Tent Camping Essentials

The Best Sleeping Bags for Camping

Sleeping bags for camping are a vitally important consideration for any overnight outdoor adventure. This often-overlooked yet essential bit of gear can make or break your camping trip. Frankly, comfort matters. Use the wrong one and you’ll be in for uncomfortable, sleep-deprived nights—and tired, sore, and cranky is no way to spend your precious vacation time. If that scenario sounds a little too familiar, it’s time to retire that old sleepless bag and opt for one that better accommodates your personal needs.

Modern Innovations & Options

You might just be surprised at how many different options there are to choose from nowadays. They come in a variety of designs with innovative features that are custom-tailored to fit virtually any camping environment. So, how do you know which bag is right for you? We know it can be a daunting decision, but no worries—we’ve done the research for you! Here’s the lowdown on the best sleeping bags for camping available today, what makes them great, and what situations they are most ideally suited for:

The Best Sleeping Bags for Camping 2022

Outdoor Sleeping Bags

We begin our list with a nod to all the bivouackers out there. Bivouacking simply means sleeping amongst the elements without a tent. For many, there is just no more enjoyable way to spend the night than fully immersed in your natural environment, gazing up at a brilliant, starry sky, and cozily cocooned in your outdoor sleeping bag without the encumbrance of a tent. These are a very popular choice for climbers and hikers, or for anyone who doesn’t want to be burdened by a lot of heavy gear. 

First and foremost, the best sleeping bags for camping will be ones with a temperature rating that matches the ranges you expect to encounter on your trip. It is imperative that you know what weather conditions to expect before you embark and choose one accordingly. In terms of material, polyester, nylon, and taffeta bags are popular, as they are typically warm, soft, lightweight, and water-resistant.

Cotton fill makes very good padding, and we also like a synthetic goose down-style fill for even more pillowy softness as well as its thermal properties. (Real goose down fill is another, more luxuriant choice, but be aware that it tends to absorb more moisture and may not be ideal for humid environments.)

And speaking of pillowy, a built-in pillow is a nice touch that amps up your comfort level another notch. If you are hiking or moving frequently, you’ll want to choose a lighter bag. You might also want to select one that offers compression, a feature that makes it easier to haul in a backpack without taking up as much space. 

Heavy-duty sleeping bags are a terrific choice if you don’t plan on being on the move a lot. These are a bit bulkier and heftier than some choices, but they can provide superior warmth, thicker cushioning, and may be more durable in the long run. Here are some great ones to consider: 

Browning Camping McKinley 0° Sleeping Bag

IFORREST Sleeping Bag

The North Face Inferno -20 Sleeping Bag

Another fantastic option for outdoor use is a hammock sleeping bag. We truly adore these because they get you off the ground and are supremely comfortable to sleep on, maybe even more so than a mattress! (Did you know that in some parts of the world, sleeping in hammocks is common and even preferred over traditional beds?)

The best models are lightweight, have built-in bug netting and rain flies, and may even be used without bedding, like the Jungle Explorer by Easthills. That is especially great during hotter weather, allowing you to remain bug-free while also enjoying the breeze on your skin. If that aspect alone doesn’t qualify these as one of the very best sleeping bags for camping, we don’t know what does!

Swag Sleeping Bags 

This Australian invention is in a category all its own, and rapidly growing in popularity around the globe. A swag sleeping bag is basically a one-person sleeping bag and tent all in one, often made of canvas, and quick and easy to set up. It has a built-in mattress and it zips up completely to protect your entire body. Check out this great one by Kodiak.

Tent Sleeping Bags

It goes without saying that any outdoor sleeping bag that works directly on the ground will also work inside a tent (or RV). However, being inside a shelter means you might have other sources of heat—along with other perks. Minimalist camping certainly has its merits, but we have a confession to make: We absolutely love camping gear of all kinds! As far as we’re concerned, the best sleeping bags for camping come with a few bells and whistles to make the whole experience more fun.

Do you really need the multi-room, dual-entrance, instant-up tent with a built-in front screen porch? Oh, hell yes! Battery-operated tent ceiling fan with LED lights? But of course. Double-decker, plush-top, inflatable mattress? Duh—what are we, barbarians?! Portable K-cup coffee maker? Abso-campin-lutely… 

Heated, electric sleeping bags? Why not! If you live for all those gadgets and gizmos and appreciate a little glamp when you camp, a heated electric sleeping bag might be just the ticket. And if you are looking for a sleeping bag for cold weather, these excel. With a heated bag, you’ll never have to suffer through a cold night again, and you’ll be able to enjoy camping at any time of year.

These are powered by a USB port/power bank. (Thus, less suited for camping directly on the ground without a tent since you typically wouldn’t want your power source to get wet, although you will find some that are considered waterproof.) The best models have multiple heating zones, adjustable temp settings, and safety sensors. Check out these:

KingCamp Electric Heated Sleeping Bag

Mantuole Heated Sleeping Bag

If you are interested in a heated option that’s a little quirkier, try a Hot Pocket sleeping bag. Yes, believe it or not, a novelty bag exists that ironically looks just like that old freezer snack of cheesy goodness—but this one is stuffed with you, not pepperoni and mozzarella! It really is a sleeping bag, and a nice one, too. To heat the bag, you merely press a button.

The power is supplied by an ion battery and USB charged, just like most other electric sleeping bags. But you don’t have to look like a giant Hot Pocket to utilize this brand technology. You can find a Hot Pocket 4-in-1 Camp Heater as well. It’s a pouch that can be worn like a backpack, and you simply put your sleeping bag or bedding inside and press a button to heat it up.

Other Considerations

Very often, the best sleeping bags for camping are made by the names you recognize and trust the most. We particularly like LL Bean sleeping bags, an industry leader with a long history of quality craftmanship. They have some wonderful, heavy-duty sleeping bags that come lined with eye-catching and incredibly soft flannel. We also recommend eco-friendly and nontoxic sleeping bags, and bags with a favorable warmth-to-weight ratio. 

Shape is another consideration. Mummy-shaped bags are more constrictive and usually require the user to sleep on their back, however, they are more heat-efficient than rectangular ones and a better choice when you need a sleeping bag for cold weather. If heat retention is less critical to you, you’ll find a rectangular bag to be more spacious and accommodating to movement.

Both shapes are among the best sleeping bags for camping, so go with the shape that allows you to sleep in the position you normally would. We also love bags that have extra compartments and pockets, which can really come in handy. Lastly, choosing a sleeping bag that is machine washable is always a big plus.

Let’s Wrap You Up!

We hope we’ve given you enough inspiration to get out there and make a wise choice. In the end, no matter if you want to be on the ground, in a tent, in a hammock, decked out in a swag sleeping bag, or kept toasty in a Hot Pocket, the most important thing is to select a bag with the features that will best enable you to get a consistent goodnight’s sleep. The best sleeping bags for camping are those that offer you the most comfortable, because that is really what it’s all about.