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Best sleeping bags for kids

Most very inexpensive sleeping bags for kids – with popular themes and characters, for example – are fine for indoor sleepovers but not warm enough for camping outdoors. For summer car camping, the L.L.Bean Flannel-Lined 40 Degrees Camp Bag discussed earlier comes in a kids' size. It fits kids up to 4 feet 6 inches tall. For camping with very small children, some parents say it works well to tuck a child into a double sleeping bag between them. However, we also found several reviews recommending specific sleeping bags just for kids.

The North Face Tigger +20 (*Est. $60) is recommended at Backpacker Magazine and also gets positive reviews at two retail sites, REI.com and Moosejaw.com. Parents say it's full-featured (with zipper pulls that glow in the dark, for example) and like the fact that the Climashield HL synthetic insulation stays warm even if it gets wet. At 2 lbs. 1 oz. it's also one of the lightest sleeping bags for kids that's this warm. It fits kids up to five feet tall, but we found positive reviews for use with kids from ages three to 11. The warranty is for only one year, but The North Face has an excellent reputation for quality, and we found no complaints about workmanship.

Good Housekeeping magazine's website has a video reviewing kids' outdoor sleeping bags, but it's based on tests of 13 sleeping bags done in 2001, so newer models aren't covered. Top ranking goes to the 30-degree Growing Bear Bag (*est. $170) by Tough Traveler. Testers say it's "one of the few that kept water out" and call it a top performer. The main advantage is that it comes with two extensions that add length as the child grows. However, it covers the same age range (three to 11) as the newer and much less expensive The North Face Tigger (*Est. $60). Also, the Tigger sleeping bag uses a newer and better insulation; the Growing Bear Bag still uses Primaloft 2 – an improvement at its time, but now surpassed.

The Eureka Grasshopper Kids 30-Degree Sleeping Bag gets enthusiastic reviews. It's roomier than a regular mummy bag but cozier than a rectangular bag – and has a raised foot area for extra comfort. It weighs just 2 lbs. 14 oz., has a little inner pocket that kids love and carries a lifetime warranty against defects. This would be an excellent choice if you don't need the extra light weight or warmth of The North Face Tigger +20.

Sleeping Bags Runners Up:

Big Agnes Dream Island Est. $220

7 picks including: Amazon.com, REI.com…

The North Face Cat's Meow Est. $170 and up

5 picks including: Trailspace.com, Buzzillions.com…

Kelty Little Dipper Est. $60

4 picks including: Amazon.com, Backcountry.com…

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THE NORTH FACE Cat's Meow Reg blue ribbon
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
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