A sleeping bag should (if looked after properly) last you years. However, storing your sleeping bag the right way is usually overlooked. After a few days of camping, it’s far too easy to shove it away without much thought of your next trip. But, taking the time to look after it properly can extend its life, saving you money and more years of cozy comfort.
Stuffing it the Right Way
Most sleeping bags come with a ‘stuff sack’ which is ideal when you’re on the move from one destination to the other. However, for long-term storage, it won’t give you the most use possible out of your bag. Nevertheless, it is important to learn how to stuff it correctly to make it easier for you.
- Turn the bag inside out if it has a waterproof shell, otherwise, it will trap air and make it harder to pack
- Begin stuffing the bag from the bottom, with the zipper open a little bit
- If possible, use a larger than necessary stuff sack for extra room or, alternatively, if you have a compression sack then use the straps to compress it as much as you can
- Buy a waterproof stuff sack if you are going to be hiking in the rain
Storing Your Bag Properly
If you manage to store your bag properly, you will greatly extend its lifespan and it will save you money over the long run. Try to make sure that you don’t keep it in a compression or stuff bag for too long because this will reduce its loft.
After a trip away with your sleeping back, take it out as soon as you can and leave it to dry and air out. You should have received a mesh bag upon purchase, which is intended to store the sleeping bag loosely. You could even store it spread out under your bed so that it has a higher chance of retaining its loft.
How to Wash It
Fortunately, your sleeping bag doesn’t need to be washed thoroughly after every single use. After a camping trip, it is likely that it’ll only need a quick scrub up. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a toothbrush, non-detergent soap, and some water.
If you sense that the bag needs a full blown wash, you should read the manufacturer label or instructions as each bag may need to be washed a specific way. Some people choose to take it to get professionally washed, which will give you peace of mind that it is done the correct way. Make sure you don’t take it to get dry cleaned, though, because the solvents can damage the material of your bag.
To wash at home by hand, follow these instructions:
- Fill up a bathtub and put in cleaner which is safe for use with your type of sleeping bag
- Put the bag in the water and begin to use soap (small amounts) on the bag
- Let the bag soak for around one hour in the water
- Drain the bath and refill with cool water to rinse any soap out and then let it drain. You may need to repeat this step a few times
- Drain as much water out of your sleeping bag as possible and then either place in a large dryer or flat outside in the sun