You work hard to keep your gear from getting damaged on trail, but are you storing your gear the right way? The last thing you want to do is ruin good gear by storing it incorrectly. Luckily storing a down sleeping bag correctly is extremely easy. There are literally only 2 things you have to do.
1. Never store your sleeping bag compressed
2. Make sure your sleeping bag is dry before storing
Never store a sleeping bag compressed
Stuff sacks are great for packability and portability, not so much for longevity. What makes a sleeping bag work is its loft. When your sleeping bag is fluffy it helps trap body heat and keeps you warm. When you compress your sleeping bag you compress your insulator, making it less effective.
On trail when you’re pulling your bag out every night compression isn’t a big deal, but when you’re storing your bag in its stuff sack for months on end, you are doing real damage.
The best way to store your sleeping bag is in a large bag that contains it but doesn’t compress it, or hang your bag by the loop. Storing your bag uncompressed will help it keep its loft.
Make sure it is dry when storing
This one is pretty self-explanatory no one wants a smelly mildewy sleeping bag. You need to dry your bag after every trip to get rid of any moisture, like sweat, rain, or snow.
To dry, unzip your bag and hang it for 24 hours. Some people use a clothes dryer with tennis balls to help break the down clumps apart.
For Zpacks gear do so at your own risk. High heat can melt delicate shell materials. Even with a dryer, it can take a very long time to dry a sleeping bag. We recommend drying your down gear items in the sun, or line drying indoors if outside weather doesn't permit sun drying.
Before you put your sleeping bag in the dryer, check with your manufacturer for their recommendations on time and temperature. Drying your bag will help keep it from getting gross.
About the Author
Olivia Magee oversees Social Media at Zpacks and helps monitor trends within the industry. Her contributions to the hiking community includes her work with the American Conservation Experience where she performed trail maintenance in the Smoky's and across the Southeast.