My favorite kind of season is camping season because of the warm air, campfires, and nature walks. When camping, some climates can be a bit colder than others, especially in the evening hours. So, are sleeping bags warmer than blankets?
Sleeping bags are significantly warmer than blankets because they are made with thermal materials. Sleeping bags usually have multiple layers, making them twice as thick as a blanket. Blankets have air pockets and holes, while sleeping bags have few or no holes, allowing them to hold warmth.
I have taken it upon myself to do some research and call around to different sporting goods stores to see what they would recommend to be the best sleeping bag brand and why. I also have noted the different kinds of sleeping bags and blankets that would be ideal for colder climates.
I am a big fan of blankets, but when it comes to the outdoors and camping, I find that sleeping bags keep me much warmer. Here I want to break down what makes sleeping bags uniquely different from blankets.
Warmth: Sleeping bags are very warm. Compared to blankets, sleeping bags were the clear winner when it came to keeping a person warm. The thing that makes sleeping bags so warm is they are made with the purpose of being draft-free. This means there are no holes or air pockets that allow cold air to enter while inside a sleeping bag. The other thing that sets sleeping bags apart from blankets in warmth is that there are a lot of sleeping bags with hoods that can cinch around your head to form a cocoon.
Packability: Sleeping bags tend to be made out of thinner materials but can have a thicker bulk to them. When compared to a regular blanket though, sleeping bags are significantly lighter and can pack down to be a bit smaller, making them easier to pack and carry.
Setup: Both a sleeping bag and a blanket are easy to set up, but sleeping bags require nothing else but themselves. Sleeping bags are just simple—you take them out of their straps or bags, and you have an instant bed right away. Just remember to pack a sleeping pad for hard surfaces.
Price: I will say, sleeping bags are not cheap, but when it comes to comfort and warmth for a camping trip, sleeping bags are well worth the price. If you compare a sleeping bag to a nice wool blanket, they’re actually around the same price range. For sleeping bags, the price ranges from $100 to $500 depending on the quality.
Now let’s compare blankets.
Warmth: There are many different kinds of blankets, so there is no one answer for how warm a blanket may be. Compared to a sleeping bag though, they’re not that warm. Wool blankets are my go-to when camping if I choose to not have a sleeping bag or if I want even more warmth than what a sleeping bag can give me. For outdoor adventures that don’t include camping, I prefer simple fleece blankets.
Packability: Blankets aren’t hard to pack, but if you are hiking into a camping spot, it’s better to pack a sleeping bag. Blankets tend to use heavier material and cannot pack down as well as a sleeping bag. If you’re looking to shed some weight, choose a sleeping bag over a blanket.
Setup: Blankets don’t have much setup to them. You simply unroll a blanket and there you have it. The only thing to think about when deciding between a blanket and a sleeping bag is a blanket may need multiple different kinds of bedtime items to allow you to have a good night’s rest and keep you warm, whereas sleeping bags don’t need anything but a sleeping pad.
Price: Depending on what blanket you choose to get, the price can vary. If you’re just going for the super-thin fleece blankets at Walmart, those will only cost you $6, but if you’re wanting a nice wool blanket, that can cost you anywhere between $100 and $300 depending on where you buy it from and it’s quality.
Best Sleeping Bags to Stay Warm
I thought it would be best if I got some input from some sporting goods stores as to what they recommend to people when it comes to shopping for sleeping bags. There are so many brands of sleeping bags I had a hard time keeping track! But here is what I found out:
REI has been one of my favorite sporting goods stores for a while and they were so extremely helpful when I called. They gave me some of their top picks and even sent me a link to an article directly off of their website.
It came down to three top sleeping bags:
- NEMO Disco 15 Sleeping Bag for Men
- Big Agnes Torchlight 20 Sleeping Bag for Women
- REI Co-op Magma Train Quilt 30 Unisex
I personally love going to Scheels because of their friendly employees and fun atmosphere. I think in Scheels anyone can be a kid at heart. With this being said, they were very helpful, and they also referred me to an article on their website.
These are their best sleeping bags for the cold:
- Kelty Cosmic Synthetic 0 Sleeping Bag
- Kelty Tru.Comfort Doublewide 20 Degree Sleeping Bag
- Browning McKinley -30° Sleeping Bag
Dick’s Sporting Goods
I have only been to Dick’s a handful of times and when I called, they didn’t really seem to know the answers. After finally speaking to someone in the department, they let me know they don’t have a large stock of sleeping bags, but I was still able to get three top sleeping bags.
Here are the three sleeping bags at Dick’s:
- Marmot Trestles 0° Sleeping Bag
- Colombia 10°F Mummy Sleeping Bag
- The North Face Eco Trail Down 0° Sleeping Bag
I basically grew up in Cabela’s and have such a great love for this company and its products. I was able to talk to a kind gentleman and get all the information I needed to know about their sleeping bags.
Here are the top three they recommend:
- Cabela’s Magnum 44 -20 Sleeping Bag
- Coleman Oak Point 30° Big & Tall Sleeping Bag
- Marmot Trestles 15° Mummy Sleeping Bag
Sportsman’s is so organized and a place I like going to if I’m wanting good quality items. After a quick phone call with their employees, I was able to narrow it down to three top sleeping bags.
Here are the three:
- Teton Sports Tracker +5°F Ultralight Sleeping Bag
- Rustic Ridge Outfitter XXL -35°F Sleeping Bag
- ALPS Mountaineering Blaze 20° Regular Sleeping Bag
If you don’t have any of these sporting goods stores near you, chances are you probably have a Big 5 close. I was unable to get ahold of Big 5, but after looking at some customer reviews, I’ve discovered the best sleeping bags.
Top three best sleeping bags:
- Golden Bear Ridgeline +10° Mummy Bag
- Suisse Sport Summit +5° Mummy Bag
- Coleman Southfork 40° Sleeping Bag
Bass Pro Shops
Cabela’s actually owns Bass Pro Shops, but there are still some products you can get at Bass that you cannot get at Cabela’s. I was able to get in touch with Bass Pro Shops and get their top-rated sleeping bag choices.
Here are the top three sleeping bags:
- Bass Pro Shops Eclipse 20° Deluxe Oversized Rectangular Sleeping Bag
- Ascend Hex 0° Mummy Sleeping Bag
- Kelty Cosmic Down 20° Mummy Long Sleeping Bag
Last but not least is Academy. I have never personally been to Academy because I don’t have one near me, but after doing some research online, I wanted to find a sporting goods store that I wasn’t familiar with. Academy seems to have a great selection of products, and I was able to get in contact with one of their stores located in Texas. They were very helpful and were able to give me great suggestions.
Here are the top three sleeping bags at Academy:
- Magellan Outdoors 30 Degrees F Rectangle Sleeping Bag
- The North Face One Bag Sleeping Bag
- Magellan Outdoors 4 lbs Flannel Lined Rectangle Sleeping Bag
I only listed the top sporting goods stores in the U.S., but there are so many other good places to buy a sleeping bag. Going directly to a manufacturer is the best way to guarantee you’ll get a certain brand. Some of these brands include Colombia, North Face, Eddie Bauer, Marmot, Teton, Coleman, Sierra, and so many more.
If you are looking for lower-quality sleeping bags that are less expensive, you can always go to Amazon, Target, or Walmart to find the sleeping bag you are looking for.