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Protect your sleeping-bag investment. With a bit of REIs care and cleaning know-how, you can keep your bag in top condition for many camping or backpacking seasons to come.
Keep your sleeping bag clean and dry. Accumulated body oils, sweat and dirt can rob your sleeping bag of its insulating power. Tips:
Any time you wash a sleeping bag, you subject it to wear and tear and decrease the loft a little. Spot cleaning the shell with a paste of laundry detergent, water and a toothbrush is advised before washing the whole thing.
Focus on the hood and collar where hair and skin oils tend to accumulate. By holding the shell or liner fabric away from the insulation, you can wash and rinse the area without getting the inside wet.
If your bag is losing loft, is darkened with grime and basically no longer inhabitable, then by all means give it a full washing.
Many people prefer to have their bag professionally laundered. REI partners with Rainy Pass Repairs, inc., to offer a bag-laundering service.
If you decide to wash your bag yourself, use a gentle, non-detergent soap such as Nikwax Down Wash 2.0, which is made for washing down- and synthetic-filled items.
Air drying is the safest way to dry your bag, but obviously the longest. If you tumble dry your bag, use very low heat or a no-heat setting and keep an eye on it. Dryers have varying heat outputs, so you need to check periodically to make sure the shell and insulation arent overheating, which can actually lead to melting. Add a couple of clean tennis balls when the bag is nearly dry. This will help break up any clumps of insulation and help restore the loft.
How you store your bag between trips affects its lifespan. When you arrive home from a trip, first air out the bag inside-out for a couple days to make sure its dry. Then store in a large cotton storage sack—often included when you purchase a sleeping bag, but also available separately (note: REI Storage Bag is shown above).
Do not store your bag compressed in its stuff sack as this will eventually damage the fill. Watertight storage bags are also a bad idea. Condensation can build up inside them and result in mildew. In short, allow your bag come to its full loft with plenty of cool, dry ventilation.
The original DWR (durable water repellent) finish on a sleeping bags shell eventually wears off. You can restore water repellency and help keep the bag cleaner if you reapply this finish. There are several products available to restore the DWR to your sleeping bag shell fabric.
For small holes or tears in the sleeping bag shell, a patch of nylon repair tape will do the trick until you get home.
REI partners with Rainy Pass Repairs, Inc., to offer a bag-repair service.
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In This Article On the Trail Between Trips Other Sleeping Bag Tips
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