Bushcraft Bedroll – The Cowboy’s Camping Sleeping Bag

by | Oct 12, 2020 | Bushcraft

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It’s hard to think of anything better than spending time in the great outdoors, and taking in everything nature has to offer. The relaxing sounds of crickets chirping, birds singing, and leaves swaying is better than any song you’ll find on the radio today. While tents and other shelters are definitely important, there’s really no better way to enjoy your time outside than with a bushcraft bedroll.

What is a Bushcraft Bedroll

A bushcraft bedroll, also known as a cowboy bedroll, can best be described as the original sleeping bag. Bedrolls are typically made up of an outer shell that is well equipped to protect from the elements. That shell is rolled up, and used as a carrying case for a bed, and all other personal belongings.

Modern day bushcraft bedrolls are rooted in deep tradition. Variations of these survival favorites can be found throughout history and across the globe. For example, in Australia, bedrolls were referred to as swag, and in the British Army, officers carried valise. 

Uses and Benefits

Today, most sporting goods and camping shops have walls lined with the latest tents and sleeping bags, and for good reason. Sleeping bags and tents have come a long way, and are well equipped to provide optimal comfort and protection from the elements. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still great uses and benefits for bushcraft bedrolls.

Many bushcrafters and survivalists prefer to carry a bedroll with them rather than a sleeping bag. Primarily because of the bedroll’s range of uses. First, the bushcraft bedroll makes a great alternative to the sleeping bag. When arranged properly, you can fold each side so that you’re tucked snuggly away from the cold and even rain.

Another benefit is the bedroll’s ability to roll up, and double as a carrying case for all of your personal belongings. It’s easy to attach some paracord or rope so that you can carry it over your shoulder as well.

Best Materials for Bushcraft Bedrolls

If you’re thinking of replacing your sleeping back with a good old fashion cowboy bedroll, you can’t just use any material. While your favorite blanket may be comfortable and keep you warm, it’s just not going to hold up against inclement weather. 

When it comes to your bushcraft bedroll, you want to find strong, durable material. That means material that can withstand rubbing against sharp rocks and branches. Waterproof material that protects you from the rain. Here’s the best material for bushcraft bedrolls.


Canvas is one of the most durable materials, and was commonly used for cowboy bedrolls. It’s long been a favorite for its durability and waterproof properties, but you should still check to make sure your canvas bedroll is designed to withstand water. 

If it’s not, water can harm the fabric, and even attract mildew, which can pose potential health risks. There are also ways to treat canvas to make it waterproof. That way, you can benefit from the durability, comfort, and utility of canvas.


Oilskin is a waterproof material that was actually first created out at sea. Sailors would treat old sails with linseed and whale oil, creating some of the most effective waterproof gear. Today, oilskin is produced primarily from cotton, which is treated to withstand the harsher elements.

Just like canvas, oilskin is very durable, and helps keep your bed and personal belongings dry. More importantly, it makes for a great material for your bushcraft bedroll.


There aren’t too many items as trusted for bushcraft as the tarp. Tarps are often used to create shelter from the elements, such as rain and sun. Which make them the perfect material for you to use as your bushcraft bedroll.

Brian Segal

As an outdoor enthusiast, I was drawn to bushcraft at a young age. I constantly find myself trying to learn and improve on my survival skills, and enjoy writing about everything I discover to help pass along to others.

About Bushcraft Wild

At Bushcraft Wild, our goal is to help people learn the necessary skills to reconnect with nature. From basic survival skills to recreational camping, we’re confident you’ll find a way to spend more time in the great outdoors.

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