Double Sleeping Bag VS Single – A Full Comparison


If you like to go camping as a couple (Like I often do) then you may have wondered if it would be better to get a double sleeping bag or if it’s better to have two single sleeping bags. I too have often wondered this, and so I finally did some research and put them together head to head. In this post, I want to try to uncover whether it is better for two people to share a double sleeping bag, or if it is better for them to have their own separate single sleeping bags.

So, what are some of the things that you need to consider when comparing single sleeping bags and double sleeping bags? You should ask these questions:

  • Which option will keep you warmer?
  • Which option is more versatile?
  • Which option weighs less?
  • Which option is easier to maintain?
  • Which one will provide more comfort?
  • Which one is right for me?

By the way, If you are in the market for a new sleeping bag, then you should click here to see the one I recommend on Amazon.

Which Option Will Keep You Warmer?

The warmth offered by your sleeping bag is going to depend a lot of the material it is made from and thus the temperature rating that it offers. Generally speaking, single sleeping bags are made to be rated for much lower temperatures than double sleeping bags are. Single sleeping bags be rated for extremely low temperatures, often well below freezing. While double sleeping bags can be made with the same material, you don’t really see them with temperature ratings that are as low as some singles. Doubles could never truly provide the snugness of the material to keep you as warm as possible.

Double sleeping bags, on the other hand, do allow for body heat to be shared and therefore allowing the internal temperature of the bag to heat up more quickly. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on circumstances. You won’t be able to effectively vent out heat as well as you would with a single sleeping bag. You can find just the perfect amount of unzipping to keep the temperature just right for you if you have your own sleeping bag. If you have a double bag then you could be affecting the other person when you are venting some heat out.

Everyone is different and everyone enjoys sleeping at different temperatures. For example, I like to sleep in slightly colder temperatures than my wife does. If we are in a double sleeping bag and I unzip some of it in order to let out some heat, it would cause her to get cold and have an uncomfortable night’s sleep. If I didn’t unzip it and let out some heat then I would not get a good night’s sleep because I would be too hot. Not everyone can win in a double sleeping bag.

Another warmth factor to consider is head zips on the sleeping bags. There are doubles with head zips, but most of them do not have head zips. Whereas single sleeping bags usually always have a head zip once they get to a certain temperature rating. Having a head zip to keep your head warm could make a huge difference if the temperature is cold enough, and single sleeping bags are gonna offer you more options for them.

If you think you will just tuck your head into a regular sleeping bag then you could be in for a big surprise. Breathing inside your bag will cause moisture to build up inside of it and actually make you feel colder.

Warmth Winner: Single Sleeping Bags

Which Option Is More Versatile?

Versatility is important when selecting a sleeping bag. After all, we want to have the most choices and uses when it comes to our camping gear right? 

For carrying, single sleeping bags are easier to carry because they take up less room in one spot. If that spot is inside your car then you can store two sleeping bags separately in different places to make them fit better. If you had one big bulky double sleeping bag then you have fewer options for where you are going to store it in the car. If you are carrying the sleeping bags by hand to a campsite or in a backpack then you would find the single sleeping bags easier to transport for the same reasons.

A single sleeping bag can easily be taken on camping trips where you might not be camping as a couple. If you just had the double sleeping bag then you would have to be stuck with using it by yourself on a solo camping trip or a camping trip with someone other than your significant other. Having a single sleeping bag offers more flexibility because it could also be used for more advanced camping like backpacking. A double sleeping bag while backpacking would take up a ton of room and waste lots of space. 

Versatility Winner: Single Sleeping Bags

Which Option Weighs Less?

Weight of your sleeping bags is going to depend so much on brand, material, temperature rating, size, etc. but you can generally expect one double sleeping bag to weigh less than two single sleeping bags of the same brand, material, and temperature rating. That should be pretty obvious though right? The weight will probably be insignificant anyway, and here’s why:

If you are car camping then the weight really doesn’t matter at all. What’s 2 more pounds of cargo load in your car from having two sleeping bags instead of one? It is more important for them to offer easier storage than for them to offer less weight. Especially when we are talking single digit pounds. On the other hand, if you are doing walk-in camping or backpacking then weight can be a lot more important.

Don’t let less weight fool you though. Even if the double sleeping bag does weigh less than singles, the weight distribution is going to be a lot more awkward to carry. Weight distribution is more important to total weight when the additional weight is negligible, especially if you are carrying it on your bag or in your hands like backpacking or walk-in sites.

Weight Winner: Double Sleeping Bag

Weight Distribution Winner: Single Sleeping Bags

Which Option Is Easier To Maintain?

Washing a single sleeping bag and drying it is much easier than trying to do the same thing with a double sleeping bag. Washers and Dryers have limited space, and one single sleeping bag takes up less space than one double sleeping bag. So for keeping them clean, the winner is singles.

If you are out camping and your double sleeping bag gets wet then you are pretty much screwed if it is the only blanket that you have. If you have two single sleeping bags and one of them gets wet, you still have one dry bag that you can share by unzipping it and using it as a regular comforter. It won’t be as warm, but it would be a lot better than sleeping in a damp double bag that’s for sure. In this circumstance, the winner is singles.

For the initial price, two individual sleeping bags are most likely going to be a little more expensive than one double sleeping bag of similar quality and material. However, the single sleeping bags are going to be worth the investment and long term could end up costing less for replacement, here’s why:

If you happen to damage your double sleeping bag beyond basic repair and have to replace it then you will incur a cost more than the replacement of a single sleeping bag in a similar situation. So while a double sleeping bag might cost less than two individual sleeping bags initially, if you have to replace it due to damage then you will pay less overall replacing one single sleeping bag than replacing one double sleeping bag. So when it comes to replacement, single sleeping bags are usually going to cost less in the long run.

Maintenance Winner: Single Sleeping Bags

Which Option Provides More Comfort?

So we already know that when it comes to providing warmth the single sleeping bags are usually made to be rated for lower temperatures and so ultimately they would be more comfortable in colder temperatures.

If you are camping in the summer or on nights that aren’t really that cold then the double sleeping bag has the advantage of offering more comfort in the form of intimacy, cuddling, and snuggling for couples. If you are used to those things at home in your regular bed, then doing them while out camping could make you feel like your home and could be more comfortable for both of you.

If you just have the single sleeping bags and it’s pretty warm outside then you could open it up to use just like a comforter and then have that intimacy, cuddling, and snuggling all the same. Being bundled up in a big double sleeping bag can be comfortable for couples though if the temperature is right and so I have to give comfort and familiarity to the double sleeping bag.

Comfort Winner: Double Sleeping Bag

Can I Get The Best Of Both Worlds?

Here’s the good news, you can have the best of both worlds. How? You might ask: By getting two single sleeping bags that have the ability to zip together in order to create a double! This is my favorite choice of all because you can have it all: warmth, versatility, lightweight, proper weight distribution, easy maintenance, comfort, you name it. You can adapt to any situation by either keeping them separate or zipping them together when the time is right.

It’s important to do some research on this one in order to make sure that the two sleeping bags you get can properly zip together. Usually, it will be expressly written in the description. Most likely you will want to get the same brand and type of sleeping bag to make this work. Sometimes you will see ones with left zip or right zip and one of each will usually pair together quite nicely. With the proper set up of two singles that can zip together, you will be ready for any camping trip

Overall Winner: Single Sleeping bags

Which One Is Right For Me?

Single sleeping bags that can zip together are probably going to be best for most couples. Consider the temperature of where you will be going camping, but also keep in mind that if you wanted to ever try some colder weather camping, the single sleeping bags would give you that choice.

Consider how you will be doing the majority of your camping. If it is just regular car camping in the summer then both choices will probably suit you well. If you think there is even the slightest chance that you think you will deviate, then maybe it’s better to go with two separate singles that zip together, that’s what I would do.

If you want your gear to last you for years to come then get something that is higher quality and you won’t regret it. If the bags can zip together then you have the ultimate versatility that you can take advantage of for many camping trips to come.

Conclusion

I think that getting two high-quality single sleeping bags that have the ability to mate together is the best option for most couples. Singles can keep you warmer, they are more versatile, they are easier to pack, they are easier to maintain, and they can offer you the benefits of double sleeping bags as long as you find two that can zip together properly. Decide for yourself which type of sleeping bag is going to be right for you, but I don’t think you can go wrong with two singles that can zip together for most situations.

My Favorite Camping Gear

  • Air Mattress: click here to check out my favorite on Amazon.
  • Tent: click here to see my favorite tent available on Amazon.
  • Sleeping Pad: click here to check out the one I love on Amazon.
  • Sleeping Bag: click here to see the one I recommend on Amazon.
  • Camping Stove: click here to see the best camping stove on Amazon.

Zachary Smith

Zach is an avid outdoorsman that loves going camping with his Prius every chance he gets. He also regularly enjoys hiking and fishing. When he's not outside you can probably find him writing about it on this website. See his full bio here

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