Alcott recently updated the design and materials of their Explorer Sleeping Bag and sent Breezy one to test on our adventures. While we hadn’t used a dog specific sleeping bag before, this bag has been a definite upgrade to Breezy’s camp life! We’ve taken it out car camping as well as backpacking and it’s worked great for both! She enjoys sleeping in it or on top of it and it’s so nice to have a clear place for her to hang out while we’re at camp. The outer material is water resistant which puts my mind at ease about it sitting on wet grass, snow, or whatever the ground throws its way.
The trim and the base of this bag are black while the centre is bright green. This makes it nice and easy to keep track of without being an eyesore. The inner material is light grey and is relatively soft. We opted or the size medium which is 38” long by 24” wide – this surprised me a little as I was expecting it to be more evenly circular as some other dog sleeping bags are. It’s an interesting design choice as it allows a dog to stretch out once inside. The bag has a 3/4 zipper allowing it to lay fully flat when open. It also has a velcro strap inside for added protection when closed – it helps keep the zipper from accidentally opening if your pup moves around in the bag at night. As with most dog sleeping bags, it isn’t the easiest for Breezy to get into the bag on her own while its zipped. Most of the time we’re around camp I leave it unzipped / open or she simply sleeps on top of both layers, which I think she enjoys quite as much as sleeping inside of it.
Much of the camping we do is backpacking, where every ounce counts, so this bag coming in at 19.5oz is a bonus to us! The bag is filled with a synthetic material which means it can be a bit of a bulky (albeit lightweight) attachment if you’re backpacking. It comes with its own matching travel bag, which is great for regular travel and car camping. With a proper compression sack this bag will pack down small enough to fit into a larger dog backpack. Keep in mind though that as it isn’t down, or even synthetic down, it will not compress in the same way those materials do.
We tested this bag in a number of different temperatures, usually with nothing underneath it. When it was very cold (under 30F/0C), Breezy preferred sleeping on top of the bag so the dual layer of material protected her more from the cold. However, on moderately cool nights (30F-50F) she happily snuggled up inside it. Two of our fellow Explorers who also have this bag combine it with a foam mat or pad to provide proper insulation from the ground. With the foam mat or pad they’ve successfully used it down to about 10F/-12C. It’s important to note that all dogs have different levels of comfort for the cold. While one may be fine at 30F/0C another may need an additional layer such as a jacket.
The price for this bag is quite a bit more affordable than other bags we’ve seen on the market, at $34.99 it’s a great value. It’s also proves itself capable of handling the dirt, smells, and rough treatment that camping sometimes entails. Each trip I get home and think about washing it, but I give it a good sniff and a good shake out, and for us that’s been good enough! We are very pleased with its resilience to the environment and to dirt so far. At its price, this bag could be great for dogs who might chew or scratch at beds, as it’s more easily replaceable than other similar products.
In the end this bag is a great addition to any gear collection. The versatility and durability will keep this bag a part of your camping life for many many adventures to come. It provides a bit of warmth at night or even just a cozy spot for them to curl up. The only real flaw that we is that on its own it may not cut on super cold nights, you’d likely be better with something with higher quality stuffing material or you would need to take extra steps (e.g. a sleeping pad, a jacket for your dog). We will definitely continue to use this bag on our adventures!
The Alcott Explorer Sleeping Bag would be best for: camping, backpacking, dogs who are new to using sleeping bags, spring/summer/fall seasons or moderate temperatures
The Alcott Explorer Sleeping Bag may not be ideal for: extreme cold without additional measure (e.g. a sleeping pad, a jacket), those looking for something extremely packable
Review by: Dogs That Hike Explorer @breeze.e.bear