Te Araroa

Ultra-Light, Ultra-Cheap Sleeping Bags

My dad was so tight that he didn’t want to buy proper, small and lightweight sleeping bags. Dad (the great shopper that he is) found our sleeping bags online. They only cost 19AUD so he figured that they were good enough. Plus, he knows that I can sew.

waaaaaaay too big

Great, now mum and I have seven, bulky and almost impossible to sew sleeping bags to cut down. Thanks a lot dad.

First I got into my sleeping bag and mum pinned down the non-zippered side as close as was possible to me. It took her ages to pin it up as the safety pins kept popping out.

Then I fought with it for about an hour and broke three sewing machine needles and had to rethread the machine seven times, sewing down the length of it.

I cut off the extra bits, flipped the bag inside out and enclosed the raw edge in a french seam. I managed not to break any needles this time! But I did have to hand-sew some of it as it was too thick to fit in the sewing machine.

Look how much I managed to cut off!

Cutting the compression sack down was easy.

It was a nightmare to sew and take most of the day. But, look how much smaller the one I cut down is! I took off 474g (17 ounces). I think that’s pretty impressive when you have to carry it 3000km. Just think of multiplying it by the ammount of steps I’ll take…

I think it will take a while to become used to sleeping in such a confined space. I generally take up as much space as possible when I’m asleep, arms and legs sprawled out everywhere.

At first, I was planning to write this post as a tutorial so other people could cut down their sleeping bags too. But it’s way too hard to recommend doing. If you have spent a lot of time sewing and know your way around a sewing machine then, by all means, cut your bag down too. But for most people, I’d recommend buying a smaller bag to start with.



Seriously, it’s not worth it.

Get bags that are already light and don’t trust the warmth rating on cheap bags. And, they started falling apart right away.

One Comment

  • Donna Walmsley

    Beautifully explained, Gabrielle – gosh what a challenge. I’m looking forward to catching up on your posts now I’ve found you again!!
    Donna ‍♀️❤️

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