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Sleeping Bag Care and Maintenance

Sleeping Bag Care

Taking good care of your sleeping bag is essential if you want the best out of it. Here are some tips and guidelines that will help to ensure you will get many years of enjoyment out of your sleeping bag:

During Camping:

o Keep your sleeping bag as dry as possible at all times! It's a good idea to keep it in a plastic or waterproof outer bag in your backpack. This is really important if you're travelling through snow or wet areas.

o Use a sleeping bag liner. This will absorb perspiration and prevent soiling of the bag. A liner can be easily washed after your trip and will reduce the need for washing your sleeping bag.

o Air your sleeping bag. Try and air your bag for 10 minutes every morning. This will help dry out any perspiration or condensation that might be on the bag.

Long Term Storage:

o Make sure your sleeping bag is completely dry before storage.

o If you have the space, store your sleeping bag hanging up. Hanging your sleeping bag is a great way to make sure that the feathers or fill are not being crushed.

o An alternative to hanging is to store it lying flat under a bed. This will let it loft out and breathe, without being exposed to weather or dirt.

o If you are limited for space, you could also keep your sleeping bag in a large cotton bag for storage. It is important to get your sleeping bag out of its stuff/compression sack, the tightness of which damages and weakens the lofting abilities of the feathers or fill. If you have an older sleeping bag, or it just didn't come with a larger storage bag, you can purchase one or just use a large pillow case.

Washing:

o Follow the manufacturers instructions on the sleeping bag or the tag that came with the sleeping bag. The manufacturer knows best about what works for the particular bag.

o Clean stains and spills off with a sponge when they occur. Pre-treat stains on synthetic-fill sleeping bags before washing.

o Make sure you zip the bag up before washing.

o Wash either a down or synthetic fiber sleeping bag by hand or in a large washing machine. When hand washing, try not to wring the sleeping bag and make sure you rinse the soap out thoroughly.

o Use a front-loading or commercial washing machine. Don't use a top loading machine. A sleeping bag can be hard on the machine and vice versa because the machine agitates roughly with a large bulky item.

o Wash a down bag in warm water with a mild soap, not detergent. There are some soaps formulated specially for down sleeping bags, such as Nikwax Down Wash. Do not add bleach or fabric softener. Synthetic-fill bags may be washed with regular laundry detergent, and fabric softener may be used.

o Process the bag through another wash cycle - without soap - to completely rinse it. Soap residues can cause clumping of the insulation and loss of loft.

o Handle the bag carefully when wet. Press the water out, don't wring it. Wrap it up in a ball and transfer it to the dryer.

o Dry a down bag on very low heat with a clean, rubber-soled athletic shoe or a tennis ball. This causes static that fluffs the down and breaks up clumps. Thoroughly dry the bag before storing.

o Dry a synthetic-fill bag on low heat or outside. Lay it flat to dry.

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