How to Care for Down Sleeping Bags

As seasons change, so does our use of outdoor gear. If you're trading out your summer camping gear for skis, snowboards and snowshoes, first you'll want to carefully care for your down sleeping bags. If you don't know how to care for down sleeping bags, keep reading for tips on storing a down sleeping bag.

You've carefully chosen a down sleeping bag over a synthetic sleeping bag because it's warmer for its weight but now you've got to properly care for your bag. It isn't too difficult to care for a down sleeping bag. As you store your down gear for the off-season, you'll want to follow these tips.

  1. Clean Your Down Sleeping Bag. While you probably don't want to wash your down sleeping bag after every trip, it's a good idea to wash it at the end of the season. This will ensure you have a fresh smelling bag at the beginning of the next camping season. Follow these tips for washing a down sleeping bag.
  2. Air it out. Before you do anything with your down sleeping bag be sure it is totally dried out. Down that is stored wet could grow mold.
  3. Don't compress down for long periods of time. Either hang your down sleeping bag in a closet, lay it out under your bed or keep it in a large storage bag but never keep it compressed. A compressed sleeping bag will lose its loft over time.
  4. Place your stuff sack inside the sleeping bag. Since you aren't using the stuff sack to store the sleeping bag be sure to keep it with the bag so you have it when you need it. Attach the stuff sack to the zipper (like a pair of mittens) or place the stuff sack inside the sleeping bag. Either way is fine but be sure to not lose your stuff sack.
  5. Store the sleeping bag is a dry place. It's important to keep down dry. Hang it in a closet or in a basement but be sure you keep it away from any possibility of moisture.

Follow these tips to carefully care for your down sleeping bag and you'll protect your investment from off-season damage. You'll have a clean and ready sleeping bag for the first camping trip next summer.

You may also be interested in these posts:

How to Wash a Down Sleeping Bag
Down vs. Synthetic: A Buying Guide
The Sleeping Bag Guide
How to Choose a Sleeping Bag
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Andy Hawbaker
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Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
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