Guest post – Choosing the right Sleeping bag for kids

When it comes to choosing a sleeping bag for your child, it can be easy to be confused as to why you should buy one of the children’s sleeping bags on the market rather than buying an adult sized bag and simply tucking the excess space underneath. There are a number of reasons that child specific sleeping bags are the better option and we’re not just talking about their colourful designs and child friendly patterns!

Insulation & Season Ratings

The main difference you will find between adult sleeping bags and children’s sleeping bags is the overall length, which is shorter on children’s sleeping bags, usually ranging from around 100cm for baby and toddler bags to 150/170cm for older children. The reason for the shorter length on children’s sleeping bags is to reduce the amount of empty space inside, which helps to improve insulation.

Most children’s sleeping bags on the market tend to specify a season rating of around 1 to 2 seasons, which make them ideal for use during summer camping trips with the family or for indoor use at colder times of the year.  There are some warmer options available, which have a 2-3 season performance for use in slightly colder conditions.

You’ll find that manufacturers will only specify a suggested usage temperature range in most cases, rather than the comfort, limit and extreme temperatures that are stated on adult sleeping bags. The reason for this is because they are unable to standardize the temperature ratings on children’s sleeping bags by using EN13537 testing.

Styles of Kids Sleeping Bags

Of course when you are buying a kid’s sleeping bag, there are many different options available in terms of style, shape and design. Like adult bags, both mummy and rectangular shapes are available and you can also get wider shaped sleeping pods. Sleeping pods are great for kids who like to sprawl out during the night and those who tend to wriggle a lot in their sleep. You may find that your child would prefer a sleeping pod or rectangular shaped sleeping bag as they will feel less restricted and claustrophobic.

If you’re trying to get kids excited for camping, a kid’s sleeping bag suit is a good alternative to standard sleeping bags. Sleeping bag suits are perfect for children who feel restricted in a standard sleeping bag, as it allows them to move around freely and sleep in any position they find comfortable. You can zip the hands and feet off most styles and this allows them to walk around whilst wearing it without tripping up, and when it comes to bed time simply zip them back on to prevent any heat loss.

One main concern parents will have about children’s sleeping bags is the fact that children are constantly growing, so how long will the sleeping bag really last? The solution to this can be found in the form of convertible sleeping bags, these bags can be shortened by zipping the foot section away, so you can start with a shorter bag, then convert it into a longer one as your child grows.

Another solution some parents opt for is buying an adult sleeping bag and tucking the excess material underneath their child, while this doesn’t provide the same level of insulation for your child as one designed specifically for children, it will last them for years as they continue to grow. You can also clip the bottom of the bag with large bulldog clips to shorten it’s length, stitching the sleeping bag is not advised as this could compromise the insulation of the bag by producing holes for warm air to escape.

Special Features

Although children’s sleeping bags have many of the same features of adult bags, you will find a selection of features that are specifically designed to make the sleeping bag more child friendly. Here are a few things to look out for…

1)      Flat head rest

This is often found on sleeping bags for babies and toddlers, in place of a hood. This is a safety feature that helps prevent the hood from covering the child’s face.

2)      Shorter body length

The shorter body length on these sleeping bags is designed to provide a higher level of insulation, as using an adult sized bag would leave empty space inside, which would make the sleeping bag harder to keep warm.

3)      Elasticated hood

On some of the junior models of sleeping bag, you will find that they will have a hood. The difference here compared to adult sleeping bags is that instead of having a drawstring closure, the hood is elasticated for adjustment. The reason for this is purely down to safety.

It’s worth noting that buying a children’s specific sleeping bag would be the better option due to the higher quality of insulation, but modifying an adult bag is still a popular choice with many parents. If you do opt to modify an adult sleeping bag, you will still find that the pack size of the bag is larger than that of a children’s sleeping bag.