Sleeping bags are an important gear investment, sometimes a hefty one. Caring for your sleeping bag will ensure it lasts you for years to come.
Keeping Your Sleeping Bag Clean
The first step of caring for your sleeping bag and prolonging it’s life is keeping it clean. Dirt and grit can wear down the coating on some bags, especially waterproof coatings. A bag that stays clean longer also requires less washings.
Sleep in clean clothes. It provides a barrier between your body and the bag. Also helps to absorb sweat so your bag doesn’t.
Use a sleeping bag liner. Liners are generally easier to wash and they’ll lessen the amount of washings you’ll need to give your bag, extending it’s life.
Don’t hop around camp in your bag. I’ve been guilty of this! If you are as well, it’s a habit worth breaking. Not only will this get it dirty, it can wear down your toe box and lessen the life of your bag.
Keep it Dry
Making sure your sleeping bag is fully dry before storing and while it’s being stored is key to preventing mold and mildew from growing on and ruining your bag.
How to Dry Out Your Sleeping Bag
Line dry it. Hang your bag over a clothesline, railing, tree branch, anything really. If your bag has a waterproof coating, or even if it doesn’t, flip your bag inside out after a while to ensure your dry both sides fully. Try to avoid hanging in direct sunlight as it can weaken some fabrics.
Use a commercial dryer. Dry it on low heat with a couple tennis balls to help fluff it up and dry more evenly. Just keep an eye on the dryer and check on the bag to ensure there’s no twisting happening and that the heat isn’t too much for your bag.
Dry it inside in a room temp area in the same way you’d line dry it outside. If you’re lacking a good hanging spot indoors, try spreading it across the tops of a few chairs like you’re building a fort.
Why Is being compressed for long periods bad for sleeping bags?
In short, it lessens it’s ability to loft properly. Both down and synthetic bags need to loft to keep you warm. Being continuously compressed or stuffed in a compression sack reduces it’s vitality.
Sleeping Bag Storage Tips
Make use of empty space under a bed. Store your sleeping bag fully unrolled/folded under a bed. This will allow it to stay lofted.
Store somewhere with low moisture and normal room temperatures. This is pretty much anywhere in your home. Unfinished basements or uninsulated/unheated garages probably won’t be good places.
Some sleeping bags come with large mesh bags. These don’t compress the rolled sleeping bag and are breathable. You can store your bags in these and they’ll be just fine, however I find this method to be bulky and I personally don’t like losing such a big chunk of storage area.
Spot cleaning your bag works for most spots, but every now and then your bag will need a full wash. Check out How to Wash Your Sleeping Bag.