Should I Get a Left-zip or Right-zip Sleeping Bag? 3 Things to Consider

By Emma
left-zip or right-zip sleeping bag

Chances are if you’re looking into left-zip and right-zip sleeping bags, you’re probably pretty serious about camping. You’re looking to get the most functional sleeping bag to make your camping experience as enjoyable as possible.

We’re with you! Buying great gear can enrich your camping experience, so it’s worth the research!

While buying a left-zip or right-zip sleeping bag may seem like a clear-cut decision, hours of investigation show it’s a little more complex.

The choice of a left-zip or right-zip sleeping bag depends on your natural sleeping patterns, whether you intend to combine two sleeping bags, and if you need to enter or exit your tent easily. While selecting the right zipper position is beneficial, not doing so will not have a strong negative impact on your camping experience.

Left-Zip or Right-Zip Sleeping Bags – What’s the difference?

The placement of the zipper, labeled as left zipper (LZ) or right zipper (RZ), is based on the relationship to where it is when you are laying on your back.

When you are lying on your back, the left zipper is on your left-hand side, and the right zipper is on your right-hand side.

The Design – How to Figure Out What Style Is Best For You 

When it comes to choosing what side your zipper should be on, there are a few factors to consider.

Sleeping Habits Can Impact What Zipper Works Best For You

The general purpose of zippers being on different sides is intuitive. 

Right-handed people who sleep on their back will typically find it easier to reach across and unzip left zippers. The same is true of left-handed people who sleep on their back; they tend to find right side zippers easier to unzip.

However, this rule doesn’t always hold true, depending upon your natural sleeping habits. 

Do you always lay on your left side or your right? 

The position you typically sleep in is more important than whether you’re left or right-handed. 

If you lay on your right side all night, a right zip makes the most sense regardless of what hand you use predominantly.

Conversely, if you lay on your left side all night, a left zip makes the most sense.

Combining Sleeping Bags – Why it Matters What Side Your Zipper is On

If you’re buying a sleeping bag intending to join it with another, you need to ensure you have one of each zipper style of sleeping bag. This means you need one left zip and one right zip sleeping bag.

It’s important to note both sleeping bags must be mummy-style bags for combining to work.

You must try your sleeping bags before camping if you did not buy them from the same brand. You want to be sure you have both the correct zipper sides ( one of each) and that the zippers are compatible. 

Tent Setup – When Getting Into Your Sleeping Back Quickly And Easily Matters

The side your zipper is on can be a worthwhile consideration depending on how you set up your tent. 

If you are backpacking or simply have a lightweight tent, your space to move around in it may be limited. 

Having your zipper face the door makes it easier to get in and out of your tent, especially if you and a friend are sharing a tent.

This could impact your purchase more than your sleeping style if ease of entry and exit is a priority for you, and your tent opens up a specific way.

An example would be if you’re a left-handed back sleeper, you would typically choose a right zip sleeping bag. If your tent only unzips clockwise (from your inside perspective), this means you need to get a left zip sleeping bag. Left zip will enable you to easily reach up and open the tent door while still in your bag. 

Buying a Sleeping Bag – Does it Matter if You Get the Wrong Zipper? 

While it may seem like choosing a left zip or right zip sleeping bag is a crucial decision for functionality, it’s important to note a few things.

Some companies do not offer zipper options and have one standard option.

But if a sleeping bag has specific qualities that are appealing to you, whether that’s a particular comfort rating, material, or price point, it’s still worth considering.

As discussed in our article “Sleeping Bag Vs. Sleeping Pad — Why Both Are Necessary”, there are many important factors to consider when buying a sleeping bag, so it’s best not to let just one guide your decision.

Assessing your priorities may lead you to a sleeping bag with the opposite side zipper than you expected to have, but it’s not a big deal. At the end of the day, a few extra seconds or a bit of extra effort to open your sleeping bag will not negatively impact your camping experience.

Buying a sleeping bag with a zipper tailored to your sleeping preferences is one minor but fun way to customize your gear to your needs. 

The zipper side you chose should be based upon your natural sleeping habits, whether you intend to combine your sleeping bag with another, and how you prefer to get into your sleeping bag. 

While it may seem like a small decision with significant impacts, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. Always choose the sleeping bag with the best features for your intended use.

Founder Headshot

My name is Emma, and I’m a city dweller who jumps on every opportunity to get out and enjoy nature! I’ve gone on a number of car camping and backpacking trips over the past few years. I created this site to inspire others to get outside and to make the process easier for you.