Mom Goes Camping

Kids Sleeping Bags for COLD Weather and Winter Camping? 5 Best Options

For starters, let’s be clear: don’t take your kids camping really cold weather until YOU have some experience.  There’s a fairly steep learning curve for cold-weather and winter camping.  You don’t want your kids to have a miserable time and end up hating it!

But, if you are confident in your skills, you know that you’ll need a warm sleeping bag for your kids. Unfortunately, kids winter sleeping bags are virtually non-existent. But there are some solutions to ensure your kids stay warm even in below freezing temps.   I’ll go over the 5 main options below.

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1. Kids Sleeping Bags Rated for Cold Weather

There are a few brands which make kids sleeping bags suitable for cold weather.  The ones in the table below have limit comfort levels of 20F or less.

Bear in mind that these are the limit comfort levels.  Brands almost never list the actual comfort limit for kids sleeping bags.  The actual comfort level is usually going to be 10-15 degrees higher than the limit.  So, the Big Agnes Wolverine would actually only be good down to 25-30F.  Even in fall, temps can easily drop below freezing – so your kid would end up cold at night.  Also read: Best Kids Sleeping Bags for Camping and Backpacking

NameLimit ComfortFits up toShoulder WidthWeightStuff sizeBuy At
Big Agnes Little Red15F53"24"28oz7.5x9"Amazon,, Campsaver
Kelty Mistral20F60"28"42.4oz10x17" Amazon, Campsaver
Big Agnes Wolverine15F60"27"38oz8x10"Amazon, Campsaver
North Face Eco Youth20F60"26.5"48oz9x16"Amazon
North Face Wasatch Youth20F60"26.6"37oz8x14" Amazon
Big Agnes Duster15F66"31"46oz10x11"Amazon, Campsaver


2. Blanket Inside the Sleeping Bag

You can give your kid a blanket to use inside the sleeping bag.   The blanket adds an extra layer of insulation. If your kids’ sleeping bag is too big, the blanket will also fill the empty space inside the bag to make it warmer.

Don’t put a blanket on top of the sleeping bag though.  Not only will it just fall off, but it won’t be very warm: there will be air gaps and it could even compress the sleeping bag’s insulation, making it less warm!

For this solution to work, the blanket should be wool or fleece. A down blanket will just end up compressed and won’t provide much warmth. As always when camping in the cold, avoid cotton!

Problems with this solution:

  • No way of knowing the warmth level. You’ll have to guess how many extra blankets your kid will need. It’s stressful because you don’t want your child to end up cold.
  • If your kids are squirmy sleepers, blanket will just end up uselessly bunched up at the bottom of their bag. In this case, sleeping bag liners work better than blankets, but even those can end up bunched up.
  • A blanket might not fit inside the sleeping bag. Especially if your kid is already getting big for their bag.  It will be uncomfortable and your kid might end up hot and sweaty.


3. Put a Quilt On Top of the Sleeping Bag

You don’t want to put a heavy blanket on top of a sleeping bag.  However, you can put a down or synthetic camping quilt on top of a sleeping bag.  Because they are lightweight, they won’t crush the insulation in the sleeping bag.

Since quilts attach to the sleeping pad, you don’t have to worry about them falling off squirmy sleepers at night. There are also fewer air gaps than you’d get with a blanket. This gives you a versatile sleeping solution.


4. Use a Woman’s Winter Sleeping Bag

There are zero options for kids’ winter sleeping bags, but there are plenty of women’s winter sleeping bags.  Women’s bags are usually shorter and narrower than men’s bags, so they work better for kids.  You may still have to tie off the bottom of the bag (and maybe fill the empty space around your child with a blanket), but at least you’ll be sure of the temperature rating.

The table below shows good women’s winter sleeping bags, their rating and sizes.

NameComfort Rating (F)Limit Comfort (F)Fits up toShoulder WidthWeightFillStuff sizeBuy At
Big Agnes Sunbeam 15 (Petite)N/G1566"31.5"3lbs 1ozSynthetic9x20Amazon, REI
Marmot Teton 1515066"29"3lbs 10ozDown8.3x17.7REI
Nemo Disco 1517566"31"3lbs 1ozDown8.5x12.5Amazon,REI
Mountain Equipment Nova IV21967"31"4lbs 1ozSynthetic9x12REI
Mountain Hardwear Shasta 1517568"29"3lbs 14ozSynthetic 9.5x18REI
Kelty Cosmic Synthetic 20251368"30"3lbs 12ozSynthetic10x16Amazon, Campsaver
Kelty Cosmic Down 20251368"28.5"2lbs 6ozDown8x13Amazon, REI,
Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 013068"30"3lbs 2.8ozDown9.5x17REI


5. Sleeping Bags inside Double-Wide Sleeping Bag

I haven’t tried this solution but some families swear by it for winter camping with their kids.  You and your child each sleeping your own sleeping bag.  Then you sleep together in an additional double-wide sleeping bag.

Not only are you getting two layers of insulation, but you are sharing body heat inside the double-wide bag.

Of course, this solution isn’t perfect.  The double-wide sleeping bag will crush the insulation of your sleeping bags a bit.   If your kid has an accident at night, then ALL of your sleeping bags could end up wet!  For this reason, I’d only use synthetic sleeping bags for this setup.

The Kelty Tru.Comfort 20 degree double-wide sleeping bag is great because it has built-in “blankets” for each person plus ventilation options, allowing you to adjust the temperature easily. The REI Hunkerdown double sleeping bag is also highly recommended.

kelty double sleeping bag

The Kelty Tru Comfort double sleeping bag. In cold weather, sleep in your sleeping bags inside this double bag!


Do you camp in winter with your kids? How do you keep them warm at night? Let us know in the comments section below!

Image credit: “Grand Canyon Mather Campground – Winter” (CC BY 2.0) by Grand Canyon NPS
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About the author /

Diane Vukovic grew up camping and backpacking in upstate New York. Now, she takes her own daughters on wilderness adventures so they can connect with nature and learn resiliency. With dozens of trips under her belt, Diane is an expert in minimalist camping, going lightweight, planning, and keeping her kids entertained without screens.

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