How To Maintain Your Sleeping Bag
In our previous article we looked at the most important things to consider when choosing a sleeping bag. Equally important, however, is its proper maintenance, which guarantees the preservation of its insulating properties and maximum life. In general, the care of the sleeping bag can be divided into two parts - the measures we take during camping when we use it and its maintenance and storage for the rest of the time at home.
The main and most important thing during camping is to protect the sleeping bag from moisture. This is especially important if it is fluffy as wet fluff loses its insulating properties. Synthetic filling keeps them, but not only is it nice to sleep in a wet sack, prolonged exposure to moisture does not affect well the fabric itself. Always use a scarf for extra insulation. If you have not picked up a tent, carefully select your location. The best option to isolate the bag from moisture is to use it in combination with a bivouac bag. Modern varieties of bivouac jackets are made of waterproof breathable materials that minimize condensation.
Do not place your sleeping bag too close to the campfire. Modern sacks have a non-combustible outer shell, but upon contact with fire, the material dissolves. The broken integrity has a negative effect on the qualities of the bag.
To prevent contamination of the sleeping bag, do not eat or drink while inside the sleeping bag. If possible, do not lay dirty clothes in a bag. If conditions allow, bring a sleeping sheet with you to put in your bag. It will absorb the sweat of your body instead of penetrating the matter of the sack. Its other advantage is that it improves temperature parameters.
Ventilate the sleeping bag every morning by opening it for at least 10 minutes. In this way, the moisture from the sweat and condensation will evaporate and prevent odors.
When folding the sleeping bag and stowing it in the compression bag (if fitted), do not fold and pack it the same way each time. Repeated folding of the material in the same place over time disrupts the structure of the filaments (or breaks down), which adversely affects its properties. It is very important to make sure the bag is completely dry when retracted (especially if it is in a waterproof case). If it is not completely dry and you forget it in such a case, it can cause not only unpleasant odors but also mold development as there is no free air exchange.
The first thing you need to do with your sleeping bag when you get home from camping is to unfold it, unzip it, and dissolve it to ventilate. It's good to leave it that way for at least a day. So any residual moisture will evaporate. However, it is not advisable to leave the bag under direct sunlight for a long time, as UV rays can damage the fabric.
When not in use, the sleeping bag should be stored outside the folding case, unfolded. If it sits for too long, the structure of the filler is broken and its insulating properties are damaged. Keep it in a dry, well-ventilated place.
With regard to laundry - do not wash the sleeping bag after each use. Only do so when it is really necessary. If you follow the tips for camping, you won't need to wash it often. Frequent washing can disrupt the structure of the insulating material. This is especially true for downy bags. There is a risk that the fluff will taper off and lose its insulator properties. When washing down sacks, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions. Also, do not wash the bag on the centrifuge as it is again at risk of damaging its structure. This also applies to synthetic stuff bags. There are bags that can be dried in a dryer, but if not explicitly stated, do not, as it is usually contraindicated.
If the bag you purchased needs special care, this is always indicated by the manufacturer's instructions.