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Snugpak Basecamp Explorer children’s sleeping bag review: fully unzippable for alternative uses

Very versatile and good value, the Snugpak Basecamp Explorer is an excellent first sleeping bag

Snugpak Basecamp Explorer children’s sleeping bag
(Image: © Snugpak)

Our Verdict

A great value, versatile all-rounder, best-suited to warmer weather camping.

For

  • • Good value
  • • Unrestrictive shape
  • • Doubles as a quilt

Against

  • • Low warmth to weight ratio
  • • One size only
  • • Not PFC-free

Snugpak Basecamp Explorer: first impressions

A great choice for summer camping trips, the Snugpak Basecamp Explorer is a dedicated children’s sleeping bag designed as an introduction to the Snugpak range. It combines a roomy, square cut around the feet with a cosy drawcord hood and adjustable shoulder baffle, allowing heat to be retained or air to circulate as required. 

There’s no length adjustment, so it’s limited to kids of between about five and 10, depending on height. While it’s fairly heavy for its warmth, the packsize is decent, making it a solid choice for shorter hikes or space-limited car camping trips. Overall, it’s hard to beat for value, and also scores well on versatility, fully unzipping to double as a camping quilt or even a picnic blanket.

Specifications

• RRP: $42 (US) / £32 (UK)
• Weight: 1,000g / 2Ib 2oz
• Style: Square with hood
• Length: 170cm / 67in
• Max height of user: 140cm / 55in
• Packsize: 24cm x 20cm / 9in x 8in
• Fill: Polyester Isofibre
• Season rating: Late spring through summer
• Compatibility: Family camping trips, sleepovers

Snugpak Basecamp Explorer: in the field

In use, the kids loved the contrast blue/yellow colorway and found the left-side zip easy to grasp and move. The inner is soft and comfortable but the tough outer material is quite noisy as the occupant moves around at night.

Having always been fans of traditional mummy-shaped, tapered sleeping bags, we fully embraced having a fully unzippable square version last summer. The Basecamp Explorer went with us on picnics and out in the garden, as well as on camping trips, proving its versatility as an all-round useful piece of kit that’s perfect for outdoorsy families. 

For use as a sleeping bag, though, it definitely reaches its limits when the weather turns colder. On an chilly visit to Snowdonia National Park complete with sideways rain and considerable windchill, this great-value bag simply didn’t offer enough warmth on its own. Instead, we opted for warmer bags (such as the Deuter Starlight), using the Snugpack in its fully unzipped mode as a cosy blanket over the top.

Award-winning outdoor adventure writers and photographers, Jen and Sim are the authors of eight books, including The Adventurer’s Guide to Britain, Amazing Family Adventures and the forthcoming 100 Great Walks with Kids, which will be published in March 2021. In 2015 they spent a year living under canvas, exploring Britain’s wild places with their two young children. Find out more at Adventure Places.