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A sleeping bag is an indispensable accessory to a nomadic life. It is a lightweight, quick alternative to making a bed. Another advantage is that you can use it in various environmental and weather conditions. So, if you are a camper, you must know how to fold a sleeping bag. Incorrect folding will take more space and make the load awkward to carry.
Some sleeping bags these days come with a compression sack for easy storage. But you can’t just stuff the bag into the sack and hope it to stay put. Stashing the bag into the pouch without properly folding is likely to shorten its lifespan.
So, it’s clear that random wrapping of a sleeping bag will only accelerate its wearing. There are standard methods of wrapping to follow. Here are the steps for how to fold a sleeping bag. You can make adjustments if necessary as different models of bags have different features.
Here are the tips and tricks for successful folding of a sleeping bag without any issue. However, never forget to check the user’s manual because some bags are not meant to be folded. Wrapping them up may damage their insulation and other features. If the manufacturer recommends folding the bag, follow the procedure below.
A foldable bag is likely to have straps or similar features near the head. Before folding, you need to make sure that there is no unwanted object inside the bag. Leaving some dirt or small rocks inside will reduce its performance.
Think about leaving some food crumbs and the trail of ants following. These insects could outright destroy the bag by cutting holes. So, the first thing you should do is to give the bag a good shake. Keep all the pockets unzipped and straps unfasten at this time so that every foreign object comes out easily.
When you are certain that the bag is clean, zip up all the pockets and fasten all straps. Place the bag on an even and clean surface. There could be creases and odd bulges here and there. Straighten them by running the palm of your hands across the entire length.
Then, deflate the bag by applying pressure on the bag’s surface with your hands. It should be completely flattened because tiny air bubbles won’t let you fold the bag neatly. Use a roller to get a perfect result.
This is the stage of how to fold a sleeping bag where you will actually fold the bag. Fold in half. It has to be accurate so that both ends of the bag are neatly aligned while on top of one another. In particular, check the alignment of the edges and corners.
When it’s done, move to the next step of rolling the bag over.
Start rolling the bag from the folded end. Put something heavy on the other end to keep the corners and edges on the places. Otherwise, they will wiggle from their positions.
If rolling around the body feels tough, place a pole at the folded end and roll the bag around it. It is not unusual for the bag to waggle a bit. So, press the rolled part down with your knee to keep it steady.
Don’t take the pressure off when you are done with rolling because the rolled part will pop open. You definitely don’t want to do all the work again. Most bags are likely to have straps to tie the rolled ends. If there is none, use nylon rope. Remove the pole if you have used one for easy rolling.
This is how to fold a sleeping bag. When you are done with rolling and strapping, store it. It’s better if it comes with a sack. Just put it there and lock the zipper.
If you don’t want to roll the sleeping bag or don’t want to spend that much time in packing, buy a compression sack. This packing style saves plenty of space, which is invaluable when you are on the trail.
A compression sack is a kind of drawstring bags where you can stash your sleeping bag. You can stuff the bag, whether it has synthetic or down insulation, inside the compression sack. Try to apply as much pressure as possible to remove the air bubbles. Use your feet to apply more pressure. These compression sacks come with cinch straps that you can pull to squeeze the already compressed sleeping bag into a smaller volume.
This is not how to fold a sleeping bag but stuffing it into another bag. However, this method is useful when you need to save some space.
Dennis Taylor - Owner of Outdoor Fact - is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.