When buying a sleeping bag for your child, there are a few things you need to consider.
Firstly, what they’ll be using it for. Is it mostly for camping trips? Or is it more for school trips, and sleepovers?
Will they use a mat or airbed underneath? All these factors will affect how warm and comfortable you need the sleeping bag to be.
Mummy-style, as in ancient Egypt rather than the parent, is a popular shape these days as the tapering at the bottom helps keep air warm and close to the body so the air can’t circulate and cool down.
It’s worth thinking about how easy the sleeping bag is to get out and, more importantly, into the carrying bags, especially if your children will be using them on school trips, where they will be expected to pack them up themselves.
Size-wise you want some growth room, so it will last more than one season, but you don’t want too much empty space at the bottom or they’ll get cold. You want a bag at least 10cm longer than their height, ideally more.
Vango Kanto Junior sleeping bag: £30, Vango
Our young testers loved the splat paint-design of the Vango Kanto Junior sleeping bag (it’s also available in coral and cobalt blue). They reported it to be one of the comfiest on test, especially in the hood area, to the extent that the younger tester insisted on sleeping in it without a pillow. They also liked the mummy design, which kept their feet snug. We liked the good-value price tag and hanging loops for easy drying. It was also pretty easy to stuff into its bag, though the kids did need a little help. Suitable for children up to 150cm in height.
Quechua Forclaz child camping sleeping bag: £29.99, Decathlon
Our eight-year-old tester was drawn to the bright colours, comfortableness and mummy-style design of the Quechua Forclaz from Decathlon, while we appreciated its lightness and value for money. It’s one of the warmer bags on test and can be tightened around the top and bottom of the hood to keep kids especially snug, with their faces almost entirely protected from cold air save a thin strip for their eyes. It’s designed to be used at between 0C and 5C, so is definitely more of a spring to autumn camping option rather than something you’d buy for sleepovers, though it does have zips down both sides if kids do get hot. Our tester needed help stuffing it into the bag, though we found it one of the easier ones to pack away. The length is 165cm.
Ayacucho Sirius 250 junior sleeping bag: £40, Cotswold Outdoor
The Ayacucho Sirius 250 was one of the more expensive sleeping bags featured, but our testers found it to be a soft and comfortable option. They found the zip easy to use and liked the narrow mummy shape and Velcro around the head, which kept them snug. A good sleepover choice, which could also be used for camping in milder weather. The fabric was easy to wipe clean in case of spills during midnight feasts. Suitable for children up to 140cm in height.
Quechua junior sleeping bag Forclaz: £14.99, Decathlon
This Quechua junior sleeping bag was the cheapest option on test. Our testers liked the bright colours and found it easy to unpack but also found it the least comfortable, no doubt because it had by far the thinnest fabric. That said, as long as you’re using it on a comfy airbed or blow up mattress that needn’t matter. It was also one of the least warm sleeping bags on test, but again if you’re using it indoors for sleepovers at temperatures above 5C, rather than camping, that wouldn’t be a problem. Also available in red; the length is 165cm.
LittleLife Owl snuggle pod: £29.99, LittleLife
The Owl snuggle pod is a great little sleeping bag option for younger children as it doubles up as an air bed too. The manufacturers say it’s suitable for kids from 18 months to four years, but the 18-month-old we enlisted to test it kept crawling out of it, though they did get excited by the owl design and enjoyed bouncing on it. Two- to four-year-old’s would be a more ideal age.
It would work well for sleepovers or even high summer camping, though the airbed factor does make it slightly heavier than a regular sleeping bag. But it was really quick and straightforward to assemble and easy enough for our seven-year-old tester to inflate with a foot pump. Also available in Penguin and Crocodile versions.
Outwell Contour junior sleeping bag: £39, John Lewis & Partners
This traditionally-shaped sleeping bag was the only product on test with a built-in pillow; it can also be unzipped on both sides and used as a duvet. The zip was easy for our testers to use, and they found it comfortable, though they were less drawn to its colour than they were to some of the brighter sleeping bags. It has a lightweight, good-quality feel – though it was by far the hardest to get back into its bag, even for an adult. It was a non-starter for the kids. The length is 170cm, making it one of the longer bags on test.
Regatta Hilo Boost expandable sleeping bag: £19.20, Regatta
The Hilo Boost is a soft, evenly-padded sleeping bag; our tester found it comfy. The zip was easy to use, and the hood tightened well around the head, though our tester found the string around the hood uncomfortable when he accidentally rolled onto it. We found the best feature of this mummy-style sleeping bag to be the extendable section at the base, which you could unzip for 25cm of extra leg room as your kids grow taller making this a great long-term purchase, taking the length from 170 to 195cm.
This is a far better option than just buying a bigger sleeping bag as too much empty bag at the bottom could make kids feet cold. It’s ideal for indoor and summer camping use and is also available in blue.
Reima Virkaten Mango sleeping bag for babies: £62, Reima
This super-warm down jacket for babies under one year old, from Nordic brand Reima, also easily transforms into a snug sleeping bag with a zip up each side. The fabric is dirt and water-repellent, just what you need for very young children, and is treated with an environmentally friendly-finish, while the down is responsibly sourced. It’s suitable for use in temperatures from 0C down to -20C. Also available in light grey and black.
The verdict: kids’ sleeping bags
The Vango Kanto junior sleeping bag was a hit with our young testers, while we found it a good quality, comfortable product for the price. The Regatta Hilo Boost expandable sleeping bag offers your child room to grow so would also be a cost-effective option. The Quechua Forclaz child camping sleeping bag would be a good choice for regular campers.