I am traveling for a month to Eastern Europe and Italy and am trying to keep my backpack as light as possible. I have a 2lb. sleeping bag and I am wondering if I would need it in hostels or do they usually have blankets as well as sheets. Would it be cleaner and warmer and worth it to lug those extra lbs. for a month in July?
Originally, hostels required sleeping bags to avoid the expense of furnishing sheets, thus keeping the prices down. Nowadays, most hostels furnish bedding. If the hostel is on-line, they will tell you what they have.
If you have any concern about their hygiene, I would recommend that you bring a sleep sack. The silk ones are very light and pack easily. RS sells a good one.
Just a note: In all of my travels, over many years and in many countries, I have only wished for a sleep sack once. However, I use hostels only occasionally.
Rick has a sleep sack on his traval store... a cotton one and a silk one. Click the Travel Store tab above.
Every hostel I have stayed at has provided the sheets and a blanket and/or duvet. The hostel will tell you if they provide this or not. If not they will probably rent them (I have seen this online for a couple of places). Personally I wouldn't lug a sleeping bag around. You will need to take a towel though.
It's my understanding that most hostels don't even allow sleeping bags because of the possibility of people bringing in bed-bug-infested ones. If you wanted to take a sleep sack you can make one easily by folding a flat sheet in half and sewing up the bottom and most of the side edge.
I'll corroborate Nancy's experience. Most hostels rent sheets for 1 or 2 euros. If you want to save on that expense (it does add up), bring a sleep sack and a pillowcase.
I've stayed at many European hostels. Because of the resurgence in bed bugs, nearly all of them refuse to allow guests to use their own bedding and more than 95% of the time I have found the sheets, blankets, pillows they provide are included in your price.
If you book most of your hostels in advance, you can email ahead and find out whether you even need a sleep sack (or are permitted to use one). A sleep sack, even a silk one, is just extra weight in your pack. If you aren't going to use it more than 1 or 2x, it could be worth the 1 or 2 Euros to rent the sheets.
Last trip, we all packed a sleepsack. It ended up being a waste of space and weight. Every hostel we visited included bedding in the price. We used our sleepsacks once, not because we needed to but to justify packing them.
Hostels rarely allow sleeping bags. I can see how hostels now do not want people bringing in bedding that can spread bedbugs (also keep your luggage off the ground or it could pick up and spread bedbugs).
Thank you I will travel 2 and a half pounds lighter. I imagine night train couchettes must also have what you need.
Susan, my experience has been much the same as mentioned by the others. Sleeping Bags are usually not allowed in Hostels, in order to minimize "cross contamination" on their bedding. As you're not planning on camping, there's no reason to bring one.
All of the Hostels I've used have provided a sleep sheet and pillow case. There's usually a pillow and Duvet (or blanket) on the bed. In one case, the Duvet had retained some "odours" from the previous guest, but most places have fairly clean bedding.
Like one of the previous Posters, I've carried a Sleep Sack (Rick's Silk model) on several trips, but never used it (I figured it was a good idea to pack it "just in case", as it's light and doesn't take much room in the Backpack, so this wasn't a problem). However, I left it behind on my last trip and didn't miss it at all.
You might want to check the websites for all of the Hostels you'll be using, as they should specify whether bedding is provided in the cost of the room, or at extra cost.
Good luck and happy travels!