What is an alternative to a sleeping bag?

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Hoping to lose weight for your next hiking trip? The sleep system is one of the heaviest parts of your load–is there anyway to cut a pound without freezing?

A camping quilt is the most practical alternative to a lightweight sleeping bag. Other ultralight alternatives for warmer weather (over 55 degrees Fahrenheit) include multiple types of blankets, sleeping bag liners, and even simply a bivy with warm clothes.

Whether you’re camping in cold weather or hot, there are sleeping bag alternatives that can keep you comfortable without the extra bulk. Continue reading and You’ll discover why lightweight sleeping bags are useful and what additional options are available.

Sleeping Bag Alternatives

So, those are some reasons why you might not want a sleeping bag. Consider some options.


When it comes to creating the highest possible level of warmth, most people tend to think of sleeping bags as their only option. However, camping quilts can prove to be even more effective Several times. This is especially true if you’re camping in very cold temperatures.

The main thing that sets camping quilts apart from sleeping bags is the design. As you are most likely aware, Sleeping bags are designed to surround your whole body. On the other hand, a camping quilt will only cover one side of your body (like a blanket).

Rather of enclosing the whole sleeping bag, a camping quilt frequently incorporates a zipper. footbox such as this one. This isn’t true for all camping quilts–sometimes it’s just like a blanket.

Although it may seem that this distinction implies that a camping quilt would be less effective at keeping you warm, this is not the case. They are often equally as effective as a sleeping bag certified for the same temperature range. . On top of that, camping quilts like the Therm-a-Rest Vesper (Thermarest website) only weigh slightly over a pound, making them even easier to pack and carry than many ultralight sleeping bags.

The key to camping quilts is that the bottom of the sleeping bag is less efficient at keeping you warm since your body weight crushes the insulation. The only reason you can keep warm is because of your insulating sleeping pad.

As a result, rather of bringing the whole sleeping bag, you simply bring what keeps you warm.

So, if you’re looking for an alternative to a sleeping bag that can get you down to cold temperatures, then a camping quilt is a great option. There are also lightweight camping quilts available if you want to save as much weight as possible.

Nonetheless, keep in mind that, particularly in cold weather, a A camping quilt is intended to be used in conjunction with a sleeping mat. (Well, let’s be honest, you needed one for your sleeping bag anyhow.)

Camping Blankets

So, although this is amusing, camping blankets and camping quilts are not the same thing.

A camping quilt is meant to replace a sleeping bag and may therefore be used in temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. A camping blanket can look like it’s made from the same type of material, and can even be filled with down like a sleeping bag or a camping quilt… Yet, it is just a blanket.

Thus, if you’re searching for a rectangular piece of cloth to keep you warm in temps ranging from 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, a camping blanket is a wonderful choice. .

There are several possibilities available here. For example, the Rumpl Nanoloft (REI) blanket is made to offer plenty of warmth. This option is also made using a material that is easier to clean. Furthermore, With a weight of less than 1.5 pounds, you can be certain that this blanket will not take up much space in your bag.

If you’re trying to pack as light as possible, You may be wondering whether you even need a pillow for your camping vacation. , let alone a real camping cushion. It’s an excellent question! To help you with making that decision for yourself, we’ve compiled some of the pros and cons of camping pillows in our article on the topic.

Blankets From Home

If you’re not planning on hiking but still want to be comfortable and avoid sleeping bags, you may bring (ideally your less-expensive) blankets from home.

We really do this—I’ll show you one image of our camp bed that we created when my wife was many months pregnant—but if you want to see more specifics on how to build a decent camp bed out of things you already have, go here.

Old, used comforter topping several layers of blankets along with pillows inside a small 2-man tent An old sunbleached bedspread was transformed into a really comfy camp bed.

The blankets from home will keep you warm, but bear in mind that you will still want insulation underneath you. These blankets are great for a normal mattress–which has really high insulation–but when you’re sleeping on the ground, just sleeping on top of a couple of blankets will probably mean that the side of your body that’s against the ground will get cold.

Use closed-cell foam pads as insulation, or something else that’s meant to retain heat. This is essential in every camping bed.

Sleeping Bag Liners

A sleeping bag liner is typically used as the first barrier between you and your sleeping bag . Rather than letting your sleeping bag capture all of your funk, the sleeping bag liner captures it instead (which is much easier to wash).

Usually, These liners are incredibly light since they are just intended to act as a barrier, not as an addition to generate extra heat. . Also, they are quite compact. Because they don’t have the weight or thickness of a sleeping bag, sleeping bag liners are extremely easy to pack and carry .

If you’re camping somewhere where you know the evening temps won’t drop too low, then You may easily sleep in a sleeping bag liner on its own. rather of bringing the whole sleeping bag. It’ll keep your added weight to a minimum and ensure you stay nice and cool at night.

If I had to select a temperature, I’d say if it’s not likely to go below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, a sleeping bag liner would suffice.

Just keep in mind that this is not a suitable option if it’s going to be colder at night. A sleeping bag liner by itself will not collect enough heat.


Unless you’re an extreme camper, it’s entirely possible that you’ve never heard of a woobie blanket before. According to legend, this word was coined by military poncho liners.

If you’re camping in moderate weather, you may use a robust blanket like this. I wouldn’t use it by itself below 65 degrees, myself, but if you’re looking for a tough ultralight bag alternative, than this is one potential idea.

Bivy Bag

A Bivy bag, or Bivy sack, is a tool that is often used in place of a tent. Bivy bags are substantially smaller and lighter than sleeping bags. Those who are camping while hiking, or who do not intend to spend much time in their tent other than sleeping, may benefit from utilizing a Bivy bag instead.

While it is common for campers to replace their tent with a Bivy bag rather than a sleeping bag, There’s no reason you can’t sleep in your Bivy bag by yourself. if the weather permits. Another option could be to pair it up with a sleeping bag liner or something similar if you need some kind of blanket to sleep with.

The SOL elude Bivy excels at this because it has heat reflecting material on the inside to capture as much heat as possible and weighs just 5.5 oz. Look it up on REI.

This form of sleeping arrangement includes a pad, a bivy, and warm clothes.


Tarps are often used for bushcraft and as a shelter, but they may also be utilized as a blanket in an emergency. A tarp may not be the most comfortable solution on its own, but it will keep you dry and shielded from the weather.

This is just one of many ways in which a tarp can be useful. To learn about more ways in which you can use a tarp , take a look at our article on the subject here.

What’s The Difference Between An Ultralight Sleeping Bag And A Regular Sleeping Bag?

Sleeping bags come in a HUGE range of styles due to the gigantic You might be in a variety of weather circumstances.

Apart from the various weather patterns seen across the globe, individuals have varying camping tastes! Although one kind of sleeping bag may be ideal for a drive-up campground, it may be much too hefty to carry for a 10-mile trip.

That’s why you see the marketing label “ ultralight” . There isn’t a technical cut-off of what makes a sleeping bag “ultralight” or “regular”, but the hope is that the ultralight bag weighs a lot less than a typical sleeping bag .

To clarify, sleeping bags can easily weigh 4lbs or more , depending on a number of factors. Meanwhile, ultralight sleeping bags generally weigh 2.5lbs at the most, with some even weighing in at under 2lbs.

2lbs The difference may not seem to be significant, but for an ultralight traveller, every pound matters.

These ultralight sleeping bags are easier to pack and carry . However, they can still be a little heavy. That’s why some backpackers look into using alternatives to ultralight sleeping bags.

Why Should I Try An Ultralight Sleeping Bag Alternative?

Sleeping bags tend to be the obvious choice when it comes to camping, but they may not always be the ideal one. They are sometimes too bulky, too expensive, or just uncomfortable .

Sleeping bags in general are not expensive, however when it comes to ultralight In the case of sleeping bags, you may be looking at premium materials and a more intensive production process—and hence a significantly higher price.

These are just a few reasons why you may want to try something new on your trek.

It Might Be Too Warm For A Sleeping Bag Anyway

If you know you’ll be camping somewhere where even the evenings are warm, then You may begin to believe that hauling along the extra weight of a sleeping bag isn’t worth it. . After all, why bring swimming trunks to the desert? (I guess you could do some tanning.)

Under these circumstances, you may want something that is lighter and more breathable . Most campers don’t usually want to sleep without some kind of covering (I know I don’t), but in some cases, a lighter, breezier covering may be the better choice.

A Sleeping Bag Might Be Too Bulky

Even a lightweight sleeping sack might be very large. As a result, it might be tough to pack additional goods that you may need on your vacation. Otherwise, you might have to use bungee cords or other ties to get it attached to your pack, resulting in an oversized load.

Instead, an ultralight sleeping bag alternative can take up less space. As a consequence of this, You could even be able to get away with a smaller pack, which will help you shed some of that weight.

Maybe You Find Sleeping Bags Too Constricting

Another reason you could be here is because you want something light and effective that will keep you warm without being suffocating like a mummy sleeping bag.

While sleeping bags are often used for camping, they are not very comfy. Sure, they may be warm and easier to pack than a full set of bedding, but they can also be restrictive. Stretching out in a sleeping bag is impossible, particularly if you’re simultaneously trying to remain warm.

There is a cost in terms of compactness, comfort, weight, and warmth.

Sleeping Bags Can Be Very Expensive

If you want a high-quality sleeping bag that can keep you warm in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit while still being lightweight, look no further. You must be prepared to spend a significant amount of money. . This may not be an issue for some. However, others might find that the lifespan of the sleeping bag just isn’t enough to rationalize spending hundreds of dollars.

We really go into further depth on this subject. You’ll learn about how to care for a sleeping bag and what you can do to prolong the life of a sleeping bag if you’re willing to put in some effort!

On the other hand, things like Camping comforters and blankets might help you save money. . If you’re camping where you know even the nights will be hot, it’s not absurd to wonder why you should dish out a couple hundred on a sleeping bag when a light blanket or sleeping bag liner could do the trick and keep more money in your pockets.

Related Questions

  • What can I use if I don’t have a sleeping bag?

    View Table of Contents

    1. Quilts.
    2. Blankets.
    3. Sleeping Bag Liners.
    4. Bivy Sacks.
    5. Space Blankets.
    6. Insulated Hammock.
    7. Warm Clothing.
    8. Bushcraft Shelter.
  • Is it really necessary to have a sleeping bag?

    If you are camping in weather 64 degrees Fahrenheit and above, you do not need a sleeping bag and will be fine with a couple of blankets. If the temperature falls below 64 degrees, you should get a sleeping bag.

  • What can I use instead of a sleeping bag for my toddler?

    Instead of using a sleeping bag for naps, place your baby in the cot with their duvet and pillow to get them accustomed to sleeping with them during naps.

  • Can you use a blanket instead of a sleeping bag?

    While you’ll definitely want to stick with your sleeping bag on chilly nights, a blanket may help you get a better night’s sleep in the warmer months for a fraction of the cost, and with so many additional applications (even when you’re not camping), there’s no excuse not to grab yourself a camping blanket.

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