'Wearable Sleeping Bag' Put to the Test

Invented in Chile, the Selk’bag Sleepwear System first came to our attention in 2008. This year, the company released an updated “wearable sleeping bag” line, and we put it to the test on two recent trips.

The Selk’bag 4G Lite line includes adult and kid models, both made with polyester insulation and fabric. The bags, rated to 45 degrees, fit loosely and are comfortable while sleeping if somewhat cumbersome when walking around.

selk bag.jpg

Selk’bag Sleepwear

But the hybrid product lets you sit up and read in a tent, cook, walk outside (the “feet” are reinforced), and even get up for a pee break in the middle of the night — all without ever removing your sleeping bag!

The company’s new bag line, called 4G, is lighter weight than the past products. A kids bag is about 2.5 pounds, and the adult models are 3.5 to 4 pounds, depending on size. They pack up as small as many comparable sleeping bags, fitting easily in a backpack.

In our tests, the bags worked pretty good. Our kid tester, my six-year-old daughter, loved her bag. She was thrilled with the fun design, and she said it was “super comfortable” for two nights of summertime car camping.

selk bag packed.jpg

Selk bag packed up

We put the adult Selk bag through the paces on a much more serious adventure — two nights in the Uinta Mountains of Utah. Temps got down to about 40 degrees, and one night our tester slept out under the stars. He was cold that night.

In our ultra-light tent and on an inflatable pad, camping at 10,900 feet near Kings Peak, our tester was warm enough in the bag, though somewhat unconvinced that the “arms and legs” added much advantage. “It’s like a mitten versus a glove,” he said. “The mitten is warmer.”

selk bag by the sea.jpg

Extreme use: Selk bag on a stroll near Arctic waters

Overall, the Selk line is worth a look. The price is right. At $79 and up, the Selk’bag line is affordable. They are sold via www.selkbagusa.com and on www.mountaingear.com.

I’d not recommend the Selk bags for anything too serious outside. They are a bit heavy for their warmth, and the bags’ built-in multi-functionality is probably further down on your list than packability and warmth. But for car campers, and especially for kids, the new Selk’bag 4G Lite line might be a perfect fit.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.

Posted by Michael EcoHiker Defenbaugh - 08/15/2011 10:37 AM

To be honest I thought the idea was a little creepy at first (just the idea of being a sleeping bag monster), but I do have to say that your little lady testing it out really gave me a smile. I might invest in one for my lady and I (and eventually maybe the kids) while summer camping, but for my more serious adventures I’ll stick to my 0 degree down bag (the size fits all vs. the Selk being a fitted bag).

Posted by Alecia - 08/15/2011 11:45 AM

I think I want to hear the technical details of how you pee without take the bag off.

Posted by Jordan - 08/15/2011 12:36 PM

This is the weirdest sleeping bag. It looks like you’d be a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in this.

Posted by Outdoor Jedi - 08/15/2011 01:16 PM

This is awesome. Glad to see the Gear Junkie gets that its not an expedition bag. I think they have a Primaloft version coming out for backpackers later this year. My kids have the 3G kids version and they go crazy for it – its made camping a lot more fun for everyone. The selk just makes sense.

Posted by Matty - 08/15/2011 02:05 PM

@Alecia He failed to mention that males could pee without taking it off. There is a zipper that you can pull upward (as seen in the picture), then a male can navigate through it. Though personally, I wouldn’t want to risk urinating on my sleeping bag. I do have a Selk Bag though, and they are comfy for those of us that like to move around whilst we sleep, or feel claustrophobic in a tighter sleeping bag.

Posted by Graeme - 08/16/2011 02:01 AM

So basically this is a copy of the German Army sleeping bag but with separated legs. The German idea was better with a hooded jacket with a leg section that could be zipped on at night. More useful overall.

Posted by whiskers - 08/16/2011 07:29 AM

Not the most revolutionary idea (have seen suit-type sleeping bags before), but as someone who can’t sleep still and in one pose all night long and therefore hates regular sleeping bags, let me say that this is a great idea, especially given that the price is not astronomical.

Posted by DangerGator - 08/18/2011 11:03 AM

Would also make a nice warm Gumby Halloween costume.

Posted by Kerri - 08/18/2011 09:24 PM

Just perfect for hammock camping where it’s very hard to get into a bag when in the hammock. I ordered one but I’m somewhat large around the middle and it didn’t fit :(
The company may be releasing a larger size later this year

Posted by Amber Hampton - 09/08/2011 09:42 PM

I agree with Kerri great for hammock folks only draw back is it’s quite heavy at least I think. Great invention though might be good for one or two days maybe. I wouldn’t mind one myself.

Posted by emerson - 12/20/2011 03:09 PM


Posted by Justin Mountford - 03/01/2012 12:50 AM

Hey Guys,
Just came across this post, yea, i’m a bit late to party, geez its 2012 already. I actually sell those Selk Bag things so I thought I’d comment.

Really happy to see “real” people out there using them. The models look nice in them, but it’s better when you hear hunters, campers and fishermen use em too. The most compelling reason for me was the ability to pee in the morning after a big one when camping… Gold!


Posted by Noniboy - 07/24/2012 02:50 PM

I just come across this article and must say that this concept is not ‘invented’ in Chile, in fact is really old idea and i have 20 years old army bag similar to this and it’s made for snipers.

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