How to Store a Sleeping Bag – Best Ideas

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Last Update: 09.Dec.2019

by Willie Test

Hiking

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A sleeping bag is a major investment, so it’s important that you fully understand how to care for one properly. Storing a sleeping bag is perhaps one of the most critical parts of sleeping bag maintenance, but, unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about how to store a sleeping bag properly.

Coming up, we’ve got some top tips about sleeping bag storage, as well as answers to your most common questions regarding keeping your most important piece of gear in good quality for a long time to come. Let’s get to it!

Why Too Much Compression is Bad for Your Bag

More often than not, new campers leave their quality sleeping bag packed into its compression stuff sack when they’re not outside. These compression sacks are great for packing your sleeping bag into your backpack during a hiking day but, it turns out, they can actually cause a lot of damage to your bag in the long term.

Comprassion Sleeping Bag

Over time, when a sleeping bag is compressed, it loses much of its natural loft, especially when you have a down bag. Since loft is critical for insulation and warmth in a sleeping bag, anything that constricts this loft over time can cause your bag to decrease in performance. Thus, we want to avoid keeping our sleeping bags compressed for more than a couple of days at a time, at the absolute maximum.

Best Ideas for Sleeping Bag Storage

The best way to store sleeping bags, then, is outside its compression sack. In fact, the best way to store a sleeping bag is in a place where it can stay fully fluffed for maximum loft over its usable lifetime. Here are some of our top sleeping bag storage ideas:

  • Storage Sack. The vast majority of quality sleeping bags will come with two stuff sacks: one for compression while traveling and one for storage. These storage stuff sacks are often quite large (bigger than a pillowcase), which means they can protect your bag without compressing the loft. Storage Sack
  • On a flat shelf. Storing a sleeping bag on a flat shelf allows your sleeping bag to sit out in the open without being compressed. If you want to maintain maximum loft in your sleeping bag, keeping it on a flat shelf prevents any compression, which is great for your bag. Plus, you can stack multiple bags on top of each other for space efficiency in your home.
  • From a hanger. Alternatively, if you have a closet with a coat rack, you can hang your sleeping bag from the hanger. However, sleeping bags are longer than your average jacket, so you’ll want to ensure that your bag doesn’t sit on the ground. Plus, you’ll want to get a special sleeping bag hanger that is big enough and strong enough to hold your bag without compressing the insulation.

Where to Store Your Bag

Sleeping bags are expensive, so you want to ensure you’re storing them in the correct environment. The best place to store a down sleeping bag or a synthetic one is in a cool, dry, place with minimal dust and no mold or mildew.

Sleeping bag

For most of us, this is our clothes closet, where we can keep our sleeping bag tucked into its storage sack on a shelf. Alternatively, some lucky people have a place to store their gear where they can hang their sleeping bag or prop it onto a makeshift shelf.

On the other hand, you don’t want to store your sleeping bag somewhere warm and damp, where the insulation in your bag can get compressed and damaged by mold or mildew. Additionally, this means that you should avoid storing your sleeping bag until it is completely dry to avoid any mold or mildew build-up.

How to fold a sleeping bag

While many people think that they need to fold a sleeping bag, it’s actually easiest to stuff a sleeping bag into a storage sack, rather than try to get that perfect fold. Stuffing a sleeping bag doesn’t hurt it and folding it doesn’t provide any benefit other than looking pretty. 

In fact, folding a sleeping bag can cause pressure points at the creases that can reduce the loft in the bag over time. Thus, we recommend folding, then rolling, your sleeping bag to pack it away nicely.

If you’re wondering how to fold a sleeping bag, here’s how to do it:

  1. Lie your sleeping bag flat on the ground with the zippers zipped.
  2. Fold both sides of the sleeping bag in toward the middle to create one long tube.Lie your sleeping bag
  3. Roll your sleeping bag from one end to create a cylindrical tube.Rolling sleeping bag
  4. Stuff the rolled sleeping bag into the storage sack for long term storage.Sleeping bag into the storage sack

Storing a sleeping bag in a backpack is as simple as packing the compression sack into the bottom of your pack. This method helps compress as much of the loft and air in your sleeping bag for a more efficient packing process. Alternatively, you can simply stuff your sleeping bag into the bottom of your pack (without a compression sack) if you have a bit more wiggle room to play with when packing.

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