Sleeping bag for car camping.

I’m looking for a rectangular sleeping bag for car camping. Down to 30 F. Fit to 6’ 2" hight. 33" or 34" wide is good.

What’s the best inner shell, do you think? Cotton, or polyester taffeta, or something else?

Thinking about this one.

It says fits to 6’, but it’s 80" long versus the usual 76".



The very best and warmest would be
goose down, (I hope that is how it is spelled)



OK, let’s go with that.
Would pack well too. Trouble if it gets wet, but I should get better and better at preventing even condensation in the tent.

How 'bout this one?

Not sure about Campmor brand for a sleeping bag. Great retailer, but …


Kelty Eclipse
A good rectangular bag, I think about +35 rated.

I think it’s a polyster taffeta but it’s no biggie to get either a cotton or silk bag liner for more comfort, might add a little warmth, too.

sleeping bag…
Campmor makes decent stuff too, I’m sure it’s not exactly Campmor making them as they are just a retailer…

For car camping, I would just buy a cheap inexpensive synthetic bag, something I don’t mind if it would walk since typically, I will be out doing dayhikes and it’s nice not to have to lock things up. Check out for some inexpensive bags… And if you’re car camping, might just bring some extra blankets and stuff and be comfy…


My recommendation
For car camping you do NOT want slick nylon outside. It is very slippery and if you aren’t perfectly level you can wake up well out of center on your sleeping pad.

I would get a big fluffy rectangular bag with a cotton liner and a non-slick outside. You don’t have to worry about weight or water intrusion so cotton will work fine.

If you want 30 degrees, buy
at least a 0 bag. I was in the BWCA in a down 0 degree rectangular (long) bag last weekend. It froze one night. I don’t know the exact temps, but I do recognize ice when I see it. I suspect it was 28-29. I was on the edge of being chilled.

Campmor bags
I bought a Campmor down sleeping bag years ago and am pleased with the quality. A good deal for the price. It’s a bit too warm for most of the camping I do so my old REI polarguard bag gets more use. The down is bag is great for Winter camping though.

I found a great bag
on It was a 0 degree bag that was rectangular, but had a pillow end with a drawstring in it so you could pull it down like a mummy bag. Nice nylon shell with a comfy liner and microfiber fill. Comes with a compression sack and it stuffs down to about 12" x 20". Made by Black Pine. I have used it in the low 20’s so far and have found it comfortable.

You can also get them in pairs with left and right zippers to make a huge double that zips down the middle. Ran about $60 at the time.

A little more expensive
But I can’t say enough about the Big Agnes bag and pad system - I bought the 20 degree Hog Park bag and a 2.5" thick Hinman REM pad. Can’t slide off the pad, and the bag is amazingly warm. It’s made for a 6’ guy… at 5’8" I love scrunching down inside it. Camped on a night in the mid to low 30’s and I had to stick a leg out of it to cool down. There’s no chance of sliding off the sleep pad - because the pad slips inside a pocket on the back of the sleeping bag.

Whatever sleeping bag you choose, remember this; if you get too hot, you can always unzip the bag. If you get too cold; the things you can do to make a 30 degree bag feel warmer are limited…

  1. stay well hydrated
  2. keep the bag dry (inside & out)
  3. eat well & have some snack food available
  4. invest in a poly pro sleeping bag liner
  5. have a good quality sleeping pad(i.e. Thermarest)
  6. wear a polypro, or wool hat

    It has been my experience that some of the coldest nights I have ever spent were inside the camper shell of a pickup truck(as opposed to a tent). Better have a good sleeping pad to insulate you from the bed of the pickup; if that is your vehicle of choice.


I keep a Caribou semi-rectangular bag in my truck topper. They make (or used to make) them in rectangular shapes.

Taffeta nylon outside, a poly-cotton liner inside, Quallofill insulation. The inside liner feels like a lightweight bedsheet and is very breathable. I think it is rated to 15 deg but I always add about 15 deg to the rating to come up with my own COMFORT rating. When the temps drop below 30, I add a fleece sleeping bag or blanket inside. The combo has been good down to about 15 deg. (Have used it in single-digit temps but was not actually warm.)

Car camping is super-easy. You can get bulky and keep extra blankets around, then layer to suit the differing conditions.

Also, I always have a knit hat, gloves and mitts, and fleece socks in my truck–any of which are good things to have for wilderness camping, too.

saga is right,

– Last Updated: Sep-20-07 6:37 PM EST –

if the tempature itself is going to be 30 degrees then you want a 0 or 10 degree bag, even if you are inside an SUV. Chances are if you're like most folks and prefer level ground, you won't be parking on a hill, and if you do, it's usually possible to get your vehicle mostly level, so needing a different exterior material than nylon or something similar is not necessary and actually more difficult to find.

I bought a 10 degree slumberjack for less than $100 from campmor about 10 years ago and it's still going strong. It's a mummy bag, which are warmer than rectangular bags, but either way, you want your bag to be rated 20- 30 degrees colder than the temp outside.

If you're wanting to go a cheap route, wal-mart has rectangular bags that rated to 10 degrees. They're probably slightly less warm than their ratings boast, but as "bob" said, a wool, polypropelene, capalene or fleece hat will ad much warm to your body since up to half your body heat can be lost through your head.

I would suggest staying away from a down filled bag. Granted they're nice and warm, but there are so many synthetic fills available nowadays that are equal in warmth and cost and down is more susceptable to moisture and/or water- retaining more than synthetic which also dries quicker.



– Last Updated: Sep-20-07 6:56 PM EST –

For car camping only, I'd just get the cheapest bag I could find, that fit my body, since weight and stuffability are not significant. This is coming from someone who currently owns 5+ sleeping bags from an Integral Designs tropical weight primaloft quilt to a Feathered Friends Widgeon. One year I slept in the backcountry at over 100F and -10F.

Now, if you have unlimited funds, I would currently invest in a Nunatak Arc Expedition with Luna pad or a Raku.

You can never go wrong with anything made by Feathered Friends...

Best of luck.

Decision, decisions
Really appreciate all the different perspectives. It helps a lot. Definitely helped when I was buying a tent, too.

Here’s a little more info.

Usually camp out of my Toyota Solara (2 door.) Mostly sleeping in a tent. Occasionally sleep in a Honda minivan. I do mean down to 30 F actual, to cover me very occasionally in the Sierras in the fall. Usually down to 40 F actual at sea level and the coast.

I have a semi-mummy down bag now that I bought when I was about 25 y.o. (which makes it 26 y.o. now.) I think it’s down to at least 0 F. Never been cold in it. I wear a sweatshirt/layers, hat, as necessary as it’s a regular and doesn’t cover my shoulders that well. It’s what I use for car camping now. Loses about 10 feathers per outing. Also bought a full mummy synthetic a couple years later, which my daughter has now confiscated for backpacking. Just bought a thermarest prolite 4 large pad.

Reason I’m looking for a rectangular is I’d like the extra room in width. Might also like a tall to get it up over my shoulders, though the regular hasn’t really bothered me.

I was thinking cheap one originally, like $25. But I’m seeing synthetic rectangulars for $60 that stuff down pretty good, that I might also use for kayak camping. I’ve done no kayak camping at all so far. Will do at least one trip next year, then 0-3 trips per year depending on how I like it.

There’s more choices in synthetic if I only go down to 20 F stated rating. Could use my current down bag for the very occasional fall Sierras trip. Maybe still go with a cheap synthetic down to 20 F stated now, and get a good synthetic later for kayak camping.

Have to ponder some more. Appreciate all the ideas; brand names, integrated sleeping pad, materials, slip factor, actual vs stated rating. I’ll make a good decision here, eventually.

I saw like one rectangular at Lots at campmor. I’ll check some other online sites. I think one was mentioned above. Might visit Walmart, too.

Thanks again. More ideas welcomed.


one more-
dicks sporting goods has their own brand “quest”. I’ve been pleased with the two jackets I’ve bought of this brand. The “quest” sleeping bags look decent for the price and sometimes can be found on sale for around $50. I haven’t noticed whether they’re available with the rectangle shape though, but might be worth checking out.


not down
The big advantage of down is that it’s more compressible than synthetics, and weighs i bit less. neither of those is important if the car’s carrying it. Something bulky and relatively INcompressible will be more comfortable.

I don’t think I’d go with a cotton liner. some of the brushed synthetics feel soft, breathe, and dry much faster than cotton will. A slipprier liner is better if you plan to sleep in your clothes.

We ended up with a couple of rectangular bags from REI. The full zippers make it easy to vent when it’s warm, and it’s nice being able to zip them together.


– Last Updated: Sep-22-07 11:38 AM EST –

The Slumberjack sleeping bags I've used have been of good quality and were warm at their rated temp. They're usually too big or heavy for backpacking, but I'm confident enough in mine to rely on it for canoe camping in the next few weeks.

You might want to check out Sierra Trading Post; they have quite a few bags in stock at the moment. They also have a great, "send it back for any reason, at any time" return policy and actually include a prepaid return shipping sticker with every order they send. They're a great internet retailer.


money an object?
if not look at Western Mountaineering sleeping bags…and look at the Ponderosa…its got two zippers, one running the entire length of the bag and then one running along the foot box…so the whole thing can be unzipped completely flat and turns into a nice quilt.

Here’s what they say about it on their website:

When room and lots of it is the issue, then get into something with 67" of shoulder girth and 48" wide inches at the foot. For sheer comfort our Ponderosa is the bag for big folks and claustrophobes alike. This large volume semi-rectangular bag has 7" of loft from 27 ounces of 850+ fill power down. And in spite of its size weighs in at only 2 lbs. 9 oz. Depending on your size you can enjoy this bag down to 15°. The Ponderosa will zip to our mummy bags, and if the nights are really mild, unzip the bag around the foot and mate it to our Summer Coupler. Now you can roll across a couple of time zones without leaving your bag! This bag is also available in 7’ length.


Price: $405-435

on a side note, if you ever get into hammock camping the Ponderosa will go completely around a speer type hammock which is awesome in temps below 20F

locking vs non-locking zipper
Anyone know the meaning of locking and non-locking zipper? Preference for sleeping bags?

I still like the Eureka bag I referenced in the original post. Just $25. Cheap to try out. I like the polyester or nylon or whatever it is on my down bag, so am willing to try taffeta poly inside and out on the Eureka. Good point about sliding but I try for as level as possible. Would prefer to zero rating ideally, maybe. 30 rating will do me 95 percent of the time though, so cheap bag to wear out on 95 percent of trips. We’ll see. Zipper is the only thing I’m wondering about now. Will probably buy anyway. Don’t like the red/black, but acceptable since I sleep with my eyes closed.

I like the Kelty Eclipse too, but not sure about the nylon/cotton inner liner. My 50/50 nylon cotton shirts collect stink, more so than cotton.

Great suggestions everyone. Helped me to ponder the possibilities.