Camping in Canada often means sleeping outside on cold nights—sometimes even in the summer! You’ll need a sleeping bag that helps you rest comfortably, while also helping you retain body heat so you don’t turn into a popsicle overnight. But what features should Canadian campers look for in their sleeping bags, and what are the best sleeping bags on the market right now?
We know a thing or two about camping, so we’ve got a few ideas to help you out. Below, you’ll learn what to look for when buying a sleeping bag to use in this wild and gorgeous country and find a few of our favourite models currently available for purchase.
What Should You Consider When Choosing a Sleeping Bag?
Like tents, sleeping bags come in a variety of different styles and materials. Different sleeping bags are typically intended for different situations, so it’s vital that you think carefully about the type of trip you’re planning before picking and packing your bag.
Consider the following when selecting your sleeping bag:
- Are you staying at a campsite or backpacking? Sleeping bags made for camping are designed to provide comfort and warmth. They’re also designed to stay in the tent once you pitch it, so they tend to be heavier and bulkier than sleeping bags for backpacking.
You won’t want to drag around a sleeping bag for camping if you’re hiking from site to site over multiple days (or weeks)—but you also won’t get as much comfort from a backpacker’s bag if you bring it on a casual camping excursion. Choose accordingly.
- How cold is it going to get? Not all sleeping bags are rated for the same range of temperatures. Most sleeping bags fall into one of 3 different categories:
- Summer Season: 0° and up
- 3-Season: -15° to -1°
- Winter: -15° or below
For best results, choose a bag rated for a few degrees colder than the conditions in which you plan to camp. After all, Canadian weather is notoriously unpredictable.
- What kind of insulation do you want? Most sleeping bags come with either down or synthetic insulation. Here’s a quick overview of each:
- Easier to compress
- Remains fluffy for longer
- More expensive
- Loses heat when wet
- Made from animal products (feathers)
- Must be carefully cleaned
- Easy to care for
- Not made from animal products
- More affordable
- Still holds in heat when wet
- Harder to compress
- Does not remain fluffy as long
- How does your sleeping bag fit? Sleeping bags generally come in the following sizes:
- Rectangular: These bags are often more comfortable and affordable than others, but less efficient at keeping in heat and harder to pack or move.
- Barrel: These bags are designed to be slightly tighter than rectangular bags, which gives them better thermal efficiency. They’re generally a bit more expensive, but are also lighter and easier to carry. Some also feature hoods.
- Mummy: Mummy bags are light and cut to fit close to the body while you sleep. They are usually the most expensive kind, but also the easiest to move and the most thermally efficient.
- What features or add-ons do you need? Some sleeping bags come with additional accessories to make you more comfortable, such as extra zippers to adjust ventilation and stash pockets to store items you want to keep close.
3 Sleeping Bags Ideal for Camping in Canada
We’ve picked out our favourite rectangular, barrel, and mummy bags for Canadian campers who crave comfort. Check them out below:
The North Face Dolomite One Double +10C, -1C, -9C Sleeping Bag (Unisex)
Price: $290 CAD
Where to Buy: MEC
A 3-season rectangular sleeping bag with room for two, this high-quality offering from The North Face uses synthetic insulation made from 50% recycled material. It also comes with a multilayer zipper quilt system so you can swap out the insulation for maximum comfort in different conditions. It’s not the tightest or the lightest sleeping bag, but you’ll sleep very comfortably on a casual camping trip, whether you’re with a partner or by yourself.
The North Face One Bag +4/-7/-15C Down Sleeping Bag (Unisex)
Price: $400-415 CAD
Where to Buy: MEC
A barrel sleeping bag that can take you from summer to mild winter camping, this product uses responsibly sourced down for insulation and comes with a large adjustable hood to keep your head and neck toasty on chilly nights. It also features multiple layers of insulation for different temperature ranges, which can easily be zipped in and out of the shell.
Nemo Disco -9C Down Sleeping Bag (Men’s)
Price: $420-440 CAD
Where to Buy: MEC
A mummy bag intended for backcountry use, this lightweight down bag offers lightweight 3-season protection from the elements. It also features a waterproof footbox and hood, so you won’t have to worry about a bit of moisture spoiling your sleep. The women’s version is nearly identical, and both versions are cut to accommodate back or side sleepers.
Sleep Easier on Your Canadian Camping Trip
The options above should give you plenty to choose from, but feel free to use what you’ve learned here to find a different bag that’s perfect for you! We wish you sweet dreams and warm appendages next time you venture out to camp in the Canadian wilds.