14 Sleeping Bag Alternatives

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Restless sleepers who hate the confines of a sleeping bag can finally get a full night sleep with these low-cost, lightweight, and convenient sleeping bag alternatives. Find one that’s perfect for your next camping excursion or for your house guest to sleep on.

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Young man sleeping on a blanket over the grass outdoors.

A good sleeping bag is useful for campers, trekkers, adventurers, and travelers. It’s comfortable to sleep on these bags, but carrying them around is a different story. They’re heavy, bulky, and sometimes they would even require a backpack extension just to bring them along. Definitely not a good idea when you’re backpacking and want to travel light.

Sleeping bags are also expensive while its filling has a short lifespan. Some people are allergic to them depending on the type of material the sleeping bag is made of. And most sleeping bags are very hard to dry during the cold season.

That’s why it’s a good idea to scout for sleeping bag alternatives. So we’ve rounded up the following options for you so you can still have a good night’s sleep whether you’re sleeping indoors or outdoors and regardless of the season.

1. Zip Bag

SnugPak Jungle Right Hand Zip Bag, Olive

The zip bag is ideal for tropical climates and will keep you cool in hot and humid conditions. It’s lightweight, compact, and can be packed tightly so it doesn’t take too much space in your backpack. It can also be opened up and used as a blanket or simply as something to lay on.

PROS

  • It’s compact and lightweight.
  • Ideal for summer camping.

CONS

  • Not ideal for use in colder climates.

2. Katabatic Down Quilt Bag

Source: YouTube/Katabatic Gear
This quilt bag is the answer to warm and ultralight backpacking sleeping gear. Its unique design means it can keep warm while keeping in place as the user moves, tosses, and turns. The girth and inner volume of the bag is also easily adjustable which means you can adjust it to the level of warmth you desire. It’s great for the cold weather but also offers plenty of room and ventilation options for use in warm weather.

PROS

  • It’s warm and comfortable to sleep on.

CONS

  • It can be expensive.
  • It can be heavy.

4. Travel Liner

Sea to Summit Premium Silk Travel Liner

While the travel liner is often used in addition to sleeping bags, you can actually use it as a standalone sleeping bag in warmer temperatures. It’s a viable alternative especially if you’re traveling light or on a budget. Travel liners will keep you warm, are easily washable, and will even protect you from insects while you sleep under the stars.

PROS

  • It adds heat and it’s comfortable to sleep on.

CONS

  • Doesn’t block the wind if you’re sleeping outdoors.

5. Backcountry Bed

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 600-Fill DriDown Long, 2 Season Sleeping Bag

The backcountry bed offers users the comfort of sleeping like they’re still in their own beds even when they’re outdoors. Its versatile and intuitive design means you don’t have to deal with zippers, Velcro, elastic cords, and toggles. It features a versatile oversized comforter which you can pull out or tuck into the bag so you can sleep in your favorite sleeping position. You can even adjust to variable temperatures throughout the night.

PROS

  • It’s warm and comfortable to sleep on.
  • Temperature-control
  • It’s non-restrictive so you can sleep even on your tummy.

CONS

  • It’s not as lightweight or compact as the other alternatives.

6. Zenbivy Bed

Zenbivy bed as sleeping bag alternative

Source: Zenbivy

The Zenbivy bag is a hybrid sleeping bag that resembles the Backcountry Bed in terms of comfort, temperature-control, and non-restrictiveness. You can sleep comfortably on any sleeping position and control temperature through the convertible footbox. It also has a backpacking quilt which you can use as a blanket when it’s warm or you can even use it as a standalone for an ultralight sleeping bag alternative.

PROS

  • It’s versatile.
  • It’s warm and comfortable to sleep on.
  • Temperature-control
  • It’s non-restrictive so you can sleep even on your tummy.

CONS

  • It’s not as lightweight or compact as the other alternatives.

7. Shift Hybrid Quilt

Shift hybrid quilt / Underquilt

The shift hybrid quilt or underquilt is your best alternative if you plan to sleep in a hammock while camping.  It’s light and compact and will keep you warm as long as it’s really snug up against your body.

PROS

  • It’s warm and perfect for sleeping in hammocks.

CONS

8. Air Mattress and Blankets / Duvet

Young woman reading a book outdoors and lying on an air mattress with white sheets.

Often referred to as inflatable mattresses or air beds, air mattresses are a popular choice for sleeping at home or while outdoors camping. Similar to traditional mattresses, these come in a variety of sizes. A queen size is optimal for those seeking more room or if you need more than one person to sleep on it. There are also twin sizes if you want something that’s more basic.

A good thing about an air mattress if you’re camping is that they can fit inside a tent. However, if you are using it to camp, consider some factors such as the type of tent you have according to the size of the mattress, the durability of the mattress, and more.

Though they do require inflation and deflation, many high-end air mattresses come with built-in electric pumps to eliminate the hassle of setting it up and taking it down. There are even models that have built-in pillows, so to speak, for added comfort. Another standard feature typically found with air mattresses is the carrying bag that makes it easier to transport or store away.

PROS

  • Can easily adjust firmness using the pump
  • No chance of sagging

CONS

  • Some require lengthy assembly
  • The potential for a built-in pump to break

Approximate cost: The cost of an air mattress depends on the overall quality, additional features, and size. Some sell within a $20-$90 range, while others are found in a $110-$220 range.

Here are some air mattresses on Amazon.

9. Cot with Blankets or Duvet

Dog sleeping comfortably on a cot outdoors.

Good sleeping bag substitutes that are close in size to sleeping bags are cots. A cot, otherwise known as a camping bed, is a type of collapsible bed. When many people think about a sleeping cot, they may be reminded of them being used by militaries or in emergency shelters. It’s important to note, however, that there are plenty of one-person and two-person cots. There are even some made in the design of bunk beds.

Some cots have features such as a curved frame on the headrest. Other cots have useful storage compartments. For the purpose of camping, there are even cots known as tent cots. These appear exactly as their name claims; they are cots with camping tents attached on top so that you can zip it up for privacy and to keep out the elements.

Likewise, with sleeping bags, cots are able to collapse back down. They typically come with heavy-duty carrying bags once you do collapse them so that you can transport them wherever you need them to be.

PROS

  • Comfortable to sleep on
  • Keeps you off of sleeping on the floor

CONS

  • Lacks insulation
  • Can be too heavy to move around much

Approximate cost: Costs of camping cots vary based on the material that goes into making them as well as the features. At its most basic level, you can find some cots for around $20. Once you get to add-ons such as storage compartments, tents, etc., the price can go well beyond $400.

Here are some camping cots on Amazon.

10. Indoor Tent

Indoor tent in a kid's room with balloons and stuff toys.

Rather than a sleeping bag, many consider to simply sleep on the tent floor. This may be easier done with smaller, indoor tents. More so, this may also better suit children. There are plenty of these types of tents made with children in mind. They are easy to put together, and they also do not take up too much room.

Indoor tents come in a number of styles and sizes. They are many with colorful themes to keep a child’s interest. There are even many made for adults that are basic enough. Some are designed as a 2-person tent, capable of fitting in other sleeping surfaces such as an air mattress.

Since there are several types of tents designed for easy indoor use, some can still be used outdoors if needed. So, it is important to determine just how and where the tent will be used prior to settling on anyone.

PROS

  • Spacious inside
  • Generally made from durable material

CONS

  • Not the most portable
  • Bulky

Approximate cost: There are some simple tents that sell for as low as $20. These indoor tents can be high-end, however, and some can cost $100+.

Here are indoor tents on Amazon.

11. Sleeping Pad with Duvet

Man sleeping outdoors on a sleeping pad.

Much like air mattresses, sleeping pads are placed on the ground. Some even stick them in their car for car camping or inside of a tent. They are available in a number of different shapes and sizes, and they are made from various materials. The most common types to find are air pads and foam pads.

Foam sleeping pads are among the most affordable type of sleeping pads. They usually take little time to set up so that you can get to using them as soon as you need them. Foam pads do tend to look rather bulky even though they don’t weigh much, however. As for air pads, they are usually more comfortable compared to some foam-based ones, yet they are more expensive and have the potential to rupture and lose air.

As for the shapes that you can find sleeping pads in, some of them are designed in the standard “mummy-like” style. This makes them largely similar to sleeping bags. Others are more rectangular in shape. Regardless of the type, these sleeping pads do come with carrying bags most of the time so that you can roll them up and take them with you anywhere both outdoors and indoors.

PROS

  • Various sizes to choose from
  • Generally light in weight

CONS

  • Some types can lose air
  • May take up space

Approximate cost: The price range for sleeping pads can be wide. In general, you can find them selling at $25-$160. The higher price tag is usually due to features such as the use of memory foam, self-inflating capabilities, and more.

Here are some sleeping pads on Amazon.

12. Portable Hammock

Person sleeping comfortably on a hammock outdoors.

Other sleeping bag alternatives are portable hammocks. Hammocks can be tied up, typically using trees as support, in order to elevate you off of the ground. Portable ones can pack up rather small so you can take them with you on camping and backpacking trips. Just be sure they are used in the right weather conditions as some don’t offer insulation or protection from the elements.

There are many portable hammocks designed to easily fit two adults. Most may appear simple by design, but they are built durable to withstand heavy use. Setting them up is also easier since, when purchasing these hammocks, they tend to come with everything you need such as knotted ropes.

For the purpose of outdoor camping in comfort, these portable hammocks have some extra features. There are ones that have the option of attaching mosquito netting to keep you safe and comfortable while you relax. There are also bags that come with the hammocks so you can tie them up and carry them with you on-the-go. One of the best things about these is that they’re versatile in their use whether you want to sleep or simply relax.

PROS

  • Can keep you off a wet ground
  • Versatile in their use

CONS

  • Tough to get warm
  • Some find them uncomfortable

Approximate cost: There is no real average price for portable hammocks. Some run for relatively low prices of $18, while others sell at over $200.

Here are portable hammocks on Wayfair.

13. Blanket and Pillow

Blanket and pillows on wooden background.

A simple alternative to resting in a sleeping bag is simply using a blanket and a pillow. Though they can be used alongside other sleeping items, many opt to use them on their own. It is important to note that when it comes to using them outdoors, opt for blankets and pillows that specify they are intended for that sort of use.

For example, many blankets designed for the outdoor are naturally thicker. These also tend to be waterproof and well-insulated, a useful feature if it’s to be used in colder weather. Some are even sold with a matching carrying bags, making it even easier if used for backpacking. Those types of blankets resemble sleeping bags the most.

As for the pillows, you can find some focusing on different aspects. Some pillows lean more toward a plush-like feel for comfortable, while others place emphasis on keeping your head warm. There are many other things to factor into choosing the right pillow to rest on, especially if you are only using the blanket and pillow to sleep on in the first place.

PROS

  • Easy to use
  • Can compress down

CONS

  • Don’t offer much in padding
  • Minimal versatility

Approximate cost: For blankets, since they can come in an assortment of styles concerning their material, their costs can range on average from $14-$100. The pillows vary in price as well based on what they offer such as if they compress, the ergonomic abilities, etc. Their price range is usually within $8-$150.

Here are blankets from Amazon and pillows from Amazon.

14. Outdoor Duvet on its own

Camping Blanket Outdoor Blanket Backpacking Quilt Hiking Blanket Sleeping Quilt Throw Blanket Duvet Blanket Sleeping Bag ('Murica (Slate/Red))

The outdoor duvet or backpacking quilt works just like a blanket. It’s snug and will warm you up on cold summer nights. It’s also easy to carry around and will not restrict your movements when you sleep.

PROS

  • It’s more affordable.
  • You can use it even when you’re indoors.

CONS

  • Can lead to drafty uncomfortable sleep on cold nights.





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