Best Family Camping Sleeping Bags and Tents

Best tent camping gear for families

Are you looking into more adventure travel and camping vacations with your family? 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 when you’re camping. So here’s the best adult and kids camping gear as far as sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and family tents are concerned.

We’ve been at this camping/backpacking thing over the past 22 years. Not deeming ourselves total experts yet, but we’ve tent-camped with kids in Normandy, France, along the Niangua River in the Ozark Mountains, at several national parks, and all over Colorado.

Our family camping vacations, 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 camping gear, sleeping bags, and tents over time.  

How to Go Car camping with kids and Love it

If you’re not 100% sure you love a camping family vacation, consider borrowing good adult and kids camping gear from experienced camping friends before you buy out

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 gave us a head start. Christmas and birthdays are a great way to get your gear too. 

As kids come along, you’ll need to beef up your kid’s camping gear with kid-specific sleeping bags, more sleeping pads, and a bigger tent, or an additional tent.

As your kids become teenagers, they require adult-size sleeping bags and pads. This post zeroes in on sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and tents for families. 

What else do you need for your family campsite? Access our ultimate checklist of family camping gear essentials and never forget a thing! 

Best sleeping bags for Tent Camping

Best ADult Sleeping Bag: Kelty Cosmic Down 20

We invested in new Kelty Cosmic Down sleeping bags after 20 years of sleeping with our synthetic Marmot it was the best decision.  

Our bodies get colder as we get older, and these adult sleeping bags are perfect for 3-season car camping and backpacking. And the price is right for this impressive, pack-down-tight, lightweight bag. 

To keep your down sleeping bags in good shape, hang them in your closets. Never leave your down sleeping bags stuffed in their bags for long periods. To keep them clean and odor-free, periodically wipe them down with a 50/50 water/vinegar solution and let them air dry in the sun.

We plan to use our new Kelty sleeping bags for at least the next decade.

Best Sleeping Bags for Kids: Kelty Big Dipper 30 degree BAG

Several Christmases ago, our four kids each received 30 degrees Kelty kids sleeping bags and they have been worth their weight in gold. 

A kids sleeping bag labeled “30 degrees” simply means the bag will keep your kiddo warm even if the air outside gets as cold as 30 degrees.* 

Kelty makes some of the best kids camping gear. Their sleeping bags keep your kiddos snug and cozy on even the chilliest of Colorado nights. Kelty sleeping bags pack up light and tight too, so they don’t take up much space when you’re packing the car for camping.

PRO TIP: A clever way to add warmth to any sleeping bag is to fill up any extra space at the bottom of your bag with extra clothes, like a sweatshirt or sweatpants, or both. Then your feet stay warm and those clothing items will be warm too when you need to throw them on in the morning before you climb out of your tent. 

Camping Blankets

Here’s another fantastic way to add more warmth to your tent. Throw this warm puffy blanket over your sleeping bags. 

The Sorenson Puffy Blanket is made with synthetic down designed for premium quality warmth, featherlike softness and packability is perfect for taking along on car camping trips or to your kids’ next soccer or football match. It is also made to resist stains, odors, pet hair, and sand. Makes a great gift for your outdoor adventure lovers!

The Lightest Blanket

When every ounce matters, the Rumpl Featherlite is your everywhere blanket. This lightest blanket yet it is the same size as Rumpl’s Original Puffy Blanket seen here, at less than half the weight. 

An incredibly durable blanket that feels light-as-a-feather, the goose down filled Rumpl is your everywhere blanket for hiking and camping when space is limited, but comfort is crucial.

Best Sleeping Pads for Tent Camping

Best Adult Sleeping pad: Exped Synmat 7 

Goodbye blow-up mattresses that don’t last through an entire year.

The Exped Synmat 7 Sleeping Pad is a life-changer for moms and dads who desire to car-camp and sleep on a warm, comfy bed that also packs down light and small when not in use. 

Your growing, adventurous teens will love them too. Durable easy to fill with the integrated hand-pump, this pad is great for tent-camping and backpacking. Plus, no crackling or crinkling when you move around in your sleep. 

Kids Sleeping Pad: REI Kindercamp Kids’ Pad

For the best kids camping gear when it comes to a sleeping pad, REI’s 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 the adult size sleeping pad above.  

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.

Best Family Tents for Car Camping

Every family likes to tent camp differently. Some parents prefer their children to sleep in the same tent with them, especially when they are younger. We’ve been known to park a pack and play inside a tent many times!

As your kids get older, you may prefer for them to share their tent with a sibling. 

REI Co-op Base Camp 6 Tent

One big family tent means you only spend time putting up one tent and you have space to play games and keep each other company when a bit of rain comes.

If you’re looking for the best family tent for car camping, the REI Co-op Base Camp 6 Tent is great for families who want to cozy up together, safe, and dry from the elements. 

We’ve had our above REI six-person tent for nearly 20 years and have only made one small tent pole repair. Plus, it’s the easiest tent to put up and takedown. 

Mountain Smith Celestial

The two-person Mountain Smith Celestial Tent has been a favorite with our growing kids and teenagers. The kids can assemble this tent quickly and easily together. has this tent on clearance at the time of writing.

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. We have two boys and two girls, so our family camps with three 2-man tents.

As far as kids camping gear, this tent is a piece of cake even for an eight-year-old to set up.

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. Plus, we LOVE the net dome for star-gazing.

Best Places to shop Sleeping bags, Pads, and Tents

There are always deals to be found on long-lasting adult and kids camping gear, and we recommend shopping around to get the best price. 

Here are the best online stores to buy quality family tents for car camping, kids sleeping bags, adult sleeping bags, and sleeping pads that are also durable, lightweight, and packable:

Family Camping Gear Essentials and more

The Ultimate Camping Gear Checklist

Family camping. There’s nothing quite like it. But what if you don’t know what to bring and you lack the gear to prove it? 

Here’s the Ultimate Family Camping Gear Essentials Checklist as you prepare for more adventure travel with kids and teens. This packing list covers everything from best family camping gear for the camp kitchen, campsite essentials, sleeping gear, proper clothing and shoes for outdoor recreation, and more.

Wise Owl Outfitters hammocks 

On clear nights, your kids and teens might feel even more adventurous sleeping out in a hammock while you are sleeping in the tent. 

There are A LOT of people manufacturing hammocks these days. But seriously, Wise Owl Hammocks made by Jake and his team are the BEST. Plus, they help feed the homeless with every hammock bought. 

How to pack the Car for camping

The Stowaway2 Max Cargo Carrier

For big families road-tripping in their Swagger Wagons, this is the perfect way to tote all of your family camping gear. 

Don’t go shopping for a bigger vehicle. The StowAway2 Max Cargo Carrier (pictured above) fits on a 2” hitch is the ultimate packing hack and will give you the extra trunk space you need.

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