We've tested 49 of the best car-camping sleeping bags in the last 9 years. Our 2021 review covers 11 top models we bought and tested side-by-side for several months. Our team has logged an overwhelming number of nights outside to score every detail and quirk, in national parks and campgrounds from Alabama to Utah. We've prioritized warmth, thoughtful features, spacious cuts, and more in single and two-person models. For our take on how each bag ranks against one another, we compiled an extensive review aiming to help lead you to cozy, restful nights in the outdoors.Related: Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag of 2021
Best Sleeping Bag of 2021
|Price||$140 List||$118.55 at Amazon||$138.95 at Backcountry|
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|$179.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Warm, large, rugged, comfortable, built to last||Very warm, well-crafted, tons of features, soft and cozy, adjusts well to different temperature ranges||Very versatile, warm, comfortable fabrics||Lighter and more compact than two bags, packs up easily, customizable warmth levels||Hood accommodates full-sized pillow, warm, lots of extra features, comfortable|
|Cons||Large packed size, heavier than many bags, not water-resistant||Grabby liner, may be confining to larger body types||Higher priced, a lot of zippers, gap in foot box lets in cool air||Extra blanket feature may be annoying to some||Larger packed size|
|Bottom Line||The cotton canvas shell and flannel liner stuffed with synthetic insulation give this bag a soft, weighted, and cozy warm feel||This bag is warm, soft, and has lots of features and configuration options to adapt to varying climates||The layered versatility of this bag should appeal to campers who want a bag that can adapt to an array of climates, elevations, and seasons||This is a great option for snuggling up with your partner in the outdoors||A full-sized hood makes this rectangle bag unique. It's loaded with extras but still reasonably price, resulting in a great option for general camping|
|Rating Categories||ALPS OutdoorZ Redwood||TETON Sports Polara...||The North Face Dolo...||Tru.Comfort 20 Doub...||REI Co-op Siesta Ho...|
|Packed Size (10%)|
|Specs||ALPS OutdoorZ Redwood||TETON Sports Polara...||The North Face Dolo...||Tru.Comfort 20 Doub...||REI Co-op Siesta Ho...|
|Temp Rating (F)||-10 degrees||0 degrees||15 degrees||20 degrees||25 degrees|
|Measured Weight (lbs)||11.7 lbs||8.3 lbs||5.8 lbs (long)||8.8 lbs||5.7 lbs (long)|
|Draft Tube||Full length||Full length||Full length||None||Full length|
|Shell Material||Canvas||Taffeta||Polyester||75D 210T High Filament Poly Taffeta||Recycled polyester|
|Lining Material||100% cotton||Inner bag: 100% Brushed Poly Flannel
Outer bag: PolarLite Fleece
|Polyester||75D 210T Poly Taffeta||Recycled polyester|
|Insulation||TechLoft||SuperLoft Elite Hollow Fiber||Synthetic||Cloudloft Insulation||Synthetic|
|Measured Size L x W||38" x 80"||82" X 36"||84" X 32"||90" X 60"||76" X 32"|
Best Overall Sleeping Bag
ALPS OutdoorZ Redwood
The Alps OutdoorZ Redwood is a massive rectangular sleeping bag with a rugged, vintage design. This bag measures head to toe with high-quality materials that keep you warm and comfortable. At first glance, it impressed us, and after months of testing, our experts unanimously selected the Redwood as our favorite. We named it our top bag for several reasons. It's warm, uber comfortable, very plush, and super rugged and stylish. This bag feels like a weighted blanket when you slide inside. The general weight of the bag settled around us as if we were being hugged to sleep. The fabrics are soft, void of cool spots, and are virtually soundless during nighttime movement. We're big fans of the comfort and warmth of flannel liners in car-camping sleeping bags, and this model's got it.
The Redwood packs up large, which may be a factor if you have limited space in your home, car, or trailer. It also rolls up bed-roll style, so it lacks the added convenience and protection of a separate stuff sack. It might not be best for wet climates and is likely too warm for summer nights at low elevation. But for folks who want a super warm and cozy sleeping bag to make overnights in the outdoors luxurious, this durable bag is our favorite to recommend.
Read review: Alps OutdoorZ Redwood
Best on a Tight Budget
The Coleman Brazos is a low-priced model among our list of competitors, but when it comes to keeping you warm, this bag can hold its own against bags that cost far more. This bag is ideal for families, price-conscious buyers, or just about anyone looking to save a buck.
While this bag is a great value purchase, it is a noticeable step down in comfort and quality compared to the top-shelf models we tested. This bag is narrow and short, so if you're broad-shouldered and above 6 feet tall, we recommend a different bag. But for the average camper looking to spend a few nights under the stars each year, there aren't a lot of reasons to spend more when you can get this bag at this price.
Read review: Coleman Brazos
Best 3-in-1 Versatility
TETON Sports Polara 3-in-1
From its rugged outer shell to its warm fleece center quilt, Teton Sports Polara 3-in-1 is a stylish interchangeable bag that offers a wide range of customizable warmth. Each piece of the Polara is a separate and unique layer that can be added, removed, or interchanged, allowing it to be multiple bags in one. This layering system allows users to enjoy a more active role in how warm they want to stay in a wide variety of climates, temperatures, and seasons. It packs up much smaller and lighter than many of the sturdier bags in our review. It's warm, has lots of features and options, and, importantly, the Polara 3-in-1 is reasonably priced. On the list of good stuff are loops, snaps, zippers, pockets, drawstrings, and a detachable fleece liner. The Polara is a combination of your favorite on-the-couch movie blanket and a hardcore, cold-weather camping bag.
The Polara 3-in-1 is made from synthetic materials that we didn't find as cozy or comfortable as the top-of-the-line canvas designs. It does not provide the same cushy degree of luxury as many high-dollar bags. The Polara's interior liner and fleece blanket are soft and warm, but they're grabby compared to the smooth, flannel interior of some sleeping bags. However, it's a toasty bag with lots of innovative options, and our recommendation for those interested in the value found in the versatility of three bags in one.
Read review: Teton Sports Polara 3-in-1
Best Two-Person Model
Kelty Tru.Comfort 20 Doublewide
The Kelty Tru.Comfort 20 Doublewide is our favorite two-person model. Many double bags are simply extra fabric, resulting in little more than a super large sleeping bag. However, the Tru.Comfort offers cuddlers an array of features aimed at providing more of a sleeping system. Individual, built-in blankets allow sleepers the ability to customize personal warmth preferences. A U-shaped, top-side zipper bypasses the foot box, allowing toes to stay warmer, while a massive hood keeps pillows in place and helps trap heat escaping from the top of the head. These features and other add-ons create one of the best systems we have seen to allow two sleepers independent customization of personal temperature. This bag is as large as a standard queen-sized bed.
This model is pricey. You can find two single bags to zip together for a wider two-person system at a lower overall cost, but then you'll be sacrificing the excellent features this bag offers. The Kelty Tru's taffeta fabrics are very silky and ultra-soft but also seem prone to snags and small tears. Additionally, we feel the built-in individual quilts could be a bit wider. Minor qualms considered, this double bag is better than other two-person models we've tested in the past and currently.
Read review: Kelty Tru.Comfort 20 Doublewide
Best for Down
Kelty Galactic 30
The Kelty Galactic 30 takes the best features of the high-performance mummy and the traditional sleeping bag and blends them into one. Its rectangular shape is wide and non-restrictive and it's loaded with 600-fill down. These two features offer a near-perfect bag for campers desiring better-performing down insulation minus the cocooning nature of narrow mummy-shaped bags. After several warmth tests, we feel the Galactic kept us warm down to 30-degrees F, and maybe a touch colder. It's lightweight, packs up nicely, and can be compressed even further in a compression sack. Whether you're a car-camper or a weekend backpacker, if you like down fill but don't like constrictive mummy-style bags, the Galactic might be a great solution for your needs.
A rectangular bag filled with down is a rare find. This bag is perfect for the campground and can also be brought into the backcountry. However, its down insulation and increased capability come at a higher price. It also doesn't pack down as small as many modern, mummy-shaped backpacking sleeping bags. This bag also comes without many extra features that car-camping bags often provide. That said, this down-filled sleeping bag packs up small and lightweight enough for short hike-in trips with ample warmth per ounce.
Read review: Kelty Galactic
Why You Should Trust Us
OutdoorGearLab Review Editor Jason Wanlass lives in a camping paradise. If not already in the outdoors, he's certainly busy planning his next adventure. He avidly gets after it at every opportunity, whether hiking, backpacking, or canyoneering. He also enjoys the winding road and takes car-camping road trips whenever possible. Jason has hiked or backpacked throughout the Western U.S., including Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, California, Washington, and Arizona. He more recently has turned his interest to exploring back wood areas of the Deep South. When not on the trail, Jason enjoys the convenience and added luxury of car-camping and often enjoys a few days lounging about in campgrounds near the backpacking trails he's recently completed. In the last few years, he has turned some of his attention to the international scene, logging thousands of hours alone on trails in Iceland, Nepal, and the Patagonia Regions of Argentina and Chile. In total, he has 20 year's extensive knowledge of camping and backcountry gear, including sleeping bags and sleeping systems.
During his most recent testing, Jason, shoved the bed of his truck full of sleeping bags and hit the highways for several road trips throughout Utah, including its five national parks. Springtime in Alabama was also on his list, as he spent several days camping along the beautiful rivers and waterfalls of the South. He also spent some time testing product with family on many weekend warrior campouts in campgrounds, public lands, and even the back of a truck in the middle of Utah's high deserts.
At the outset of our review, we wrote down every desirable feature found in a top sleeping bag and then narrowed those characteristics into four key performance areas or metrics. Each metric was then weighted or assigned a factor based on relative importance. The most important (or more heavily weighted metrics) for us are warmth and comfort. Comfort was assessed by sharing the bag with multiple testers to garner diverse opinions. We also conducted specific tests involving ease of movement, bag dimensions, and natural padding. For warmth, we were able to test even more scientifically with an ice-block test, a laser thermometer, as well as side-by-side timed tests on the same chilly night. Features and packed size were the final performance areas of interest, and we broke features down into a list and rated each one. While a small packed size is nice, we ascribed the least importance to this metric.
Related: How We Tested Camping Sleeping Bags
Analysis and Test Results
Of the four metrics we tested, we devoted a large amount of our attention to determining each bag's warmth and comfort scores. When the sun goes down and the cool mountain air begins to settle, we are most concerned with whether the sleeping bag covering us is warm and comfortable. A bag can have lots of style and tons of different bells and whistles, but if it doesn't keep you toasty or swallow you up like your favorite down comforter, what's the point? For this very reason, we consider warmth the most important, followed closely by comfort.
The individual metrics we assessed each bag across are important to a good night's sleep. They serve as a solid foundation in determining which bag is right for you. However, these metrics become the most helpful when you have a clear idea of the type of camping you plan to do. For example, the warmest bag may not be as important to you if you only camp in the summer or lower elevations where the air is warmer. In the end, the best sleeping bag for you is the bag that gives you the most value by matching your specific needs.
Our testing confirmed that shelling out three figures will generally get you a higher-performing bag. Most of the top bags we reviewed all fit in this price profile. So what exactly does the extra dough get you? In general, more warmth (i.e., more insulation), more features, and more comfort (i.e., higher quality materials and typically more spacious dimensions). All these things usually add up to costing more overall.
Products like the TETON Sports Deer Hunter and REI Co-op Siesta Hooded Sleeping Bag have some of the highest value because they balance warmth, comfort, features, and cost. However, you can usually get away with spending even less if you're planning on occasional use or use in warm summer temperatures. For example, the Coleman Brazos will likely suffice for camping at most elevations on a summer road trip and is one of the least expensive options we have ever tested.
When it comes to thermal insulation, it doesn't matter whether it's keeping something cool or something hot. We conducted several tests to determine each bag's ability to retain temperature. We figured if they could keep things warm, they should keep other things cold. We used laser thermometers to help us determine how each performed. Then we compared these results to information from our first-hand sleeping tests.
As anticipated, the Alps OutdoorZ Redwood -10 handily outperformed all the rest, followed closely by the TETON Sports Polara 3-in-1, Teton Sports Deer Hunter, The Northface Dolomite One, and Coleman All-Weather Multi-Layer. The Redwood is just right. It is incredibly cozy and warm. We found it a challenge to want to unzip and get up for the day after sleeping in it. When we compared all of our warmest bags side by side, the Redwood led in warmth. It's also the only bag on our list with 100% cotton materials, providing a soft next-to-skin feel and by far the coziest experience. Cotton generally offers a more even temperature, resulting in fewer cold spots. Its heavier canvas external fabric also provides us a tucked-in feeling that most of our testers love.
Despite having twice the amount of body heat, we were surprised to see none of the double bags we studied could match our warmest single bag's warmth. The one that came the closest is the Kelty Tru.Comfort 20 Doublewide. This bag employs a hooded design that traps in heat around the head, helping it outperform hoodless bags like the Exped MegaSleep Duo handily.
The bag that surprised us the most was the Coleman Brazos. Looking at its modest price tag, we were prepared to be underwhelmed. However, the Brazos' warmth ratings outperformed several other bags sold for much higher prices. It nearly tied with bags like the TETON Sports Celsius XXL . We were also very impressed with the Kelty Galactic — its warmth to weight ratio, in particular. The Galactic is one of just a few down-insulated car-camping bags on the market. Its feather interior allows it to be the lightest bag we tested and still one of the warmest. Finally, the bag that disappointed us the most in this metric is the Exped MegaSleep Duo. Its microfiber insulation simply did not keep us as warm as we had hoped. The bag is still incredibly warm when compared to its overall size, weight, and volume. Based on our testing, it was not as warm as its rating.
Ever felt trapped and uncomfortable in a sleeping bag? When you're already far from the comforts of home, it's appreciated when your sleeping bag can increase your level of comfort. That's why we tested all of our bags for more than one type of comfort.
We squirmed back and forth in each bag for weeks to find out which one allowed for the easiest tossing and turning, which fabrics felt the best against our skin, and which bag had the most natural plush padding. We combined all of our data to determine the most comfortable bags.
The Alps OutdoorZ Redwood -10 is the most comfortable out of the single bags, followed by the Teton Sports Deer Hunter, TETON Sports Polara 3-in-1, and Coleman Multi-Layer. The Multi-Layer has removable layers of padding and soft fabrics, as does the Polara 3-in-1. However, the two most comfortable single bags on our list are the Redwood and Deer Hunter. Both are oversized, traditional canvas bags with tons of space and padding. When comparing the two side by side, the Redwood is more comfortable because of its fabrics. It's lined with cotton flannel and enveloped in a cotton canvas shell. These materials are weighty, soft, and very comfortable. It's also very spacious, eliminating the claustrophobic feeling of narrower bags on the market. The Deer Hunter is constructed of synthetic fabrics that are silky smooth and comfortable, but there is a distinct difference between the two bags. The Deer Hunter simply cannot provide the same comfort level as cotton materials found on the Redwood.
Of the two-person bags we tested, the Kelty Tru.Comfort is the largest and most comfortable double bag on our list. The Exped MegaSleep Duo 25 Double is designed to be very thin. It has virtually no padding, but it is very easy to move and twist while inside. Our biggest complaint is its lack of padding and its silky interior and exterior fabrics. The fabrics themselves are very nice on the skin, but they soak up the cold, creating multiple icy spots outside and inside the bag.
The Coleman Brazos suffers a bit in comfort. Its interior is less comfortable than its competition and tends to grab onto a tossing and turning sleeper, ending up a bit twisted in the middle of the night. The bag is also a bit small and confining. If you camp regularly, it's probably a good idea to find a more comfortable option. Still, for the odd night camping in parks, backyards, or bedding for a couch surfing friend, it suffices.
Car camping bags tend to have many features, which we found to be true with the models we tested. We inspected everything from the zipper function to warranties. The following list is what we liked and disliked about the bags' features.
Alps OutdoorZ Redwood -10
Real cotton flannel liner, real canvas shell, Velcro zipper closure, double-sided zipper draft tube, drawstring around the opening, unzips and opens up, lifetime warranty, excellent zippers, excellent craft
TETON Sports Polara 3-in-1
Removable fleece liner, two interior pockets, compression stuff sack, ample zipper and shoulder baffles, water-resistant shellColeman All-weather Multi-Layer
Patented ZipPlow zipper design prevents snags, multiple layering options, removable fleece linerTeton Sports Deer Hunter
Premium baffle, Velcro zipper closure, cinchable hood, interior pocketKelty Galactic
High-performance treated down insulation, quality zipper, water-resistant shellKelty Tru.Comfort 20 Doublewide
Massive design, large hood, removable top quilt, additional individual side quilts, water-resistant shellREI Co-op Siesta Hooded Sleeping Bag
Zipper draft tube, full-length zipper, interior pocket, water-resistant, massive rectangular hood accommodates regular bed pillow, cinchable hood and shoulder bafflesThe Northface Dolomite One
Effective layering provides a 3-in-1 bag system, interior pockets on all layers, water-resistant, Cinchable drawstring for top opening, warmTETON Sports Celsius XXL
Large design, massive hood, velcro zipper closure, adjustable hood and shoulder baffles, water-resistant shellColeman Brazos
Patented ZipPlow zipper design prevents snags, interior pocketExped MegaSleep Duo 25 Double
Quality zipper baffle, vented storage bag, two-sided design, can be unzipped and made into two individual bags, water-resistant shell
Alps OutdoorZ Redwood -10
Should be hand-washed and preferably line-dried, no interior pocket, not water-resistantTETON Sports Polara 3-in-1
Must be washed by hand and left flat to dry, zipper catches at timesColeman All-weather Multi-Layer
Thinner shell fabrics may be prone to wear, no lifetime warranty, shell is not water-resistantTeton Sports Deer Hunter
Must be hand-washed and line dried, no full-length zipper, bag cannot be opened up and placed flat, not very water-resistantKelty Galactic
Down insulation requires specific cleaning detergent and instructions, no drawstring around top opening, no Velcro zipper closureKelty Tru.Comfort 20 Doublewide
Built-in side quilts are too narrow to fit over body effectivelyREI Co-op Siesta Hooded Sleeping Bag
Hood cinches up a little strange, interior pocket should have a Velcro closureThe Northface Dolomite One
Zipper system is a little difficult, opening in the footbox lets in cold airTETON Sports Celsius XXL
Zipper snags at times, strict washing instructions — requires hand washing and needs to be left flat to dryColeman Brazos
No shoulder baffle, no lifetime warranty, shell is not water-resistantExped MegaSleep Duo 25 Double
Drawstring system for top opening is strange and not very intuitive
Traditional sleeping bags are known to be a little big-boned, so packed size was not a complete deal-breaker for us. But, space is rarely unlimited, so we rated each bag according to its stowed size.
Does the bag fit in its designed storage bag? We also questioned whether it fits easily into its storage bag. Most of the bags fit effortlessly into their storage bag. Testing determined that the Teton Sports Celsius XXL and Coleman All-Weather Multi-Layer are the most difficult to stuff into their sacks, but with a little elbow grease, we were able to get them back into their storage sacks.
Additionally, we determined whether each bag could legitimately fit on or in a backpack and whether its weight was acceptable to carry. In a pinch, could one double as a backcountry bag on a multiple-day backpacking trip? Although this feature isn't a necessity for most car-campers, it's still a nice feature. We found a few that could fit the bill.
The lightest in our test was the Kelty Galactic. Weighing 2.3 lbs, the Galactic is a very lightweight bag among the rectangular, traditional car-camping models. It's not exactly built for backpacking, but it also packs down small enough that we would certainly consider it for short hike-in campsites. Most will find it more comfortable than a mummy-style sleeping bag and easily worth it when your camping goal is a few miles from the car. It does the job in a pinch or for a beginner who doesn't want to invest a lot of money on a quiver of multiple sleeping bags. We were also stunned by the packed size of the Exped MegaSleep Duo 25 Double. This two-person bag has a smaller packed size than all of the double and single bags we've ever tested — that's a lot of bags. Both the Galactic and the MegaSleep can be placed in a compression stuff sack and reduced even smaller. The Northface Dolomite One comes with several packed sizes, depending on the layering system you choose. The entire 3-in-1 system packs up relatively small, when compared to other bags on our list. If only the top 50-degree quilt is attached, this bag's packed size is dramatically reduced.
Throughout our review, we didn't give these bags any leeway. Regardless of price or prestige, we held all to high standards and the same test methods. We researched and tested for what we would want to know if we were buying these bags for ourselves. In the end, we hope our efforts benefit you in your decision-making and camping gear kit.
— Jason Wanlass