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Makeshift Sleeping Bags

Surviving life in today’s modern setting can be a real challenge with insurmountable bills, taxes, politics, and sometimes, an annoying neighbor. But, what about real life ““ have you ever been stuck outside in a snow storm? Lost in the wilderness without a cell phone? Or stranded on a sinking boat? In situations like these, you may be wishing you had watched more MacGyver shows or paid extra attention in Boy Scouts! Good news, the post-apocalyptic madness has not yet occurred, a stable government is still in place (debatable, but true), and taxes are in check, for now ““ which gives you time to practice and prepare for whatever life could throw at you.

Today, we have decided to cover the ever simple but yet crucial survival tool of sleeping bags. If you are stranded in a state park without a sleeping bag and or blanket and all you can find are a couple of garbage cans, fliers, trash, and maybe a phone book ““ you are in luck, you might just sleep a little warmer tonight.

Tools Required to Make a Makeshift Sleeping Bag:

  • Plastic Garbage Bags
  • Newspaper, Cardboard, Packaging Peanuts
  • Duct Tape (if available)
  • Scissors, Knife, or Sharp Object (if available)


Sleeping Bag #1 (Full Size): Simply take one of the two garbage bags and using your sharp object, slice open the bottom portion of the garbage bag as evenly as possible. Next, align the garbage bag that you just modified with the edges of the opening of the other bag and then use the duct tape to seal the seam.

Now you have just successfully created a sleeping bag shell. The next requirement in crafting a make shift sleeping bag is the insulation. There are several options to insulation and it will primarily depend upon what you can find around you ““ for example, newspaper, cardboard, packaging peanuts, etc. Newspaper and card board are usually in abundance in the urban setting and will be used as examples in this scenario. Take each page of newspaper or paper and scrunch them up into balls and then place them inside of the make shift sleeping bag shell Continue to do this until you are out of materials or the shell is nearly full. This will help create the insulation necessary to retain your body heat throughout the night and may just save your life.

Sleeping Bag #2 (Half Size): If only one garbage bag is available to use, you may still be able to keep the vital parts of your body warm to survive the night. There are two options to this method and it will be determined by the size of the bag. If the bag covers your entire torso (waist line to neck) you can go with the upper body bag. If the bag is unfortunately too small, the shirt bag option is secondary alternative.

Upper Body Bag: Cut two small holes for your legs at either corner of the bottom of the garbage bag. Follow the steps detailed above concerning the paper or insulation and you have a upper body bag that will keep you waist and chest warm throughout the night.

Shirt Bag: Cut two small holes in the side of the bag for your arms, leave a little room at the bottom for your shoulders and insulation. Then cut a medium size whole for your head, it is important to leave a large enough opening around your neck due to suffocation and for breath-ability. Proceed to insulate as above. Both these options leave some parts of your body exposed but will hopefully allow your heart and lungs to remain warm enough to function throughout the cold night.

Lastly, cardboard is a great foam like pad to sleep on that will also help retain heat around your person. Use it first underneath your body as a pad then the remaining to cover your body, head, feet, etc. A simple yet effective strategy that may just save your life in a dire situation…

““ Stay Safe

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