Sleeping Bag Storage and Care
Proper care and storage will ensure maximum years of use and optimum performance of your sleeping bag. Always store your sleeping bag uncompressed. The breathable cotton storage sack that comes with your sleeping bag is ideal for this.
Your sleeping bag 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 the bag to prevent direct contact with the ground. When airing out the bag or drying it in the sun, be sure not to snag the fabric on sharp branches, etc. When washing your sleeping bag always check the washer and drier for any foreign objects or sharp burrs that could damage your bag.
Wearing light clothing to bed helps reduce contaminating the down from sweat and body oils. These contaminants will slowly reduce the loft of your bag. Washing your bag will remove these contaminants and restore the loft to your sleeping bag.
Washing your Sleeping Bag
Do not dry clean your sleeping bag. Wash your sleeping bag in warm water, either by hand in a bathtub or in a large front loading washing machine. Top loading washing machines or machines with agitators can damage your sleeping bag. Use a detergent specifically designed for down filled products, such as Nikwax Down Wash Direct. Other detergents strip the natural oils found in the down and can damage your sleeping bag. Rinse your sleeping bag several times, as it is important to remove all of the soap from the down before drying. Be careful moving a wet sleeping bag. The weight of the water in the down can tear the baffles.
Dry your sleeping bag in an oversized drier set to low heat. Too much heat can melt the shell fabrics of your bag. Periodically check the down for lumps and gently separate lumps that you find. Lumps in the down indicate the down is still wet. Dry the bag until you are certain there is no moisture in the down. This may take several hours. Get a roll of quarters and a good book, or better yet, pull out some maps and plan your next trip while you wait!
A Word About Down Leakage
The Pertex fabric we use for our shells is very down proof. However, by its nature as an air permeable fabric, a feather shaft or down cluster may occasionally pass through. This is best dealt with by gently pulling the down back into the bag by grabbing it from the backside. Gently massaging the area with your fingers will help the fabric close.
Take good care of that ultralight sleeping bag, and it will take care of you.