How To Store Sleeping Bags

How to store sleeping bags long term

One of the hidden drawbacks to camping is figuring out how to store your stuff. It’s even more frustrating if you live in a snug apartment or one of those adorable and trendy tiny homes. Thus, it’s tempting to cram gear into small nooks. But if you do that with your sleeping bag, you could wreck it.

How to store sleeping bags in six steps:

  1. Store sleeping bag by removing it from the compression sack
  2. Shake off any debris
  3. Inspect it and decide if it requires a wash
  4. Wash it, if required
  5. Allow it to air out and dry, regardless if you washed it
  6. Store it only after it has been aired for 24 hours and fully dry

When you return home from a camping trip, you might feel an urge to immediately get everything out of your way or throw it all into a pile and forget about it until the next adventure. Unfortunately, both options are recipes for ruining your gear, including your sleeping bag.

What’s The Best Way To Store Sleeping Bags?

Don’t immediately store your gear when you return from your latest outdoor adventure. You need to ensure everything is clean and dry before stashing it. Failure to do so could cause wear, rust, mildew, and permanently imbed unsavory odors into your stuff.

When it comes to sleeping bags, you need to:

  • Remove it from its compression sack
  • Shake off any debris
  • Inspect it and decide if it requires a wash
  • Wash it, if required
  • Allow it to air out and dry, regardless if you washed it
  • Store it only after it has been aired for 24 hours and fully dry

The best way to store it is in a large mesh bag. The mesh bag should not be stuffed into a tight space or have anything placed on top of it. Then you can hang the bag from a hook, set it on a roomy shelf, or place it in a large box. If you put it under your bed, make sure you don’t have pets or mice that will try to turn it into a nest.

Another excellent way is to hang it, either by a hook or over a rail. Ensure it won’t be stepped on or squished wherever you hang the bag.

The area you store the bags needs to be:

  • Dry
  • Devoid of humidity
  • Isn’t susceptible to temperature extremes
  • Free from vermin

If your sleeping bag has a waterproof exterior, store it inside out. The waterproof lining can inhibit air circulation and trap moisture, which you don’t want happening to the inner of the bag.

How Do I Dry My Sleeping Bag?

The safest way to dry a sleeping bag is by carefully laying it out unzipped across a clothes rack out of direct sunlight. This is also the best way to dry the bag if it is unwashed and only slightly damp. However, some bags can be thrown into a tumble dryer on low with a few tennis balls. However, read your bag’s care guide first.

Can I Put My Sleeping Bag In The Dryer?

Many modern sleeping bags can be put into a tumble dryer. But check your sleeping care guide before chucking it in.

Drying it on a low setting is always wise to prevent any synthetic parts from melting. Adding a few tennis balls will help combat clumping. If you can’t stand the sound, you can wait until the final fifteen minutes of the drying cycle to toss the balls in, limiting the abuse to your ears.

Once you remove it from the dryer, it is smart to allow it to air for another day in case of any hidden damp spots. However, do not air dry it in the sun; this breaks down the bag.

How To Store Down Sleeping Bags?

Down sleeping bags are typically sold with two bags, one for backpacking and the other for storage. The compression sack should only be used during your adventure. The storage bag is huge in comparison and is typically mesh or cotton, much like a laundry bag.

If your sleeping bag didn’t come with a storage sack, alternatives are giant pillowcases and laundry bags.

How To Store Down Sleeping Bags In The Garage?

Only store a sleeping bag in the garage if it is insulated and free of vermin. If your garage gets damp (leaks or humidity) or suffers from extreme temperatures, such as freezing or high heat, it is a poor storage place.

If your garage is insulated, dry, and maintains a pretty stable temperature, you just need a high shelf or hook to put your bag. Try to avoid airtight containers or sacks, such as plastic garbage bags, if possible.

Can I Store A Sleeping Bag Compressed?

You can store a compressed sleeping bag, but you will shorten its lifespan and reduce its ability to keep you warm when camping. Keeping a bag compressed will also weaken seams and the material. So while you can do it, it is highly inadvisable.

Good Storage Bags Or Containers For Sleeping Bags

There are alternatives if your sleeping bag wasn’t sold with a storage sack.

Creative Ways To Store Sleeping Bags

You don’t always have to use the storage sack your sleeping bag came in. There are creative alternatives.

For example, you can hang it:

If you have a breathable suitcase, that could be used to store your sleeping bag.

Also, make your furniture work for you, such as a coffee table that doubles as a hiding place for your bag. Footstools and benches often can be excellent for storage.

Can I Store Sleeping Bags In A Plastic Tub?

It isn’t ideal to store sleeping bags in a container that’s not breathable. However, when space is limited, or your home is routinely under attack by squirrels and mice, plastic tubs can sometimes be the only way to ensure your bag doesn’t become a nest.

Thus, if you are storing your bag in an attic or in the rafters of your garage, you can use a plastic tub. However, your bag must be fully dry. If your bag is the slightest bit damp, it will create a humid environment in that tub, wrecking your bag.

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