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The 5 best sleeping bags for side sleepers

A too-snug sleeping bag can make certain positions uncomfortable, but fortunately, there's camping gear designed with side sleepers in mind. The best sleeping bags for side sleepers provide more room for elbows, knees, and feet and have additional features, like a side-facing hood, to enhance your comfort. To find the right option for your needs, there are a few key factors you'll want to consider.

Sleeping bag shape

While classic mummy bags are extremely warm and the most popular style, their snug fit is not as comfortable for side sleepers. To accommodate side sleeping, some brands have made adjustments to the mummy design, including a roomier footbed that can be left open and a side-facing hood. Similarly, a spoon-shaped mummy bag helps seal in body heat but is extra-wide at the elbows and knees. For more space, you may prefer a rectangular sleeping bag with plenty of room to roll from side to side — but they’re bulkier and don’t trap body heat as well as mummy bags. Likewise, some side sleepers favor a no-zipper quilt that you can wrap around yourself like a comforter. This design usually features an insulated footbed that helps retain heat, even if your upper body is not zipped up tightly.

Weight & warmth

A lightweight sleeping bag that’s approximately 2 pounds or less is a good choice for long-distance hiking; heavier bags are better suited for camping trips. The type of insulation — down or synthetic — also plays a role in your sleeping bag’s weight. Down is durable and compressible, and a fill power of at least 600 will offer excellent insulation while remaining lightweight. Synthetic fill is more affordable and a better choice for damp weather, but it will be heavier than down to achieve the same level of warmth.

Finally, the best sleeping bags for side sleepers include lab-tested ISO/EN temperature ratings, which are the lowest temperatures at which an average sleeper will stay warm. If you’re a cold sleeper, use the "comfort rating" as your guide. If you sleep warm, focus on the "lower limit" temperature.

Whether you're camping or backpacking, there are options below in a range of weight and warmth levels that you'll have no trouble toting on your next trip.

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1. The one made just for side sleepers

Comfort rating: 30 degrees Fahrenheit

Lower-limit rating: 19 degrees Fahrenheit

Weight: 2 pounds, 4 ounces

Insulation: 650 fill power down and synthetic blend

Width: 61 inches (shoulder), 55 inches (hip), 36 inches (foot-box)

Designed specifically for side sleepers, this Sidewinder sleeping bag has won an Editor’s Choice Award from Backpacker magazine (though it doesn't have many reviews on Amazon yet). The bag has a cinching hood positioned on the side with a pocket that keeps the pillow in place as you move from side to side.

In addition to the down fill, this bag has recycled polyester insulation that provides extra cushioning at the hips and feet. The thermally efficient foot-box follows the shape of your feet when you’re lying on your side. A water-resistant nylon shell will keep you and the bag protected, and the non-snag zippers are positioned to be out of the way for side sleepers but still easy to reach.

The regular size will be comfortable for campers up to 6 feet tall, and the sleeping bag comes with a compression stuff sack.

  • Available sizes: Regular, Long
  • Available styles: 20-degree (featured), 30-degree

2. The no-zipper mummy

Comfort rating: 36 degrees Fahrenheit

Lower-limit rating: 26 degrees Fahrenheit

Weight: 1 pound, 7 ounces

Insulation: 800 fill power down treated to be water-resistant

Width: 60 inches (shoulder), 58 inches (hip), 40 inches (foot-box)

This lightweight mummy bag has a few features that make it a solid choice for side sleepers. The zipper-free bag has an internal fold that can be swept aside or tucked in like a comforter. Inside, there's an insulated shoulder pocket, and the self-sealing foot vent can be left open to create more room or to let in some air. The back of the bag has a sleeve that will keep your sleeping pad in place, even as you switch sides during the night. The bag has a nylon shell and a traditional cinching hood that faces up.

"With this bag, I can fall asleep on my side and just wrap the comforter part around me," wrote one reviewer. "Have used it down to about 45 degrees and it kept me almost too warm. The vent in the foot box is really nice."

The regular size is suitable for sleepers up to 6 feet tall and the sleeping bag comes with a stuff sack.

  • Available sizes: Regular, Long

3. The budget-friendly rectangular one

Comfort rating: 30 degrees Fahrenheit

Lower-limit rating: 15 degrees Fahrenheit

Insulation: Synthetic

Weight: 7 pounds

Width: 39 inches

The rectangular shape of this sleeping bag allows for elbows, knees, and feet to move around more freely. And with a length over 7 feet, this bag is comfortable even for tall sleepers. It has a soft flannel lining, plus a layer of synthetic fill that’s very insulating. Draft tubes around the shoulders and zipper prevent cold air from entering, and the half-circle hood is adjustable to preserve even more body heat. The sleeping bag’s taffeta shell is meant to stand up to years of use.

"Very comfortable and roomy. I am a side sleeper and I was able to move about easily," wrote one fan. "I recently used it to camp at Glacier National Park and I stayed toasty all night in 40 degree weather." There’s also an anti-snag zipper and an interior storage pocket for your phone or other valuables.

This sleeping bag is available in three colors in left- or right-zip styles, and it comes with a handy compression sack.

4. The versatile quilt

Comfort rating: 37 degrees Fahrenheit

Lower-limit rating: 27 degrees Fahrenheit

Insulation: 800 fill power down treated to be water-resistant

Weight: 1 pound, 6 ounces

Width: 56 inches (shoulder), 56 inches (hip), 40 inches (foot-box)

This quilt bag combines the versatility of a comforter with the structure of a traditional sleeping bag, allowing you to seal in warmth without feeling constricted. The zipper-free quilt wraps you up in warm, lightweight 800 fill power down, while an insulated foot-box helps keep body heat in. The quilt has insulated, roomy hand and arm pockets and a hide-away hood to help retain warmth. What's more, the nylon ripstop shell is tear- and water-resistant.

"A pretty awesome quilt," wrote one fan. Though the reviewer also noted, "I wouldn't recommend this quilt if you don't have a sleeping pad. You would need a pad that bounces your heat from the ground and once you have that you'll almost be sweating in this thing. It's light, it's cozy, the head hole is the perfect feature."

The Nitro Quilt will accommodate a person up to 6 feet, 3 inches tall and comes with a stuff sack.

  • Available styles: 20-degree, 35-degree (featured)

5. The spoon-shaped mummy

Comfort rating: Not listed

Lower-limit rating: 31 degrees Fahrenheit

Insulation: 650 fill power RDS-certified down

Weight: 2 pounds, 3 ounces

Width: 64 inches (shoulder), 59 inches (hip), 62 inches (knees)

Another option made with side sleepers in mind, this Nemo sleeping bag is designed with a “spoon” shape to give you extra room at the elbows and knees — a crucial detail for side sleepers. The brand’s signature Thermo Gills design provides ventilation and can be adjusted for maximum comfort, while a blanket fold around the face helps prevent drafts. The integrated pillow sleeve can be stuffed with clothes to elevate your head, and the ventilated foot-box is also waterproof.

To make getting in and out easier, the sleeping bag has a full-length double-slider zipper. Another plus: The down fill is Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certified for the humane treatment of animals. The ripstop shell is water- and wear-resistant and the sleeping bag includes a compression sack.

"Love the Nemo bags, they're my favorite by far," one reviewer wrote. "The "spoon" shape is perfect for side sleepers, I can't stand the restrictive classic mummy. No complaints here, I love these bags."

This regular size will fit a 6-foot tall sleeper comfortably, and other sizes and colors are available.

  • Available sizes: Regular, Long
  • Available styles: 15-degree men’s, 30-degree men’s (featured), 15-degree women’s, 30-degree women’s