To Bring a Sleeping Bag or Not

So before going on my epic, worldly adventure, I decided to bring a sleeping bag.  My theory was it would make it easier to couch surf and save me money on a comforter. Now some bloggers say sleeping bags are a waste of space and others say it’s an important piece of travel gear. Many of my friends thought I was stupid to bring it because it took up so much space.


Sometimes hostels have limited sheets, blankets and bad heating so a sleeping bag can be helpful. In the hostel, I’m working at now, I use my sleeping bag instead of the blankets and it’s much more comfortable, clean and warm.

When I was living in Spain, I had a thin comforter in my room.  My sleeping bag made it so much more comfortable at night especially when paired with a hot water bottle.  It actually saved money on gas.

I’m going to be couch surfing in Berlin and New York City so this is going to make it much easier on my hosts to find a space for me.  Also, one time my friend slept over at my apartment and we had no space for her so I gave her a sleeping bag and some pillows.  It was really handy.

There are a lot of workaway jobs that aren’t in the best conditions, for example, sleeping in monastery floors or living in tents in the desert.  If you are interested in these opportunities, I would say it is an imperative piece of travel gear.


It’s bulky.  I can strap it to the top of my backpack but this makes it not fit into the overhead compartment. So I have to go through security with it on top then, take it out when I go on the plane and put it under my seat.  This limits my personal item to a small bag. This can be really limiting especially if you are living out of just a backpack for a year.

If you are staying in a lot of hostels, especially in Western Europe or the United States, there will be sheets and blankets provided.  When I was in hostels in Warsaw, Budapest and Milan it wasn’t really necessary to have a sleeping bag at all. I should have left it at home.

If you are traveling during the summer it really doesn’t make sense to have a sleeping bag.  It’s hot.  However, it can be used as a mattress.

Personally, I’ve found having a sleeping bag is really helpful.  While there have been times that I didn’t need it but I was so grateful when I did have it.  Think about what time of year you are traveling, what kind of accommodation you want and how long you will be traveling before you consider investing in a sleeping bag.

4 thoughts on “To Bring a Sleeping Bag or Not

  1. Great post! This is certainly something we thought about before setting out on a 4 month trip. One other con of sleeping bags that I’ve only learned about since we’ve been traveling is that sleeping bags can carry bed bugs. We’ve stayed in a few hostels that don’t allow sleeping bags because they can bring in bed bugs that travelers picked up in other hostels/hotels. -Emily


    1. That’s a good point but that also holds true for all fabric. so even if you don’t have a sleeping bag the can live in your clothing. Bed bugs are super annoying and don’t die! but thank you for the thoughtful comment.


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