Double sleeping bags are a great way to cuddle a partner or just have lots of extra sleeping space while camping. However, double sleeping bags have big pros and cons that any camper should consider before investing.
Despite being able to snuggle together for warmth, double sleeping bags are difficult to stay warm in due to several gaps in the insulation, such as where the zippers are and the large open mouth of the bag. Made out of lighter material, double sleeping bags are best suited for warm-weather camping.
Read on to figure out in more depth if a double sleeping bag is right for you!
Double Sleeping Bags
Unlike what the name suggests, a double sleeping bag is not two sleeping bags stuffed inside each other like a matryoshka doll. Instead, a double sleeping bag is a sleeping bag that is twice as wide as a typical sleeping bag where two people can comfortably fit inside.
They come in different shapes and sizes, but the constant is that two people can sleep together comfortably.
Double sleeping bags come in two main shapes, just like single sleeping bags. There are rectangular sleeping bags, which allow for more movement and airflow but also lead to more cold spots. Rectangular sleeping bags do not often have a hood.
Mummy sleeping bags are the opposite of rectangular sleeping bags. They offer a tight fit and do not allow for as much movement. Mummy sleeping bags are warmer as they keep the air inside the sleeping bag. Mummy bags are easier to pack away, though both the double mummy and rectangular sleeping bags are bulkier than a single sleeping bag.
There is also the option to get two single sleeping bags that can zip together to form a double sleeping bag. This gives the option to customize differing heat needs between the two campers but can lead to awkward cold spots due to the zippers not having insulation behind them and differing feet pockets.
Despite being bulkier in some aspects, a double sleeping bag is lighter than a single sleeping bag, reducing the carrying loads one might be taking on a trip.
All sleeping bags are grouped into three temperature rating classes: summer, three-season, and winter. These temperature ratings refer to the minimum nighttime temperature that the sleeping bag should be able to endure and keep you warm in.
Summer sleeping bags are recommended for use in temperatures of 30°F or above and are made with lightweight materials not suitable for anything colder or more extreme.
Three-season sleeping bags are, like the name suggests, able to go through three seasons: spring, summer, and fall. They usually fall in line with 15°F and 30°F but cannot go lower than that.
Winter sleeping bags provide enough insulation to keep a camper warm in cold weather at 15°F and below.
However, if you are a cold sleeper, it is recommended you either layer up or get a sleeping bag that is between 10 to 15 degrees lower than the temperature you are using it in to give yourself extra warmth. Remember, just because a sleeping bag says it is good for 15°F, it doesn’t mean that you will be super toasty at that temperature, it just means that you will survive the night!
For optimal warmth, consider purchasing a double sleeping bag that is specifically designed for winter camping and is rated to 0°F.
Some double bags you may want to try:
- TETON Sports Mammoth 0°F Queen Size Sleeping Bag – $159.99
- HiZYNICE Cold Weather Sleeping Bag – $89.66
- Guide Gear Canvas Hunter Double Sleeping Bag, 0°F – $139.99
Warm Weather Ahead
Double sleeping bags are best for warm weather and light leisurely camping. While you can purchase a double sleeping bag designed for winter weather, it still will not be as warm as a single sleeping bag.
The most common design of the open mouth rectangular double sleeping bag leads to the most heat loss and is suitable for warmer weather excursions due to the cold spots that occur with much airflow.
Double sleeping bags are excellent options for campers who may experience claustrophobia. A double sleeping bag leaves a single person as much room as they would like to move around and is a step up from sleeping with many blankets in warm weather.
Do Not Take A Harder Path
Double sleeping bags are not suited for a serious hike or backpacking trip, despite the ability to lighten some of the load for some campers.
Operating with only one sleeping bag leads to a lack of redundancy if something were to go wrong with the sleeping bag or the person carrying the supplies, leading to a lack of equal distribution in the event of separation or other disaster.
Double sleeping bags due to their bulk and size are difficult to wash and are not pleasant to sleep in if they get wet. In comparison to their smaller, single sleeping bag cousins, these sleeping bags are made with less durable material and less likely to withstand the elements.
Options for a Best Fit and Staying Warm
Foam pads are often used to add comfort to a camper’s experience, sliding underneath to cushion any rocks or lumpy hard ground from digging into your back as you sleep.
While foam pads do help make sleeping on the ground more comfortable, it can be hard to pack around a pad big enough to fit underneath a double-wide sleeping bag.
A solution could be to use two pads and push them together, but you may find them shifting throughout the night. But, if you can make it work, foam pads will also help you to stay warmer at night by adding an insulating layer underneath you.
An air mattress will be better comfort-wise with a double sleeping bag, but it is not a good option for camping because it will not help keep you warm.
Air mattresses are filled with cold air, and no matter how warm you are on top of them, they will be cold underneath you. So, while you may be comfy, you will surely be cold sleeping with an air mattress. It would be better to just sleep on the ground! Cots are the same, where they allow cold air to circulate underneath you. If you want to stay warm in your double sleeping bag, stay insulated!