A Guide To The Best Rectangular Sleeping Bags
When you’re new to backpacking and camping, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the technical specifications involved in choosing your gear. Sleeping bags are no exception. To the untrained eye, a -40F rated, the down-fill bag may look super similar to one with synthetic fill that’s rated for 35F. But those factors could make a huge difference with regards to your personal comfort and safety.
Here, we’ll decode the most important aspects of a sleeping bag — how warm the bag is, what it’s insulated with, and how it’s sized — to help you find one that makes the most sense for both your body as well as the season and environment where you’ll be using your bag.
Once you’ve made sense of the particulars, investing in the right sleeping bag (and sleeping pad) can make snoozing on the ground just as cozy as a night in a hotel room.
The most important consideration when picking a sleeping bag is how warm you’ll be while asleep. Sleeping bags come with a temperature rating to let you know what air temperature that sleeping bag was designed for.
The filling that gives sleeping bags their volume is also what allows them to trap your body heat and keep you warm.
Two main types of fill are in use today: synthetic polyester fibers and natural down from geese or ducks. Both synthetic and down sleeping bags have their advantages. Synthetic bags retain their loft when wet and are easier on your budget, while down bags weigh less relative to their temperature ratings and compress to a smaller size.
Don’t limit yourself to the sleeping bag that matches your exact height, though. We recommend trying a few and selecting what’s most comfortable.
Be aware that if your sleeping bag is too large, you’ll be slightly colder, as all that extra space inside the bag is filled with air rather than insulation. And if a bag is too small, you’ll be cramped, uncomfortable, and (in some situations) also slightly colder, as a tight fit compresses the insulation, effectively reducing its loft and warmth. It’s also worth noting that long bags tend to both cost and weigh slightly more than their regular-sized counterparts.
We’ve prioritized warmth, thoughtful features, spacious cuts, and more in both single and two-person models. For our take on how each bag ranks against one another, we’ve compiled an extensive review to help you determine which contender will provide a cozy, restful night, wherever the adventure leads you.
ALPS OutdoorZ Redwood -10 Degree Flannel Sleeping Bag
There are three words that do not exist in the Alps OutdoorZ Redwood language: Cold, uncomfortable, or dainty. Like the renowned tree it’s named for, this bag is built to weather just about anything, including a decade or more of outdoor adventures.
It’s our favorite bag for several reasons. It’s warm, super comfortable, very plush, and super rugged and stylish. We love the weightiness of this bag as we slipped inside; it settles around our bodies as if to hug us to sleep.
The downside of this are it packs up large, which may be a factor if you live in or drive something with very limited space. Cotton tends to absorb water and hold onto it, giving this bag virtually no water resistance. Additionally, it may be a little too warm for warmer weather camping, super humid summertime climates, or lower altitudes. But for most folks who want a super warm and cozy sleeping bag to make overnights in the outdoors cozy, this durable bag is our favorite to recommend to you and all our friends. Overall, the ALPS OutdoorZ Redwood Sleeping bag is designed with cozy warmth and top quality in mind, this is the best traditional camping bag on the market.
Warm and heavy in a cozy
Huge packed size
Plush cotton flannel liner
Thick canvas exterior
May be too warm for some climates
Built to last
Kelty Callisto 30 Degree Sleeping Bag
The Kelty Callisto 30 fulfills most car camping needs without emptying your wallet, this bag is the perfect blend of quality and price. It offers warmth, comfort, and lifetime-warranty workmanship. If you like to watch your budget, what more could you want?
This bag is a few inches wider than many other bags, making it easy to move around in. It’s also chock full of CloudLoft insulation, creating a thick, cozy environment to snuggle up in. For basic camping, in comfortable to slightly chilly temperatures, this bag is an ideal choice for campers who don’t want or need the bulk, weight, or warmth of larger bags.
Kelty also went the extra mile with double-layer, offset-quilted construction. Basically, this is a fancier way of saying their quilting is layered and stitches do not go all the way through the bag. In part, this reduces heat loss through hundreds of tiny needle puncture holes. Offset construction is more time-consuming and more expensive, making this bag even more valuable when we consider its price tag.
Perfect for many outdoor adventures, it’s a cozy general-purpose bag that is just warm enough to be an excellent lightweight option for car camping, outdoor concerts, backyard campouts, movies in the park, and more. Despite its lower price, Kelty didn’t cut any corners. This bag boasts CloudLoft insulation, double-layered, offset-quilted construction, and a few other features that make it an incredible value.
Not the warmest
Covers the bases adequately for most folks
Not the coziest
Comfortable and Durable
TETON Sports Polara 3-in-1 Sleeping Bag
First of all, it’s large and roomy. Secondly, it’s well-crafted, with a design that we feel will stand up to years of use. And finally, it’s warm and chocked full of features that allow campers to customize the bag to their personal sleeping preferences.
Its integrated design allows it to adapt to many types of users. If temps are warmer than expected, simply unzip and remove the toasty fleece liner and sleep in the just the main bag. You can even leave the fleece unzipped to be used more like a blanket.
This bag would be excellent for cold weather, late Fall or early Winter camping above 0-degrees. It would be ideal for hunters who are headed out for a long week in the cooler Fall temperatures. Stuffed to the hilt with SuperLoft Elite™ Hollow Fiber, we found the Polara 3-in-1 to be quite thick and cushy. It’s tough taffeta exterior, thick insulation, and soft PolarLite™ Fleece liner create a sleep system that some campers may find comfortable enough to use without a sleeping pad or camper bed. The only area of limited use would be for campers who are tall or larger-bodied. This bag could seem too narrow or confining due to the nature of the fleece liner.
This bag’s rugged exterior combined with a soft, interior lining, creates a dynamic duo of layers that together can easily guard you against chilly mountain air. The bag is also versatile enough to adjust to several different temperatures. The Polara 3-in-1 has the tools needed for a camper’s every sleeping situation.
Removable fleece liner
Somewhat narrow, may feel too confining for some users
Compressible packed size
Difficult to pack
Thick padding and water-resistant
Kelty Galactic Down 30 Deg
Its simple, down-insulated design makes the Kelty Galactic incredibly practical, very warm for its weight, and relatively friendly to the pocketbook. We feel its simplicity makes this bag very versatile.
This bag is not designed for cold weather camping but is a perfect bag for late Spring, Summer, and early Fall. It is also a viable option for summertime backpackers who desire a down bag but don’t like the confinement of traditional mummy bags. The only drawback we found is the bag’s width. Users with larger body types will most likely find this bag’s 34-inch width to be a little confining.
The Galactic isn’t the warmest bag on the market, but it isn’t designed to be. Down insulation makes it lightweight and allows it to easily compete against its larger and heavier synthetic peers for warmth.
The manufacturer uses a high-performance down, called DriDown, to insulate this bag. The DriDown product is 100 percent down plumes that are treated with a spray-on polymer, which helps the down resist water, maintain loft and dry faster than normal, untreated down.
This bag is lightweight, warm, compressible, and is perfectly suited for anyone from backyard campers to summer backpackers heading into the wild. The Galactic has a higher price tag than some of its peers. However, we feel the extra cost is worth it.
High performance down insulation
May be allergenic to some
Lightweight and can be easily packed
Rides fence between backpacking and car camping model
Coleman All-Weather Multi-Layer Sleeping Bag
The Coleman All-Weather Multi-Layer Sleeping Bag is quite a mouthful, but it describes this bag well. This bag is stacked with fluffy layers, allowing it to be customized to almost every temperature
This bag’s layering system is legitimate and offers users some of the most extensive, interchangeable layering options we’ve ever seen. Each has its own independent temperature rating. Users can pick the outer bag for colder nights or sleep in the inner bag on warmer nights. Additionally, the Multi-Layer comes with a detachable fleece blanket that can be used by itself for warm summer nights or added to any of the layering combinations for increased warmth.
Although comfortable to the touch, the Multi-Layer’s fabric is no exception. It naturally holds onto long underwear, socks, or even skin, and tends to twist with you as you find a new position during the night. If you happen to be a sleeper that moves a lot during the night, a silkier polyester lined bag may be something to consider.
This bag is more than just a few layers; it’s two independent sleeping bags — one inside of the other. The interior and exterior bags can be easily separated and used independently, each with its own separately listed warmth rating. For colder temps, simply combine the bags together for a 0-degree rating. This bag is perfect for campers who enjoy being in the outdoors almost year-round in a wide variety of temperatures.
Versatile layering system
Less water resistant
Extremely warm and comfortable
Fabric is a little grabby and bulky
Things to consider in buying a sleeping bag
A sleeping bag must do two main things: keep you warm and comfortable at night. Here are the most important things to consider before buying a sleeping bag.
Sleeping Bag Types – Bags fall into three basic categories: summer, three-season, and winter.
Temperature Ratings – All sleeping bags have temperature ratings, which indicate the minimum temperature that the bag is designed to handle. Temperature ratings should be taken with a grain of salt however, because as of now, there is no standard, universal method for determining ratings.
Insulation Type – One of the first decisions you’ll be faced with is this: down or synthetic.
Bag Shapes – Bags come in several cuts and each shape is designed to appeal to a different type of camper. We have Mummy, Rectangular or Semi Rectangular.
Deciding which sleeping bag you’re going to purchase is an important decision. It’s also challenging to try them out first! We trust that our buyer’s guide has helped you narrow down your choices for the best sleeping bag for camping. Equipped with this knowledge, you should be able to make an informed decision to purchase the sleeping bag that’s right for you.Take some time to consider how and where you’ll be camping, weight and comfort, and especially personal preferences in order to get a good night’s rest. Once you have the right bag, the only thing left to do is get out there and enjoy sleeping in the outdoors!