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How to pack and store your sleeping bag?

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The most common way to easily store your sleeping bag

Regardless of the brand, the most common way to fold and roll up a sleeping bag is the same, but it isn’t the best. It generally consists of folding the sleeping bag in half along the length after closing the zipper, and compressing it by rolling it up from footbox to hood. When the sleeping bag is rolled up, keep it between your legs and slide the compression sack over it. However, there are major drawbacks to this method.

Why is it not recommended?

Given that the best insulation is provided by air, the goal of a sleeping bag fill is to maintain as much air volume between the membranes. To put it in another way, its goal is to fill the space to hold as much air as possible. Folding and rolling the sleeping bag will put pressure on the same spots each time you store it and will fold the fibres or feathers over time. This can be detrimental to the repartition of the fill and hinder its thermal performance.

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The best way to compress your sleeping bag

At the end of the day, the best method to keep the insulation fill well spread-out and avoid identical pressure spots each time you pack your sleeping bag is to pack it randomly. Yes, you read that right! To increase the lifespan and fill power of your sleeping bag, the best thing to do is stuffing it in the compressions sack. The only recommendation is to put the footbox in first to chase the air away progressively through the head opening, as for the rest, simply fill the sack randomly without overthinking. This chaotic way creates different folding patterns each time. Exactly like two crumpled pieces of paper are never identical. Your sleeping bag will retain an optimal fill repartition over time.

Alternative technique to pack your sleeping bag

Less common, but efficient as well and very simple, the technique of putting your sleeping bag randomly without a compression sack in your backpack. When packing your backpack, put the sleeping bag at the bottom without special care and let the weight of your equipment compress it for you. Push lightly if need be and you’re done!

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How to properly store it at home?

When your expedition is over, it is recommended to keep your sleeping bag in a storage sack in a messy way, without rolling it up and out of its compressions sack. Instead of a storage sack, you can suspend it to a coat hanger. Your sleeping bag should be stored in a dry place, away from light to increase its lifespan.

Just like for self-inflating mats, storing them unpacked avoids the creation of permanent pressure spots. A self-inflating mat won’t inflate properly and not fully if it has been stored folded and the foam which is supposed to take back its shape and suck in air to inflate has been compressed. The same applies to sleeping bags. It is normal to compress it on a trip to save space, but the rest of the time, it is best that the fill remains uncompressed to retain its qualities. We recommend to keep it unpacked, hanging or in a storage sack which offers more space than the compression sack.