Guide to Store a Sleeping Bag

People who love backpacking and outdoors adventures typically have a secondary obsession – and that’s the love they have for the sleeping bags that can be stuffed to almost nothing. The correct storage is of crucial importance for these things, as the improperly stored sleeping bags easily get damaged.

If treated right, a good sleeping bag will last you for years. If you’re a backpacking beginner and don’t know how to properly store this valuable piece of outdoors equipment, read on!

The Overview

A proper storage of a sleeping bag at home boils down to four simple steps:

  • Get it out of the stuff sack
  • Give it a thorough drying treatment
  • Stow it inside a mesh or cotton sack that’s breathable
  • Store it in a dry and cool place

These rules are essential for almost every backpacking bag that’s methodically compressed before the user decides to go on another adventure. They apply to bags with either synthetic or down insulation, as well as to the large, boxy camping bags.

The Adverse Effect of Too Much Compression

The key to keeping you warm is in the insulation loft. Both the synthetic and the down fills require fluffing up in order to create tiny places filled with air within the insulation. These small pockets efficiently trap the body heat and keep the camper warm while he or she is sleeping.

Those who set their sleeping bags on the ground without putting the sleeping pad underneath will find that the bag’s bottom part feels exceptionally cold. The reason behind this is the fact that the insulation gets compressed in such case, and it simply can’t loft properly.

Even though both the synthetic and the down bag insulations are pretty good at fluffing up once they’re compressed, there is, unfortunately, a limit to their flexibility. Leaving the bag in the compressed state for an extended period of time will cause it to lose its lofting ability and resiliency. Synthetics typically do worse when it comes to this, but we can safely say that both types will inevitably get compromised.

Drying and Cleaning The Bag

Avoiding drying out the bag between the journeys is guaranteed to cause mildew and mold to appear in the insulation and on the surface.

Start by fully unzipping the bag and hang it somewhere in the covered outdoor space for the duration of 7-8 hours. Avoid leaving the pack in the direct sunlight as the UV rays can have a very negative effect on it – they will weaken the bag’s fabric.

Fortunately, the whole drying process can be aided by turning the bag inside-out and then right-side out a few times during the process. It’s quite essential to do this if you’re an owner of a bag with a waterproof outer shell since that variant of a shell can block the necessary dissipation of the moisture.

If you simply have no access to any outdoor spaces where you live, just hang the bag in the room that’s temperature-controlled and completely dry. To speed up the process, you can set up a dehumidifier or a fan next to the bag. Another option would be to use a large commercial dryer. If you toss a couple of tennis balls into your dryer, the drying will be done more evenly. Also, don’t forget to dry the bag on the lowest heat setting, and check it every now and then to prevent the damage that occurs from twisting in the heat.

Even those who don’t have mildew or mold issues should wash their bags as often as they can. The reason behind this is that the dirt, sweat, and the body oils in the insulation can have a negative effect on its performance. You can do this every couple of years, but if you’re a serious backpacker, make sure to wash it at least once a season.

The Storing

When it comes to the proper storage of a sleeping bag, follow these two important rules:

  • Find a Temperature-controlled & Humidity-controlled Room

As you can already guess, the temperature and moisture extremes can have an adverse effect on your bag. This is why it’s of crucial importance to avoid unheated places like attics and garages, as well as the damp basements. Storing the bag inside the car trunk is also a bad idea since that area is very susceptible to extreme temperatures.

The best place to store it would be the corner of the closet.

  • Keep It Inside a Large, Breathable Sack

And since we’re talking about that closet, we advise you to find a roomy corner in it as you will be using one of those jumbo cotton storage bags. It’s a bag that’s capable of keeping the things contained while not compressing the fill and allowing a pretty good amount of air circulation.

Most sleeping bags are sold together with these jumbo bags, but if yours didn’t arrive with one, you’ll have to use an extra-large pillowcase. Due to its smaller size, this kind of a pillowcase isn’t exactly the best option, so we advise you to go and purchase a 90L mesh (or cotton) sack.

sleeping bag

Some Extra Tips

If your sleeping bag is an old heirloom, it probably can’t be washed. In that case, you’ll have to check its integrity.

  • To do this, reach inside the bag and grab its lining material with one hand and the shell material with the other, and tug it gently. If you hear the popping sounds, the baffles are probably damaged and the bag will have to be repaired before you put it to washing.
  • A bag that sports a water-resistant shell can hold a pretty large amount of water, which means that you’ll have to be cautious while moving it from the washer to the dryer.
  • The detergents tend to reduce the water-resistance of the bag’s shell material. After each washing, make sure to treat the shell with a spray-on waterproofing agent. You can purchase it at almost any outdoors shop.


With these tips in mind, cleaning, drying, and storing the sleeping bag should be much easier. We hope we’ve been helpful!