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I'm in my first hotel in Mongolia, at the border town with China called "Zamyn-Uud".

The hotel actually has a cheap dormitory room with four beds and only me staying.

Each bed has a kind of "insulation pad" on top of the mattress and a simple blanket/bedspread. But I was also given two sheets when I checked in. In a cupboard there were a couple of thicker blankets but not enough for all the beds in the room.

Both sheets are identical, two layers with an opening down one long edge and the other three edges joined or sewn. So they are like envelopes or bags.

I'm wondering if these special sheets are supposed to be used in some special way. Like are they actually "covers" into which you're supposed to insert or envelop one of the blankets? Maybe with the idea that sheets are easier to launder than blankets.

But if so why two sheets and why not enough blankets in the cupboard? The bedspread blanket on the bed has "edges" that wouldn't really fit in the bag sheets so it couldn't be for them.

I have seen similar but different blanket covers in one country, possibly in Georgia but I can't recall for sure.

Might this be something that both countries inherited from their ties with the Soviet Union and/or Russia? Is there a correct way to use them?

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If you had photos of all that is there it would be great. – uncovery Nov 27 '13 at 2:46
Specially how the blankets look like would be good to know. – uncovery Nov 27 '13 at 3:01
Yes I've been thinking how to take a meaningful photo of a large plain white sheet. At least now I've scaled the Great Firewall I can add photos again. – hippietrail Nov 27 '13 at 3:55
I think I know how the sheets look like. It's the other stuff I am interested in. – uncovery Nov 27 '13 at 3:58
up vote 8 down vote accepted

What you probably have is a duvet cover used as described in your fifth paragraph.

Essentially you put blanket(s) in it with the idea that the cover is easier to wash than the blankets.

Based on my basic knowledge of Mongolian history I would think that this was imported from Europe (Russia).

This makes me wonder how often the blankets are washed...especially in freezing, winter Mongolia.

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I think you have a "sheet sleeping bag". This used to be standard in european Youth Hostels, though I'm not sure they still use them. Basically it separates your body from the rest of the bedding, so that only the sleeping bag needs to be washed regularly. It's you that goes in the bag, not any other piece of bedding :-).

The lack of blankets in the cupboard is probably by accident rather than design.

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I think it's basically the same thing but comes from a Soviet tradition rather than a backpacking tradition (-: – hippietrail Mar 31 '14 at 17:52
But it sounds like the opening is on the long edge? That seems like it would be uncomfortable to sleep inside because your head couldn't stick out to breathe. – Nate Eldredge Apr 1 '14 at 3:49

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