Double Sleeping Bags - 8 tips you need to know before you buy

8 tips on sleeping bag choice for a double

There are so many sleeping bags in the shops you may be feeling slightly confused if you are about to buy a new one.   We feel your pain.  That's why we wrote a really good story on how to choose a sleeping bag (tips on what to look for when buying).  It's a great starting point for you.

If you are specifically looking for a double sleeping bag for your camping trips, we have a list of 8 tips that you should consider before buying.   It's all about helping you make the best choice for your camping lifestyle.

1.      Weight - Is it important to you?

Weight is a consideration with single and double bags - especially if you are carrying your bag.

If you are car camping, then weight isn't a huge issue for a double sleeping bag; you won't be counting grams, so this is possibly something you won't need to spend too much time deliberating over.

But if you are hiking, you can still get double sleeping bags but they can weigh over 2kg, and in backpacking terms, that is not exactly light.   One person is going to have carry that sleeping bag - the weight can't be shared unless you have a sleeping bag that can be zipped into 2 (see point 5).

Before you buy, think about the weight and if you need to carry this bag (also if it's something you can fold up again easily!!)

Dual sleeping bag, 0 degrees rated
Zipped entry both sides of bag
Priced at around $123

2.     Warmth - What temperatures will you be camping in?

This is a BIG issue for any sleeping bag - single or double.  Will it keep you warm? 

With doubles, you do have the issue that there is a lot of space in the bag for air to circulate in.  

You might think you have the benefit of snuggling up to another person in the bag, which is true, but depending on the size of both of you, there is still plenty of air circulating around you.   

Unlike single bags, most of these double bags are without hoods that cinch around the neck area (trapping in the heat) so the warm air is escaping (and cold air will seep in).    Some do have simple hoods though but not necessarily the neck baffles that trap more heat in.

In the summer months, the less constrictive and more open sleeping bag could be a good thing, so a double sleeping bag could be a more attractive option in the warmer weather.

Before you buy, think about how you plan on keeping warm.   What is the rating?  Is that rating right for the conditions you are sleeping in and factoring in that there is more room for cold air in a larger bag?

The more luxurious style of double bag - with hoods, and a "Pillow Barn" where your pillows can be stored to stop them moving around
Synthetic, with double zippers.
Stretch fabric panels to insert mats underneath
Temperature rating -1
Priced around $350

3.    Insulation - What's underneath you?

One place where a double sleeping bag could be the perfect option and where you don't have to worry too much about insulation is if you use it in a caravan or camper trailer.   Then you will have your double bed already available!    This is why double sleeping bags are often a great purchase for those of you with camping vehicles.   Sheets and blankets aren't a big requirement with a double sleeping bag.

If you are going the double bag option and don't have a caravan/camper trailer,  you will need to have adequate insulation beneath you that can accommodate the width of the sleeping bag.   This might mean double self-inflating mats or a double sleeping cot.

Sleeping bag warmth comes from the bag, plus what's underneath you.

Before you buy, think about what is going under your double sleeping bag.  Do you need to purchase something else along with the sleeping bag?

Further reading:   How to keep warm when camping

Roman 4WD Double Self Inflating Mat with Pillow

4.  Your sleeping partner - Good or bad?

If you are planning on sharing this sleeping bag with another, a restless sleeper tossing and turning can impact on you, tucked up with them!  They unzip to get out of the bed, then you will definitely feel that more than if you were separately ensconced in a single bag.   

Another factor to keep in mind - if you have no access to showers, one (or both of you) could stink, so no escape in that sleeping bag!

Before you buy, think about who you want to cuddle up with and how you both like to sleep. 

Affordable (around $70) synthetic sleeping bag
Sleeping liner hooks
Easy zip no-snag system
Rated at 5 degrees comfort level

5.  One double sleeping bag converts to 2 sleeping bags - Do you need this?

Some double sleeping bags can be turned into 2 singles. 

You still won't get that cinching around the neck as it will still be hoodless, but you can turn a double sleeping bag into 2 single sleeping bags with a few models.   That way if one of you wants more personal space, its an option.

Alternative - buy 2 single sleeping bags - one with a left zipper, the other with the right opening zipper, and then you could zip them together.   But zips can be tricky, so it might all be a bit like hard work, but this is worth considering.

Before you buy, think about if the bag can convert into two bags should your sleeping partner annoy the hell out of you (see point 4).

Priced at around $130 this converts into 2 singles
Comfort rating of 2 degrees, made of polyester
Integrated headrest, insulation zip baffle, internal pockets

6.  Space - How much roominess do you need?

A benefit of the double sleeping bag is space - if you aren't a fan of the single (and sometimes quite tight-fitting) sleeping bags, and like the room to move in a bag, then a double could be beneficial.  You can toss and turn without feeling constricted.     You will need to take into consideration the sort of camping you do if you are going to be warm enough with all that room.

Another "space" tip to ponder - if you are using it for a tent, check that your tent can fit the sleeping bag adequately, and there is no centre pole getting in the way of your bedding set up. 

Before you buy, think about how you are going to warm up that sleeping bag with just one person in it.  (see point 2).  The weather conditions will affect this option; warm weather you won't mind as much being cooler.

Priced at around $290, comes with detachable hood
Rated to 0 degrees comfort level
Opens fully to turn into 2 duvets
Packs into a square sack
Can convert into 2 sleeping bags

7.  Material  - Synthetic or Down?

Just like a single sleeping bag, double sleeping bags come in down and synthetic or a down/synthetic blend.  And just like single sleeping bags, there are benefits of each sort of material.   Read How To Choose a Sleeping Bag to see more about this.

As many people who seem to buy these double sleeping bags are car campers, a synthetic might be the best and cheapest option.

Inside the bag is another consideration as well.    Many double bags have a lining that feels like flannel sheets, others have a polyester feel.

Before you buy, think about what material you want as that will affect the price you pay.   If loft and lightness is your preference, down will be a good but expensive option.

Priced at around $190, this converts from a 3 season to 2 season bag
Zip off extra layer when the weather warms up
Polyester, integrated head rest

8.   Width - Will we all fit in it?

Not all bags are the same size, but all are meant to cater for 2 average-sized people.   Check the sizing before you commit (and size up the people who will be sleeping in it).  There may be a difference that just won't work.

 You can get a double bag that is mummy shaped (so wide at the top, but tapers in at the bottom) - but that means it could get a bit squishy depending on the size of the 2 people using it.

Before you buy, read the dimensions of the bag you are wanting and make sure it's going to fit you and whoever else will be in the bag.   Length and width. 

Rated at 9 degrees comfort rating
Polyester material, easy to wash material
Priced at around $70
Entry-level double sleeping bag


Before you buy, remember that choosing a double sleeping bag is like choosing a single sleeping bag. You need to do a bit of homework to get a bag that suits you and your camping style.

Double sleeping bags are a great way to get cosy (or romantic) with someone in the great outdoors.

Further reading

How to care for your sleeping bag

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All prices were correct at time of writing but are subject to change.