Dog Sleeping Bag Comparison

We’ve gotten a few questions about the different dog sleeping bags we’ve tried – so here’s a quick comparison of specs between three bags: Alcott Explorer Sleeping Bag (in size M), Whyld River Doggy Bag (in size S), and the Hurtta Outback Dreamer (in size M). Sizes can be deceiving – see below for measurements.

Note: I got all three of these sleeping bags for free from the companies to try them out, but I get no commission from the above links nor payment for writing anything about them.

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Weight and Measurements:

Measured dimensions

  • Alcott: 36″ x 23″ oval pad with 26″ x 23″ cover (base area = 650 in2; usable space area is less due to the smaller cover)
  • Whyld River: 29″ x 26″ oval (base area = 592 in2)
  • Hurtta: 26″ circle (base area = 531 in2)

No winner here: it just depends on the right size for your dog. These sizes are important when considering pack size and weight comparisons below.

Weight in provided stuff sack

  • Alcott: 21.3 oz
  • Whyld River: 19.5 oz
  • Hurtta: 16 oz

Weight per square foot of bed space:

  • Alcott: Area = 4.72 oz/ft2
  • Whyld River: Area = 4.74 oz/ft2
  • Hurtta: 4.33 oz/ft2

This measurement equalizes for different sizes, since the sleeping bags all have different areas. Hurtta is the lightest per square foot. Alcott and Whyld River are almost the same. Your application will determine what’s more desirable here, in context of the other factors (insulation poofiness, warmth).

Packed Size, shown in a 6L compression sack for comparison

  • Alcott: compressed partially but was the hardest to stuff. This bag IS the largest by area, don’t forget.
  • Whyld River: Sack compressed to minimum but was still bulging a little
  • Hurtta: Sack easily compressed down to minimum with more space to go.

Again, Hurtta is the smallest (by dimensions AND weight) so it fits in the smallest space. Based on the amount of difficulty I had stuffing these, I’d say that qualitatively, Whyld River compresses the most – and Hurtta is the thinnest, so it has the least to compress. 

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Features:

Included Stuff Sack

Alcott: plain black stuff sack with tag that’s roomy for the sleeping bag

Whyld River: nylon stuff sack with reflective logo and grab handle; compresses the bag well

Hurtta: knit stuff sack that doesn’t compress the bag

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Insulation

  • Alcott: fluffy fill insulation that’s springy and less compressible
  • Whyld River:
    • top: fluffy fill insulation that’s fairly compressible, sewn in baffles, with a draft blocker around the edge
    • bottom: quilted sheet insulation
  • Hurtta: quilted sheet insulation, thinner than Whyld River. Note – the Hurtta bag isn’t poofy at all.

It’s pretty much impossible to rate warmth – the size of your dog relative to the bag (more airspace = less warm), the position your dog sleeps in, and how much they move around will all affect the warmth of the bag. We found Whyld River to be the warmest for Robin because it can be completely closed. He stays warm in the Alcott because it’s large for him, so he curls up in the bottom of it, but a larger dog would hold it open and create some drafts inside. Hurtta works best for dogs whose curled up size is close to the bag diameter – Robin’s a good bit smaller so the bag tends to fall open.

Lining

  • Alcott: Microfiber (this is Maui’s favorite and he can usually be found lying on the “head” part of this sleeping bag, since he’s teeny)
      • + cozy, soft and warm, and silent
      • – picks up hair, dirt and foxtails
  • Whyld River: Ripstop Nylon (treated with DWR for water resistance)
      • + brushes clean of hair and dirt
      • – rustly
  • Hurtta: smooth knit with foil heat reflectors
      • + brushes clean of hair and dirt, reflects heat
      • – coldest in cool weather

The best liner will depend on your dog and what you use it for. Maui’s favorite is the microfiber – he can usually be found lying on the “head” part of this sleeping bag, since he’s teeny. However, we use it mostly in the car or house since the fabric collects dirt in camp. Robin finds the Hurtta liner to be cold since he doesn’t have the mass to really warm it up effectively, but dogs who give off more body heat might find it really efficient. The Whyld River nylon is closest to the durable, smooth material you’re used to in your own sleeping bag.  

Outer Material

  • Alcott: thick, durable nylon waterproof bottom and smooth nylon top
  • Whyld River: darker ripstop bottom, same ripstop top as lining (water-repellent)
  • Hurtta: thick, durable nylon bottom and durable nylon top (water-repellent)

Closure method

  • Alcott: traditional with open end for head, sewn on one side with 2/3 zipper. Good for dogs who lay on their side; dogs who curl up will let more air in.
  • Whyld River: Snaps around entire perimeter. Configurable and good for all different sleeping positions; dogs can burst through snaps (good and bad)
  • Hurtta: Sewn all the way around, entry via slit. Good seal if dog is appropriately sized for the bag; Robin is a bit small so the slit tends to fall open and let in cold air.
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This is the original style Alcott in a size smaller, but it demonstrates how the open end can let a lot of air in depending on your dog’s size relative to the bag.

Price

  • Alcott: $29.99 – $30.99 ($34.99 for Robin’s size)
  • Whyld River: $80 for first 100 orders, $89 afterward
  • Hurtta: $70 – $110 ($90 for Robin’s size)

Summary:

These are pretty simplistic summaries, and any of these bags could work for any type of adventure if you are OK with the tradeoffs. They’re all amazing products! But they each lean in a certain direction, so here are their profiles in ~30 words:

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Alcott: for the comfort seeker, the casual adventurer, and the budget shopper.

    • + Thickest, most comfortable to lie on, and cozy lining; durable easy-care materials
    • – Attracts dirt and less practical shape for curl-uppers

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Whyld River: for the backpacker and the gear snob.

    • + Most packable poofy insulation, most flexible closure design for varying positions and temperatures, high-tech human-gear reminiscent
    • – Less durable bottom so best for use inside tent

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Hurtta: for the minimalist and the daily adventurer.

    • + Most compact with heat reflectors replacing some insulation; durable bottom and top for regular use.
    • – Less warm and cozy for dogs proportionally smaller than the bag

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Great comparison, as always. You’re so good at this. And thorough! I’m really liking the Whyld River bag right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! The Whyld River is an awesome choice! I love the unusual color.

      Like

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