Sleeping bags are an essential ingredient in the recipe for a perfect camping or hiking trip. Yes, a great sleeping bag might not add adventure to your trip. But you cannot deny the need for a good night’s sleep after a physically challenging outdoor day. Then if you find the overnight bag smelly, damaged, or uncomfortable, it might not offer the desired rest. On the contrary, resting in a cute cozy sleeping bag will rejuvenate you for your next day’s adventure.
First and foremost, you need to buy a comfortable sleeping bag of good quality. But buying a good quality sleeping bag is not enough. The traveler inside you has to take good care of his most important partner on the adventure trips, i.e., the overnight bag. Here is a complete guide towards caring for your sleeping bag with its use, wash, dry, and storage information along with some handy tips.
Proper use of a sleeping bag
Buying a sleeping bag is a long term investment for your exploratory tours. It is your responsibility to take care of your sleeping bag when on a camp, hike, or trek. Using it with diligence will increase the sleeping bags’ life and prevent it from damage. You can call it a way to avoiding sleeping sacks from early wear and tear.
- Carry your sleeping bags in a waterproof outer pouch to keep it dry, especially if you are headed to snow or wet area. It is imperative to keep your sleeping sack dry.
- Change your clothes before you go to sleep in a sleep sack to protect it from dirt. Remove any oil, cream, or sunscreen from your skin. Cover your head with a scarf. Don’t let your sweat, body, or hair oil to dampen your bedroll. Dirt, on the other hand, can break down the filling by entering the lining. So, keep your sleeping bag safe from dust and any moisture.
- Using a sleeping bag liner is a smart way to prevent dirt and sweat from spoiling your bedroll. It also makes sleeping bags warmer and more comfortable. There are many lightweight and inexpensive sleeping bag liners available in the market perfect for your outdoor trip.
- Use a sleeping pad or mat under the sleeping bag to prevent damage.
- Air the sleeping bag around 10 minutes every morning. It will help it get off any moisture absorbed at night. If you do not get to dry it in the sun or open, hang it inside the tent or car, based on the options you have.
- When you place the sleeping bag after use in the outer bag, fold it randomly. If you fold it randomly, there will be no permanent creases leading to low points in the sleeping sack.
Washing and drying sleeping bags
If you store the bag in a dirty and stained condition, it could lead to the growth of bacteria and fungi on the bedding. To keep bacteria and pests away from it, you have to clean the dirt away from it. There are two ways of cleaning your sleeping bags – dry cleaning and at home. Dry cleaning involves the use of chemicals while cleaning and drying at home is a natural process. Learn how to wash a sleeping bag and dry it correctly at home.
Washing sleeping bags at home is a natural way to clean the dirt off. It is essential to know how to wash a sleeping bag correctly.
- Buy an eco-friendly sleeping bag cleaning liquids. Alternatively, you could use mild soap to clean it.
- Follow the instructions given by the sleeping bag manufacturer. The label of your sleeping bag and the washing liquid recommend the correct way to wash the sleeping bags.
- Based on the instructions you could choose a machine wash or bath wash
- Bath wash: Keep the sleeping bag in the bathtub filled in warm water.You might have to stand in the tub and gently push it down into the water by use of the foot. When you force it down gently, the air bubbles get squeezed out.Use your hands to move the bedding around in water gently.Remove the soap by rinsing several times thoroughly, else it could hamper the water-resistant features of the bedroll.
- Machine wash: Choose a laundromat washing machine without an agitator. Choose to wash in the bathtub if you have a washing machine with a front loader as it spoils the sleeping bag and tangles the drawstrings and straps.Follow the process of the rinse cycle and low spin to wash the bag gently.
Once you have completed cleaning and getting rid of the soap, the next step is to dry it properly as moisture is not suitable for your sleeping bag.
- Allow the duvet to drip dry, especially after bath wash.
- If your sleeping bag is among those that allow the use of a tumble dryer, then you could quickly dry it in the machine.
- Dry at a low setting in the washing machine. Placing two tennis balls will ensure even distribution of the bedding. Use these precautions to protect your down from damage.
- However, you still need to drip dry it first so that it is not placed in the machine in a thoroughly wet condition.
- Don’t dry it too hot. Take out the bedding as soon as it dries out.
- If it’s a sunny day, dry your sleeping bag outdoors.
Storage of sleeping bags
After cleaning and drying the bag comes the question of how to store sleeping ways? You don’t want that when it is taken out for the next tour, you find it in a damaged condition. The best way to store sleeping bags is in a way that it is not crushed. During travel, the bag is stored in a compact outer bag leading to the damage and break of filling of the bedding. So, when you save it for the long term in your house, you need to make sure that the feathers and stuffing have enough space.
- Before storing the sleeping bag, make sure it is clean and dry. Once you have ensured it has not retained any dirt and moisture, get ready to store it safely for using it on your next camping trip.
- You could hang the bag on a hanger where you can fold it over or one that can be clipped. Choose the first one over the second one.
- Lie it flat on the floor below the bed as an alternative to hang it. Both methods, hanging the bag or spreading under the bed, should make sure that the bag is kept away from dirt, moisture, and other weather conditions.
- Don’t roll it up always at home. Do not store it in a compressed or watertight storage sack.
- If there is a lack of space, then don’t worry. You could also opt for storing it in a large mesh or cotton storage sack. You could choose from a large cotton bag, an old sleeping bag, a storage bag, or a big pillowcase. The idea is to give the sleeping bag enough space to breathe.
Nine useful tips on how to care for a sleeping bag
Apart from the correct use, wash, dry, and storage of your sleeping bag, here are some tips which might help take care of your sleeping bag.
- Keep your sleeping bag inside your tent or car to protect it from thorns, campfire sparks, etc.
- Wash your face, feet, and underarms before sleeping in your sleeping bag every time.
- At least half an hour before sleeping in the bedroll, shake it to allow redistribution of the filling and feathers.
- Do not eat, drink, or jump on the sleeping bag. Be gentle with the zipper.
- When storing a sleeping bag at home, you can keep a cotton ball moistened in lavender oil with it. It will keep away all foul smell away.
- You could do with spot cleaning of the sleeping bag before storage if it is not that dirty. Use mild soap, water, and a toothbrush to clean the shell, hood, and collar without making the inner filling wet.
- The use of fabric softener, bleach, or similar products will spoil the sleeping sack.
- Many sleeping bags may require professional cleaning.
- You could reapply durable water repellant (DWR) on the bag if it has worn out.
It is essential to understand that you don’t need to clean every time you use it. Yes, the sleeping bags should be kept clean, but don’t overdo it by washing it after every use. Instead of protecting it, frequent washing may destroy it. Over-washing the bag will cause its early wear and tear, which might result in damage to the bedding. The bottom line is keeping it safe and dirt free. After all, your sleeping bed is what will give you home-like comfort in steep terrain after a long hectic outdoor day. So, use it wisely and take good care of it by washing, drying, and storing it the right way.