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.
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, but we’re working on it!
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 all HAVE to be factored in:
- Your child’s body in general (if they run cold or hot)
- Whether or not they are using a sleeping pad (and what kind)
- The air temperature
- The relative humidity
- The wind speed
- How many bodies they are sharing the tent with (or if they are sleeping outside) .
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.)
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)?
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