People are often amazed at the information I give them when it comes to looking after their sleeping bag and using their sleeping bag effectively. And because a sleeping bag is such a good investment in your families wellbeing when camping (ie: we all sleep better), I thought it would be a good idea to give 5 handy hints on how to get the best out of your sleeping bag this winter.
Sleeping bags don’t make you warm, they keep you warm. If you are cold when you climb into your sleeping bag, you’ll stay cold for quite some time and that’s because your body heats the air inside your sleeping bag. So the best way to get as warm as possible, as quick as possible, is to ensure you are warm before you hit the sack. Isn’t that what a campfire is for?
Have you ever wondered why your old sleeping bag gets thin and stops insulating as well as it once did? After all, the insulated filling can’t disappear anywhere. The truth is we are all putting a memory into the filling by rolling and storing the sleeping bag while it is unused – if you do that to a new sleeping bag, you now void warranty! Next time you put your sleeping bag into its stuff sack, it must be stuffed in, not rolled in! And if you have the space, always store your sleeping bag loose and in a pillow case when it is being unused for long periods of time.
Limit how often you wash your sleeping bag. I know it sounds disgusting, but every time you wash your sleeping bag, you are killing the insulation – ie: reducing or collapsing the insulation loft). The best way to manage this is to sleep inside an inner sheet – inside your sleeping bag. This is a sheet that is sewn into the shape of a sleeping bag, and this is what you wash when you get home – it’s a great idea!
Zip it up. I know that sounds pretty standard, but in reality we use them more often than not as a blanket. Many of us cannot stand the claustrophobic feeling of being zipped up in a sleeping bag and we simply lay under it. A sleeping bag will work at its best when it can reduce the amount of air that can escape and this is by having it zipped up, nice and tight.
When we lay on top of sleeping bag filling we squash it and this reduces the insulation qualities of the underside layer. So to enhance your warm sleeping experience when camping, the best thing is to have a mattress under you that insulates from the ground up – ie: A self inflating mattress (and preferably a bonded self inflating mattress). This means airbeds are out before you ask!