bedroll vs sleeping bag

Bedroll vs. Sleeping Bag: Which One Is The Better Choice For Campers?

Thanks to the introduction of RVs and their advanced facilities/appliances, campers nowadays have access to a high-level comfort. That being said, a lot of people around the globe stick with traditional camping methods like bedroll or sleeping bag. To these adventures, recreational vehicles are simply unable to get them as close to nature as they want to be.  But when it actually comes to “bedroll vs. sleeping bag“, there are also various discussions and debates about the winner. First-time campers tend to feel confused because of the multiple explanations and analyses put forward by supporters of bedrolls as well as sleeping bags.     


The Complete Comparison between Bedroll and Sleeping Bag

New to outdoor camping and could use some help in order to tackle the issue of “bedroll vs. sleeping bag“? In that case, this article shall offer you essential information regarding the performance of these classics items on the field. Overall, it’s much easier for you to come up with a sensible decision if you firmly grasp the traits of bedroll and sleeping bag. Remember the details down below while shopping for camping goods and you would be able to make a wise investment.  

The History

bedroll vs sleeping bag
The Solo Cowboy Bedroll.

Generally speaking, most historians have very little idea about when or how the bedroll developed. Yet if they must choose a time that relates to the bedroll, it’s going to be the Cowboy era. As a result, many people think of the bedroll as a much-needed item for every adventurer that is about to head into the unknown. In addition to the cowboy bedroll, there are other setups with similar qualities like the Australian swag, the British valise,…  It’s not difficult to put together a bedroll on your own, all you need are layers of fabric with at least one waterproof layer. You could always acquire commercial variants on the market too.

The forerunner of modern-day sleeping bags is believed to be a product of Pryce Pryce-Jones, a Welsh entrepreneur in the late 19th century. He sold thousands of his “Euklisia Rug” sleeping bags to Russia military and the British Army also acquired numerous examples. It goes without saying that civilians quickly got their hand on the Euklisia Rug, especially ones that have to regularly navigate unpredictable terrains by themselves. Due to advances in insulation materials, sleeping bags move from animal hides to synthetic fabrics to minimize possible heat loss.

>> Read more: Best Air Mattress For Camping: The Ultimate Shopping Guide <<


“So in the end, what is a bedroll?” you wonder. Well, the layout of a usual bedroll is more or less straightforward with waterproof outer layers and soft inner layers. In many cases, campers that utilize bedrolls prefer to bring pillows and tarps to better accommodate themselves in the outdoors. Compared to their accentors, current bedrolls feature D-rings, clasps, Velcro and so on which facilitate secure, transport and deployment. For dimension, some bedrolls are only able to support one or two campers while others are wide enough to be used as lean-to covers.

sleeping bag vs bedroll
Many campers choose sleeping bags for warm sleeps when camping!

The design of sleeping bags varies from model to model but all bags in general wrap around your body in order to keep you warm. In term of insulation, sleeping bags would use either synthetic fill or down fill, each possesses unique pros and cons. Synthetic fill resists water rather well, require a few moments to dry and preserve even when everything is literally soaked. On the other hand, down fill withhold more heat than its synthetic counterpart on average. Nonetheless, if the sleeping bag ever gets wet, down fill instantly lose its insulation capability. Later products address the issue through the incorporation of waterproof shells.

Ease Of Handling   

Considering the simple layout of the bedroll, it’s the winner in the “bedroll vs. sleeping bag” contest when it comes to ease of handling. Once you want to use your bedroll, loosen the strap, set up the pillows/tarps and that should be it. Lie down your tired back and take a rest to regain energy for more exhilarating actives in the upcoming days. To pack the bedroll and put it away, remove the pillows/tarps, fold the layers, roll them up then firmly secure the roll with straps. As the weight of bedrolls is light, it’s possible to carry it on your back for an extended amount of time with relative ease.  

While the sleeping bag ease of handling is not as good as the bedroll, you could use it right away once you open the box. It’s highly likely that you have to operate a couple of zippers and adjust some straps but there would be nothing too complicated here. For mummy style sleeping bags, the zipper is unable to move all the way down as that compromise the insulation. Certain examples resort to cord lock along with head drawstring to reduce the loss of heat coming from the top. Because of the design differences, you need to use compression sacks to store mummy style sleeping bags instead of folding them as with rectangular ones.     

>> You may also like: Trekking vs Hiking: Which One to Test Your Physical Limit? <<

Price Tag

traditional bedroll
Normally bedroll is cheaper compared to the price of sleep bag!

While there are indeed very expensive models in bedroll and sleeping bag categories, bedrolls are mostly cheaper than sleeping bags. Keep in mind that it’s possible to manufacture bedrolls from materials in your house so the price tag could be as low as zero. Of course, to produce bedrolls that actually hold together, you have to invest a lot of time times and effort.  Commercial products are available with the acquisition cost ranging from dozens to hundreds of dollars. After you purchase a bedroll, you might not need a separate backpack as you would be able to squeeze your personal belongings into the bedroll.

In the case you searched for the phrase “best camping sleep bags” online, there is a good chance that you already came across costly models. The price of a high-end sleeping bag could reach up to $500, the usual cost of an ordinary outdoor trip. While entry level sleeping bags tend to be cheap, they are not going to last long in the great outdoors. If you want something of good quality, you have to get ready to throw in a good amount of money. So in term of price tag, the bedroll is the indisputable victor when it comes to “bedroll vs. sleeping bag


All things considered, different campers have different preferences. That is why there is no widely accepted winner in the “bedroll vs. sleeping bag” competition. If you want something simple and straightforward, the bedroll shall serve you well. On the other hand, if you value endurance and performance,  the sleeping bag is your best bet. Ask yourself what qualities you seek to make the right call here. Whether it’s “bedroll vs. sleeping bag” or “sleep bags vs. blankets“, your own camping taste remain the decisive factor.

Last Updated on December 30, 2018

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