Before you rush out and buy a cheap sleeping bag – think about how you are going to use it. If the sleeping bag is for your child to sleep over at a friend’s house, then that’s one thing – but if your kid is going to use it for camping or backpacking, consider the following:
1. How you intend to use the sleeping bag: If this a bag that will be used for camping or backpacking, then read on. If not, then you can likely cheap out with a $20-30 sleeping bag.
2. Where you live and the time of year that the bag will be used: If you or your children will use this bag outside, think about where you live and what the temperature and general environmental conditions are before you buy. If you plan to use the bag only in the summer months, and you live in the hot/humid south – you can get away with a pretty lightweight sleeping bag. If you live in New England – a cold front can make any cheap sleeping bag quite chilly at night, so it might we worth a little extra money to get a better bag. If you plan to use the bag for backpacking, you don’t want one that weights much over 3 lbs, and you should consider a proper backpacking sleeping bag that is as lightweight as possible relative to the money you want to spend.
3. How you sleep and what you find comfortable: If you get hot easily you should buy a lightweight bag. If you get cold easily, then spend a little more money and get a bag that is rated at least 40 degrees or lower (especially if you plan to use the sleeping bag beyond the summer months.) Some people sleep fine in mummy bags which tend to be warmer. Some can’t stand the confinement and don’t want to trade the added heat for tight quarters. If you can, go to your local outfitter and lay in a few bags (if they’ll let you) before you buy them.