A colleague recently asked me where she could find a zero-degree (or warmer) sleeping bag for her two youngsters (ages 2 & 5). I was stumped. There are lots of 15- through 40-degree versions of kids' bags, but none that I knew of that are warmer than that. So I spent some time researching the question online.
What did I find? Nothing! None of the major sleeping bag manufacturers—Sierra Designs, The North Face, Marmot, REI, LL Bean, Big Agnes, Mountain Hardwear, Eureka—make such a thing. I did find a reference to a zero-degree bag from Molehill Mountain (a small company that specializes in children's outdoor gear), but no such product is listed on their web site.
So what's a cold-weather-camping parent to do?
One option is to purchase a women's regular sleeping bag, which is still relatively short (most fit only up to 5'4" or 5'6") and will fit larger kids (4'6" or so and above) without significant loss of warmth. If they're shorter than that, it means that there will be a lot of extra room and air inside the bag—a recipe for a colder night's sleep. In that case, you can stuff the tail of the sleeping bag with clothes or a pillow or something else that essentially shortens the bag. The big drawback to this plan is that adult sleeping bags are usually more expensive than kids' versions—you can easily pay $200 or more for a zero-degree women's bag.
Another option is to purchase a children's 15-degree mummy bag and then put that inside a larger children's rectangular bag. The drawbacks to this include the fact that you are now looking at purchasing two sleeping bags, though you can bring the cost down by purchasing an inexpensive rectangular bag for $50 or less. Plus you then have the advantage of being able to use the bags individually for warmer weather trips.
For the 15- to 20-degree mummy portion of this system, I recommend The North Face Tigger, Big Agnes Wolverine or Little Red, or Sierra Designs Big Dog 20.
If anybody is aware of a kids' bag warmer than 15 degrees, please let me know!
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.
Labels: Kids, Sleeping Bags, Winter