Sleeping bags can make or break a camping trip. A sleeping bag that is warm, toasty, well-fluffed and in first class condition makes for a great night's sleep. On the other hand, a sleeping bag that has poorly distributed stuffing, is coming apart at the seams, is damp, or is moldy and smells will make a night less than pleasant. If you haven't already given a thought to caring for your sleeping bag, now is the time. Not only will it last longer and save your money, it'll also ensure that you get the most out of your nights outdoors.
1.Keep the sleeping bag dry. This is imperative number one - there is nothing more unpleasant than a night in a damp or wet sleeping bag! To ensure that it stays dry, always keep the sleeping bag in a waterproof outer bag. This is especially important if you are travelling through snow or wet areas and during wet seasons. It is also a good idea to not consume drinks near or in your sleeping bag.
3.Line your sleeping bag with a bed sheet prior to sleeping in it. This will absorb perspiration and prevent body oils from soiling it. After camping the sheet can be pulled out and washed. This tip also helps with the cleaning tips for sleeping bags because washing sleeping bags wears them out faster and can damage them. There are specific light-weight liners made for this that are not too expensive. Usually sold as "sleeping bag liners." An added benefit of a sleeping bag liner is "The extra layer of material also provides for extra insulation and can increase the comfort rating of a sleeping bag by 1-2 degrees."
4.Store the bag properly. Try to place the bag in the stuff sack as randomly as possible, which randomizes the folds and creases so the filling won't develop "flat spots".
1.Store a clean and dry sleeping bag. A dirty and/or damp sleeping bag encourages possible bacterial or mould growth and it might even make the bag more inviting to pests. There are two ways to clean a sleeping bag, one requiring more effort than the other:
2.Follow the instructions on the label of the washing liquid and on the label of your sleeping bag before proceeding.
2.Hop in!. With newer hydrophobic sleeping bags, you will likely have to gently stand in the bath with bare feet to squash the air bubbles down and to force the bag under the water.
3.Wash. Gently move the bag around with your hands to clean.
4.Rinse. Ensure that all the soap suds are removed. This may take several rinses. If they remain in the sleeping bag, they might react with the lofting and/or water-resistant features.
5.Remove. Haul it up from the bath. Proceed to "Drying" steps outlined below.
1.Select the right washing machine. The type of machine really matters in terms of protecting your sleeping bag:
2.Keep it cool. Use a gentle, cool cycle in a washing machine.
3.Rinse. Include a rinse cycle.
4.Keep it easy. Spin on low only, or use the "drip dry" cycle and follow steps outlined under drying.
5.Dry. Follow the "Drying" steps.
1.Drip dry. Allow bag to drip dry if needed. This is more likely necessary after the Bath Method. Have a place ready for drip drying, such as a clothes horse, where water can run freely (laundry, bathroom).
2.Use a dryer. For many sleeping bags, it is possible to use a tumble dryer. While this is suitable for numerous sleeping bags, read the label carefully before you proceed.
3.Place in tumble dryer. Tumble dry at low setting only. Check regularly and remove as soon as it has dried. Placement of one or two tennis balls can assist in ensuring even distribution of down or filling.
4.Dry outdoors. If you have sunshine, dry the bag outdoors. See "Tips" below for more information on hand washing a sleeping bag.
1.Make sure the bag is dry before storing. Never store a wet sleeping bag.
2.Store in a large stuff sack or hanging up. There are two main schools of thought on long-term sleeping bag storage. Both probably depend on the amount of space you have but the choice is yours:
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