Dr Bryan McEleney

How to make a lightweight sleeping bag / bivvy bag

I will start with a list of materials, then describe how to make the bag, then show some photos.


The total cost of the materials was about EUR40 for the insulation, EUR20 for the pertex, EUR15 for the silk and EUR10 for the foam mat, so about EUR 85. Good sources for materials are eBay, Extremtextil in Germany for pertex quantum and climashield, and Pro Fabrics in the UK.

How to make the bag

The sleeping bag is 180 cm long, the cover is 100 cm wide at the hood tapering to 60 cm at the foot. The integrated mat is 50 cm wide and 180 cm long. This is the same length as my body. The cover, insulation and lining can be stitched together with a sewing machine, and with the lightweight mat that I used, it was possible to stitch the cover to the mat using the machine. The climashield insulation is quite robust and does not need quilting, especially when the bag has an inner lining. It might be useful to include a zip at one side in case the bag is too warm. There is a shock cord drawstring at the hood which is also used as a strap when the bag is rolled up, and there is a small battery torch attached to the side. An extra foam pad can be used inside or outside the bag. The total weight of the bag is just under 800g, half of that is the top insulation, 200g for the mat, about 140 grams for the pertex and 60 grams for the silk lining.


The bag rolled up

The bag opened out

The hood

Drawstring made from shock cord with a paracord cord lock

Climashield insulation

Stitching Detail

The torch