Quilt Style Sleeping Bag Storage and Care
Proper care and storage will ensure maximum years of use and optimum performance of your quilt. Make sure your down quilt is completely dry before storing, as any moisture in the down can allow mold and bacteria to grow. This will not only lead to unpleasant odors, but also diminish the life of your down's performance. Always store your sleeping bag uncompressed, in a place that will not trap moisture (no plastic bags or bins). The breathable storage sack that comes with your quilt is ideal for this. Or you can hang it in a roomy closet.
Your quilt is made from some of the lightest, most advanced materials available. These fabrics are very durable for their weight. However, care should be taken to prevent tearing or snagging these fabrics. Always use a ground cloth under your quilt to prevent direct contact with the ground. When airing out your down quilt or drying it in the sun, be sure not to snag the fabric on sharp branches, etc. When washing, always check the washer and dryer for any foreign objects or sharp burrs that could damage your bag.
Wearing clean, light clothing to bed helps reduce contaminating the down from sweat and body oils. These contaminants will slowly reduce the loft of your quilt. Properly washing your bag (see below) will remove these contaminants and restore the loft of your down. Don't wait too long to wash your down gear if you notice reduced loft. Permanent damage can occur if down is left dirty or damp for too long.
Washing your Down Quilt or Sleeping Bag
Do not dry clean your down quilt. Wash it in warm water, either by hand in a bathtub or in a large washing machine without agitators. Usually, front loading washers are better, but some top-loading HE (high-efficiency) washers do not have agitators and can be acceptable. Use only detergent specifically designed for down filled products, such as Nikwax Down Wash Direct. Other typical laundry detergents strip the natural oils found in the down and will permanently damage your quilt. Give your quilt an extra rinse to ensure all the soap is gone before drying. Be careful when moving a wet sleeping bag or quilt. The weight of the water in the down can tear the baffles.
Dry your sleeping bag in an oversized dryer set to low heat or very low heat (max 125°F). Too much heat can melt the shell fabrics of your bag. Periodically check the down for clumps, which indicate that it is still wet. Gently separate any clumps with your hands, and return the quilt to the dryer. Using clean tennis balls in the dryer can help in separating those clumps. Dry the quilt until you are certain there is no moisture in the down (do not rely on the dryer’s automatic moisture sensor). When you think it’s dry and all the clumps are gone, put it back in the dryer for another spin. Down can be sneaky about retaining moisture. This process may take several hours. Pull out some maps and plan your next trip while you wait!
Helpful Tips for Washing your Down Quilt
A Word About Down Leakage
The Pertex fabric we use is very down proof. However, by its nature as an ultralight, air permeable fabric, a feather shaft or down cluster may occasionally pass through. You may also see this along seams. This is best dealt with by gently pulling the down back into the quilt by grabbing it from the backside. Gently massaging the area with your fingers will help the fabric close.
Even though it seems concerning to see some down escaping, keep in mind that there are tens of thousands of down plumules in your quilt (some have hundreds of thousands!). Losing the occasional piece will not affect the warmth of your quilt.
TAKE GOOD CARE OF THAT ULTRALIGHT DOWN QUILT, AND IT WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU.