Sleeping bag

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Many travellers ask themselves whether they should take a sleeping bag with them or not. While it sometimes makes sense to have one with you, it’s not mandatory at all. There are still some unrealistic prejudices, so I try to give a summary when it does make sense to have a sleeping bag with you and when not.

Take the sleeping bag:
  • If you are travelling certain regions with your own vehicle, (e.g Europe, New Zealand…) where it can get cold at night. It can be very usefull since you don’t want to leave your engine running all night. You won’t have too many problems with it’s size either, since you usually have enough space in your vehicle.
  • When you plan to do wild camping a lot. Guess that’s pretty obvious though. Unless you only travel warm regions.
  • If you wan’t to do some heavy mountain climbing. Guess that’s obvious aswell.
Dont take the sleeping bag:
  • Even if you plan to do a longer trail it is not really mandatory to buy a sleeping bag. Usually you can rent one at the starting point of the trail. If you don’t plan to frequently sleep in nature you spent a lot of money for a questionable reason. Sending it back home after you don’t need it anymore is expensive aswell, since it is most like bulky and heavy.
  • You might be afraid to freeze when travelling cold and remote areas. That’s not an unjustified worry, but if any guesthouse would be known for freezing guests it wouldn’t last for a long time. Maybe it will get cold but the owners will make sure to give you enough blankets to keep you warm.
  • Probably you are afraid of nasty and dirty beds in poor regions. That’s also not unjustified, the easier alternative is walking to the next guesthouse though. If you don’t travel low budget you usually won’t find dirty rooms anyway. Altough that is a matter of opinion.

An alternative is the sleeping bag inlett. Depending on it’s material it weighs just 140 – 200 g but will still warm you for a few degrees. It will be way easier to wash, take less space than your travel towel and is also not too expensive. It’s not just good for warming you, it can also be used for a few other things:

  • You can cover yourself when the bed in your guesthouse looks dirty.
  • It’s a nice substitute for warm regions, when there is just a thick blanket and no bed sheet.
  • If you rent a real sleeping bag which cleanliness is questionable you can use it to cover yourself.

If you want to take a sleeping bag anyway, because you don’t believe me or want that extra freedom I recommend to take synthetic sleeping bag instead of a down sleeping bag. Your sleeping bag will suffer a lot, since it’s permanently compressed. Synthetic sleeping bags tend to handle that better.


As always you are very welcome to leave additions/suggestions/opinions in the comments!


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