This Sleeping Bag is Made Locally the Old School Way

Custom Woolen Mills’ Cold Country sleeping bags are 100-per-cent natural, handmade using Canadian wool and a bat carding machine from 1895.


Custom Woolen Mills in Carstairs is one of four mills in Canada that uses Canadian wool in its products. The family-owned company processes wool from raw fleece into a usable product. The mill’s shop sells handmade items such as socks, hand-knitted rugs, blankets and bedding. They also make sleeping bags that are ideal for using at the cabin or on a sailboat. (But probably not hiking – they weigh about 11 pounds.)

Custom Woolen Mill has been making these sleeping bags for more than 40 years. Each sleeping bag is handmade at the mill and filled with five pounds of pure, new wool. The wool is sourced from farmers mostly in Alberta and Saskatchewan. After washing, the wool goes through a process called carding. This is where the wool is processed into a usable material.

The mill has three types of carding machine and uses the bat carding machine to prepare wool for the sleeping bag. And it’s an old-school process – the machine that turns wool into batting is from 1895. The mill doesn’t use modern equipment because it allows them to do small batch and custom processing. It also means each product has more attention to detail than a mass-produced product. (The other two carding machines at the mill are almost as old – one from 1910 and the other from 1927.)

This is probably the warmest, longest-lasting sleeping bag ever. Basically, wool is a super material. It’s good for the environment, (it’s renewable, reusable and biodegradable), it’s wear-resistant and it’s fire retardant. But the most beneficial thing about a wool sleeping bag is its insulating properties. Even if the bag gets wet, the wool won’t get damaged and it will continue to keep you warm.

These sleeping bags are also 100-per-cent natural. The wool is only processed minimally – there’s no bleaching, chlorinating or moth-proofing at this mill.

The bags come in three colours: mustard yellow, fire engine red and royal blue. The standard size costs $375 and the deluxe size costs $390. Sleeping bags are made to order. Visit the mill or call 403-337-2221 to order a custom sleeping bag.

Custom Woolen Mills, 30453 Range Rd. 27 2, Carstairs, 403-337-2221,

Visit the Custom Woolen Mill makers

Market Collective: December 4 to 6

Custom Woolen Mills will be at Market Collective‘s second weekend, from Friday, December 4 to Sunday, December 6. While they won’t have the sleeping bags for sale here, they will be selling small products like socks, toques and dryer balls.

Chinese Cultural Centre, 197 1 St. S.W.,


Open House: December 12

To learn more about the mill, attend its open house on December 12, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. There will be guided tours where you’ll learn about the machinery and how wool processing works. You’ll also be able to try your hand at felt crafting. RSVPs for the guided tour are required.

Custom Woolen Mills, 30453 Range Rd. 27 2, Carstairs, 403-337-2221,

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