Sleep Smart: Side Sleeper Sleeping Bags Explained

Side Sleeper Sleeping Bag: A camper sleeping on her side in a suitable sleeping bag

In this post, we'll take a look at:

Imagine this: You’re nestled in your cozy sleeping bag, surrounded by nature’s beauty, but you can’t find that sweet spot to snooze comfortably because you’re a side sleeper. Sound familiar?

In this post, we’ll unravel the mysteries of side sleeper sleeping bags, helping you understand why they matter and how they can transform your camping nights.

The Side Sleeper’s Struggle

So, what makes side sleeping such a challenge when you’re out in the wild? Let’s break it down.

  1. Comfort is Key: Side sleepers often find it hard to get comfortable in traditional sleeping bags. These bags are usually designed for back sleepers, and they can feel restrictive and cramped when you’re trying to curl up on your side.
  2. The Warmth Factor: Staying warm is crucial when you’re camping, especially in chilly weather. Side sleepers sometimes have trouble staying cozy because the way they sleep can cause cold drafts to sneak into their bags.
  3. Quality Sleep Matters: Camping should be about relaxation and enjoyment, not struggling to find the right position. Quality sleep ensures you wake up refreshed and ready for the adventures of the day.

No need to worry; we have a solution for nighttime comfort. In the next sections, we’ll look at side sleeper sleeping bags and accessories designed for side sleepers.

The Solution: Side Sleeper Sleeping Bags

Side Sleeper Sleeping Bag: A close-up from inside a tent where a camper is laying in their sleeping bag

Alongside traditional mummy bags and quilts, a game-changer is on the horizon for side sleepers: the “spoon-shaped” sleeping bag.

So, what makes these “spoon-shaped” bags special? Let’s take a closer look:

1. Tailored for Side Sleepers: Unlike standard mummy bags, which can feel restrictive when you try to sleep on your side, spoon-shaped bags provide extra room around the hips and knees. This design allows side sleepers to comfortably curl up and move around within the bag.

2. The Best of Both Worlds: A spoon-shaped bag combines heat retention like a mummy bag with improved mobility, offering warmth and flexibility in your sleeping position.

3. Nemo’s Innovation: Nemo is one of the leading brands in the world of “spoon-shaped” bags. Their designs are known for their quality and comfort, making them a top choice for side sleepers. You can also find options from companies such as Big Agnes and Sea to Summit.

Whether you’re an experienced camper or a beginner, a spoon-shaped sleeping bag can enhance your outdoor rest.

Sleeping Accessories for Side Sleepers

Sleeping accessories are vital for a comfortable camping experience as a side sleeper. Let’s delve into essential accessories for side sleepers:

  1. Sleeping Bag Liners: These act like cozy sheets for your sleeping bag, adding softness and warmth. Side sleepers benefit from reduced constriction and improved temperature regulation. Explore our TOP 5 guide to the lightest sleeping bag liners.
  2. Supportive Air Mattress: For dedicated side sleepers, proper support is crucial. Invest in an air mattress tailored to your sleeping style, offering extra cushioning under your shoulders and hips to relieve pressure and enhance sleep.
  3. Pillows: The ideal pillow is essential for side sleepers. A 5-inch thick pillow often works best.

Sleeping Tips for Side Sleepers

As a side sleeper, you might want to consider these practical tips for achieving the perfect sleep:

  1. Adjusting in the Bag: Instead of moving along with the bag, consider rolling inside it, especially with roomy sleeping bags. This technique can assist side and stomach sleepers in finding comfort.
  2. Separate Hood: Rolling inside the bag may make the hood less effective. In these situations, try a separate hood or a standard-length bag with a detachable hood. This allows you to stay warm and mobile simultaneously.
  3. Makeshift pillow: You can attain the ideal balance of support and softness for your existing air pillow by encasing it inside a fleece jacket.


Camping under the stars should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience, and as a side sleeper, you shouldn’t have to compromise on comfort.

By understanding the challenges you face and exploring the solutions like spoon-shaped sleeping bags, sleeping accessories, and practical sleeping tips, you can transform your camping nights forever.

Interested in an ultralight sleeping bag? Check out our TOP 5 guides for the lightest options available.


What is the best shape sleeping bag for side sleepers?

For side sleepers, the best shape for a sleeping bag is often the “spoon-shaped” design. Spoon-shaped sleeping bags offer extra room around the hips and knees, allowing side sleepers to comfortably curl up and move around within the bag. This design strikes a balance between the heat retention of a mummy bag and the freedom of movement side sleepers need. Brands like Nemo, Big Agnes, and Sea to Summit offer excellent options in this category. Ultimately, the ideal shape may vary based on personal preference, but spoon-shaped bags are a popular choice for side sleepers seeking both comfort and warmth.

How do you sleep on your side when camping?

Sleeping on your side while camping can be comfortable with the right gear and technique. First, choose a sleeping bag designed for side sleepers, like a “spoon-shaped” bag, which offers extra room around the hips and knees. Use a supportive pillow that keeps your head at a level plane to the ground. Consider a sleeping bag liner for added comfort and temperature regulation. To maximize comfort, adjust within the bag or roll inside it to find your preferred sleeping position.

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