How to care for your sleeping bag: 5 easy tips to get the most out of your bag

 care for sleeping bag
photo credit: kamikazekyle10 via photopin cc


If you own a sleeping bag, you want to treat it right.   You may have paid a bit of money for it, and you don’t want to wreck it too soon do you?   You need to know how to care for your sleeping bag!

Like anything you purchase for camping, a little bit of care and love will make your gear last longer.

Now that you own the perfect sleeping bag (and maybe you read our 5 tips to help you choose a sleeping bag so you know you got the one just right for you), here are tips to help get the most out of your sleeping bag.


1.     Use a liner or wear PJs


keep sleeping bag clean; wear pjs
photo credit: erix! via photopin cc


Using a sleeping bag liner keeps it clean.   It’s a lot easier to wash a liner than a sleeping bag.   Still put on clean clothes or PJs before you get the in the liner (because odour and body oils will get on the liner if you don’t).

And if you don’t want to use a liner, then remember the clean pajamas/clothes are a must for keeping the bag clean!

Make the effort to get changed every night before you climb into bed.


2.     Ventilation


If the weather is good, when you climb out of your bag in the morning, and get up for the day, bring that bag with you!

Unzip the bag, turn it inside out and hang it over something for a short period of time.    Doesn’t have to be whole day airing, but an hour or two if time and weather permits.

Despite using a liner (if you did), your body has produced moisture vapor during the night, and it could get trapped in the insulation of the bag.

A good airing will allow that moisture to evaporate.


3.    Zippers


zipper  how to care for your sleeping bag


The zippers on your bag are your friend.  Treat them kindly.

Don’t yank and pull at them madly.   You want the zip to work smoothly and whilst its a little annoying if they snag or don’t work as quickly as we would like them too, you need them.

Replacing a zip isn’t easy and not something you want to worry about on a trip.

Got 2 zippers on your bag?  Don’t let 1 zipper do all the work and all the zipping up!    Utilise both zippers, and get them to meet half way.


4.    Wash your bag


how to care for sleeping bags


Sooner or later you need to wash your bag.   Washing the sleeping bag will help not only clean it but rejuvenate the insulation.

Synthetic sleeping bags are so much easier to wash – read the manufacturers guide on how to wash your bag.

Down bags are much trickier and need extra care.     Once again, read up on the manufacturers instructions.

Large front loading washing machines are generally suitable for both sort of sleeping bag with mild detergents, but down filled bags do need something in the wash to help break up clumps of loft.    

Suggested reading:   http://sectionhiker.com/washing-a-down-sleeping-bag/

Whatever your bag, don’t send to the drycleaners.    The chemicals they use can ruin your bag.


5.   Let it loft


After your camping trip is over, as tempting as it may be, don’t stuff your bag back into the little stuff sack it comes with.    If possible (and I know that space can be hard to come by), store your bag in a large cotton stuff sack/mesh sack, to allow the insulation to loft.    A large laundry bag will also work.

Placing in a plastic bag, make sure some air can get in – any moisture in the bag, will then have a way to escape.    But don’t put it in a bag that is watertight/airtight.



There you have it – 5 tips that will make your bag a longer lasting, less smelly and warmer bag to sleep in.

(and if you want to know about choosing a sleeping bag, read here)


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