Cozy Nights Ahead with Expert Tips on Washing, Drying, and Storing Your Camping Sleeping Bag

In this article, you’ll learn some of the best practices and top tips to maintain your sleeping bag. Tips that are sure increase your sleeping bag’s life and durability. 

Sleeping bags are one of the four most expensive items on your necessities for camping list, among backpacks, camping tents, and sleeping pads. Choosing the perfect sleeping bag can be easy, but the life of a sleeping bag is in the care you give it. 

Not to worry, we are here to help!

a sleeping bag stuffed into a laundry machine, text overlay reads 4 easy steps to care for your bag

(This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you make a purchase through my link I receive a small commission at no added cost to you. See my policy page for more information)

How to care for your sleeping bag

1. Use a Sleeping Bag Liner

The first and the most important tip to maintain your sleeping bag would be to use a sleeping bag liner inside your sleeping bags. First, it prevents the sleeping bag from getting dirty, and it can be washed easily after your camping trip. Big save against washing the sleeping bag every time! 

Second, it also adds a bit of warmth which can be helpful if you feel your sleeping bag isn’t warm enough. Liners come in cotton, silk, and polyester, so you can choose based on your preferences. 

If you’d like to read more on staying warm in your sleeping bag, check out this article!

2. Properly wash your sleeping bag

There are three ways to wash your sleeping bags – Machine Wash, Hand Wash and Spot Wash.

While Spot Wash works when the sleeping bag is mildly dirty, in most cases you would have to go for either of the former. Machine washing is the easiest, whereas Hand Washing can turn out to be quite laborious. 

Here are some general sleeping bag washing tips:

  • Make sure to follow the instructions by the manufacturers (look for washing instructions on the inside tag).
  • A front load machine causes less agitation to the sleeping bag. 
  • Choose the right gentle detergent  for the type of sleeping bag you own – Down or Synthetic.
  • Use cold water.
  • Dry cleaning your sleeping bag can cause serious harm.

And, if you’d like to read more on general care and cleaning of all your camping gear, click here!

3. Properly dry a sleeping bag

Drying the sleeping bag is as important as its washing.

Here are some tips for drying your sleeping bag:

  • Make sure that the sleeping bag is entirely dry before you store it. 
  • Sleeping bags should not be dried under direct sunlight, rather under shade in a windy place preferably.
  • Down bags take longer to dry than Synthetic bags. 

You may want to read these posts about how to keep your tent dry inside or about how to stay dry when camping in the rain – both articles with tips to help you keep your sleeping bag dry while using it!

4. Properly store your sleeping bag

After every camping trip, make sure to air your sleeping bag out completely before you store it. Don’t try to stuff the sleeping bag into a smaller storage cover. Give generous space to the bag, by using a large storage or mesh sack for long term storage.

Other sleeping bag care tips:

Lending your bag to others

Be cautious when you are lending out your sleeping bags. While they may be your close friends or family, they might not use it with as much care as you would. Make sure to give them some details on how the bag works, and best would be to ask them to use a sleeping bag liner when they use it.


One of the most common issues with sleeping bags are the zippers. We often tend to use the zippers in the bag harshly, while in haste. While this not only breaks them and gives you a sleepless night in the woods, getting them fixed is also a headache. 

It would be best to treat the zippers gently. If you are using the sleeping bag after a long time, and the zippers don’t seem to work, use a little coconut oil on them and try using them after an hour. If it does not work, get them repaired from a professional service.

Keeping your sleeping bag off the ground

Just like you use sleeping bag liners to protect the insides of the bag, make sure to protect them from the ground. You don’t know what awaits. Maybe a thorn or a sharp stick. To prevent this, you can use a pad or a tarpaulin on the ground first, and then your sleeping bag on top of it. 

Fabric Tears

Fabric Tears are common, and most of the times they can be treated with your sewing kit/machine or gear-repair tapes. Repairing the tear will help prevent the fabric / down of the bag from escaping the bag. 

So that is it for the article guys. I hope you have a handful of useful tips on your sleeve, to make sure that your sleeping bag lives its life at its best. 

Was the article helpful? Do you have any other sleeping bag care tips to add? Let us know in the comments, we would love to hear them 🙂

Have fun camping, make awesome memories and most importantly stay safe!

Guest Author ~ Mark Bennett

Writer & Traveler

Mark is an American writer and traveler, whose major inspiration has been camping with his father ever since his childhood. He aims to visit 75 countries before he’s 30. You can also follow his adventures on his site Outdoorily.

a cartoon raccoon snuggled into a sleeping bag, text reads camping sleeping bags

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *