The Best Camping Sleeping Bags of 2017
Our mission: find you the best camping sleeping bag for road trips and backyard camping. We analyzed 50 top contenders and selected 12 for detailed hands-on tests. After over 200 hours of camping, we reveal which bags are the best value and which are the warmest and most comfortable. After many toasty nights and a few frigid ones in ten campgrounds and on many living room floors, we found some bags were dramatically more comfortable and durable than others - irrespective of price. Our selection focused on the bigger plush models that may be bulky, but deliver nearly double the room of a traditional mummy bag. And they come with much cozier and less expensive materials. We cover lighter mummy bags in our Backpacking Sleeping Bag Review.
Read the full review below >
Test Results and Ratings
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Analysis and Award Winners
Spring 2017 Update
We just added a new award winner for luxury travel: NEMO Strato Loft. Camping sleeping bag technology does not change often, but in this case there is both a new hood and zipper system that allow you to comfortably roll around and keep the drafts at bay. More details below. We also double-checked pricing, available and color changes of the other bags in our review.
Best Overall Camping Sleeping Bag
Slumberjack Country Squire 0
After one night in the Slumberjack Country Squire 0, many of our testers wanted to sell their old mummy bags they had been using for car camping and couch surfing. If weight and space are no concern, you should be sleeping in the Squire or a bag of similar size and cozy materials. How cozy? The Squire feels like being a bed with warm, thick blankets. It's amazingly luxurious and also rustic. The Country Squire is the largest bag we tested, both longer and wider than its competitors; it fits people of all shapes and sizes and even has space for two average-size people! Enjoy it for yourself or spoon with someone else. There's so much insulation we comfortably slept on the ground and floors with no pad. This zero degree version kept us warm into the teens, and we loved the removable cotton sheet, a unique feature. This is the premium general purpose bag for those that value comfort, warmth, and quality. The lighter, Slumberjack Country Squire 20 has the same excellent features and comfort.
Largest and most comfortable bag tested
Removable cotton sheet
Very strong zipper
Duffel bag storage
Heavy and bulky
Not appropriate for warm or wet weather
Read full review: Slumberjack Country Squire 0
Best Bang for the Buck
Kelty Callisto 20
With a price tag of $80, the Kelty Callisto 20 is not the cheapest bag we tested, but its combination of comfort and warmth in a fairly compact design make it the best value of the bags we tested. While most of the rectangular bags we tested are large enough to squeeze two people into, the Callisto's narrower design is still plenty comfy for one person, and much lighter and more compact when packed. The Callisto is also sold as a "two pack," or double wide. While we enjoy the larger rectangular bags that you can squeeze into with your cuddle buddy, two Callistos zipped together in double wide mode are far more comfy for two people.
Warmest camping bag relative to weight
Adjustable top opening
Full synthetic construction
Widest temperature range
Not as comfortable as wider bags
Read full review: Kelty Callisto 20
Top Pick for Warmth
The Wenzel Grande is by far the warmest bag we tested for the price. We found this large rectangular bag almost as warm as the Editors' Choice Slumberjack, and we love the feel of the poly/cotton flannel liner. This is our favorite bag to unzip into a big blanket. Soft flannel makes it great in the house, and the rugged cotton shell doesn't mind being on the dirt and leaves. Consider this bag if you sleep cold or plan to camp in freezing weather, and don't want to cough up the extra cash for the Country Squire. This bag offers the most warmth for the lowest price.
Warmest bag for the price
Soft flannel lining
Best packing straps with a nice handle
No draft tube behind the zipper
Read full review: Wenzel Grande
Top Pick for Luxury Travel
NEMO Strato Loft 25
The Strato Loft is the lightest and most compressible bag we tested. It's our favorite pick for airplane travel or road trips where space is tight. We would also take it on short backpacking trips where weight is not an issue. It has the massive leg room of a traditional rectangular bag but uses 700-fill down to cut down on weight and bulk. The only downsides to the bag are it does not have the cozy flannel feel of cotton bags. It also doesn't complete unzip or join with other bags.
Light and compressible
Great leg room
Best hood of all the bags
Read full review: NEMO Strato Loft 25
Analysis and Test Results
While fun times around the campfire and discovering new trails are often the highlights of a weekend camping trip, getting a good night's sleep is key to having a great time. The products tested here are warm, comfortable, and affordable options for those trips when weight doesn't matter. These are the kind of affordable, easily laundered bags that can withstand a few sparks from the fire, a spilled mug of hot chocolate, or getting dragged through the dirt by the kiddos. Save your lightweight, and pricey, down bag for backpacking trips, and enjoy the coziness of one of these bags when car camping.
Throughout our three-month testing period, we assessed each model across key areas of performance; Warmth, Comfort, Features, and Packed Size. Our expert testers devised tests, took measurements, and spent many nights camping to single out the differences between products. You'll find a thorough description of the evaluation metrics below, and the top scorers in each.
A sleeping bag must keep you warm enough to get a good night's sleep. This is the starting point for selecting the right model for you. While the products we tested are rated from 0 to 30F, and are appropriate for different conditions, we scored each for warmth. You'll find our judgment of the coldest temperatures each model is appropriate for in the individual reviews. You may be asking, can I sleep comfortably in one of these bags rated to 0F when it's actually that cold outside? We think it's unlikely, but you'll probably get some fitful sleep if you are wearing a lot of warm clothing inside the bag. The manufacturer's rating for each of these bags should be taken with a grain of salt or several grains. A good rule of thumb for these products is to add 20F to the manufacturer's rating. How much clothing you wear while sleeping, along with your tent or other shelter and what you're sleeping on (a pad, mattress, or on the ground), all contribute to warmth as well. Our testing added up to several hundred nights in these products — some in a tent, others right under the stars, and many more in a house on wheels. This real-world testing gave us a much better idea of the warmth comfort range for these products than the numbers in their names. Our rating for warmth contributes 35% of each product's overall score.
For most folks, the warmest of these bags will provide a comfortable night's sleep down into the high teens. The warmest model we tested, the Slumberjack Country Squire 0, proved warm enough when sleeping under the stars with temperatures in the upper teens. The only other models we found just warm enough for these temps were the Wenzel Grande, and (if you wear cozy warm clothes) the Kelty Callisto 20. The Callisto's width is several inches narrower than the Country Squire and Grande, achieving good warmth with less bulk. If you plan to regularly camp when nights are in the 20's or lower, the Country Squire and Grande are your best choices.
With all rectangular bags, wearing a hat, a top layer with a hood, or tucking your head into the bag can be key to staying warm when it's cold out.
The Alps Crescent Lake 20 is the warmest of the mummy shaped bags we tested. The insulated draft tube backing the zipper and ample hood create a warm product that is fairly roomy inside for a mummy bag. The rectangular Wenzel Conquest and the hoodless mummy, the Marmot Mavericks 30, are the least warm models we tested. Both are great choices for summer camping with nights in the 40's or 50's. The Conquest unzips to make a great flannel lined blanket, and the Mavericks 30 is the most compact bag we tested.
Comfort is king with these general-purpose bags, and contributes 25% of overall scores. Almost all of the models we tested are equally - if not more - comfortable than the most comfortable backpacking and winter bags we've ever used. This is primarily due to the fact that with general use bags, weight is not an obstacle for design. The wider and longer it is, the more comfortable it is! Thick, synthetic insulation on the bottom of the bag also contributes to comfort by adding cushioning to your sleeping pad. The most comfortable bag we've ever tested, by a long shot, is the Slumberjack Country Squire. This bag is wide enough (42") to fit two cozy people inside, and long enough (84") to cover the heads of our tall testers. Its removable cotton sheet liner is also comfy against bare skin. The Wenzel Grande and its little brother, the Conquest, along with the Coleman Dunnock all have a soft flannel lining, and are practically the same width. There's plenty of room to move around inside, and again, just enough room for two folks to spoon. These rectangular bags received the highest comfort scores we awarded.
Our evaluation of comfort focuses primarily on how roomy a bag is, and how the lining feels next to your bare skin. It is no surprise then that the mummy bags we tested received the lowest comfort scores we awarded. While these models are more generously cut than most backpacking bags, there isn't nearly as much room to move around as a rectangular bag affords. In addition, the synthetic lining materials on the mummy bags just aren't as cozy next to your skin as a soft, cotton lining. The downside to soft cotton blend linings? You do not want to get them wet. When wet, cotton not only sucks away heat, but takes much longer to dry than synthetic fabrics.
Here we assess important features such as fabrics, zippers, hood design, and pull cords, as well as evaluate the performance of any unique features. While each of these bags is quite similar to several of its competitors, small features can really set a bag apart. Our scores for features contribute 25% to overall scores.
Features can turn a good bag into a great bag or reduce the performance of a great bag to a good bag. As mentioned above, the Editors' Choice winner Slumberjack Country Squire has a removable cotton sheet liner that we quite like. Not only is it nice next to your skin, it helps keep the inside of the bag clean. Many of these bags have two loops sewn in at the foot for ease of hanging. Hanging up your bag to air out and completely dry should be a regular part of extended car camping trips. Most of these products have a Velcro flap to secure the zipper when completely closed up, and the best bags have a flap that folds over onto itself to hide away the prickly side of the Velcro when not in use. Draw cords at the top opening or hood allow you to close in more warmth when temperatures drop; however, we noticed that some are easier to operate than others, and we factored issues like this into our scores.
While a few pounds makes very little difference when packing for a car camping adventure, everyone seems to run short of space when it's time to put in the camp chairs and games at the end. Whether it's a stuff sack or straps, each of these bags comes with a packing system. The heavy, rectangular bags generally get rolled up and secured with a wrap or strap system, and mummy bags get stuffed into a sack. Ratings for packed size contribute 15% of overall scores.
No surprise, the mummy bags, which are cut for efficiency, pack away the smallest. When cinched down in its compression stuff sack, the hoodless Marmot Mavericks 30, is the smallest we tested. The Mountain Hardwear Bozeman Flame stuffed into its fleece-lined sack is the second smallest. These two bags, along with the warmer Alps Crescent Lakes 20, are your best choices if you are looking for an affordable bag for camping that is also compact and light enough to take on the occasional backpacking trip.
The luxurious Slumberjack Country Squire, rolled up and stowed in the included duffel bag, is twice as big as anything else we tested. While this big duffel can be folded over and tied up to reduce its size, we found it useful for stowing extra clothes and a pillow for travel. For a weekend trip, you can fit all your extra clothes, a book or two, and other odds and ends right inside. There's a lot of extra space in there, which we loved when packing for quick getaways. The next largest models when packed, the Wenzel Grande, Coleman Dunnock, and Wenzel Conquest, are all similar in size when rolled and secured. The roomy, comfortable design of these oversized rectangular bags translates to a bigger, heavier product overall, even when tightly rolled up. In individual reviews, we discuss ease of packing, and whether a convenient carry handle is part of the package.
We previously reviewed two additional mummy bags with hoods in this category. The Marmot Trestles 15 is a favorite of testers for creating a double bag for two people that can have the hoods snugged up for warmth, or the top folded back for warm weather. The latest version of the REI Polar Pod 25 has some great features. A pillow pocket in the hood and a zippered storage pocket inside for keys, wallet, or your phone.
Sleeping Pad - When car camping, weight doesn't make much difference, and we love having a big, comfy sleeping pad or air mattress to pair with a roomy bag. See our review of the best Camping Pads & Mattresses for our favorites.
Chairs - Car camping means you can bring chairs to sit in. Woohoo! Lounging around the fire is hard to beat. Our favorite models are found in our review of the best Camping Chairs.
Tents - If you are in the market for a new tent for car camping, check out our review of the best Camping Tents.
— Brandon Lampley
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