How to Care for Your Sleeping Bag

A quality sleeping bag is a great investment for years of adventures. To get the most out of your sleeping bag, you've got to take good care of it. Keeping it clean, washing it carefully and storing it correctly can help prolong its useful life. Whether you just bought your first sleeping bag or have owned one for years, knowing how to care for your sleeping bag is really important. Follow the steps below to keep your bag clean and warm for years.

How to Care For Your Sleeping Bag


1. Keep it clean - While in the backcountry keep your sleeping bag clean by never placing it on the ground, avoid eating and drinking in your bag and try to wear clean clothes to bed to avoid making the bag smell too bad.

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2. Air it out - Sleeping bags are going to smell. Try to make it as bearable as possible by turning your sleeping bag inside out and airing it out. Do this as soon as you arrive at camp in the afternoon and after you get home. This will help remove some of the bag's smell and will help it stay dry to eliminate the risk of mildew.

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3. Spot clean your sleeping bag bag - Washing machines can potentially damage your sleeping bag. You'll only want to wash a down sleeping bag when it's really necessary. So, keep the area around the head clean by spot cleaning after long trips. This area is most likely covered in oils from your hair and face. Use a wet cloth and a gentle soap then wash the outer fabrics of the bag but be careful to avoid getting the in the insulation wet.

4. Clean it carefully - When it's time to really wash your sleeping bag, know how to do it correctly. Don't put a sleeping bag in a hot dryer, only use a front load washer and use a gentle soap. Follow these tips for washing a down jacket when you was your down sleeping bag in a washing machine.

5. Store it loosely - Never store your sleeping bag in a compression sack. Being compressed for long periods of time will make the insulation lose its loft (which will lead to cold spots in the bag). Store your sleeping bag loosely in a large cotton sack, hang it up in a closet or lay them out flat under your bed.

6. Check for damage - After each camping or backpacking trip check your sleeping bag for any tears, loose stitching, debris inside the bag and make sure the zipper works properly. You'll want to fix any damages now before you hit the trail again.

Learn more about sleeping bags, sleeping bag care and the difference between down and synthetic sleeping bags in our sleeping bag guide.
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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