Your sleeping bag is one of your most important pieces of gear. Designed to keep you warm at night, sleeping bags are vital to your comfort and well-being on the trail.
But, sleeping bags are notoriously tricky to store correctly, particularly if you want your bag to stay in good working condition for years on end.
On this page, we’ll share some of our top tips for storing a sleeping bag in your home.
Things to do before storing
Before you place your sleeping bag in storage, there are a few things you need to do to prepare.
Here are some of the most important steps to take before stowing your sleeping bag.
1. Wash thoroughly
First things first, it’s important to wash your sleeping bag regularly to ensure that it maintains its loft and integrity throughout years of use. You should try to wash your sleeping bag every few months, at a minimum, and whenever you notice that it’s dirty, grimy, or losing its loft, such as after your section hike of the Appalachian Trail.
That being said, excessively washing a down summer sleeping bag can cause it to wear out quickly. So, you don’t need to do a full machine wash your bag after every weekend camping trip. If you recently washed your bag and you notice some small areas of dirt, do a spot-clean instead.
2. Dry completely
Regardless of if you washed your sleeping bag, you’ll want to ensure that it’s completely dry before putting it into storage. This step is incredibly important because any residual moisture in your sleeping bag can lead to mold and mildew growth while your bag is out of commission for weeks or months at a time.
To ensure that your sleeping bag is completely dry, you can either tumble dry it on low in your dryer or hang it up outside for an afternoon. While sleeping bags with a waterproof shell will take quite a while to dry, you can expect that this process won’t take more than about five or six hours in sunny, low humidity environments.
3. Place in a large container or stuff sack
After your sleeping bag is completely dry, it’s time to place it in a large container for storage.
It’s imperative that you avoid storing your sleeping bag in a compression sack for the long term. Although storing a sleeping bag in a stuff sack is fine for a day in your hiking backpack, doing so for weeks or months will quickly ruin your bag’s natural loft and insulating properties.
Instead of a compression sack, use the large mesh or cloth storage bag that your sleeping bag likely came with. If you don’t have this bag, a large pillowcase or a 90L mesh storage sack is a suitable alternative.
4. Find an appropriate storage location
Finally, it’s time to find a suitable storage location for your sleeping bag.
As we’ll see in the next section of this article, where you store your sleeping bag is very important when it comes to keeping your bag in good condition for years to come.
Storage location ideas
Sleeping bags are expensive and fickle pieces of gear. They are made with high-end fabrics and down or synthetic insulation, all of which require moderate temperatures and low-moisture environments for long term durability.
As a result, places like garages and uninsulated sheds are generally not the best option. Instead, storing your sleeping bag inside your home is usually your best choice.
Here are some places to consider when looking for an appropriate storage location for your sleeping bag.
1. Put it on a closet shelf
Perhaps the best place to store your sleeping bag for long-term storage is in its mesh or cotton storage stuff sack on top of a shelf in your closet.
While sleeping bags do take up a lot of space in a closet while in storage, they are expensive pieces of gear that need to be treated gently if you want them to last for years.
2. Hanging it in a closet
For folks with smaller closets and mummy-style sleeping bags, hanging up your bag can be a viable option. If possible, you’ll want to look for a large half moon-style coat hanger or a purpose-built sleeping bag hanger that’s better able to distribute the weight of your sleeping bag.
It’s important to note that hanging a sleeping bag will cause loft compression around the hanger. Therefore, hanging your bag is more of a short-term storage option than a long-term solution.
3. Place it under a bed
Alternatively, you can store your sleeping bag in its storage stuff sack under your bed. Doing so allows you to free up valuable closet space for your clothing and other belongings.
But, dust does like to collect under beds, so be sure to thoroughly shake out your sleeping bag before your next adventure.
Gaby is a professional mountain guide with a master’s degree in outdoor education. She works primarily in the polar regions as an expedition guide, though she can be found hiking, climbing, skiing, sailing, or paddling in some of the world’s most amazing places when not at work.