Good sleep is aided by the right conditions. If you are a baby or toddler then there are very few items that can help in creating those conditions as a sleepsack (also known as a wearable blanket).
In this article we’ll run through some of our favorite sleepsacks as well as some of the most recommended ones that we have less experience with.
What Is A Sleepsack And Why Do I Want One?
Not so long ago many of us were asking ourselves similar questions, but if you have had kids in the past decade or so then you certainly know the answers! A sleepsack is basically a blanket that your baby or toddler wears. It’s what keep a child warm and comfortable at night when she is done with her swaddle but not yet ready for a blanket.
Childhood safety experts (I am not one!) seem to all agree that nothing should be in a child’s crib until at least the one year mark. For our family that is too young and we have pushed that date back considerably. A typical one-year-old isn’t able to pull a blanket up around themselves reliably, so a sleepsack really is the right option.
Sleepsacks have a number of advantages:
- Good for three to four seasons (depending on where you live)
- Work with a car seat
- Don’t get tangled and rarely get removed by the child
- Comfortable (an assumption based on the fit and materials, I’ve never worn one)
- Limits climbing by older children
If you have any doubts, try sleeping in a sleeping bag some time. They are incredibly warm and comforting. Grown-ups at home don’t tend to use them because they are hard to get in and out of, but they really do make for a good night’s rest.
Sleepsack disadvantages, just so you get the whole truth:
- They can be expensive
- Take a long time to dry (they can get heavy)
- Making nighttime changing more difficult (but not too bad)
- It can be a chore to get active kids into them
Top Overall Wearable Blanket: Woolino
After two kids and over 5 years of sleepsacks I can confidently say that the best sleep sack we’ve used is the Woolino.
The Woolino is a merino wool sleepsack that is sold in number of muted colors, many of which are gender neutral. It has a full-length, two-way zip around the child’s legs and two shoulder straps, each of which have two buttons. It has openings in the middle so it can be used when the child is buckled into in a car seat.
The Woolino sleepsack has no strings, fasteners, or unnecessary seams. The inside is made of merino wool and the outside is organic cotton.
This sleepsack works for children between the ages of 2 months (11 pounds) and 2 years. According to the company the Woolino uses merino wool from Australia, YKK Japanese zippers, and is made in China. The sleepsack was designed and is tested in the United States.
Why Is The Woolino The Best?
There is a few reasons why we’d recommend the Woolino over the other sleepsacks we’ve owned. First of all, while it’s not cheap, it cheaper than my other favorite, the Merino Kids. A sleepsack is a popular gift and having a friend or loved one buy something expensive can be a big ask. The Woolino is under $100, which isn’t too much of a stretch and seems like a good value.
Second, it’s been the easiest use with my children, especially when they are not in the best mood. The dual zipper design makes for easy changing (you don’t need to remove the sleepsack to change a diaper) and dual shoulder strap make for easy entrances and exits.
Lastly, I’d point some secondary benefits of the Woolino: a nice, soft outer shell, the fact that it’s held up well through many washings (never with a special detergent) and dryings, and that the zippers haven’t broken despite and kicking that might happen inside.
Another Great Sleepsack: Merino Kids
My runner-up for favorite sleepsack is the Merino Kids. We bought this for out first child when everything had to be the very best… and at $140 retail it had better be up there! Kidding aside, this is a great looking and wonderfully made sleepsack that I’m still happy to put my children in 5 year after we first bought it.
The main downside with the Merino Kids sleepsack is the price — it’s impossible to justify the price increase over the Woolino. The Merino Kids materials might be a little nicer, but that’s debatable. There are some other nice perks though, like the use of Woolmark-certified Superfine Merino on the inside and a GOTS-certified organic cotton outer shell. The product description makes all the safety information incredibly clear as well: the product has the UK BSI sleep bag safety certification. On the design side it has the iF Seal of Outstanding Design Quality… not too shabby!
So the Merino Kids sleepsack is definitely better marketed than anything else on the market. The accompanying materials and logo on the sack are much nicer than those of the Woolino, giving you a really nice vibe about the brand and its integrity.
Some minor downsides to this sleepsack are the single zipper pull (a minor inconvenience) and the fact that one shoulder is solid and the other is a strap. This is likely more comfortable for the baby and it’s a simpler design, but it means you need to slip one arm through and then button the other side. This is a more difficult maneuver than simply doing the buttons on both sides like the Woolino.
If you are choosing between the Woolino and Merino Kids, I’d note that the Merino Kids is a bit lighter, so it’ll be better in the summer and not quite as warm in the winter. Personally I’ve never felt that my kids were cold in either, but it can be reassuring to put them in something heavier when it’s cold out, especially if you keep your house cool at night.
We’ve owned a number of other sleepsacks (particularly a summer weight one), some of which I’ll add here in the coming days, but these two really are the best. I can highly recommend each and have had children sleep in each for literally hundreds of nights of “testing.”
Some of the most highly recommended sleepsacks are from Halo. The company is really known for their swaddles, but they have products for older kids as well. In fact, one of the biggest problems with Halo is figuring out which of their products to get once you have decided on the brand! This is the case because Halo has a wearable blanket for all ages, from newborns up to kids who are already walking.
Some of the notable products in Halo’s line full in gaps that other companies haven’t thought of yet, like the Transitions (for transitioning from a swaddle to a sleepsack) or the Early Walker (for kids who are starting to become mobile but aren’t ready for a blanket yet).
If you just want the standard baby/toddler sleepsack then you should look for something called the “Halo SleepSack wearable blanket platinum” or simply the “Halo sleepack wearable blanket.” This is a cotton, dual zipper design with enclosed feet (unlike the Early Walker). It has thoughtful features like tab covered on the zippers to prevent scratches and a design that allows for diaper changing with ease.
Halo opts for two fixed straps at the top, which is generally harder to get on, but means less buttons to wear out and an overall more comfortable design thanks to fewer seams in the product.