Currently I have a camera bean bag filled with polystyrene and I find the sound quite loud and annoying, especially on a safari. I don’t believe that the sound is distracting any wildlife, but it is distracting for other attendees. Sitting in complete silent, enjoying the wildlife and nature and always hearing some rustle.

I know people are using rice but it can get heavy. I also heard that buckwheat hulls are a lightweight alternative, but I never used it and therefore I don’t know how loud it is.

So, my question is, what lightweight silent option for fillings are there?


3 Answers 3


Short summary of my experiences so far.

First I tried it with shredded rubber tires. Stability was pretty good and just what I was hoping for. A big disadvantage is the weight.

After that I tried shredded cork (2-5mm) and it worked best for me. It was light and silent. Stability may not have been perfect (70-80%), but the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

Both options were definitely quieter than styrofoam.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I can confirm that a decent quality kitchen blender can reduce wine corks (NATURAL cork - don't try this with plastic ones) into that size range. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 22, 2022 at 8:42

You can use flour. Rice also make some sound although less than polystyrene balls. Refined wheat flour will work quite well but will need to be put inside a watertight bag first and then inserted into your bean bag.

Small stress balls(the ones on keychains) will also work very well. Other alternatives are:

  • Cotton waste (Mechanics shops will have them. light and get the job done well).
  • Pull out the entrails of a stuffed toy(or pillow) and stuff that into your beanbag. Very quiet and works reasonably well(similar to cotton waste).
  • Sawdust is used to fill boxing bags(for children. Adults use sand).
  • Shredded fabrics can be added into the polystyrene mix to make it a little quieter.

The best method I would say is to make small pouches out of cloth, fill them with polystyrene beans and place these small beanbags into the large beanbag. It will help a lot.


Not going to be quite the same as far as weight per volume, but maybe something like shredded memory foam pillow filling.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It's not going to be as stable. Foam beads are 'not compressible' [much] which means they hold their position. I've heard 'micro beads' are quieter, but that's only hearsay. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    May 5, 2022 at 10:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was looking for something denser, like shredded tire rubber, which would be better than memory foam, but didn't come up with anything with a quick search... \$\endgroup\$
    – twalberg
    May 5, 2022 at 12:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ I really like the idea of ​​shredded memory foam or tire rubber. The foam will probably not be stable enough, but it will be quiet. But the tire rubber gives me a good feeling, like a punching bag. The microbeads should also be much quieter than styrofoam. I think I'll try the tire rubber first, thanks a lot! \$\endgroup\$ May 5, 2022 at 19:04

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