Your sleeping bag is one of the most important pieces of gear you own, so you want to keep it in the best condition possible.
Here are a few tips that will keep your bag in top shape for years to come.
Be mindful of dirty shoes and equipment. Make sure you never throw gear onto your bag or step on it with your shoes. This will keep it clean and protect it from the abrasions that slowly wear down your bag.
Do your best to avoid getting it wet, especially if it’s down filled. If your bag does get wet make sure to dry it out the best you can. Don’t let it dry out in the direct sunlight unless you have to, since UV rays can damage the material. If you have no other choice it’s better to have a dry bag. If you have a down bag do not compress it while it’s wet.
Your bag should come with two stuff sacks. One is smaller and made of a waterproof durable material for actual use, which allows you to compress it down for traveling. The other stuff sack should be made of a breathable mesh or cotton material. This is where you want to store your bag. so the insulation is able to breath and stay dry.
Your sleeping bag works on the simple principle of trapping the warm air inside of the bag to keep you warm. If the insulation gets crushed or matted down from being wet it’s unable to trap the air effectively.
Your best bet for repairing a small hole in your sleeping bag is Tenacious Tape by Gear Aid. It sticks to most fabrics well and is fairly flexible so it won’t get ruined during use. If you’re in a pinch duct tape will work but you will want to repair it with something better when you get back home.
For larger holes, we’ve heard great things about Rainy Pass repair up in Seattle. You ship them your bag and they can fix just about anything, including the fill material.
Eventually your bag is going to get dirty. If you spend enough nights camping, it’s going to smell like a campfire was put out with a bucket of sweat.
For synthetic bags, make sure you use a synthetic friendly detergent such as Revivex by Gear Aid or Nikwax for synthetic. If you’re going to use your dryer to help dry the bag make sure you use the lowest setting so that it doesn’t get too hot.
For down bags, use a detergent that is down specific, if you were to use a regular detergent it would make your bag less effective as it would wash away the natural oils that coat the down plume. When drying make sure to keep it on the lowest setting and throw some tennis balls in the mix to break up the clumps of wet down (yes it will be noisy)