Contributed by: Marissa Schroder, Publisher of Get Out There Magazine
A quality sleeping bag can be one of the more expensive pieces of gear in your camping arsenal. Extend the life of your bag with these cleaning and storage tips.
Cleaning Your Sleeping BagYou’d never go a year without washing your bed sheets, right? Sleeping bags are a breeding ground for dirt and grime and, just like your sheets at home, require regular cleaning.
To clean your bag, start by filling your bathtub (or a large washing basin) with warm water and a mild camp soap (like Sierra Dawn’s Campsuds). Fully submerge the bag in the tub and hand wash thoroughly. Rinse the bag well (this may take several attempts). If you’ve got a line, you can hang your bag outside to dry. Go out and shake the bag a few times as it dries to avoid clumps of filling. Otherwise allow the wet bag to drip dry, and then place it in dryer on a low setting with a couple of tennis balls. This will help redistribute the filling. Be sure to check the label on your sleeping bag before placing it in the dryer.
Storing Your Sleeping BagBefore storing, make sure your bag is clean and dry. Do not store your bag in its compression sack; store it lying flat under your bed (optimal), hanging in a closet (folded in half over a heavy duty plastic or wood hanger) or loosely in a large cotton storage bag. The key goal is to maintain as much of the sleeping bag’s loft as possible – so give your bag the space it needs!
Bags We Love
For summertime nights under the stars we can’t get enough of Hotcore’s Cooper R-7 bag. This lightweight bag is a great one-season option for fair-weather campers who prefer to put their camping gear away come Labour Day. At 2.1 pounds this bag will work well for both car campers and those trying to keep pack weight to a minimum. Priced at $64.99 this bag offers great value for both experienced and first-time campers. See this bag in the summer issue of Get Out There.
For those looking for an alternative to the traditional tent/sleeping bag combo, we suggest checking out Hennessy Hammocks. This hammock gets strung up between two trees to create a flat and enclosed sleeping surface. Particularly as the weather gets cooler, we love that this hammock gets you off the cold ground – without the added weight and bulk of a sleeping pad. Watch our reporter ActiveSteve test the Ultralite Backpacker Asym Zip model.
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