Modern, high-performance sleeping bags come with high-quality materials and designs that offer maximum insulation and comfort for minimal weight and pack size. Our care tips will help you get the best performance.
Any experienced outdoor enthusiast will tell you that it is vital to sleep well –you need to wake refreshed and ready for the next adventure. This is why it is unwise to economise when it comes to your sleeping bag and camping mat. And why it is equally important to look after your investment. Our experts provide some help.
Moisture degrades material and saps body heat so air daily as soon as possible after use.
Always pack away your sleeping bag by stuffing it into its pack sack. It makes it easier to pull out later and preserves the integrity of the insulation.
Always take your sleeping bag out of its bag as soon possible after pitching for the night to allow the maximum amount of time for the insulation to loft before use. Down fillings recover rapidly from compression, but some synthetic fillings take a long time to become plump and fluffy enough to provide an insulating layer of trapped warm air between your body and the cold.
Use a closed-cell foam mat or self-inflating mat under a sleeping bag to insulate you from the cold, hard ground.
A liner will help keep a sleeping bag clean and add to its thermal performance. Liners are quickly washed and dried even in the field and can be used on their own on warm nights.
Always try to air a sleeping bag daily after use to remove body moisture that saps heat, degrades the material and provides a breeding ground for mould and microbes.
Remove small amounts of dirt from the outer with warm water and a soft cloth and after 40-50 nights completely wash a sleeping bag to remove ingrained dirt and restore its loft. Never dry clean a sleeping bag.
If you cannot obtain a specialist liquid soap for sleeping bags then use a mild detergent – 1/3 of the normal amount and no fabric softener.
Wash the sleeping bag in a sufficiently large washing machine – for best results use one with a 7kg drum.
Except where otherwise recommended, use a 30°C wash for wool or delicates, but always obey the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Rinse the sleeping bag repeatedly until no more foam emerges and then spin-dry it very briefly and carefully remove from the machine. Don’t pull it out, just lift. Carry it carefully while it is wet.
You can wash a sleeping bag in the bath filled with lukewarm water and add a liquid detergent designed for sleeping bags.
Make sure the zip of the sleeping bag is closed. Immerse in the soapy water and let it soak for an hour. Periodically gently agitate the bag to help remove dirt.
Rinse thoroughly several times, drain, and squeeze the sleeping bag gently. On no account wring it out!
Finally, carefully take the sleeping bag to the drying area. This is best done by placing it in a washing basket or similar because the weight of the wet down and synthetic fibres can damage a sleeping bag’s seams and baffles.
Drying synthetic fill sleeping bags
Make sure the zip is fully closed and ideally dry in a tumble dryer at 30-40°C. If no dryer is available, open up the sleeping bag and hang it over a clothes horse, in this case drying can be expected to take about 24 hours. Sleeping-bags must be completely dry before you put them away.
Drying a down sleeping bag
As with the synthetic fill ideally dry at 30°C in a large 7kg-capacity tumble dryer. Add a couple of dryer balls (tennis balls or a clean trainer) to help prevent the down from clumping.
Alternatively, lay your down sleeping bag over a drying rack in the open air. Do not hang – the weight of wet clumps of down might damage the sleeping bag’s seams and baffles. Squeeze out lumps every 30 minutes. After three to four hours you will be able to break up the lumps with your hands.
It will take several days for the bag to dry completely. During this time, occasionally give it a good shake. Make sure your sleeping-bag is 100 per cent dry before you put it away.