Whether you are heading out for a fun overnighter or you just got back from one, care for your gear should be a top priority after that well-deserved shower!
There’s nothing worse than getting ready to turn in for the day, unrolling your bag at your gorgeous campsite, and finding mold on your bag. Not only it is unpleasant, but it can be detrimental to your health.
The key to keeping your all-important sleeping bag in tip-top condition is storage. Clean and store it well, and it will be in excellent condition for your next adventure. Fail to do so, and you might just be sleeping shivering and cold.
In this blog post, we’ll look at all the ways that you can store your sleeping bag before and after a trip so that you keep that vital piece of equipment in excellent shape.
1. Compression Sacks
Our favorite way to store a sleeping bag — both at home, out in the field, or en route to your campsite — is to pack it in a compression sack. It keeps your sleeping bag compact and easy-to-handle.
These are specially designed bags that allow you to squeeze all the air out of your sleeping bag, reducing its size and making it easier to pack in your backpack.
Simply put your sleeping bag in the compression sack and use the straps to cinch it down as tightly as possible. This will not only make your sleeping bag take up less space in your pack but also help protect it from dirt and moisture.
2. Hang it Up While Camping
Hanging a sleeping bag in a tent (if it is big) or out on a tree limb is a good way to store your sleeping bag while camping, as it allows the bag to air out and prevents it from getting too dirty or moist. Here are a few steps you can follow to hang your sleeping bag in your tent:
- Find a suitable location in your tent (or out on a limb if the weather is great) to hang your sleeping bag. A high point, such as the peak of the tent or a hanging loop is usually best.
- Choose a method for hanging your sleeping bag. You can use a paracord, a clothesline, or a carabiner to secure your sleeping bag to the top of your tent. Just make sure the cord or line is strong enough to hold the weight of the sleeping bag.
- Gently place your sleeping bag in the chosen location, ensuring it’s not too close to any sharp objects or heat sources.
- Use the cord or line to secure the sleeping bag in place. If you’re using a paracord or a clothesline, you can tie a simple knot or use a carabiner to clip the bag in place.
- Once your sleeping bag is hanging securely in your tent, you can leave it there for the duration of your trip. Check it periodically to ensure it’s still in good condition and not getting too dirty or moist.
Hanging the bag outside, if the weather is good, will allow wind to air-dry it, which can be very welcomed.
3. Use A Sleeping Bag Stuff Sack
If you’re camping in a hammock, you can also use a sleeping bag stuff sack to store your sleeping bag. These are similar to compression sacks, but they’re specifically designed to fit inside a hammock. Simply put your sleeping bag in the stuff sack and tuck it away inside your hammock.
This will keep it out of the way and will help protect it from the elements such as water and dirt.
4. Roll It Up
You can store a sleeping bag by rolling it up. This method is similar to how you would roll up a sleeping pad or a yoga mat. Rolling up your sleeping bag is a good option if you don’t have a lot of space in your pack or if you want to keep your gear organized and easy to access.
Just be aware that this method may not be as effective at protecting your sleeping bag from dirt and moisture as other storage methods, such as using a compression sack or storage bag. Here’s how to do it:
- Lay your sleeping bag flat on the ground, with the inside of the bag facing up.
- Starting at one end of the bag, begin to roll it up tightly, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles or lumps as you go.
- Once you reach the other end of the bag, secure the roll with a couple of elastic bands or Velcro straps. This will help keep the bag rolled up and compact.
5. Vacuum-Sealed Bags
Another option for storing your sleeping bag at home is to use a vacuum-sealed bag. These bags are designed to remove all the air from the inside, creating a vacuum that helps to compress your sleeping bag and protect it from the elements.
First, carefully slide the sleeping bag into the vacuum-sealed bag, taking care not to snag the fabric on any sharp objects. Once the sleeping bag is inside the vacuum-sealed bag, seal the bag according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
This usually involves closing the top of the bag and using a vacuum cleaner to remove the air. When you’re finished, your sleeping bag should be securely sealed in the vacuum-sealed bag and ready to be stored in your home or packed in your backpack.
Make sure to choose a vacuum-sealed bag that is the right size for your sleeping bag, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure it is properly sealed.
6. Hang it Up While At Home
Hanging a sleeping bag at home is a great way to store it when it’s not in use, as it allows the bag to air out and prevents it from getting too musty or stale. To hang your sleeping bag at home, you’ll need to find a suitable location and a method for securing it in place.
A closet or a clothes hanger are both excellent options for storing a sleeping bag, and you can use a hanger, a hook, or a wall-mounted rack to hold it up. Just be sure to choose a safe and secure location, and avoid hanging your sleeping bag near any heat sources or damp areas.
7. Use a Duvet Cover
Finally, you can also store your sleeping bag in a duvet cover. These large, decorative covers are typically used to protect comforters and blankets. To use a duvet cover for your sleeping bag, simply slide it in and zip it up.
This will not only keep your sleeping bag clean and protected, but it will also add a touch of style to your bedroom. By inserting a sleeping bag into a duvet cover, you can also create an efficient and compact way to carry extra layers with you on the trail.
However, a duvet cover will not protect your sleeping bag from water, so it is ideal to use this storage method only at home.
Rule #1: Never Store a Wet Sleeping Bag
This is probably a good time to say that you should only store dry, clean sleeping bags. Never store a wet sleeping bag, whether the moisture is caused by the ground, rain, or humans. Only store dry sleeping bags.
You want the sleeping bag to thoroughly dry out, so you don’t have dampness, mold, mildew, or unpleasant odors develop.
In my opinion, the best way to de-dampen a sleeping bag is to put it in the sun, and let it dry. If that isn’t an option, consider a delicate wash in the washing machine, or a hand wash, followed by a good, low-heat dry in a dryer until it is nice and dry.
There are several options for storing your sleeping bag while camping or at home. Just remember to choose a storage method that fits your needs, the types of camping you do, and the specific characteristics of your sleeping bag.
Before picking a storage method, you should consider the size and type of your sleeping bag, the available space, and the level of protection you need against dirt and moisture. And ALWAYS make sure your sleeping bag is stored bone-dry. Storing a damp sleeping bag is a sure way to introduce mold, mildew, or odor problems.
With a little organization and care, you can keep your sleeping bag in top shape and ready for your next adventure!