Best sleeping bag: The best sleeping bags from $30

The right sleeping bag should offer the perfect blend of cosiness and warmth for a good night’s sleep. Here’s our pick of the best.

Whether you want a sleeping bag for backpacking in the Himalayas or for rather tamer caravan trips in the UK, you’ll need to find the right one to ensure a decent night’s kip. Perhaps you only need one for occasional use at this year’s festivals – or maybe you want a stand-out double one to share with your significant other in the great outdoors.

Should you buy down or synthetic? Right or left hand zip? Rectangular or mummy shape? And then there’s the price tag, which can range from just a few quid up to over a grand. Whatever your needs, we’ve got it covered – not only in terms of which features to look out for, but our top recommendations.

How to buy the best sleeping bag for you

How do I choose the right season and temperature ratings?
To help quickly compare sleeping bags, they are roughly classified by season ratings one to four. Season one bags are made for summer camping, when the weather is mild, as well as for indoor use. Season two bags are ideal for late spring to early autumn temperatures. Season three bags are made for autumn and winter weather but not frost. And season four bags are designed to keep you toasty on cold, frosty and even snowy winter nights.

Meanwhile, temperature ratings are split into the ‘comfort’ rating and the ‘extreme’ temperature. The former is the optimum temperature at which you’ll feel warm and comfortable – meaning that if the bag is used in temperatures below that rating, you’ll probably get cold. The ‘extreme’ temperature rating (on more technical bags) refers to survival conditions – in other words, the limit at which the bag will keep you alive without frostbite and suchlike.

But don’t just think about the air temperature. Also consider how much you personally feel the cold, what clothing you intend to sleep in and what will be underneath you. In particular, remember the inner bag – not only does it add about half a season to the rating (too hot in summer? simply use the inner bag on its own), but it also keeps your sleeping bag clean and easier to wash, thereby increasing your bag’s lifespan and hygiene. If in doubt, go for a warmer sleeping bag than you think you’ll need – and that goes particularly for women, who tend to feel the cold more than men.

What about size, weight and shape?
If you’re only ever going to transport your sleeping bag in the spacious boot of your 4X4, you may not mind if your sleeping bag is on the bulkier, heavier side. But if you’ve got to backpack around the mountains with it, a tiny, lightweight option may be more tempting. In this case, be sure to check the packed size and weight.

In terms of shape, traditional sleeping bags are rectangular, with a zip that goes round two sides. The benefits of these are that they’re spacious and can be opened up to use as a blanket. But on the downside they don’t tend to retain the heat all that well – meaning that they’re best suited to caravanning, summer camping and indoor use, while mummy-shaped ones are better for more serious camping and people who feel the cold. Mummy-shaped ones also tend to weigh less.

How about the materials?
Down is the best filling for warmth-to-weight ratio, heat retention and temperature range – meaning that you can use it in both warm and cold conditions. Sleeping bags made from down also tend to last longer and are easier to pack up in small bags.

While synthetically insulated sleeping bags are usually heavier and bulkier, they are generally better at keeping you warmer when it’s wet or humid – as well as drying out quicker – and they are easier to clean and generally a good deal cheaper. And for people who are allergic to down, synthetic will be their only choice.

What do I need to consider about the zip?
Is the zip in the most practical place and does it work smoothly without sticking? Do you want it to be left or right hand opening (if you’re right handed, choose a left-hand bag and vice versa – and if you’re buying two that may need to connect together, buy one of each)? Do you need a two-way zip (good for easy opening when you need ventilation)? And do you want the zip to be full-length or only go half-way? Some bags have an insulated zip baffle behind the zip, which will stop the cold getting in, while others have a zip cover to stop it coming undone while you’re asleep.

The best sleeping bags to buy

1. Snugpak Softie 9: The best all-round sleeping bag

This is the most versatile sleeping bag – that doesn’t cost a bomb – which we have come across. While officially three-season, you can easily transform it into a four-season one by adding a Snugpak liner (available separately) and you can also make it bigger by buying Snugpak expander panels. It’s got a reinforced foot that means you can sleep with your boots on – good for nights when you need to be on guard or get up at a moment’s notice. The hood with drawstring works wonders for warmth and Snugpak throws in a free pillow (only with the lime green version though) if the hood doesn’t suffice for supporting your head. We were also impressed with the quality of the stitching – a problem with many sleeping bags at this price.

Key specs – Type: 3 season; Comfort temperature: -5°c; Extreme temperature: -10°c; Filling: 100% polyester; Weight: 1.5kg; Pack size: 19 x 21cm; Warranty: 1 year

2. Urban Escape Mummy Sleeping Bag: The best sleeping bag for festivals

If you want a no-frills, budget sleeping bag for under £15 that won’t fall to pieces after just one summer and will keep you cosy but not clammy, then this gets a big thumbs up from us. Unlike many in this price range, it’s double layered with decent stitching and the hood (which you can tighten using the drawstring) will help keep you warm, as well as adding some cushioning under your head. The internal security pocket is a nifty feature that will keep your valuables safe – a boon at festivals – and the zip isn’t prone to snagging. But give yourself a bit of time to fit it back in the bag after use, and don’t expect it to be much cop on very cold nights.

Key specs – Type: 2-3 Season; Comfort temperature: Not stated; Filling: 60% siliconized hollowfibre filling, 40% monofibre filling; Weight: 1.7kg; Pack size: Not stated, Sleeping size: 230 x 80cm; Warranty: 1 year

3. Rab Neutrino 800: The best sleeping bag for serious backpacking

This is the daddy of all sleeping bags, in our opinion – but with this price-tag, you’ll have to be a seasoned traveller to even think about buying it. Remarkably lightweight, given the warmth it brings on the coldest of nights (we’re talking -20° C), the goose down filling is also nice and lofty – an extremely welcome feature at the end of hard day’s walking. The zips glide like a knife through butter, never sticking, and we also like the internal collar at the base of the hood and hood draw cord – both handy for extra warmth when required. Whether you’re climbing mountains or trekking through the Rockies, you can say goodbye to cold spots at night and hello to a feeling of duvet-like snugness that will leave you fresh as a daisy the following morning, when you can also compress your bag with notable ease. Oh and the Polygiene odour control treatment works a treat too – for which anyone sharing your tent may be particularly grateful.

Key specs – Type: 4 season; Extreme temperature: -20° C; Filling: 800FP European Goose Down / Rab® fluorocarbon free Hydrophobic Down; Weight: 1.22kg; Pack size: 24 x 33cm; Warranty: Lifetime

4. Outwell Cardinal Double: The best double sleeping bag

In days gone by, a double sleeping bag usually meant zipping together two single ones, often fumbling about in the dark cursing the snagging zips that would never seem to marry up. Today, there’s all manner of genuinely double options that feel almost as roomy as your double duvet back at home. This one will set you back a bit more than many, but it even feels like a duvet, thanks to the soft-touch polyester microfibre shell with polycotton lining, lofty filling and zip-less front entry point with duvet cover. We also love the built-in pillows and foot zip in case you get hot and sticky on warmer nights. And while we were dreading trying to fit so much fabric into the compression bag, we found it surprisingly easy.

Key specs – Type: 3 season; Comfort temperature: 7℃; Extreme temperature: -12℃; Filling: Isofill Premium; Weight: 4.6kg; Pack size: 52 x 52 x 26cm; Warranty: 2 years

5. Robens Pamir 250: The best lightweight sleeping bag

You’ll hardly know you’re even carrying this around, thanks to it being ultralight and extremely compressed when in its storage sack. As such, it’s a fabulous sleeping bag for fast action summer outdoor adventures, without compromising on quality. Indeed, it boasts a soft, light and strong shell, along with nylon taffeta lining for comfort and a luxurious duck down filling – as well as full-length insulated zip baffle for extra warmth. Features that help keep it light include the auto-lock half-way centre zip (which still allows easy access) and tapered profile down in the leg area (which also helps improve insulation). And although the sleeping bag itself is less efficient in wet weather, the roll-top carry bag will protect the down in transit. It should last you a very long time too.

Key specs – Type: 1-2 season; Comfort temperature: 11℃; Extreme temperature: -6℃; Filling: 90% down, 10% feathers (700FP); Weight: 590g; Pack size: 30 x 14cm; Warranty: 2 years

8 tips for Colorado cold-weather camping in this winter

Finally, you can throw a pine cone on a Colorado trail without touching five other hikers.

As tourism increases and the population of northern Colorado increases, it sometimes seems that the best way to escape the outdoor crowds is to wait for the cold to come.

In addition, these mountain panoramas look quite spectacular at this time of year.

However, hiking and camping in the cold is not without its dangers. Here are some tips from my own experience and from several outdoor recruiters to consider for your next cold outdoor adventure:

1. Dress well.

Say yes to diapers, not cotton. You will need a warm base coat, such as a thermal or long sleeve shirt, a comfortable middle layer such as a fleece or jacket, and a waterproof outer layer. All these layers keep you warm and allow you to correct your mistakes if the temperature increases.

Do not forget a hat, warm socks, something to cover your neck and gloves / mittens. Bring a pair of extra socks and gloves, even if you think you do not need them. It is also a good idea to pack plastic zippered bags or grocery bags to wrap your feet in case of emergencies with wet shoes.

Vaseline can be removed in skin exposure tips to prevent gales and freezing.

2. Plan ahead and plan for the worst.

Adopt an apocalyptic mentality while preparing your trip. Suppose it will be colder, windier and wetter than expected. Suppose you are hungrier and thirsty than expected.

See some different weather forecasts for the area in case the forecasts vary. And for the good of all that winter, tell him where he is going and when he plans to return, even if he is planning a quick trip. This is not the time to go to all the “mysterious explorers” to their loved ones.

Better yet, bring a friend (prepared) too.

3. Prepare your camp.

First light your fire, as it may take longer than expected and you do not want to work in a fire in the dark.

Then place your tent You should place your tent for maximum exposure to the sun and minimal exposure to the wind. You can check predictions of the prevailing wind direction and hang a tarp to protect yourself from the worst.

Pack all the snow under your tent by stepping on it with your boots or snowshoes for a uniform surface.

4. Leave early.

Now that summer time is over, consider the first sunsets and plan accordingly. Check the time of sunrise and sunset so you can absorb as much sun as possible.

5. Be careful with electronics.

Lithium-ion batteries work better than other types in cold weather, but any battery will empty faster when it is cold. Prepare yourself with extra batteries and keep your batteries and electronic products warm by bringing them close to your body.

6. Sleep intelligently.

Continuing the theme “Prepare for the worst”, bring a sleeping bag classified for cooler temperatures than expected. Especially for winter camping, pack a carpet with an R value (an insulation measure) of 3.5 or more.

Eat a snack before going to bed, because the digestive process will generate body heat.

And if your full bladder wakes you up in the dark of night, get out of bed and relax. Keep it in the heat of the body (and make your night miserable).

7. Have a pull.

Wear winter hiking boots with good traction and bring sticks for extra support. If you are in a place with snow or ice, consider packing a traction device to be able to walk safely. Three options are microspikes, crampons and rackets, and your best bet will depend on the conditions of the area. Whatever you bring, avoid using them throughout the trek to save energy.

8. Do not forget the basics.

You know the exercise: sunscreen, water, snacks, first aid kit, heaters or feet, a lighthouse, a map of the area and any other essential element that your friends in the open air will swear. Make a list and double-check it.

3 most popular tips for camping with your Adventure Kings Big Daddy Swag

3 most popular tips for camping with your Adventure Kings Big Daddy Swag! - image swag on

Here are 3 of our top tips for making one of the famous Big Daddy Swags even more comfortable than they already are.

First, put your hands on one of the Adventure Kings inflatable air mattresses.

With a huge thickness of 100 mm, it is twice as thick as the original 50 mm mattress of your Big Daddy booty and 30% thicker than the mattress of a Big Daddy Deluxe. People like these mattresses because they are perfect, they make the camp more comfortable and they are as comfortable to use at home as an extra bed. It is an accessory that will use much more than you think. In the cold, a thicker mattress (especially an inflatable foam core like this one) will also add heaps of insulation, which means you’ll have less chills at 2 o’clock in the morning than cold earth stealing the heat from your body.

Second, we recommend having a good sleeping bag in your hands.

Of course, you can get away with your house, but a good sleeping bag like the Premium Kings sleeping bag will take your level of comfort one step further. Easily traps the heat of your body and keeps it warm. The hood and zipper give you the most comfortable sleep at night, even when it’s very cold, or with the removable flannel lining, you can cool it down to camp during the summer without having to take off one leg! As an added bonus when you get sleeping bags of 2 kings (left and right handed), they can be joined together to form a larger double-sized sleeping bag, perfect for couples and small families who share the space for massive sleeping. in a Kings Big Daddy Swag.

Finally, do not forget to season your swag.

This is a simple procedure required in most canvas products and in the process, even those that come pre-seasoned like Big Daddy.

All you need to do to season your Big Daddy is to put it in the garden, remove the mattress and hit it with the garden hose or with a bucket of water. Your goal is to soak the material of the canvas and the threads in the seam, making sure to focus your attention on getting the wet canvas. This simple process inflates the thread into the seam holes and tightens all seams. Let it dry completely, then turn over the mattress, pack it and you’ll be ready for your next camping trip!

Following these tips, you will get the best night’s sleep you have had in the camp, rain or shine, and make sure your trip is as planned, relaxing and hassle-free.

How to Camp with your Family Before Winter

Camping is a polarizing topic. When I shared my plan to take my 9 and 6 year old daughters on a camping trip, I had two very different reactions from people: “Great idea!” And “I hate camping.”

To be honest, it had been a long time since I took out the camping gear, although I was a little unsure of how I felt. I have many memories of past camping trips (some until childhood), including difficult to install tents, a heavy backpack and difficulty sleeping on hard surfaces, combined with beautiful sunrises.

It does not have to be this way. I argue that with some pieces of modern equipment for camping, camping is for everyone. Destroy some myths so you can understand where I come from.

Myth # 1: You need a big car to pack all these things

Not true, I traveled with my children in my Mazda 3 hatchback that can carry two tents, two sleeping bags, an inflatable mattress, a chair and two bags of clothes for the family. The modern equipment for camping is very light and can pack very hard (see animated gifs below).

Myth # 2: camping is very uncomfortable

Again, it is not true. Part of the attraction of camping is “to draw”. But let’s be honest, nobody wants to share a day with me when I did not sleep well the day before. Then, with some equipment, you can be almost as comfortable as in your new Casper fantasy mattress.

I recommend these three pieces of equipment:

1. A good sleeping bag: there are many good options out there. I would stay in lighter bags, 3 seasons if you only go camping from time to time (and not in K2). From REI to North Face ($ 244.20) to Marmot ($ 179). Or you can try this awesome Big Agnes double bag for couples! ($ 369.95)
2. An inflatable mattress: I used the Big Agnes Q-Core SLX 40 “x72” ($ 249.99) and it was very comfortable and very light. Whether you sleep on your side or on your back, this is the way to go, comfort for a very small additional weight. Keep in mind that these mattresses are not always the easiest to inflate on the fly. I recommend that you plan this before you leave, either by getting the pump that accompanies it ($ 34.95) or by building your own DYI version.
3. A chair: we can discuss it. If you are flexible, an avid yoga practitioner, etc. (I am neither), that sitting on the floor is probably your choice. For all those who are not there, something like the GCI Outdoor Firepit Rocker ($ 59.99) is excellent. It is very light, easy to fold and carry. He also swings and has a drink holder. Should we say more?

Myth #3: You have to camp in a camp site

Not true. You can do it in a backyard to start. Whether you stay with friends or rent a house for the weekend, it can make the adventure more exciting to set a tent in the yard for one of the two or three nights you spend there.

Myth #4: The Tent is so hard to set up

Modern tent are incredibly easy to set up. I had the chance to test two tents on this latest trip and both of them were a stark departure from the tent set up memories I had.

Myth # 5: True camping is a multi-day commitment

Not true. One night is the way to start, especially if you have young children. The question is not so much their taste for adventure, but they will have fun and not sleep as much as they should. You can handle this for one night and the next day. A few nights in a row could be difficult.

If you do not have children, the logic can still apply to your civilization needs (especially a proper bathroom). I found that alternating nights of camping with regular nights, hotel or otherwise, works well.

Some things never change though: you wake up very early. We were all awake at 5:15 in the morning. The sunrise and the birds are big awakenings.