The Best Sleeping Bags for Camping of 2023: Staff Picks

Our experts are serious about their slumber.

Ken Knapp|Kelly Bastone|Updated March 24, 2023

1 reviews with an average rating of 4.0 out of 5 stars
A dog cuddles up in a blue-and-yellow sleeping bag.


“I’m obsessed with this bag” is not a typical conversation starter, unless you happen to be a camping specialist at REI. For this article, we spoke with co-op staffers who have plenty of experience with overnights under the stars. As you might expect, they didn’t always agree with one another, which is part of the fun when you talk with folks who love to geek out on gear.

The sleeping bags in this article range from consensus choices to the most persuasively argued pick from multiple options available at REI. In some categories, like best budget bag, an affordable price is the key metric. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for the most comfortable bag, the feature set will be more luxurious.

As we note in the buying advice section, minimizing weight and bulk isn’t a big consideration for most camping-bag shoppers. Our bag roundup instead focuses on sleep sacks that offer a just-right combo of versatility, ingenuity and comfort.

Staff Picks
Check out our top picks here or scroll down for in-depth reviews.
Best All-Around Sleeping Bag for Camping
REI Co-op Siesta Hooded 20 Sleeping Bag
Most Comfortable Sleeping Bag for Camping
NEMO Jazz 30 Sleeping Bag
Best Budget Sleeping Bag for Camping
Kelty Catena 30 Sleeping Bag
Best Double Sleeping Bag for Camping
Exped MegaSleep Duo 25/40 Double Sleeping Bag
Best Kids’ Sleeping Bag for Camping
REI Co-op Kindercone 25 Sleeping Bag - Kids'


Best All-Around Sleeping Bag for Camping

This sleeping bag from REI Co-op probably deserves its own fan site, given its many customer accolades. “People come in asking for the Siesta,” says Jenny Askey, a retail sales specialist at the REI store in Boulder, Colorado. “It’s an outstanding bag, given its features and price point.”  

Though it costs less than comparable bags, the Siesta 20 doesn’t skimp on comfort or versatility. It combines a roomy, rectangular shape with the hood of a mummy bag to help trap heat. The hood is spacious enough to accommodate a full-sized pillow from home or one of Therm-A-Rest’s comfy camp pillows—because who says camping has to entail roughing it? Another stay-warm feature is in the stitching. Synthetic fill is secured using offset quilt construction, which stitches one sheet of insulation to the shell fabric and a second sheet to the lining using staggered seams that don’t overlap. This design eliminates the cold spots that are common among single-layer baffles with stitch-through seams. 

The bag also has two zippers that allow for some versatility in your sleep setup. The main zipper opens the bag completely and gives the option to zip it to a second Siesta sack to create a double bag for couples or co-sleeping kids. A shorter, secondary zipper allows the top of the bag to fold down like a bed sheet. “That improves comfort on warm nights or when sitting or reading in the bag,” says Lauren Bowman, a senior product developer for REI. 

With the spacious rectangular cut and the synthetic insulation (which isn’t as compressible as down), the Siesta isn’t the lightest or most packable option. Campers who are short on cargo space may find it too bulky when stored, says Diller McGrath, a sales lead at the REI store in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The bag is most popular among car-campers who sleep in rooftop tents or vans where size and weight aren’t concerns. 

Most Comfortable Sleeping Bag for Camping

When they created the Jazz 30, the design wizards at NEMO set out to offer a bedlike sleeping experience in a camping bag. Karen Cutter, a sales lead at the REI Knoxville, Tennessee, store, calls it a truly impressive engineering feat: “Oh, my gosh. I don’t own this bag—yet—but I want it really badly. I think this bag would absolutely offer the most comfortable sleep.”

The Jazz 30 even comes with its own silky-soft bed sheet (made out of recycled polyester to help you sleep a little more soundly at night). You can also remove the sheet to simplify laundry chores. NEMO designers added recycled materials throughout the bag, too: in the shell, lining and synthetic Stratofiber insulation.

It doesn’t end there: NEMO also gave a lot of thought to your mattress needs, souping up the Jazz with an integrated sleeve that can securely cradle the camping pad of your choice. It’s big enough to accommodate a 78-inch-long, 30-inch-wide, 4-inch-thick mattress (the size of the extra-large NEMO Roamer sleeping pad, which won an REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Award in 2021). The insulated underside of the bag also has a soft quilted layer that’s reminiscent of your mattress at home.

Zach Matthews, a retail sales specialist at the REI store in Portland, Oregon, loves the Jazz for its roominess: “It’s the most comfortable because it’s the most spacious bag—by far.” He also notes that the hood is equally generous in size, easily swallowing a pillow for all-night cushion. “I also like that it’s got double zippers so you can vent on whatever side you like,” Matthews says.

Inside the Jazz is a recycled Stratofiber synthetic insulation, which offers reliable all-conditions warmth. The 30° F (lower limit) temperature rating is legit, too, because this is the rare camping bag that’s been through rigorous ISO testing. Even the bag’s “comfort rating” comes in at 32° F, which suggests its warmth level is consistent for a wide range of body metabolisms. Buy here.

Best Budget Sleeping Bag for Camping

For many people, the word “budget” simply means the lowest-priced item. It’s a reasonable assumption, though it’s also important that a product offer a baseline level of quality. “Kelty does a great job of giving you good bang for your buck,” Cutter notes. Affordable quality is the brand’s specialty, which is why the Catena was the unanimous budget pick of our staffers. Customer-reviewers agree: “A great entry-level bag, especially for car camping.”

Though it’s adult sized, many parents send the Catena with their kids to summer camp. (It fits a twin mattress perfectly.) Mild-weather summer campers also are drawn to the Catena because it features the classic rectangular shape most of us envision in a sleeping bag—a shape that offers ample room for arms and limbs to stretch out and relax. The rectangular shape and zipper design also allow the Catena to be flayed open fully for use as a comforter. (Zip two Catenas together and you’ll have yourself a sleeping bag for two, a leading contender for the title of “best budget double bag for camping.”)

Even though the brand offers the Catena at such an alluring price, Kelty doesn’t skimp on the bag’s materials. The Catena features a durable polyester shell and liner, along with a Cloudloft synthetic fill, materials that wear well and can handle mild spills and damp conditions. Buy here.

Best Double Sleeping Bag for Camping

Exped might have more aptly named the MegaSleep Duo the “Quatro”: You’re getting a bag that can be deployed as 25° double bag, a 40° double bag, a 25° single bag and a 40° single bag. It’s another well-loved pick among several of our staffers, too, and it’s easy to see why a bag that offers this much versatility would garner this much love.

Cutter explains why this bag’s concept works so well for her. “I did this exact same thing in the past by buying two sleeping bags with different temperature ratings. Depending on the weather, we’d flip the warmer side up or down. I loved that versatility.” Cutter also adds: “With the Exped, you can also create two separate sleeping bags, which you can’t do with a traditional double bag. So, the fact that you can create two separate bags and you have the temperature range—I just think that’s awesome.”

Matthews agrees, and is especially impressed with the simplicity of temperature adjustment: ”All you have to do is flip it on over.” Matthews also approves of the brand’s performance over the years: “Exped’s quality shines in all their gear.”

Sarah Miller, a sales manager at the REI store in Marina, California, points to the story the specs tell: “Width can really play into how much people like a double bag, and this is one of the widest options (126") available.” Miller adds: “And the fact that it only weighs 5 pounds is awesome for portability.” The bag’s microfiber insulation is indeed extraordinarily light and compressible for a synthetic fill.

“It also has a fun little (duffel bag) carrying case,” she says. “Who doesn’t love that?” Buy here.

Best Kids’ Sleeping Bag for Camping

Buying a single bag for both camping and backpacking makes perfect sense when it’s a kids’ sleeping bag. A child’s preference for camping over backpacking—or vice versa—isn’t fully formed yet. They’re also going to outgrow any gear you buy in a few years. REI Co-op’s venerated Kindercone backpacking bag is the perfect answer—it comes with built-in growth-spurt insurance. The included stuff sack, which is attached to the bottom of the bag so you won’t lose it, can be cinched to make the bag shorter when your child is younger; as your child grows, simply move the cinch point down to lengthen the bag.

Kindercone, which in various iterations has been in the REI Co-op bag line for more than two decades, has just the right mix of toughness and tech required in a kid’s bag. The sturdy shell and two-way anti-snag coil zipper resist rough use, while its polyester materials offer resistance to spills and drizzle. The Kindercone is estimated to provide warmth down to 25°F, which should help kids stay comfortable, even on a cool-weather trip. Miller points out, too, the bag’s mummy-bag shape—one of it obvious backpacking features— is key here: “The slim shape isn’t merely a backpacking advantage, it’s also a warmth advantage because a kids’ small body doesn’t have to work so hard to heat the bag up.”

Because the sleekly built Kindercone tips the scales at just a hair over 3 pounds, budding backpackers should also be able to carry their bag—just like their adult trip leaders.

Even the material choices in the Kindercone consider your child’s future. Both the shell and lining are recycled polyester that’s certified to meet bluesign® criteria. Buy here.

Best Blanket for Camping

Admittedly, a blanket is an outlier in an article devoted to sleeping bag picks, but Rumpl has created such a beloved piece of gear that we couldn’t leave the brand’s blankets out of our roundup. Campers use them as a campfire shawl, an impromptu ground cover and, of course, another layer of warmth in their sleep systems. Wheelchair campers often use blankets for their sleep setups, too, because sleeping bags can be hard to manage with limited leg mobility.

Miller also points out that a Rumpl works just about anywhere: “It’s a camp blanket and it’s an office blanket.” Miller also explains that Rumpl’s many water-resistant flavors work well in both environments: “I spilled so much stuff on that blanket, and still it has persisted. You just wipe it right off and continue.” (Miller also got a Rumpl for her partner to use in his office.) The Original Puffy version is machine washable.

Cutter says that her Rumpl was one of the first purchases she made after becoming an REI employee. She loves the blanket’s practicality: “Because it’s a sleeping-bag material, it’s great around camp because it doesn’t pick up any dirt or grass.” Cutter is also impressed with the warmth: “The second you put it around your body, you can feel it starting to heat up. It’s super cozy.”

The Rumpl might also be available in more versions than any other camping gear. The Original Puffy version has a synthetic material and fill, both of which are made using recycled materials. There’s also the NanoLoft Puffy and Down Puffy. Rumpls come in two basic sizes: 1-person (72" x 52") and 2-person (84" x 80"), plus a travel size (52" x 38"). Most of the variations involve pattern and color: The product page looks more like an art gallery than a gear assortment. Buy here.

Buying Advice

Two campers standing in their sleeping bags

When the vehicle is doing the heavy lifting, weight is not a pressing issue, which simplifies your choices in a car-camping sleeping bag. You can simply pick the warmest, roomiest bag in your price range. (If you have a small car or a big family, though, then bag bulkiness also merits consideration.)

Many people come to the co-op and ask for a bag that can be used for backpacking, too, which saves money but involves compromised performance for one activity or the other. Your wisest course of action in that scenario is to pick your best bet for backpacking, which will be a bag you can also use for camping. More backpacking bags now offer roomier shapes, too, which many campers prefer. (For a rundown on all the things to consider in a sleeping bag for the backcountry, read How to Choose Sleeping Bags for Backpacking.)

For detailed buying advice for your campground adventures, read How to Choose Sleeping Bags for Camping. Below are some of that article’s primary tips about choosing a camping bag.


Temperature Rating

Insulation in a bag is key to how warm it will be, but factors like how snug it fits also matter. (Generally, roomier bags are harder for your body to keep warm.) Bag makers provide temperature ratings, which is helpful, though the ratings you see on camping bags should only be used as a rough guideline. (The NEMO Jazz 30 is an exception to this generalized advice because it’s been through standardized bag temperature testing. For a thorough overview of how bag warmth is measured, read about understanding sleeping bag temperature ratings.)

When you shop, look for a bag that will keep you warm at a temperature that’s slightly lower than the lowest nighttime temperature you might possibly encounter on your trips. Many people err on the side of getting extra warmth, too, because they always have the option to shed layers or to unzip their bag in milder conditions.

Perhaps the most common universal complaint is that a given bag failed to keep the customer warm down to its stated temperature rating. A wide range of factors go into warmth, so think of the rating as a guideline rather than an absolute guarantee.


Sleep Systems

One of the biggest keys to your warmth is the sleeping pad you pair with your sleeping bag. Your pad/bag combo is your sleep system, which gives a more accurate picture of how warm you’ll sleep.

If you use a less-insulated pad at colder temps, your sleeping bag might not live up to its temperature rating. Matthews puts it this way: “In order to get the bag’s tested warmth, you also need to have a sleeping pad with the appropriate R-value rating. If you slept on a rock, you’d be freezing even in the warmest bag.”

To learn more about pad warmth ratings and get a look at how bags and pads work in tandem to keep you warm, read How to Choose a Sleeping Pad.


Sleeping Bag Shape

If you’re like most campers, you’ll want a bag that offers room enough to stretch out and roll over. A simple rectangular design works well for that, but camping bags have evolved and you have a variety of shapes to choose from:

  • Rectangular: These bags give your arms and legs plenty of room to stretch out and move around. Our budget bag pick, the Kelty Catena 30, is a rectangular bag.
  • Semirectangular: Also known as a “modified mummy” or “barrel” shape, this designation covers a variety of shapes, all of which offer a compromise between warmth and roominess. Our pick as the most comfortable bag for camping, the NEMO Jazz 30, is a semirectangular bag.
  • Mummy: Found mostly in backpacking bags where warmth and low weight are key factors, this bag style has a snug fit.
  • Double bags: Bags made for two are the best bet for couples who plan to sleep together. Our double bag pick for this article is the Exped MegaSleep Duo 25/40, which also offers the option of turning it into two single bags. (An alternative way to create a double bag is to purchase two bags that are designed to be zipped together, like the REI Co-op Siesta Hooded 20 Sleeping Bag.)


Type of Insulation

Down or synthetic? Synthetic insulation offers solid performance at lower cost than down. Many campers also prefer a synthetic fill because, unlike untreated down, it retains its insulating ability in damp conditions. Most of the camping bags in this article use synthetic insulations, which is consistent with the overall camping bag market as a whole.

In comparison to synthetic insulations, though, down fills are warmer for their weight, lighter and more compressible—and have a higher price tag. Our best overall camping bag, the Marmot Argon 25, features 650-fill power down that has a water-repellent treatment that makes it a viable all-conditions camping bag as well. (Marmot also blended in synthetic fill to bolster performance in soggy conditions.)


We chatted with REI Co-op staffers and reviewed dozens of customer reviews to pick the best sleeping bags in each category. These are their favorites.

About the Authors

Ken Knapp

REI Editor Emeritus Ken Knapp became a member in 1977 and went on to work for more than 36 years at the co-op. A father of daughters (thriving) and monitor of marmots (threatened), Ken is also a big fan of sustainability and sharing the ball.

Kelly Bastone

When she’s not chasing stoke or meeting deadlines, Kelly is introducing her young daughter, Simone, to the outdoor lifestyle—and savoring the very rare days when she gets to sleep late. REI member since 2020.