Sleeping Bags For Kids
June 8, 2012

How do you fit a kids sleeping bag? What sizes of kids sleeping bags are available? Here's a quick primer on choosing the right sleeping bag for young campers.

Ideally, a kid-sized sleeping bag should fit like an adult's sleeping bag: as snug as is comfortable, not too long, and not too short. This presents a challenge when you're buying into a growth spurt and want to maximize the longevity of this long-lived piece of outdoor gear. Your choice is somewhat simplified, however, by the limited number of available kids sleeping bag sizes.

The majority of kids sleeping bags come in only a handful of standard lengths. Most bags labeled as "Kids" or "Youth" fit up to 60 inches, or 5 feet of height, with a few "youth" bags fitting up to 64 to 66 inches. That's a pretty big sleeping bag—especially for toddlers and other young campers who may fall well short of this height. (Girls and boys, on average, don't reach 5 feet in height until between ages 12 and 13.)

Fitting a small sleeper into a big sleeping bag reduces the bag's warmth, which can lead to a potentially cold night's sleep and possible discouragement. If you're looking for something smaller and warmer, you'll have to look a bit harder. A few manufacturers produce pint-sized sleeping bags for children under four feet in height; these are more commonly labeled "boy's" or "girl's" styles.

A good example is the Kelty Woobie ($45, right), which measures in at a cozy 42 inches in length and is rated to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. A bag of this length offers a warmer, lighter, and more compact option for toddlers up to age 4 to 5. (Completely unrelated question: Is a Woobie the young offspring of a Wookie? And if so, do they really need sleeping bags given their thick coat of fur?)

Be wary of inexpensive kids sleeping bags from large department stores like Target, Wal-Mart, and the like. Many do not provide much insulation and are often not very warm. Many are designed more for indoor slumber parties than potentially cool outdoor nights. (The usually rectangular shape of such bags further reduces their warmth by creating a loose fit.)

If you do opt for a longer sleeping bag for a shorter young sleeper, you can increase its warmth by stuffing clothes into the tail of the bag to reduce the amount of internal air space.

Between 60 and 66 inches, your choices get more interesting. (It's that rare fit spectrum where all generations and genders overlap.) Many women's regular-size sleeping bags run around 64 inches. "Short" versions of men's bags are usually 66 inches. Notably, however, kids sleeping bags are often markedly less expensive than their adult counterparts—a consideration for those who might fit in a longer kids sleeping bag.


June 29, 2012 (2)
We believe that rain doesn’t need to “go away,” but rather people need to go outside despite the wet weather.
December 23, 2015 (5)
This winter, try making your own pull-behind sled, also called a pulk or pulka.

By: Guest
Posted: 05/17/2017 05:08
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By: Guest
Posted: 03/05/2017 06:07

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By: FossT
Posted: 06/11/2012 11:08

We have had bad experiences with the department store sleeping bags for another reason too. They are made from really cheap material, and are very slippery and our little ones kept slipping off the cots we were using. We were staying in a place with army tents on wooden platforms, one night our youngest found herself outside the tent, having slid off cot and then off the tent platform altogether! She was fine, just a little confused....


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On rainy days, chunky colored sidewalk chalk and bathtub crayons take on new dimensions outdoors, and can be fun even for older kids. Try creating watercolors on the sidewalk, or body art with the crayons, and have fun getting wet.

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