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7 Best Sleeping Bags For Van Life

Breaking Down Our Top Picks From Design to Price

Sleeping in a van is often much warmer than sleeping in a tent, but the nights can still get pretty cold. If a blanket just isn’t getting the job done, you might want to look into the different sleeping bags that are available. Even a cheap sleeping bag can keep you nice and warm during the night, but some sleeping bags are definitely better than others.

Some of the top sleeping bag brands for vanlifers to explore include REI, Coleman, ALPS, SOULOUT, REDCAMP, and TETON. The sleeping bags these brands create come in a wide variety of prices and designs, but almost all of them will help you stay warm and comfortable during the night in a van.

Below we’ll give 7 of our top picks for the best sleeping bags for van life, as well as some breakdowns about the different types of sleeping bags. The best product for you will depend on the climate you travel in, your budget, and your personal preferences. At least one of the options below should work for you!

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Our Top-Rated Sleeping Bags

1. ALPS Heavy-Duty Car Camping Sleeping Bag

First up, we have a sleeping bag that was literally designed for car camping! It’s soft, warm, and easy to get in and out of. The outer layer of this sleeping bag is cotton canvas, while the interior is flannel. This makes it great for retaining heat, plus it’s soft and cozy.

This model can be used in temperatures as low as -10 degrees, but hopefully, you won’t be spending the night in places as cold as this!

2. REI Co-op Siesta Hooded 25

Next up, we have a hooded model. These are great for cold nights because they keep your head warm along with your body. This sleeping bag has an offset quilted construction that helps distribute body heat and prevent cold spots.

The REI Co-op Siesta Hooded is good for temperatures as low as 25 degrees. It’s not quite as well-insulated as some others on this list, so it may be better for spring and summer camping.

3. TETON Sports XXL Sleeping Bag

This is a very highly-rated sleeping bag that has over 6,000 reviews on Amazon. It has two layers that help it trap air and retain heat. Each sleeping bag also has draft tubes to ensure that heat stays within the fabric and doesn’t escape. This model can unzip from the top or bottom, so you can put your feet out if you get too hot.

The lowest temperature that this particular sleeping bag can withstand is 0 degrees. That’s pretty chilly, so this is a great option for fall and winter camping (although it also works for the other seasons).

4. Coleman Brazos Cold Weather Sleeping Bag

Coleman is a big name in the camping world, so it makes sense that they’ve created some great sleeping bags. The Coleman Brazos model is a fantastic sleeping bag if you’re on a budget. It’s one of the cheapest on the list, but it’s still comfortable and will keep you nice and warm. Each model has a draft tube along the zipper that helps retain heat.

These sleeping bags work for temperatures as low as 20 degrees. Maybe not the best option for winter, but it will perform well for the rest of the year!

5. SOULOUT Summer Season Sleeping Bag

Our next sleeping bag is even more budget-friendly. At just $30, pretty much anyone can afford this product. Even if you’re saving up for another sleeping bag in the future, this one will perform beautifully until then. It’s waterproof and has 2 layers to improve heat retention. This model is also lightweight and is easy to pack away when you’re not using it.

This is advertised as a summer sleeping bag, so you shouldn’t plan on using it if the temperature drops below 40 degrees. However, it will serve you well during the warmer months, so keep it in mind.

6. REI Co-op Frostbreak 5

This next sleeping bag isn’t quite as cheap as the previous ones. However, it does have a wider temperature range, so the increased price makes sense. This is a mummy-style bag that includes a draft tube to keep cold air out. There are 4 layers of insulation in this bag, so you’ll stay toasty all night long.

This sleeping bag can be used in temperatures as low as 5 degrees. It may be a bit more pricey, but the performance is top-notch.

7. REDCAMP Cotton Flannel

Finally, we have one more budget-friendly suggestion. The REDCAMP Cotton Flannel gives you the comfort of a blanket with the warmth of a sleeping bag. The cotton and flannel elements will keep you warm and dry. In addition, the flat style makes it easy to get in and out of, even if you’re wearing extra layers.

You can use this sleeping bag in temperatures as low as 32 degrees. But once it dips into freezing temperatures, you may need to look for another option.

How To Stay Warm In A Sleeping Bag

Choosing a good sleeping bag is only part of the process. You need to prepare yourself for a cold night in the van as well. There are several ways to improve the heat retention of a sleeping bag and warm up your van while you sleep. Anything that keeps you warm will be helpful.

Use a sleeping pad

The floor of your van is warmer than the ground outside, but not by much. If you don’t have an extra layer to separate you from the floor, you’ll lose a decent amount of heat. In addition, it’s just more comfortable to add a padded layer!

A sleeping pad can go a long way. You can use air mattresses, foam pads, or even blankets or towels. Anything that acts as a buffer will help.

Add a thermal liner

No matter how good your sleeping bag is, a little bit of heat will leak out during the night. You can reduce the amount of heat loss by placing a thermal liner over your sleeping bag. This traps heat and keeps it close to your body. A single thermal liner can sometimes help you withstand a temperature drop of 10 degrees or more!

Hot water bottles

Hot water bottles can be a lifesaver on cold nights. Just boil some water, place the bottle in a sock, and then cuddle up with it. Placing the bottle between your legs is a great way to stay warm. Even when the initial heat wears off, your body will keep the water warm, so it won’t be a problem.

Wear loose layers

The things you wear to bed can make a big difference. Although you might want to bundle up in tight layers, this is a big mistake. You need to include loose pockets so the air around your body can warm up. Try wearing socks (just one pair), a hat, and maybe a sweater. Always change into fresh clothes before bed because you don’t want to go to bed feeling sweaty.

Your Sleeping Bag Preference?

Do you snooze all night in a sleeping bag? What brand do you use, and why do you love it? Share with fellow vanlifers in the comments below!

This post may contain affiliate links or mention our own products, please check out our disclosure policy here.
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4 thoughts on “7 Best Sleeping Bags For Van Life”

  1. We tried a lot of sleeping combinations and ended up with the Sierra Designs Back Country bags. They are warm and the don’t have zippers, which are loud enough to wake up the other person. The Back Country has a place where you can stick your feet out if you’re too warm and hand pockets in the corners of the front part. We can store them in stuff sacks while we are traveling to save space. The material is soft and it’s the closest we have found to feeling like we are sleeping under a comforter. They’re not inexpensive but we found them for a good price on a different website.

  2. Emily,

    Thanks for your informative article/review but we believe it is incomplete because you failed to mention two very nice alternatives to traditional sleeping bags. The first is RV Superbag (formerly Travasak) and the second is Beddy’s Zip-Your-Bed.

    Caveat Up Front: We have been using Travasaks for years but only recently learned about Beddy’s products and have not used them.

    Travasak (now RV Superbag). https://www.rvsuperbag.com/
    We encountered Travasak products for the first time in about 2013 with our first camper van which had a cross-wise full bed in the rear made by converting the dinette. Tired of traditional sheets we took advice from a couple full-timing in the same camper as we had and bought our first queen-sized Travasak. Yes, it’s like a sleeping bag but with some very distinct differences. It is composed of two layers, a light summer side and a heavier winter side so you can put the appropriate side up depending on the season. It zips apart completely for washing and has traditional sheets connected to the inside via hook-and-loop (sometimes called Velcro) tape. This allows one to remove the sheets to wash them separately so we only wash the “comforter” parts about 1-2 times per year. making the bed with the Travasak is a piece of cake… in fact, it is so quick/easy we could leave the dinette up during the day and convert it in a matter of minutes to a bed each night. IMO, there are only two downsides (if you will) to RV Superbags… 1. They are fairly expensive and 2. They have somewhat limited fabric choices. Replacement sheets are pretty dear but anyone with moderate sewing skills could make some from ordinary sheets sewn together at the foot and with a little “Velcro” attached on the sides.

    Beddy’s Zip-Your-Bed (https://beddys.com/pages/styled-for-rvs)
    As mentioned earlier, we have not used this system so what follows is my assessment based on reviews I have read and videos I have watched. Beddy’s is an interesting take-off on a sleeping bag-type bedding system with a few interesting features. It does zip apart for washing and does offer quite a few fabric color/pattern options. They are a little less expensive than RV Superbags, too. On the downside, like a traditional sleeping bag when it’s time to wash it the whole thing has to go in since the “sheets” cannot be laundered separately. This could be a potential problem for those moving camp often, especially if boondocking.

    Conclusion. We are big fans of Travasak/RV Superbag and have not seen any other system that offers all the same advantages so don’t play to move anytime soon. We have two queens now since we upgraded to a somewhat larger camper… one beige and one slate blue. They travel in our overhead bunk during the day and when it’s time to “make beds” we are done in minutes. BTW, we did not buy either of ours completely new… they were both gently used and well cared for by the previous owners. This saved a bunch of $$$.

  3. We do. All comments are moderated, and your previous comment contained personal information and several links. The comment was held until a time that we were able to review the comment more closely, as well as the links. We do this to help prevent spam. Your comment was ultimately approved.

    Thanks for being a Vanlifers reader.

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