How to Store Your Sleeping Bag: Pay Attention to This

Smart tips on how to store your sleeping bag

Storing your sleeping bag properly is crucial to ensure its longevity and performance over time. Improper storage can lead to compressed insulation, reduced loft, and ultimately, a less effective sleeping bag.

In this guide, we’ll provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to store your sleeping bag to maintain its quality and extend its lifespan. Whether you’re an avid camper, hiker, or just someone who wants to take good care of their gear, this information will help you keep your sleeping bag in top condition for many adventures to come.

How to Store Your Sleeping Bag (3 Steps)

Without further delay let’s see how to store your sleeping bag after your camping or hiking trip…

Use Packsack Only for Transport

An avoidable mistake when dealing with sleeping bag care is storing it in the packsack. Once at home, the sleeping bag ends up in its narrow transport bag with the rest of the camping accessories and loses its bulkiness due to the high compression.

Insulation is the key factor why a sleeping bag keeps us warm in the first place. However, both down and synthetic models need air and space to form the air pockets needed in the insulation. These air spaces store body heat and keep us warm while we sleep.

You can test for yourself that the insulation needs space: lie down on the floor in your sleeping bag without a sleeping pad. The reason why the bottom of the sleeping bag now feels colder than the top is the compression of the insulation by your weight. This compression of the insulation can be absorbed by both down and synthetic fibers. Nevertheless, the bulking ability is affected.

If stored incorrectly for months, constant, fatal compression takes place – the bulkiness and resistance decrease and the sleeping bag no longer keeps you warm as well. It is true that both types of filling materials are negatively influenced by incorrect storage. However, synthetic fiber sleeping bags suffer particularly badly from excessive compression.

  • Tip: Have a checklist ready of what still needs to be done after you return home from your camping holiday. So don’t forget to store the sleeping bag correctly.

Store your sleeping bag the right way

Dry Your Sleeping Bag Properly After the Vacation

In fact, drying the sleeping bag after the camping trip is extremely important to maintain its longevity and insulation. On the other hand, if you don’t let the sleeping bag dry out between trips, you encourage the formation of mildew and mildew on the surface and in the insulation. Of course, we want to avoid that at all costs, especially with expensive models.

To dry out the sleeping bag after the trip, proceed as follows:

  • Unzip the zipper fully.
  • Hang the sleeping bag on a clothesline or drying rack outside.
  • Make sure the sleeping bag dries in the shade and avoids direct UV rays from the sun.
  • Sleeping bags with a waterproof coating should be dried inside out for four hours, then inside out for four hours.

If you don’t have a shaded outdoor area to dry your sleeping bag, we recommend a proper dry and warm room at home. A fan and ideally a dehumidifier in the same room also help. Drying in a tumble dryer is also possible, but there is a risk that the sleeping bag will be damaged if used incorrectly.

To dry the sleeping bag in the tumble dryer after each trip, proceed as follows:

  • In any case, make sure that the drum is big enough (large professional machines in the laundromat are ideal).
  • Choose gentle drying at low heat, maximum of 40 degrees Celsius.
  • Ideally, add two tennis or dryer balls.
  • Check drying regularly to prevent damage.

If the sleeping bag is too wet or you discover dirt residue, you should wash the sleeping bag before drying. See our guide to washing and cleaning a sleeping bag properly.

Store Your sleeping Bag Correct Place

If the sleeping bag is clean and dry after the camping holiday, you will probably ask yourself where and how you store the sleeping bag. First things first: Store the sleeping bag in such a way that the filling is not compressed too much and at the same time air can circulate. This definitely eliminates the too much small, cramped transport bag for storage. This is actually only for transport.

Some backpacking sleeping bags come with an additional large pocket. In most cases, this is an airy cotton bag that is breathable and therefore ideal for storing the sleeping bag.

If you only find the narrow transport bag in the scope of delivery, you should get a bag or sack made of cotton or mesh. In terms of size, you should aim for a capacity of 75 to 100 liters so that it has enough space to carry your sleeping bag.

Whitmor Natural Cotton Laundry Bag

Moisture and extreme temperature fluctuations in particular are poison for the longevity of your sleeping bag. Therefore, musty basements, cold garages, and attics where laundry dries regularly are not suitable for storing your sleeping bag.

A good place to store the sleeping bag is in the closet. Once packed in an airy cotton bag or pillowcase, the sleeping bag can be stored in the closet until the next trip without being damaged. Another option is to hang the sleeping bag loosely over several hangers, i.e. without a cotton bag or pillowcase.

If you have enough space on your own four walls, you can also spread out the sleeping bag on a surface on the floor. The floor area under the bed is ideal for many bedrooms. When storing on the ground, you should of course also make sure that the ground is not too cold. Accordingly, moderately tempered rooms are best suited.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often should I inspect and fluff my sleeping bag during storage?

It’s a good practice to check your sleeping bag periodically, especially if it’s stored for an extended period. Ideally, you should aim to do this every 3 to 6 months. Gently fluffing and shaking it out will help maintain its loft and insulation properties.

Can I store my sleeping bag in a plastic bag or vacuum-sealed bag?

It’s best to avoid storing your sleeping bag in airtight containers or plastic bags. This can trap moisture and lead to mildew or odors. Opt for breathable storage options like cotton sacks.

Should I wash my sleeping bag before storing it?

Yes, it’s important to clean and thoroughly dry your sleeping bag before storing it. This helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew and ensures that the bag is fresh and ready for future use.

What’s the best way to store a down sleeping bag vs. a synthetic sleeping bag?

The storage principles are generally the same for both types of sleeping bags. However, down sleeping bags are more sensitive to moisture, so make sure to keep them in a dry environment and avoid compression. Synthetic bags are more forgiving but still benefit from proper storage practices.

Is it okay to store my sleeping bag in the attic or basement?

It’s best to store your sleeping bag in a cool and dry place away from extreme temperatures, moisture, and direct sunlight. Attics and basements can be prone to temperature fluctuations and humidity, which may not be ideal for long-term storage.

Can I store other items with my sleeping bag in the same storage bag?

It’s best to store your sleeping bag on its own to prevent any potential damage or compression from other items. If you must store multiple items together, make sure they are all clean and won’t cause any unnecessary pressure on the sleeping bag.

The Verdict!

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, properly storing your sleeping bag is essential for preserving its insulation, loft, and overall performance. By following these steps, you can ensure that your sleeping bag remains in top condition for years to come:

  • Free the sleeping bag from the packsack immediately after your vacation.
  • Dry the sleeping bag thoroughly so that it is neither damp nor clammy.
  • Hang it on hangers or pack it in a large, breathable cotton bag.
  • If possible, store the sleeping bag in a dry and warm place.

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