If you are going on a trip and can’t bear to be parted from your significant other by your sleeping bag, you can’t just toss the bags in the vehicle or backpack and say, “We’ll just zip them together when we arrive,” – it’s not quite that easy. Zipping sleeping bags together needs a little planning up front.
Sleeping bags can be zipped together – but whether it can be done successfully depends on the shape of sleeping bag, the zipper type and size.
Rectangular bags aren’t a problem, but mummy style or hooded bags need to be either left zippered or right zippered when you buy them because you can’t pair two of the same type – you need one left and one right sided zipper to create that roomy bag for two.
Keeping Each Other Warm
Sleeping bags are designed to keep one person warm and have a warmth rating and a season rating to help you determine what sort of warmth is needed, depending on the time of the year you are planning on camping.
Zipping bags together in very cold conditions can mean a less efficient use of the space in the bag.
The warmth rating may be a little off, as there are more gaps inside the bag, and more movement is possible, meaning the thermal insulation is not as efficient.
However, we all know that the combined body heat of two people is better than one’s…
Buy for Sharing, Not Sharing After You Buy
It is best when buying sleeping bags to buy them at the same time and check in store that the zipper styles are the same, with a warmth rating which will suit both of you.
Rectangular bags are opened out flat and laid out with the inner quilting facing each other and then zipped together. Watch this video to see how to zip two rectangular sleeping bags together:
When planning on zipping bags together the type of zipper is important. The YKK zippers from the Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha company, translating roughly from the Japanese to Yoshida Company Limited, that started in 1934, are the most common.
The company supplies well over 7 billion zippers a year to eminent companies worldwide where compromise on quality is not acceptable.
The secret to their success is making everything in-house from smelting the brass needed in zipper stoppers, to creating the plastic parts, spinning and dyeing the yarn, weaving the fabric.
In fact they control every part of the YKK zips from start to finish including making their own special zipper machines, the design of which is a closely guarded secret.
Zipper Size and Type
Each zipper has a size indicated on it, which you may need a magnifying glass to see, but it will be there. Watch this video to see where to find the zipper size and type on most zippers:
To zip sleeping bags together you will need the same type of zipper – for example a coil zipper to a coil zipper. You will see a little C stamped on the zipper to indicate it’s a coil zipper or a V for Vislon.
The difference is that the little teeth of coiled zippers are molded onto the zipper tape whereas the Vislon zippers have the teeth sewn on.
The little number on the slider will normally give you the gauge size of the zipper, indicating the size of the teeth that interlock on the zipper which are measured in millimeters when the zipper is closed.
The bigger the number stamped on the slider the bigger the size of the gauge – so a number 4 will be fairly small while a size 15 gauge will be much bigger.
So, before trying to zip bags together check the sizing – a size 4 to size 4 of the same brand will fit, but you won’t be able to fit a size 3 to a size 5.
Coil zippers are usually used for sleeping bags as they are stronger as there is more area for the zip to lock together.
Check Age of Sleeping Bags to Be Zipped
Don’t think that because you both have the same brand of sleeping bag that they will automatically be compatible for zipping together. Manufacturers may change the zip size or type on a product and even change the length from year to year.
So, if one sleeping bag is a couple of years old it may not be compatible with a new one of the same make.
Zipping Mummy or Shaped Bags Together
When you want to zip two mummy-style bags together, you need to make sure you purchase one bag that has a left-handed zipper and one with a right-handed zipper.
To make sure you don’t get LHS and RHS mixed lie down on your back on your bag and see which side the zipper is – if it’s on the left of your body it’s a LHS bag and on the right, a RHS.
It’s easy to get confused if you are holding the bag up and trying to figure it out because then LHS and RHS are reversed.
The bonus with zipping shaped bags together is you can choose different warmth ratings. If one person is a cold sleeper and one is a warm sleeper then you have the bag to suit you while still being in the same sleeping bag, you just have to make sure the zips are compatible.
Before packing for a camping trip to check that the sleeping bags you have are compatible and can be zipped together, otherwise you are going to each be on your own in your sleeping bag, a scenario far less romantic than snuggling in together.
Do an experiment with the sleeping bags at home, and when successful, put the zipped-together sleeping bags as one bundle in the vehicle so there is no drama when trying to put them together in the dark.
Traveler, photographer, writer. I’m eternally curious, in love with the natural world. How people can survive in harmony with nature has fueled my food safety and survival gardening practices.
At the age of 12, I found a newspaper advertisement for a 155-acre farm at a really good price and showed my parents one Sunday morning. They bought it and I happily started planting vegetables, peanuts, maize and keeping bees with the help of the local labor. Once I married wherever we moved it was all about planting food, keeping chickens and ducks, permaculture and creating micro-climates. I learned how to build wooden cabins and outdoor furniture from pallets, and baked and cooked home-grown produce, developing recipes as I went along.
Over the years on numerous trips to wild places and cities I’ve learned all sorts of survival hacks, but there is always someone out there who can teach you a new trick so I remain an eternal student and forever humble.