A sleeping bag is just a sleeping bag, right? Wrong! We’ve come a long way from the flannel-lined, cartoon-character branded bags you brought to sleepovers and summer camp in your youth. There’s dozens of different types of sleeping bags to choose from— as many as there are ways to engage in the outdoors. There are so many that we couldn’t list them all or cover each in detail. But we can help you narrow down which type of sleeping bag might be best for the expedition you have planned or the camping trips you usually go on.
Whether you’re camping as a family, braving the elements on a winter camping trip, need packable gear for flying to outdoor destinations, or hoping to snuggle up with your boo as you live an outdoor love story, or are looking for something super specific like a sleeping bag for tall people, there’s a sleeping bag that’s right for you. Head to your local outdoor retailer or make a quick search online, and you’ll find everything from lightweight bivvy sacks for the summertime to sleeping bag coats that double as a parka.
A good sleeping bag can make the difference between a wonderful camping trip and a dreadful one, especially if you’re trying to find one that works best with your body or a particular type of adventure. Here are a few of our favorite types of sleeping bags that offer something a little different beyond the standard sizes and debates about down vs. synthetic fill:
We love Klymit’s new double sleeping bag option for couples, not to mention their tough-as-nails ground pads. So it’s no wonder that their oversized sleeping bags are fantastic, too, especially because it can be so unfairly hard to find inclusive outdoor gear. In the past, a camper who didn’t quite fit into a standard size sleeping bag, or who felt claustrophobic in a narrow mummy style, might have to opt for a double sleeping bag just to make things work, even if that means sacrificing some warmth or room in their packs.
Now, however, Klymit offers two roomier options to choose— one that’s warm down to 20 degrees and one that’s warm down to 0 degrees. These mummy-style sleeping bags are still tapered to follow the silhouette of your body, helping you retain heat and stay comfortable. But Klymit’s bags are 25% bigger than standard size, with an 80.5-inch shoulder and 70-inch hip that won’t leave you feeling constricted. It’s packed with 650-fill goose down and has nice extras like the ability to adjust to different heights, so even shorter campers have some elbow room without having to heat up dead air.
This is genius. It’s a wearable sleeping bag that doubles as a cozy jacket, which you can wear around your campsite. With your feet coming out from the bottom of the zipper of your sleeping bag, the tail of the sleeping bag then clips up behind you, giving you great mobility. The bag has arm holes which you slide your hands through so you can do anything. You may never be cold while camping again, in or out of your tent.
There are several different versions from Sierra Designs, available for men and women ranging from fifty degree to zero degree ratings. You can also choose between styles made with treated duck down or a synthetic filling. Whichever type of Sierra Designs sleeping bag you choose, this style is ideal for Vanlifers and car campers who want to stay extra cozy while the cowboy coffee heats up. Since they clock in at under three pounds, though, these wearable sleeping bags aren’t too bulky for backpackers to bring along for the ride.
Snuggling in a tent while in separate mummy bags is usually a bit unfulfilling— especially if you’ve gone to the trouble to plan a romantic camping trip. Two person sleeping bags are a great option that let you not only cuddle but also share crucial bodily warmth when winter temperatures catch you by surprise. The downside to sleeping bags for couples, though, is that they are often pretty heavy to haul around. That often limits them to car campers or backpackers who love to lean into type two fun.
The Nemo Tango Duo Slim sleeping bag, however, brings the heat back to the tent in more ways than one with their lightweight double bag setup. It works with any two 20-inch sleeping pads, and packs up small. At only weighs 2 pounds and 14 ounces, it’s lighter than many one-man sleeping bags, and is certainly one of the lightest two-person sleeping bags on the market. To make it even more amazing, it’s one of the few lightweight two person sleeping bags rated for temperatures below freezing, making it perfect for three-season adventures.
One of the great joys for outdoorsy parents is getting to introduce your kids to camping and the big backcountry playground you love so much. For campers under 5 feet tall, it’s hard to beat the Big Agnes’ Wolverine 15. We’ve written about this sleeping bag before as part of our kids outdoor gear gift guide, but it’s worth repeating that this is one of the best kids sleeping bags out there. It has extra features made with little campers in mind, like fun lining designs and an internal sleeve to hold the ground pad in place, no matter how wild your child gets while asleep. The Wolverine is light enough for backpacking, stays cozy down to down to 15 degrees, and has some of the same niceties as grownup sleeping bags, like an insulated zipper.
On the opposite end of the height spectrum, the Teton Sports LEEF is perfect for tall campers who need a little extra room at the top and bottom of their bag. Measuring over seven feet in length, even most pro basketball players could get cozy in this sleeping bag. It doesn’t skimp on the details, with a draft-proof and anti-snag zipper, as well as an interior pocket where you can stash your phone, keys, or chapstick.
You’ll be covered (pun intended) even in third-season colder temps, and the LEEF comes with a compression sack for easy storage. As an added bonus, it’s incredibly inexpensive for a solid piece of outdoor gear, retailing for under eighty dollars. Really, the only downside to the LEEF is that it’s on the heavier side at 3.5 pounds, making it slightly better as, say, a sleeping bag for motorcycle camping or bicycle touring than for a thru-hike like the AT or North Country Trail.
This simple sleeping bag liner from Osage River makes camping more comfy, whether by adding warmth and texture to your existing sleeping bag or by using it on its own as a bivvy sack during the warmer months. It also converts to a blanket, giving you a lot of different ways to use this sleeping bag liner around the campground, while tailgating or stargazing, or in your RV. It’s 70” long by 31” wide, so it will fit right into all but the smallest sleeping bags, and the soft microfiber fleece is cozy and easy to clean. Pair with Osage River’s ultra-affordable zero degree sleeping bag for a complete sleep system.