Monday Kit Tip - Airing Your Sleeping Bag
How to keep your sleeping bag happy on multi-day backpacks.
Posted: 28 June 2010
Time for this week's Monday Kit Tip and this one's about looking after down sleeping bags on multi-day outings.
As you probably know, you should always store sleeping bags uncompressed and most bags come with a large storage sack for just this reason. Obviously, on the hill, you want the bag to be packed down as small as possible, which is fine for limited periods of time.
What you may not know, is that during the night, your body produces a lot of water vapour which has a tendency to accumulate within the sleeping bag. In fact, in polar situations, this can freeze within the bag to the point where eventually it's filled with ice flakes.
In more normal conditions, it's a good idea to air your bag thoroughly in the morning before packing it away – if the outside of your tent is dry, just sling it on top to dry out in the sun before packing it.
If your bag uses a simple, non-coated or proofed outer, it should be mostly dry anyway thanks to the breathability of the fabric. If your bag uses a highly water resistant coated fabric like Pertex Endurance (Rab) or Drilite (Mountain Equipment), the reduced breathability of the outer fabric means that it's essential to air the bag daily as more moisture will be trapped within it. Turn the bag inside out so the more breathable inner fabric allows moisture to escape more easily.
If you can't air the bag properly first thing and have to pack it straight away, try and find a window during the day to lay it out over a handy rock or fence for ten minutes or so, again, again this is more important with a coated fabric outer. Standard Pertex or similar should be fine, though airing is still a good idea.
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