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We are heading out on our first family camping. We tested out our sleeping bags in the living room.

The two kids ( ~2 & ~5 yo) wanted to share one adult sleeping bag. I'm expecting that it will end in a fight before long, but if it doesn't:

Is it a bad idea to let two small siblings share an adult sleeping bag?

(My quick googling about if one should have children sized bags or not brought up issues such as overheating and suffocation, neither one of had I ever worried about before! I thought maybe there is something else that I hadn't thought of... so anything less than obvious would be appreciated.)

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    Could you clarify what it is you are concerned about? Is it potential damage to the sleeping bag or suffocation of one of the children, or something else, or something you can't put your finger on, but feel uneasy about? (I don't have children, so I can't be of help in this.) – ab2 May 11 '18 at 17:40
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    My quick googling about if one should have children sized bags or not brought up issues such as overheating and suffocation, neither one of had I ever worried about before! I thought maybe there is something else that I hadn't thought of... so anything less than obvious would be appreciated. – Simppa May 11 '18 at 18:04
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    Would they accept sleeping in two adult-sized sleeping bags? What we sometimes did was unzip both, have one under and the other on top as a blanket. Reassuringly bed-like and no fear of getting trapped. Would that ruin the fun for them? – Luke Sawczak May 11 '18 at 22:45
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    Thinking of my sibling cousins that are similar of age, I'd worry of the older one trapping the younger one accidently in her sleep and causing suffocation. She might also fight for more room and not understand that it's dangerous for her sister to be completely inside. Luke Sawczak's idea seems much safer. – JoL May 11 '18 at 22:47
  • If your tent is long enough you could open up the foot end and let the sleep at opposite ends of the same sleeping bag. They're short enough, one of them will just be laying on a zipper. On a more serious note: I think it really depends on your two year old. Would they be confortable in a bag with a larger kid whose also using them as some sort of teddy bear? – Monster May 12 '18 at 7:11
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Not a bad idea.

I happen to have a 5 and 3 year old. I can think of reasons for not letting them sleep in the same sleeping bag, but none of them are because it wouldn't work in theory. If your two kids would actually sleep together in one bag, then I'd say it's a great idea. They'll stay warmer at night and that's one less bag for you to pack.

Your only concern with suffocation is if they go too deep inside the bag. I remember trying to spelunk all the way to the bottom of my adult sized sleeping bag when I was a kid; if you got stuck down there then you could get in trouble. The easy solution is to leave the bottom open. Most sleeping bags have a double zipper on them. The other thing you could do is fold the sleeping bag in half, folding the foot of the bag up underneath your kids. This will reduce the volume of the bag so they can't get swallowed by it, and it will add some extra warmth and comfort beneath them.

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    "They'll stay warmer at night and that's one less bag for you to pack." Probably not a good idea if the OP expects it to end in a fight. ;) – jpmc26 May 13 '18 at 12:01
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    @jpmc26 Hence the caveat, "If they'll actually sleep in the same bag..." – ShemSeger May 13 '18 at 14:41
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I'd probably wonder about the quality of sleep they will get. This depends a lot on the sleeping bag itself, how warm it is, if it comes with a zip, what the outer temperature is, etc., but also, on the width (the inner circumference). Imagine they shared a bed: how wide would it need to be so they both get a good night's sleep? The bag circumference ought to be at least twice the width of the bed. They should be able to lie comfortably next to each other, with a little extra room.

Special bags for kids are shorter to economize on weight (if they need to carry the bag), but also in cold climates, it can be difficult for a child to warm up their leg area in an adult sleeping bag, because of the extra empty space. Other than that, I do not see a problem with a kid in an adult bag (though I'd be careful with the 2-year old). At the worst, the extra leg area can be tied up from outside with a string, so the kid cannot "sink" into it.

I might embrace the idea of kids sharing a bag but still pack another bag, just in case. Perhaps they change their mind quite early into the night.

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    I used to share with my sister, one of us at each end. We enjoyed kicking each other's feet for a bit, but soon went to sleep when the novelty wore off. – Michael Kay May 11 '18 at 23:54
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    @MichaelKay That could be another answer for the question, involving using both ends of the sleeping bag – fyrepenguin May 12 '18 at 1:07
  • @fyrepenguin I was going to suggest it in my answer, but then had flashbacks to the awfulness of a cold zipper scratching my face and neck as a child. I don't think they use metal zippers on sleeping bags much anymore, so it probably isn't as uncomfortable anymore. – ShemSeger May 13 '18 at 14:40
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We do this all the time. It's fine. Just leave the bottom open. It will help them feel more secure and safe especially if they sleep in the same bed at home sometimes.

There are no risks, and no dangers, but there you do want to leave it

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