How To Roll a Sleeping Bag

You found the perfect sleeping bag that keeps you warm and cozy on the coldest nights, but then you try to roll it up and try to cram it back in the pouch.

Even the most incredible sleeping bag in the world can cause endless frustration if you don’t know how to stow it. 

Giving up isn’t an option and buying a new one isn’t the answer.

Let’s talk about how to roll a sleeping bag so that you’ll never be frustrated again!

Five Steps to Properly Roll Your Sleeping Bag

Would you believe it only takes five simple steps to roll and stow a sleeping bag properly?

There’s no reason to struggle with your sleeping bag on your next outing, just run through these simple steps.

1. Prep Your Sleeping Bag

Even if you’re in a hurry, it’s a good idea to prep your sleeping bag before rolling it up for storage.

This step is all about the quick-clean to prevent unwanted gunk and grime hanging around and causing a stink!

  • Give it a good shake, preferably opened up or at least with the open end directed away from you. Dislodging dirt, debris, and miscellaneous objects (like random socks and other clothing) is a must!
  • Look for moisture spots because any dampness can lead to mold and mildew, especially if you don’t plan to use your sleeping bag again for a while.
  • Spot clean any dirt or grime and let it dry.

2. Lay Your Sleeping Bag Out and Zip It 

If you opened your sleeping bag up for step one, lay it out on a clean surface to zip it up.

Make sure all zippers close completely to prevent the teeth from scratching the material or anything else. 

Note, if you have any additional features, like built-in pillows, make sure you tuck them in to fit within the profile of the sleeping bag.

You don’t want anything hanging out the sides or bunched up strangely.

3. Fold Your Sleeping Bag

Fold the sleeping bag in half long-ways.

Make sure the edges and corners line up to create a long, narrow rectangle.

4. Time to Roll!

Before you start rolling, remind yourself that it’s okay to take your time. It’s better to roll it once the right way!

Start from the bottom and work toward the top to push out air pockets.

Gently apply pressure to the roll as you go to keep it as tight as you can make it.

5. Secure Your Sleeping Bag

Even if you intend to put it in a bag or secure it with other camping gear, it’s a good idea to secure your sleeping bag with straps or ties.

Many sleeping bags come with cords, but you can use almost anything to secure the rolled bag. 

  • Spare shoelaces
  • Compression buckles
  • Sleeping bag straps
  • A belt
  • Twine or cord

woman will rolled up sleeping bag

What About Stuff Sacks?

It might surprise you to learn that many modern sleeping bags should be stuffed into sacks instead of rolling them.

Stuffing minimizes creases and stress lines in the sleeping bag that can cause the material to wear faster.

To stuff a sleeping bag, you follow many of the same steps except that you stuff it in a sack instead of rolling it.

This method requires the use of a stuff sack made to accommodate a sleeping bag. It may help to use a compression stuff sack that makes your sleeping bag even smaller.

Either way, stuffing your sleeping bag involves starting at the bottom and pushing it into the sack like an accordion. 

Once you stuff the entire sleeping bag into the sack, you need to secure it. Most stuff sacks include some type of fastener like a drawstring or belt and buckle closure.

Helpful Tips to Keep Your Sleeping Bag Functional

No matter how you store your sleeping bag, there are some critical tips to follow to keep your sleeping bag in tip-top shape. 

  • Never stuff or roll your sleeping bag when it’s wet. 
  • Avoid stuffing or rolling your sleeping bag with anything inside of it – that means your pajamas too!
  • Don’t use a bag or sack that’s too small for your sleeping bag.
  • Make sure you open your sleeping bag when you get home to air it out and clean it.
  • For long-term storage, try a mesh or fabric bag that can protect the sleeping bag without compressing it. Make sure the sleeping bag is completely dry and store it someplace cool and dry.

Final Thoughts on Rolling a Sleeping Bag

Though rolling a sleeping bag is often a source of extreme frustration, especially for new and inexperienced campers, it doesn’t have to be a nightmare.

With a little practice and these helpful tips, anybody can roll (or stuff) a sleeping bag securely. 

image license: Freepik

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