There’s not much worse than getting to camp only to discover that your sleeping bag is full of ratty hole, except maybe getting to camp with no sleeping bag at all. Whether you are at hunting camp, on a kayaking trip, or camping in a state park that offers boating, hiking, and canoeing, learning how to care for your sleeping bag properly will go a long way in allowing you to use it for many years in a row.
Sleeping bags come in all manners of sizes and with all types of price ranges from inexpensive to excessively pricey. Nonetheless, taking care of a sleeping bag properly is quite similar no matter which type of bag you have purchased.
Care for Sleeping Bags At Camp
One of the best rules to follow when using a sleeping bag is to make every decision concerning its use and storage carefully. If you are going to camp outdoors and the possibility of rain looms darkly overhead, consider taking an old shower curtain or tarp with you to place beneath the sleeping bag for extra protection. In fact, unless your sleeping bag is completely waterproof, you might want to roll it up in the shower curtain or tarp to protect it on your trek to camp.
Once you are finished using the sleeping bag, you should shake it out carefully to remove any debris or insects that also chose to spend the night tucked into the warm crannies of it. Resist the urge to simply bunch it up and take care of it later, even if it is only twenty degrees outside. After all, it might be just as cold once you arrive home.
Always fold the sleeping bag up properly when you are finished with it as this will help it to remember the pattern for easier folding. If the sleeping bag is wet, however, then you should forego rolling it back up until after you have had a chance to wash it. Always wash a dirty sleeping bag at the earliest opportunity for an easier time getting our any stains as well as to avoid mold or mildew from creeping into the picture.
Care for Sleeping Bags At Home
One of the worst mistakes that any avid camper can fall into is ignoring the proper washing and care of his sleeping bags just because it is easier. After all, some camping and hunting adventures are so tiring because of all the fun and activity one can have that cleaning up once you get home is more of a bother than anything else. Nonetheless, even if you wait a day or two, as long as you take good care of your sleeping bag, it will take good care of you on your next camping adventure.
Since many sleeping bags are bulky, you might need to use a Laundromat in order to wash yours. If you think that your washing machine can handle its size and you are up to the challenge of lifting it out of the machine to place it outside to dry or in the dryer, then you can certainly wash it at home.
How to Wash a Sleeping Bag
Whenever possible, use a mild laundering soap such as ones designed for hand washables unless otherwise indicated on your sleeping bag. Pretreat and scrub stains before actually beginning the washing cycle. If the bag is very dirty, use the presoak stage in addition to the normal washing stage. If the suds and water being released from the washer are brown or grey, you might need to wash the sleeping bag a second time in order to get it clean properly. In fact, make sure that all of the soap is rinsed from the sleeping bag for a longer life cycle.
Avoid wringing or twisting a sleeping bag in order to extract water from it. It’s simply better to allow it to air dry on a laundry line, preferably outdoors. The sleeping bag should be rolled up properly when it is dry and stored in a clean, dry location until the next time it is needed.