Sleeping Off The Grid – Bedding Considerations

This article is a guest post by Jeriann Watkins, a writer in Boise, Idaho. She has long collected craft items, and has lately been finding creative survival uses for them, such as making fire starters out of wine corks. Check out her blog at

When you’re living off the grid, whether by choice or necessity, you realize how different life is without modern conveniences. Some changes seem like a pain, but a lot can be for the better. For example, sleep. Healthy sleep is vital for surviving and thriving, but the typical 21st century lifestyle doesn’t promote quality sleep. Living off grid, you’ll likely spend less time looking at blue-light screens and more time in line with your natural circadian rhythm. But if you’re on the move, your quality of sleep might suffer due to the physical conditions. It’s not like you can haul a supportive mattress with neck supports around. Below are some portable bedding options for survival situations.

Making Bedding From Your Surroundings

maxresdefault (1)Off grid survival requires a combination of resourcefulness, innovation, and common sense. Studying plants has a lot of survival benefits, from finding food, to knowing what plants can be used for healing.

It can also help you see which ones are good for bedding. Though you might think any large leaves can be made into a bed, it’s best to use material that is resistant to water. The following plants make for great additions to your shelter:

  • Deciduous Trees: Dead branches and trunks can be used to build a shelter frame. Focus on dead and dry leaves (harvesting from conifers often means dealing with live plant matter, increasing your impact on the environment). Harvesting dead and dying leaves from deciduous trees gives you a plentiful resource of easy-to-harvest, dry plant matter to use as shelter cover and bedding.
  • Balsam: Balsam is evergreen, which makes it more difficult to harvest, but it’s feathery greenery makes for great bedding. Balsam is known as “Mountain Goose” in some parts of the world, and its “feathers” make for great cushioning to sleep on.
  • Ferns: Ferns are large and leafy, making them convenient to use to create bedding. More importantly though, they trap air, making them effective insulators.

I’d recommend learning more about each type of bedding to ensure you find the one that’s best suitable for your off-grid-living situation.

Light Bedding Options You Can Carry With You

hammock-sticksblogDOTcomYou can’t always count on being able to find dry plant matter, and dryness is imperative. Wet bedding leads to wet clothes, and wet clothes can kill. Dampness can not only cause sickness due to cold, but it also invites mold into your shelter, which can cause respiratory problems. It’s not always convenient to carry around eggshell mattresses or sleeping bags.

When you want an easy-to-transport survival bed, one of the best options is a hammock. You can buy or make hammocks in pretty much any style, and fold them up to be super compact in a backpack. Since they sit above the ground, there is less likelihood of getting them wet. You can also learn methods of setting up a hammock in pretty much any setting, making it a versatile option. And we all know how important versatility is to survival.

Bottom Line

When living off the grid, foot travel might be necessary. Don’t be caught unprepared if you need to sleep outside. Learn about the plants in the area where you’ll be travelling, and be sure to pack for emergency situations.  Do you have any tips for building bedding for survival in the wilderness? Share in the comments!

Leave a Comment

      Leave a Reply