Your sleeping bag can make or break your camping trip. After vetting over 100 models, we chose 9 of the best sleeping bags in 2019 to test at car camping sites across the West. The OutdoorGearLab team logged a lot of nights outside to find the bags most likely to make your next trip a success. We looked for thick and warm fabrics, spacious cuts, thoughtful features and a lot more. In the end, we cited the bags that will give you cozy, restful nights under the stars or inside your tent. However, do know that you won't be able to stuff a lot of them into your backpack.
The Best Sleeping Bags for Camping of 2019
|Price||$128 List||$144.95 at Amazon|
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|$169.99 at Amazon||$119.95 at REI|
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|$74.99 at Amazon|
|Pros||Very warm, well-crafted, tons of features, soft and cozy, adjusts well to different temperature ranges||Durable design, completely zipperless, lots of practical features, seemed warmer than 35-degree rating||Massive/luxurious bag, several unique features, hearty zipper, exceptionally warm, removable cotton liner, convenient zip-on tote bag||True all-purpose bag, rare-to-find down-filled rectangle bag, warm, lightweight||Roomy, comfortable, soft synthetic lining, small hood for warmth, water resistant|
|Cons||Grabby liner, may be confining to larger body types||Narrow design may not fit two larger bodies, extra effort to get into its stuff sack||Expensive, not water-resistant, cream-colored interior prone to stains, very large packed size||More expensive than synthetic bags, problematic when water-soaked||Doesn't unzip into a blanket, poor quality construction, hand wash only, machine washing voids warranty|
|Bottom Line||This bag is warm, soft, and has lots of features and configuration options.||This bag has no zippers, tons of features, and could fool you into thinking you were in your own bed.||If you're willing to shell out the bucks, this bag will not disappoint; it's pure luxury - almost like sleeping in your own bed.||Down-filled and rectangular: This is a rare bag.||The Celsius's massive size, mixed with its red and black colors, make it appealing at first site, but the overall design and quality have room for improvement.|
|Rating Categories||TETON Sports Polara 3-in-1||Frontcountry Bed 35 Duo||Slumberjack Country Squire 0||Kelty Galactic 30||TETON Sports Celsius XXL 0|
|Packed Size (15%)|
|Specs||TETON Sports...||Frontcountry Bed...||Slumberjack...||Kelty Galactic 30||TETON Sports...|
|Temp Rating (F)||0 degrees||35 degrees||0 degrees||30 degrees||0 degrees|
|Measured Weight (lbs)||8.3 lbs||8.2 lbs||12.2 lbs||2.3 lbs||7.1 lbs|
|Draft Tube||Full length||Full length||Full length||Full length||Full length|
|Shell Material||Taffeta||50d polyester ripstop||12 oz. Cotton Duck||50D Downproof Polyester Taffeta||Taffeta|
|Lining Material||Inner bag: 100% Brushed Poly Flannel
Outer bag: PolarLite Fleece
|68d polyester taffeta||Poly-Cotton||50D Downproof Polyester Taffeta||100% Brushed Poly Flannel|
|Insulation||SuperLoft Elite Hollow Fiber||Synthetic||Slumberloft Synthetic Insulation||600 Fill Dridown||SuperLoft Elite 4-Channel Hollow Fiber|
|Measured Size L x W||82" X 36"||87" X 50 "||84" X 42"||73" X 32"||90" X 39"|
Our Favorite Bag
TETON Sports Polara 3-in-1
Being best at nearly everything is hard to achieve, but the Teton Sports Polara 3-in-1 has pulled it off. As a result, it is at the top of our list of camping sleeping bags. It's the winner of our Editors' Choice Award, a great bag packed with options. On the list of good stuff are loops, snaps, zippers, pockets, and drawstrings. Also, a unique layering system provides warmth options for nearly every season or camp setting. A detachable fleece liner means the Polara 3-in-1 is a perfect combination of your favorite couch-potato-movie blanket and a hardcore, cold-weather camping bag. It is rugged but also soft and very cozy.
If you tend to twist and turn a lot when you sleep, this bag could seem a bit confining in certain situations. It's one of the larger bags we tested, but with its very toasty polar fleece liner attached, some campers may feel constrained by the grabby nature of the lining material. But overall, it's a toasty bag with lots of layering options.
Read review: Teton Sports Polara 3-in-1
Best Bang for Your Buck
Kelty Callisto 30
The Kelty Callisto 30 is not the least expensive bag on our list, but the combination of comfort and warmth in a reasonably compact design earn it our Best Buy award. The silky interior of the Callisto makes it easy to move around in. The overall construction and size provide tremendous value. It's one of our favorite general-purpose bags.
It is on the narrow side, so broad-shouldered folks beware. It also has a thin zipper baffle that doesn't retain heat well. Therefore, it is best as a warm-weather bag, not as good when temps are near freezing. But the bag's combination of price tag, quality, and general-purpose design cause it to outweigh the negatives.
Read review: Kelty Callisto 30
Top Pick for a Two-Person Model
Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed 35 Duo
The Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed 35 Duo has the features, comfort, weight, and warmth to cause you to reconsider zipping two bags together the old-fashioned way. This bag offers a revolutionary zipperless system, that mimics your own bedding. It has a self-sealing foot box that makes it easy for your piggies to get some air. It also boasts a massive hood, over-sized top quilt, and built-in, adjustable sleeping pad sleeves. For dedicated snugglers, this bag is the bomb.
Do know, however, that this bag is pricey. You can certainly 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 awesome features this bag offers. If you're looking for a bag to share with your partner, our testers found the unique design of this bag to be the most cuddle-worthy of any two-person model we've tested.
Read review: Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed 35 Duo
Top Pick for Luscious Luxury
Slumberjack Country Squire 0
If you are ready to spare no expense, the Slumberjack Country Squire is one of the most luxurious camping bags you can find. It's massive, warm, comfortable and rugged. The zip-out liner makes doing a quick washing simple and offers the sensation of being snuggled up at home in your bedsheets. The bag's unique features include a zip-off storage bag that can be used to carry tons of camp items back and forth to the car.
It's no surprise that all the luxury makes this the most massive single bag we tested. If you're tight on car or closet space, this is not a smart choice. Once you get it into the trunk of a small car, there's not much room left for anything else. The Slumberjack's quality and construction, including the rugged exterior, makes for a bag that could last a lifetime, but also one with a significant price tag.
Read review: Slumberjack Country Squire 0
Top Pick for Down
Kelty Galactic 30
Do you love how down insulation performs but don't like feeling like a human chimichanga while sleeping in a tight-fitting mummy bag? We introduce to you the Kelty Galactic 30. Insulated with 600-fill high performance down, we feel this bag stays warmer than its 30-degree rating. It's lightweight, packs up nicely, and can be compressed to about the size of a traditional baseball cap. Whether you're a car-camper or backcountry fanatic, if you like down --and like rectangular bags-- you may have just found sleeping bag nirvana.
A rectangular bag filled with down is a rare find. This bag is perfect for the campground and perfect for the backcountry, but it does come with a higher price when compared to its synthetic twin, the Kelty Callisto 30.
Read review: Kelty Galactic
Why You Should Trust Us
OutdoorGearLab Review Editor Jason Wanlass, a Utah resident, lives in a camping paradise. He avidly gets after it at every opportunity, whether hiking, backpacking, or taking road trips. Additionally, Jason is an avid solo hiker and solo backpacker with more than 20 years of experience. He has logged thousands of hours alone on trails in Iceland, Nepal, and the Patagonia Regions of Argentina and Chile. He also has solo backpacked a large majority of Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, California, and Arizona. He has extensive knowledge of backcountry gear, including sleeping bags and sleeping systems.
The testing ground for this review was typical of Jason's outside life. These bags took a giant road trip through Utah's five national parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands. At the end of the road, there was solid data.
We decided on four essential performance areas rated on relative importance. The most important were warmth and comfort. While comfort is naturally subjective, we added some rigor with tests such as the one during which we deliberately rolled around on a sandstone slab with each bag to get a true sense of relative padding abilities. With warmth, we were able to test even more scientifically with an ice-block test, and side-by-side timed tests on the same chilly night. In both tests, we utilized a laser thermometer. 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 relative to final scores.
Related: How We Tested Camping Sleeping Bags
Analysis and Test Results
Of the four metrics we tested, we care about two of them the most. When the sun goes down, and the cool mountain air begins to settle, the all we want to know is, will it keep me warm, and is it comfortable? A bag can have a zillion bells and whistles, but if it doesn't keep you toasty or swallow you up like your favorite down comforter, what's the point of forking over your hard-earned cash to buy it?
For this very reason, we weighted our warmth scores the most heavily, followed closely by comfort. But we didn't do a few subjective tests. We took each bag and got an idea of how we felt about it, and then compared our opinions to basic science — and we weren't overly nice.
In this category, our testing confirmed that shelling out three figures will generally get you a higher-performing bag. The top six bags we reviewed all fit in this price profile. So what exactly does the extra dough get you? In general, more warmth (through more insulation) and comfort (higher quality materials and typically more spacious dimensions). All these things add up to costing more overall. However, for occasional use, or in friendly summer temperatures, you can usually get away with spending much less than these premium models. For example, we wouldn't have any issue using the Kelty Callisto 30 for camping across America on a summer road trip and would be extra happy to save some significant cash.
Among the higher-priced models, there are still high-value options. The Teton Sports Polara 3-in-1 is not only the highest scoring bag — its price tag rivals many bags we examined, giving it a higher degree of value. Only one model, the Country Squire, figuratively breaks the bank. The Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed Duo is also pricey, but it is two bags in one. The rest of the bags are closer in cost but excel in many different applications.
When it comes to thermal insulation, it doesn't matter whether it's keeping something cool or something hot, it all works the same way — by trapping temperature in dead air space.
We used this concept to try a little reverse psychology on each bag. We figured if they could keep things (us) warm, then they should be able to keep other things (a large block of ice) cold. If our theory proved correct, the warmest bags should also keep a massive block of ice the coldest. Our hunch was right.
In short, we conducted several tests to determine each bag's ability to retain temperature. We used laser thermometers to help us determine how each performed. Then we compared these results to what our sleeping tests told us. Our warmth scores accounted for 35 percent of each bag's total rating.
The Teton Sports Polara 3-in-1 handily outperformed the all the rest, followed closely by the Slumberjack Country Squire and the TETON Sports Celsius XXL. If all the elements of the perfect cup of hot chocolate were turned into a sleeping bag, the result would be the Polara 3-in-1. Its overstuffed design proved to be incredibly cozy and warm. In fact, we found it a challenge to want to unzip and get up for the day after sleeping in the toasty Polara all night.
The bag that surprised us the most was the Coleman Brazos. Since it's the cheapest bag we looked at, we were prepared to be underwhelmed. However, the Brazos warmth ratings outperformed several other bags with double or triple the price tag. It beat the Kelty Callisto and The North Face Dolomite, and nearly tied bags like the TETON Sports Celsius .
Did you ever play with those balsa-wood, rubber band airplanes when you were a kid? Remember winding up the propeller until the rubber band was in knots? Have you ever felt like that rubber band after sleeping in a bag that's the size of a shrunken wool sock? When you're already far from the comforts of home, nothing's worse than being trapped like a buried mummy all night. That's why we tested all of our bags for more than one type of comfort.
Yes, bigger bags like the Slumberjack Country Squire offer more room. A bag can have enough room for two people, but if the interior lining is grabby, tossing and turning during the night may turn into a never-ending wrestling match with a life-size cocoon. For this reason, we decided to squirm back and forth in each bag to find out which one allowed for the easiest tossing and turning.
The Slumberjack Squire scored the highest. Its bed-sheet-like interior allows for easy movement. Which performed the worst? The Coleman Brazos. Its interior is extremely uncomfortable and grabby. The Teton Sports Polara's fleece lining also tends to latch on to clothing, but not enough to detract from its overall comfort factor.
We also tested each bag's overall thickness and loft. To us, puffy, thick bags just felt better on cold nights. They also offer more natural padding. To determine which bags were "full of it," we spent a considerable amount of time inside each bag, lying on hard, flat, surfaces. The Teton Sports Polara 3-in-1 and the Slumberjack Country Squire 0 scored the highest for their overall coziness.
In all, there were 11 features we explored with each bag. Out of all 11, three are the most practical and important: warranty, water-resistance, and how easy the bag is to clean.
Warranty — The Kelty, North Face, TETON, and Slumberjack bags all boast warranties that last the reasonable lifetime of the product, while Coleman options have a five-year limited warranty. REI has a famously generous return policy, and you can return products with a manufacturer defect at any time. REI's standard return policy is one year.
Water Resistance - Nothing is worse than a wet sleeping bag. Outside water sources like a downpour can make for a miserable night. A leaky roof or trickling groundwater can lead to being cold and wet.
We found the synthetic bags, like the TETON Polara, Kelty Callisto, North Face Dolomite, and Teton Sports Celsius XXL performed brilliantly in our water tests. Behind in the pack were the Slumberjack Country Squire and the Coleman Brazos, with the Slumberjack showing virtually no resistance to water (at least in the tests we did). The down-filled Kelty Galactic fails to insulate very well at all when wet, although its treated down feathers are meant to resist absorption.
Ease of Cleaning - We won't sugar coat it for you. We were disappointed pretty much across the board. The instructions on most of the bags we tested preferred a commercial front-loading washer. This means you're headed to the laundromat every time you want to clean your bag. We figured that since this was the standard for most, that it wasn't that big of a drawback — just a little time-consuming.
The bags that scored the lowest concerning washing were the TETON Sports Polara 3-in-1 and the Teton Sports Celsius XXL. Their instructions specifically detail washing the bag by hand and laying it flat to dry. Its guidelines also state that machine-washing the bag voids its warranty.
One washing feature that impressed us is the increasing popularity of removable bag liners. Both the TETON Sports Polara 3-in-1 and the Slumberjack Country Squire 0 have liners that can be removed from the bag for a quicker option for washing and freshening up a bag. Note, you will still need to wash the Polara's shell by hand.
The features of our favorite two-person bag impressed us. The Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed 35 Duo has zero zippers. Instead, it has a built-in quilt with unique hand pockets to pull it snugly around your shoulders. It also has excellent footbox ventilation that is, again, zipperless and very convenient to use. The features are part of what makes this bag so great to share.
Traditional sleeping bags are known to be a little big-boned, so packed size was not a complete deal-breaker for us. However, whether you're backpacking in the Tetons or car camping through Yellowstone, space still comes at a premium, so we rated each bag according to its stowed size.
We asked: Does the bag fit in its designed storage bag? We also questioned: "Does it fit easily into its storage bag? Shoving your bag into its stuff sack should not involve more action than an MMA fight. Most of the bags fit effortlessly into their storage bag, and surprisingly, the biggest bag, the Slumberjack Country Squire, was one of the easiest to stow. Testing determined that the Teton Sports Celsius was the most difficult to store, but with a little elbow grease, we were able to get them back into their storage devices.
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? We found a few that could fit the bill.
The top scorer is 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 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 definitely does the job in a pinch or for a beginner who doesn't want to invest a lot of money on new backpacking gear.
Throughout our review, we didn't give these bags any leeway. Regardless of price or prestige, we held all to high standards, and we were not afraid to score them according to their performance. We researched everything we would want to know if we were buying these bags for ourselves. In the end, we hope our efforts will benefit you in your decision making.
There's a lot to consider when buying a traditional sleeping bag. Hopefully, you've gained insight into the most important features of any conventional sleeping bag. When the rubber hits the road, the two most important considerations are warmth and comfort. The bags we liked the most were the ones that swallowed us up and kept us toasty all night.
— Jason Wanlass