How To Compress A Sleeping Bag With Ease

New sleeping bags are wrapped in a sack. Many backpackers and campers fall into packing their sleeping bags the same way. This article will guide you on how to pack a sleeping bag without rolling, which isn’t just tricky and can cause damage to your sleeping bag.

Does Compressing A Sleeping Bag Cause Damage?

It is safe to put on sleeping bags. This is how sleeping bags are designed to be packed to allow for mobility.

If spread out, the sleeping bag becomes huge and soft due to all the air trapped inside the bag. Imagine carrying it in the same way as you would when hiking.

When you compress a sleeping bag, it makes it easier to get rid of the air and smaller and easier to pack into a bag.

A compressed sleeping bag will not harm it so long you do it correctly. In addition, we’ll speak in detail about this later. Do not compress your sleeping bag at all times; only take it out when you’re on the move.

Do You Need To Roll Or Pack A Sleeping Bag?

There are two methods to pack sleeping bags:

  • Rolling
  • Stuffing

The majority of sleeping bags are with a new rolled-up bag. This significantly reduces the size and makes them easier to pack into smaller bags.

Once you’ve taken out that sleeping bag, notice it difficult to roll it to a similar snug fit that you had before.

Stuffing your sleeping bag with stuffing is significantly easier. It’s also beneficial for the durability in the performance and durability of the bag.

Why Stuffing Is Better Than Rolling

1. It’s simpler and faster

Sure, you can fold the sleeping bag. It’s difficult to wrap it tight enough to fit into the bag.

It requires a lot of time and takes quite some arm strength. It’s tiring to fold into a sleeping bag each morning while camping.

However, the process of stuffing a sleeping bag requires under two minutes.

If your sleeping bag was wrapped up fresh, don’t try to pack it in with the same method. There are likely skilled workers or machines at the factory who make the tightly rolled roll.

Stuffing is the simplest method to make a sleeping bag more compact.

2. Sleeping bags last longer

The most significant issue associated with rolling sleeping bags is the strain it places on the fabric and the filling.

After a while, you’ll realize that the filling is split in the middle. When you roll sleeping bags at first, you fold them in half lengthwise.

The gap in between can affect the whole sleeping bag’s performance and decrease its lifespan.

The rolling motion is detrimental to your sleeping bag. Since you have to roll very tightly, it creates lots of tension placed on the filling and fabric, which impacts the durability and performance that the bag is.

Filling a sleeping bag with stuffing doesn’t cause damage to either the material or its filling. There’s no chance of injury.

3. The mattress you sleep in will be plush and fluffy

One of the effects of the stress created by rolling a sleeping bag is that the material will become less fluffy with time.

The tight rolling of the sleeping bag results in the synthetic or down filling losing gradually the ability to fluff again. The sleeping bag gets less cozy.

Stuffing is more gentle on the sleeping bag, and you’ll see that it fluffs again quickly when spread out.

Get A Compression Sack

In most instances, the sleeping bag’s sack is adequate. In other cases, the bag is low-quality and perhaps a little too small to fill your sleeping bag.

Before you head out camping, think about whether it is worth investing in a brand new compression bag.

Compression sacks are excellent for storing bulky items such as jackets and sleeping bags in small sizes that are simple to transport.

We suggest purchasing a waterproof compression sack to shield the sleeping bags from the elements. It should also feature good stitching and durable material to allow you to fill it up without fear of breaking the seams confidently.

How To Put A Sleeping Bag?

  1. Place the sleeping bag on an uncluttered surface (like an old mattress) with the zips secured.
  2. The sleeping bag should be flattened as far as you can by using your hands. This eliminates any air that is trapped inside your sleeping bag.
  3. The most efficient method for compressing is to fill and stack. Don’t pack the entire sleeping bag in one go. Begin with the foot (usually the most significant section of the bag) and then pile the rest until you can push the hood.
  4. Take the foot in the bag, then scrunch it up. Then you need to push the stuff bag up towards the bottom.
  5. Make sure you take another sleeping bag and pack it inside the sack. Ensure that you move it towards the bottom to create an opening at the top.
  6. Keep turning the bag to spread the sleeping bag all over it. Continue stuffing until the sleeping bag’s hood gets stuffed into the bag.
  7. Make sure the drawstring is secured, and then put the cap in place if there is one.

How Do You Fill A Down Sleeping Bag?

The same procedure should be followed when filing a down sleeping bag. Sleeping bags made of down are smaller, making them more compact to pack and put in a smaller bag.

However, be cautious when handling a sleeping bag, as it is more delicate. It is still recommended to put it into the bag as tightly as possible. However, you must be careful not to pull any of the parts.

Another suggestion is turning the sleeping bag upside down.

Most down sleeping bags feature an exterior waterproof layer. The insides are turned inwards, making it more straightforward to release air as you fill it with stuffing, and you won’t end up in a balloon bag that isn’t able to fit in your bag.

It also lets the filling breathe throughout your journey. Any moisture that could have been trapped within the filling overnight disappears.

How Do I Condense A Sleeping Bag Without A Stuff Sack?

If you don’t own an inflatable compression bag, an alternative is to use a backpack or travel bag. It cannot hold and make a sleeping back compress like a bag, but it could serve in an emergency.

Some backpacks, specifically designed for backpacking or hiking, come with compartments specifically designed for sleeping bags. You can try putting the sleeping bag inside or another small compartment.

Do not pack the backpack into an ample space as it will fill up the entire area.

If you’re planning to carry your sleeping bag into your backpack each time you camp, here are a few suggestions to help you make it easier.

  1. You can purchase a compression sack. If you’re on a tight budget, you should look for one that isn’t waterproof. Once you’ve put the sleeping bag into the sack, you can place it in the backpack.
  2. Find a larger backpack that can accommodate sleeping bags in any pocket.
  3. Upgrade to a sleeping bag made of down. It takes up a smaller room than a synthetic sleep bag of the same temperature rating.
  4. Then fold it up before trying it with strings or straps before placing it in the backpack. It will help to keep it in place.
  5. If you must utilize the largest compartment of the bag or backpack, put your sleeping bag on the bottom and add more things to help keep it compact.

How To Correctly Store A Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bags that are compressed are intended for those times when you are in a hurry and require to make space.

Ensuring that your sleeping bag is in a sack that you can compress even after you have returned home is not a good idea. In the long run, compression slowly diminishes the capacity of your sleeping bag to fill up with air after you’ve spread it out.

In this way, it loses a bit of its insulation capacity and is less comfortable.

After you return, wash the sleeping bag when you’re done and then spread it to dry either inside with good air circulation or outside, in a shaded area away to direct light.

After a couple of hours of drying and airing the pillow, place it in a large mesh bag or fabric. You can use the large pillowcase if you don’t have one.

Most essential is to ensure that the sleeping bag isn’t squeezed. It must also breathe, so don’t put it in a plastic bag similar to the garbage bag.

Please keep it in an air-conditioned, dry area, such as the closet. Be sure to check for rodents that are waiting to get into it.

Written by David Myer, verified, and edited by Den Kyle.

Was this helpful?
David Meyers

David Meyers

Hello, I'm David, and I am an outdoorsman with over 20 years of experience hunting, camping, and backpacking around North America. I love writing, reading, and contributing here at Dens Camp Guide.