How to Make a Canvas Bedroll

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BEDROLLS ARE THE ORIGINAL BIVY AND HAVE BEEN USED FOR CENTURIES TO KEEP THEIR OCCUPANTS WARM AND DRY AFTER A LONG DAY OF TRAVEL. IF YOU’RE NOT CONCERNED ABOUT A BIT OF WEIGHT, THEY ARE A PERFECT WAY TO PACK YOUR BED, SHELTER, AND SOME EXTRA GEAR IN ONE BUNDLE. WHAT YOU RELINQUISH IN POUNDAGE, YOU’LL MAKE UP FOR IN DURABILITY AND COMFORT.

If you can get your hands on some canvas, here is a simple design that can take a beating and still protect you from the elements. Feel free to waterproof to your liking by waxing the canvas, or with a little leather work you can customize the way you secure your roll internally and externally.

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Start by sourcing a fair amount of heavy-duty canvas. We suggest canvas because of it’s durability, and it’s ability to protect you from the elements while also being able to take an ember if you’re sleeping close to a campfire. Once again, feel free to wax or treat to add water repellency. You’ll need 17’ X 7’ of canvas.

Grab some clasps or grommets (this is up to you and your design). We used grommets due to their simplicity to install and then rope to secure. You are welcome to sew some leather straps in that can be easily release and secured.

The Bed. This is totally up to you and your desired comfort. If you’re a purist, these old bedrolls often just contained a wool blanket. You can however place a sleeping pad, sheets, and layers of blankets and a pillow in these; there is plenty of space and you’ll be “glamping”

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IF YOU’RE NOT CONCERNED ABOUT A BIT OF WEIGHT, THEY ARE A PERFECT WAY TO PACK YOUR BED, SHELTER, AND SOME EXTRA GEAR IN ONE BUNDLE.

The steps:

Pick half of the canvas and install your grommets or clasps to both outside edges of the canvas.

Make your bed and add any extra gear in the storage area above where your head will be.

Fold the un-grommeted half over the bed and fold in the grommeted sides and secure.

Roll the whole thing up and strap down using rope or belts.

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