Snuggle Up! The Best Sleeping Bags For Kids

We've highlighted the best sleeping bags for kids to keep them safe from nontoxic chemicalsDo you know how to pick the best sleeping bags for kids, or why you even want to invest in a quality bag? We’ve asked experts and scoped out the best brands to make sure the best kids sleeping bags are at your fingertips.

When you’re looking for the best sleeping bags for kids, does it really matter how it’s designed? Aside from being appropriate for the weather’s temperature, that is…kids can pretty much sleep anywhere, and they’re usually so excited about camping out in general that the sleeping bag make and model is not super important.

To them.

But it should be to us, because not only does it help our little ones stay nice and comfy while they’re sleeping sweetly, but it also helps us choose sleeping bags that are non-toxic and friendly (as they can be) to the earth.

Kids Sleeping Bags: Toxic Chemicals May Be An Issue

A 2016 report from Greenpeace found that toxic chemicals that carried potential health and environmental impacts were often used in outdoor gear and clothing, and that includes sleeping bags. Considering that on camping trips, sleeping bags are oftentimes pulled right up (or wrapped around) your little one’s face, that isn’t a comforting thought.

Greenpeace found traces of  PFCs (poly and perfluorinated compounds) in all but four of the products they tested in their study, and for families that enjoy being out in nature, that means that gear they use may also be affected they’re not more discerning when buying.

Mirjam Kopp is a Global Project Leader with Greenpeace, and in an article with TakePart, Kopp said that PFCs are persistent and durable environmentally hazardous substances. She said once they are released into the environment, they typically degrade very slowly and enter our food chain. Then the PFC pollution is almost irreversible. Other Greenpeace reports have found PFC traces in some really remote areas of the world, as well as in polar bears, dolphins and even human blood.

Often chemicals like PFOSs and PFOAs (perfluorooctane sulfonates and perfluorooctanoic acids)  are used in outdoor gear because they help make materials water-repellant and moisture-wicking. In gear like sleeping bags and tents, those are typical features hikers and campers look for because they want to stay warm and dry. Unfortunately, in the quest to keep ourselves cleaner and drier, we’re putting ourselves and our children and our environment at risk with the use of the compounds.
And, the sad thing is that sometimes, it’s brands we love and believe are the most committed to nature that still include the chemicals and compounds in their products. That’s why it’s so important to do your research and pay attention to what goes into the things we buy, especially when it comes to things for our children.

Know Your Products; Know The Missions

Transparency is key. Brands like Patagonia, The North Face, Helly Hansen, Norrona and several others have publicly pledged their commitment to making products that no longer use long-chain PFCs (like PFOAs) and instead are looking toward replacing them with fluorocarbon-based treatments (among other solutions) that will break down more quickly in the environment and are less toxic to our families.
And, when companies are alerted to issues and take action, that’s another great sign you can trust their products to be as they say they are. The Greenpeace study tested equipment from the Swedish outdoor brand Haglöfs and found that despite the ban on PFOAs in Norway, a pair of their boots had traces of PFOAs. Haglöfs quickly took responsibility and action, saying that the tested product had been made before the ban, but that all of the remaining products would immediately be removed from the markets.
Greenpeace tested 40 products, and of the 40, four were found to be PFC-free, including a backpack by Haglöfs. As well, a jacket by Vaude and a jacket by Jack Wolfskin and a pair of gloves from The North Face tested PFC-free. Since the report, companies have continued to work diligently to protect our families and our environment, so when we were looking for the best sleeping bags for kids, we made sure to look for companies that show environmental and ethical responsibility.

Kids Sleeping Bags: The Basics Of Shopping

So, really, what do you look for when it comes to the best sleeping bags for kids? You are most likely not surprised to know that the best kids sleeping bags have nothing to do with the character or theme that adorns them.

Yes, that’s what your kids look for in the best kids sleeping bags, but as mamas? We want to make sure they’re comfortable, they’re warm (or cool, depending on where and when you’re camping) and we want to make sure the materials that are literally enveloping them each night they sleep are as safe as they can be.

Here are some of the features you should also consider when looking for the best kids sleeping bags:

  • Size: We’re often tempted to buy things our kids will grow into, and when it comes to sleeping bags, that’s also often the case. The thing is, though, when we buy bags that are not fitted for kids, they miss out on the full effect of a sleeping bag when it comes to keeping their temperature regulated. And, honestly, when your toddler is in an adult sleeping bag, there is a lot of opportunity for them to be covered and not get proper ventilation because they get sort of lost in the bag. Yes, you want a bag that will give your child some room to grow but remember again, you’re investing in their good sleep for family memories, and you want it to be a good fit.
  • Style: This is where you may have to convince your child that they will, indeed, live without the PJ Masks or JoJo Siwa sleeping bag they’re drooling over. While it’s not true for every quality bag, if you’re really looking for a good sleeping bag for kids, you won’t likely find it in the character section of your local big-box store. Consider those for sleepovers at the grandparents or maybe in-home slumber parties. But, for actual camping and outdoor trips, convince them they want to be warm and comfy.
  • Weight: So while you’re most likely not going to be hiking the Appalachian or Pacific Trail with your kiddos, you still don’t want to lug around a sleeping bag that’s too terribly heavy. And, if your child is carrying her equipment, you want to make it comfortable for her to carry as well. Most children’s sleeping bags weigh less than three pounds, but remember that can add up if you’re carrying multiple bags, so pay attention to weight when shopping.
  • Temperature Rating: Pay attention to what the temperature you’ll be using your bag in will be. Sleeping bags are generally in two shapes: rectangular and mummy-style. Rectangular sleeping bags often are used in warm-weather camping and many even have zipper functions to allow your legs in and out for better ‘breathing’ overall. Mummy-style bags generally do as their name suggests; they wrap your kiddo up and are often cinched around the face for better heat retention. The fewer opportunities for heat to escape, the warmer your little ones will be. Most quality kids sleeping bags will also tell you specific temperature ranges for which they’re best suited. It’s advisable to pay attention to those manufacturers guidelines.

Other Considerations When Shopping For The Best Sleeping Bags For Kids

There are a few other things you’ll want to think about when you’re looking for the best sleeping bags for kids.

Some sleeping bags have built-in pillows or extra padding at the head for a bit more comfort. Depending on whether your child will be on the ground, on a mat on the ground, on an air mattress or on a cot, you may want to consider having something that makes carrying a pillow not as required.

When it comes to cots, there are plastic-free options, but they’re often pretty heavy. Something to think about, though, if you’re planning to set up in and stay in one general camping area for a few days, but just remember they’re going to be longer than your child may need.

Related: Practical Ways Your Family Can Reduce Plastic Waste

If you’re considering a sleeping pad under your child’s sleeping bag on the ground (definitely helps make a comfier sleep) we like the EcoTek. It’s lightweight and easy to use and each purchase benefits the environment because EcoTek has partnered with The National Forest Foundation and plants trees.

And, if you do want a small, lightweight pillow that’ll bring some comfort to sleeping bag rest, you’ll probably love Wildkin’s nap mat pillow. It doesn’t have any flame retardant chemicals, is easy to clean, super comfy and reasonably priced. Many of our mamas say their kids love this pillow so much they use it at home too.

It’s also okay for you to consider a family sleeping bag as well. Yes, some kiddos want their own bags, but let’s be real–they often end up in ours too. Consider looking at larger ones for family bed-sharing if that’ll work best for your family.

Okay, now you’re ready to check out the best sleeping bags for kids and find the one that’s right for your little one!

The Best Sleeping Bags For Kids: Mothering’s Picks

1. Marmot Trestles 30

Marmot makes excellent sleeping bags for kids

The Marmot Trestles 30 is a great mummy-style option for kids (or adults) under 5 feet. It’s great for fall or spring camping, though depending on your winter, may be a good fit too as it is rated for a comfortable sleep in 30 degrees. Marmot is well-known in the outdoor gear industry, and through the years, they’ve become a strong supporter of environmental campaigns. Marmot supports lots of different non-profits that are committed to taking care of our planet, and they’re also committed to fair-trade sourcing and manufacturing. They’re a Bluesign Partner, which means they’re part of a group of businesses working to ensure global sustainability of textiles and products. The Trestle is a hair under 3 pounds at 2 lbs., 9 oz., and is filled with SpiraFil for warmth and lightweight comfort. It comes in lots of different colors too, for your kiddos who are looking for style in their sleep.

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2. Hyke and Byke 0 Degree

The Marmot is one of the best sleeping bags for kids

While the Hyke and Byke 0 Degree bag is not specifically designed for kids, for elementary and older kids, it’s an incredible bag at a really reasonable price. Know why it’s a reasonable price? Because the owners of the company decided to put their engineering and marketing talents together to come up with a high-quality bag that average families can afford. And, we love that the company is on a mission to show the world that selfless interests end up being the most prosperous and fulfilling ways to live. One of the founders said that their goal is to offer the best products for the best purposes at the best value, and they create quality products while working to give back in many ways. They focus on eliminating poverty through microloans, and the small company uses its entrepreneurial genius to work and partnering with KIVA to help others around the world get out of poverty. The sleeping bag is 3rd Party Tested and IDFL Certified and is a super light and compact fill bag. The Hydrophobic insulation will keep your kiddos warm, and the Short (which is 3.69 pounds) is for good kids 5’6″ and under. It also features the YKK anti-snag zippers and anti-snag slider.

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3. Wildkin Kids Sleeping Bag

Wildkin makes some adorable and fun sleeping bags for kids that are non-toxic without BPA and Phthalates, and made without flame retardants and the chemicals that go into flame retardant. They have 3rd party testing for every batch of their fabrics to make sure they are safe, durable and contaminant-free since they’re so close to your kiddo’s body. We love the various styles and patterns and we love that they come with small pillows and an adorable carrying bag for your child.

They’re generally rectangular style, so better for warmer temp camping or overnighters with family or friends, but they’re super reasonably priced and safe for your child to sweetly dream.

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4. Kelty Big Dipper Sleeping Bag

Kelty thinks we all suffer from NDD–Nature-Deficit Disorder. Especially kids. And, we’re inclined to agree with them since it seems like getting our kids outdoors and enjoying all that Mother Nature offers is a luxury. Kelty’s Cause is a mission to fix that, encouraging parents to get outside with their kids and let their kids…well, do what kids do!

And, they believe in corporate social responsibility. They’re mindful about ethical practices–including no child labor, rights for factory workers using their equipment and making their products, and partnering with vendors to ensure that Kelty products are ones you can trust and know are created responsibly.

The Big Dipper has a unique expansion system that will make it just the right size for your child for several years, and is a lightweight, comfy build that will keep them warm and snug with the mummy shaping.

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5. NEMO Punk 20 Degree Sleeping Bag

NEMO's Punk sleeping bag has a great cinch sack for growth

NEMO is another company that believes there’s more to being a sustainable business than just meeting requirements for certifications. The team at NEMO focuses on using his or her energy to help the world be a better place, and with each product, they ask whether the need for that product even exists. They believe in quality products that don’t need to end up in landfills and they believe that a repair is always first in order before it ever gets to that point.

They protect animal welfare when sourcing their down, as well as making choices about manufacturing that are people and planet-friendly. And, we love that they have a GO HELP Program, which empowers employees to make the world a better place by giving them time off to go and volunteer in their community.

Their Punk sleeping bag is a fun, nature-inspired pattern that is soft and comfy using their FuzzTech teddy-bear fleece around the hood of the mummy-style bag. We love that it has an integrated pad sleeve that keeps the pad securely in place for comfort throughout the night. The Punk also has a cinch adjustment at the bottom that lets the bag grow with your child–quite possibly until they’re big enough and old enough for an adult bag. (Don’t blink, mamas…it’ll come sooner than you think!)

Best? It’s lightweight and machine washable, so taking care of it is so easy your kiddo could do it himself! And it comes out just as soft!

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6. Baby Deedee SleepNest Travel

If you’re looking for baby’s first sleeping bag, look no further. Baby Deedee’s sleeping bags have removable sleeves options, and is rated for indoor and outdoor use if you’re taking your littlest on her first outdoor overnighter. They use no flame retardants and it even has a buckle-through design that lets you pull stroller buckles through slits for transferring without waking baby!

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Photo: Collin Quinn Lomax/Shutterstock

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