Rad tents, sleeping bags, & pads for the whole family
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Keeping the "bears" out of sight
Have you been thinking of jumping into tent-camping as a family but you're just not quite sure where to begin? We are here to help.
Sleep is important wherever you are. Especially for moms and dads. Okay, for kids too.
Let's keep all of the bears out of sight by keeping first things first when it comes to camping: sleeping gear.
We've been at this camping / backpacking thing sporadically for nearly 20 years. Not deeming ourselves total experts yet, but we've tent-camped in Normandy, France (see those cute cheeks below!), along the Niangua River in the Ozark Mountains, in Capitol Reef, at the Grand Canyon, and more.
Our family camping experiences, mixed with a few weeks of summer backpacking in the Colorado Rockies with Young Life teenagers, have helped us discover and gather our favorite cozy, comfy sleeping gear and tents over time.
Note to newbies
If you're not 100% sure you love a camping family vacation, consider borrowing good gear from experienced camping friends before you buy out Sierra Trading Post (the best place with low prices!).
Durable, made-to-last camping gear is a long-term investment for budget-minded families like us. Well-made items can last 20 years or more.
Thankfully, we lucked out 20 years back when our friends gave us a camping themed couples shower right before we got hitched. That definitely gave us a head start. (See gift ideas for outdoorsy couples here.) Christmas and birthdays are a great way to get your gear too.
As kids came hopping along, we obviously needed more sleeping bags, more sleeping pads, and more tents. Four more of everything to be exact.
Did you know kids grow bigger by the minute? Like weeds. Until they turn into adult size humans. Then they require adult size sleeping gear.
And they ask for adult size ice cream cones. But I digress.
Here are our very favorite, tried-and-true, sleeping bags, pads, and tents for all ages.
You'll find all of these amazing things loaded in our Swagger Wagon plus StowAway Max Cargo Carrier for every camping trip.
I also share our chilling-out favorite at the end.
Rad Sleeping Bags
Kelty Cosmic Down 20
The hubs and I just bought new Kelty Cosmic Down sleeping bags after 20 years of sleeping with our synthetic Marmot. We get colder as we get older, and these are perfect for 3-season camping and backpacking. And the price is right for this impressive, pack-down-tight, lightweight bag.
For the record, our Marmot bags are actually still quite decent, so we're just passing them down to our two teenagers for now. We plan to use our new Kelty bags for the next two decades.
Kelty Tru.Comfort Kids 35 degree Sleeping Bag
A few years ago, we bought our four kids 30 degree Kelty kids sleeping bags for Christmas and they have been worth their weight in gold. These bags keep your kiddos warm and cozy, and they also pack up light and tight. They come in fun colors too!
Rad Sleeping Pads
Exped Synmat 7
The Exped Synmat 7 Sleeping Pad is a life-changer for moms ands who desire to car-camp with a comfy bed on the ground. Durable, warm on the ground, light, and easy to fill with the integrated hand-pump, this pad is great for tent-camping and backpacking. My favorite part: no crackling or crinkling when you move around in your sleep. Zzzzzzzz.
REI Kindercamp Kids' Pad
REI makes the Kindercamp Kids' Sleeping Pad and it works well for kids and tweens until they hit 5 feet tall or taller. Once your kids hit 5 feet, it's time to buy an adult size sleeping pad.
Since when did kids become adults at 13? Movie theaters, you're killing me.
This kids' sleeping pad weighs about a pound and rolls up tight, deeming it perfect for car-camping. When your kids are ready for backpacking in the backcountry, this remains a great option.
Mountain Smith Celestial
We just scored the 2-person Mountain Smith Celestial Tent on sale at Sierra Trading Post. The design reminds us our ole' trusty Sierra Designs tent, so we were sold. We bought this for our two boys to sleep in. If they get into backpacking as they get older, this will do the trick. Get yours before they're gone.
Sierra Designs Summer Moon 2
A 3-season tent, the Sierra Designs Summer Moon 2 is great for two siblings or mom and dad to share. Perfect for snuggling.
We bought our first Sierra Designs tent 20 years ago, and it's still going strong. It's our very favorite tent. Easy to set up, durable, and lightweight too.
LOVE the net dome for star-gazing.
Kelty Yellowstone 6 Tent
When our kids were younger, we preferred sleeping all together in the same tent. The Kelty Yellowstone 6 Tent is great for families who want to cozy up and saw some logs together.
I know there are A LOT of people manufacturing hammocks these days. But seriously, Hobo Hammocks made by Jake and his team are the BEST. They help feed the homeless with every hammock bought.
They're so great, I wrote 11 reasons to love Hobo Hammocks.
Buy a Hobo Hammock (complete with hanging straps, pouch, free shipping, and more) for just $59! Happy Birthday.
The Ultimate Packing Hack
We're a family of six riding the road in our Swagger Wagon. So just how do we tote all this dynamite camping gear around? Read why the The StowAway MAX Cargo Carrier is the ultimate packing hack here.
How can we help?
If you want to talk more about camping gear or budgeting and planning your next great road trip, I'd be happy to chat! Let's get connected.
This summer we'll be loading up the wagon and heading west. We're excited to camp a few nights in Sequoia National Park, as well as a four-night stint in Yosemite. Check out our California itinerary here.
Invest in quality sleeping gear and camping just might become a family fave.
What's on your list?
What camping gear have you found to be best bets for your family? How do you haul all of your gear around? We'd love to hear, so please comment below!