocating by accident because of their sleeping bag? I hope i’m just being over paranoid.

        • Great question. And a good reason to use an age and size-appropriate bag. I haven’t heard of any incidents of that happening, but it doesn’t mean it couldn’t. Kids really can’t get that turned around in bag that fit them, though. Sorry – I bet that was very scary as a parent!!

      12. Jeff Wike says:

        Hands down…the big agnes bags are best. The primary factor is the integrated sleeping pad sleeve that attaches to the sleeping bag. This means they don’t roll off their pad in the middle of the night, and the bag doesn’t twist and turn as they twist and turn, which means they don’t wake up cold or on the hard ground. We have the Little Red and Wolverine currently, and are just about to buy the next size up. I wouldn’t buy a kids bag without the integrated pad sleeve. They’re also great sleeping bags as well, as my 5 and 8 year old winter camped cozily in 20 degrees with me last winter.

      13. Natalie says:

        How do you keep your 1 and 1/2 year old from sliding around inside a tent? We tried putting her in her little sleeping bag (Kelty Woobie) in the tent (on top of a sleeping pad with a blanket between the sleeping bag and pad to try to reduce sliding)–but she moves around too much and slid off the pad. We are thinking that something with sides like a concave doggie bed would be perfect– Thoughts?

        • Great question. And doggie bed is perfect – that’s what we have used for that weird stage! Big Agnes sleeping bags are great because they have a sleeve that holds them on the pad (but we used the Kelty + dog bed and worked just fine :))

      14. What about if your toddler wiggles around in their sleep? We’re going to Colorado at the end of June and it will get chilly at night. Last year we used a Patagonia bunting, which was awesome. But now she’s bigger so squirmy! I guess I’m just worried she’ll get flipped over and not able to flip herself back upright?

        • Hi Sarah – how old is your little one?? Sometimes a snow suit is your best bet! Let me know age and I’ll see if I can help a little more….

      15. I am so glad I found your site! We were thinking about getting a sleeping bag for our 3 yo, but my mother in law suggested she could take an older adult sleeping bag and resew it to make it smaller. I am not really sure about that, what do you think? Could it work, or should we rather get a special kid sleeping bag? Thanks!

        • Hi Lenka,
          Yes, you totally could. Though I would suggest just tying off the end of it so you aren’t dealign with stuffing coming out. However, consider that it will also mean extra weight/space if you are backpacking or have a small space to pack things into.
          Does that help? Glad you found us too! 🙂
          🙂 Amelia

      16. I was wondering if you have any tips for me. We’re planning a trip around Argentina with a nearly-4-yr-old during November-February. It’ll be a 3 month trip so she needs to be very comfy in her bed.
        We won’t be camping but will be in hostels, huts, cabins etc and we want to bring a bed for her so she can share our double rooms.
        I think we may take a Shrunks airbed but we need a fairly lightweight (it shouldn’t get very cold) kids sleeping bag that packs too very small size.
        She uses a mummy-style bag for camping in the UK but it’s quite new for her and she struggles a but with wriggling back down into it after sitting up. Would a wider style work better for her? Or will she get the knack?
        Thanks so much

      17. Sarah Parmar says:

        I saw on your winter camping post (which was awesome!) that you’ve also used double bags. I’m a single mom with one kiddo and trying to decide between buying a double bag for the two of us versus getting my toddler his own. Any advice is appreciated!

        • Amelia says:

          HI Sarah – it really depends on how you sleep normally! If you usually sleep together, then I would go with the double. We LOVE the Big Agnes ones and I would recommend this one if you can manage the price tag. It packs down super small and makes camping and backpacking easy.

      18. Cassidy says:

        So cool that I found you. I’m a new mom, little guy is 11 months. We live in SE Montana and have already been camping a few times this year. We are frequently camping in Yellowstone/Tetons/Glacier with 20 degree nights. We shared sleeping bags (dad/mom zipped together baby in middle) but don’t see that lasting long. I want to try the REI Kindercone bag, have you heard/tried it? It’s adjustable like some of the others and mummy bag in shape. Just that we don’t have an REI for 100s of miles….thanks!!

        • I haven’t tried that one! But I have a similar one from Kelty waiting to be tried…will update this post ASAP!

      19. Here we are several years later, and I haven’t found any newer/better kid bag reviews yet. I’m comforted to know we’re not the first to deal with the wiggly kid problem. We’ve camped with our kids since our oldest was 4 months old, but now she’s bigger, more independent. She turns five next month. We camped last month with her, and ‘baby sister’ who just turned three, and it was a miserable weekend as far as sleep went. Baby sister, who doesn’t have her own bag yet, ‘slept’ between us (slept = levitating Spirograph, here) and Big sister ‘slept’ in a corner of the tent, having slid all the way down and off the pad, whining – in her sleep – about being cold (in the 50+ degree night).

        Now I’ve read lots and lots and lots of reviews, and it leaves my question: has anyone found a solution to the slippery bag all over (and off) the pad that doesn’t involve the pad sleeve, OR are there quality mfgs with a sleeve other than Big Agnes, OR has anyone tried sewing their own sleeve, straps, Velcro, etc. to a pad? I read somewhere to use puffy paint on the pad to make it stickier, but that sounds like misery to get back in a pack to me.

        To complicate matters slightly, we’d like the option of zipping Big sis & Baby sis in a double setup of their own, if it’s even remotely possible. Dad & I sure do like our right and left zipped Cat’s Meows!

        Thanks in advance!
        Another mountain mama

        Also, anyone reading this have good/bad experience with the North Face Dolomite? I read lots of people love their Tigger, but they seem to be out of production.

        • You have inspired me to write an updated post 🙂 Kid Sleeping bags are so tough…but I do have some ideas.

          I haven’t seen any other than Big Agnes doing the sleeve…but quilts are a big help too. Stay tuned! I’ll work on it ASAP!

      20. Lyndsey Pheister says:

        So, we are outfitting the kids for late fall/early spring backpacking, now that they’re old enough to enjoy the challenge. I’m looking at the marmot jr sorcerer because sierra has it on sale and because according to the specs, its lighter than the keltyn and its pack size is smaller. Know anyone who uses those? Ever tried them?


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