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Recommendations for sleeping bags for camping with our kids!

My kids are 3 & 5 and we're interested in 'Men's' bags for camping/sleep overs/backyard napping in 3 seasons WA. These are expensive but I'm happy to invest, but don't want to over-buy. Our goals are to camp comfortably as they get older and grow. What would you recommend for a sleeping bag? Are we going to need a mattress of some sort as well or is the bag enough?

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Re: Recommendations for sleeping bags for camping with our kids!

@anabar thanks for reaching out! We'd love to help with some recommendations on sleeping bags, but first have a few questions:

  • Can you help us understand why you are interested in 'men's' sleeping bags specifically? Are these intended for your 3 and 5 year old to sleep in for the camping/sleepovers/backyard camping?

Typically we wouldn't recommend an adult sleeping bag for a young kid, so understanding why you're leaning towards an adult bag will help us make recommendations. Look forward to hearing back from you!

At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived.
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Re: Recommendations for sleeping bags for camping with our kids!

@REI-JenK  : the bags are so expensive that I was thinking that my growing boys could use these bags for 10+ years. If that is not a realistic expectation, then I am open for a kids bag recommendation. Additionally, HUGE points for being washable.

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Re: Recommendations for sleeping bags for camping with our kids!

I'll jump in and say the biggest issue with an adult sleeping bag for a kid is that their little bodies may not be able to generate enough heat to warm up the larger volume of air in the adult bag, leading to cold and unhappy kids.

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Re: Recommendations for sleeping bags for camping with our kids!

@anabar thanks for the additional information! Looks like you got some great advice from a few other folks - here's a bit more:

  • Although we can totally relate to wanting to buy 1 sleeping bag that will last your kids into adulthood, this isn't likely to be ideal for them now or in the future. As others mentioned, a sleeping bag that is too long is really hard to keep warm b/c there's just too much extra air for a little body to heat up.
  • Definitely consider the REI Co-op Zephyr 20 - it's a kid's synthetic sleeping bag that will last your kiddos for a bunch of years as they grow. While they're young and smaller, follow @REI-JohnJ's advice on how to "shorten" the bag and decrease the amount of space they need to heat up (this is exactly what I've done for my kiddo - now 6 y/o - who's been using a very similar bag for a few years)
  • And as @REI-JohnJ also mentioned, make sure you've got something under your kiddos - this is an essential part to keeping them warm - consider either the REI Co-op Kindercamp or the Therm-a-Rest Ridgerest in a short length.

Let us know if you have any additional questions!

At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived.
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Re: Recommendations for sleeping bags for camping with our kids!

@anabar Thanks for reaching out and for clarifying a little bit so we can make the best recommendation for you.

As @TomV mentioned, the main drawback to getting a full size adult sleeping bag is that there will be a lot of extra space in the sleeping bag for a little body to keep warm. If you're not planning on doing any backpacking, but mainly sticking to car camping in moderate temperatures, a sleeping bag like the REI Co-op Siesta Double Sleeping bag could be a good choice as it is effectively two sleeping bags in one. You will want to think about how to help take up some of the extra space in the sleeping bag if temperatures are going to drop; start by folding the sleeping bag under itself and maybe adding an extra blanket inside as well. If you're thinking about backpacking, or want a sleeping bag that can do that at some point, you're going to want a sleeping bag that is 'mummy shaped'. A sleeping bag like the REI Co-op Trailbreak 30 or REI Co-op Zephyr 20 sleeping bags could be a good option.

Personally, my kids (camping since they were 2 and 4) use the REI Co-op Kindercone 25 sleeping bag. It fits up to 66" so my oldest (now 7) will not outgrow it for a good 5-7 years. It will get us through her first several backpacking trips until we know she enjoys it and she is ready to carry something lighter and more compressible. Additionally, at that smaller size, I can get them into my front loading washing machine at home, which I really appreciate.

Lastly, you will want to invest in some sort of air mattress or ground pad. It provides some comfort from the hard ground, but most importantly helps insulate you from the heat that is drawn away by the ground. You can go with an inflatable mattress like the Therm-a-rest Trail Scout sleeping pad or the REI Co-op Groundbreaker Self Inflating Sleeping pad , or something as simple as a closed cell foam pad like the Therm-a-rest SOLlite sleeping pad.

Hopefully this gives you some additional guidance, feel free to reach back out with any other questions. Thanks!

At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived.
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Re: Recommendations for sleeping bags for camping with our kids!

@anabar 

I wanted to reach out again because I just noticed in our Anniversary sale catalog that the Kelty Discovery 2-person camp bundle is on sale. The sale starts tomorrow and could be a great way to get a deal on two sleeping bags and two sleeping pads for your kids. Plus you'd get a tent as well! Something worth considering anyway.

Thanks!

At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived.
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