Choosing A Sleeping Bag For Spring Camping

Now that campgrounds are opening back up across the state and the weather is improving, people are anxious to get outside. May is when our weather really turns toward summer. However, it’s still very much spring. Nights well into June can dip down into the 30s and even below freezing at higher elevations. Staying warm while camping is important, so here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a sleeping bag for spring camping.


The down/synthetic debate continues to rage. New fabric and technologies keep getting better and synthetic bags are getting lighter and more packable. Synthetic will always be king for conditions that could tend toward wet. If the forecast is looking dour, bring the synthetic bag. Down is lighter and more packable, and packs down enough to even be left in our pop-up tents when they’re closed. (Most synthetic bags are too bulky to allow for proper closure).

For most overlanding and car camping, the question of down vs synthetic falls down to what you’ve got. It’s not as important as it is for backpacking and other weight and space limited activities. That being said, we’ll lean toward down out of general preference.

Photo: Jess Delo


Spring nights can get chilly. The days of summer camping with a quilt and no bag are still a ways off. It’s also not cold enough to warrant the 0-degree bag for deep winter trips, unless you consistently run cold. A 15 to 20-degree sleeping bag is ideal for most of the year in Montana. It’s very versatile, and allows you to camp in comfort during chilly nights, without sweating you out.

Some people (myself included) sleep warm and go with a 25 to 30-degree bag. This saves weight and space and if you get cold you can always add extra layers. The lighter bag is perfect for those warmer summer nights as well. A silk liner is a great way to add a few degrees of warmth and keep your bag cleaner.


If you’re tent camping, be sure to have a comfy and insulated sleeping pad. Air mattresses sound like a great idea, but unless they are insulated you will be freezing. The air inside an air mattress gets as cold as the ambient temp and transmits that right to your body. A camping pad is the ticket. There are plenty of comfortable options for not too much.

If you’re camping in one of our adventure vehicle rentals, no need to worry about a sleeping pad since the tents feature foam pads. They’re warm and comfortable, even for side sleepers! Get more info and book your rental here.

Choosing a sleeping bag for spring camping doesn’t need to be challenging. Just bring what is comfortable and get out there! That’s the most important thing – don’t get too hung out on the details, just go. Enjoy your spring camping!


Share Post

Read More