How to Pack Your Sleeping Bag

pack camping bags

How to Pack Your Sleeping Bag

Camping is a favorite pastime for many people. But there are some things to keep in mind before you head out on your next camping trip. Sleeping bags come in all shapes and sizes, so it's hard to recommend one perfect way of packing them.

The best thing you can do is start by rolling the lightweight sleeping bag up tightly from one end to the other, then pull at each side until it starts to narrow. Now roll the top down over the bottom and fold in any extra material that needs tucking in before rolling into a tight log again. Finally, tie off the outside with string or straps. 

Sleeping bags are meant to slumber under the stars on outdoor adventures, but if they aren't packed correctly, your kids could have a long night. As parents, of course, we don't want that. A backpacking sleeping bag should be appropriate for the weather, size and age. 

Whether it's a family camping or an overnight at your child's friends' house, knowing how to fold and roll up your sleeping bag properly can make all of the difference when it comes time to actually getting some sleep so whether you want to know how to pack a mummy bag or just need help stuffing that oversized rectangle into its sleeping bag compression sack, keep reading! We'll walk through each step in this process so that everything is crystal clear.

There's no such thing as packing a backpack "wrong"

After years of packing sleeping bags for my family and feeling like I was doing it wrong, I finally realized that there is more than one way to put an ultralight sleeping bag in a backpack. There is no such thing as "packing the wrong way" as long as you keep everything clean and organized. It's all about your preference.

Some people like zipping their bags up tightly, and others prefer just putting their sleeping bags for camping on top of their clothes and then stuffing things around them to fill out the space in their pack. The best advice anyone can give you is just to try different ways until you find what works best for you and your little ones. Customize the packing tips below to fit your own backpacking needs and gear.

how to pack camping bags

Four Steps to Successfully Pack A Sleeping Bag

Determine what you are packing for. If you are packing for a summer camping trip, then your winter sleeping bag will need less insulation. This means that if it is wintertime and you are going camping, make sure to bring more blankets or clothes with you to stay warm at night. Now follow the next four steps.

1. Place your best backpacking sleeping bag on a flat surface

The first step to packing a 4 season sleeping bag is placing the sleeping bag on a flat surface. A good idea is to center it on the floor. This makes packing easier because you can avoid accidentally turning your waterproof sleeping bag inside out while rolling it up.

You may want to use an item of clothing or towel to protect the bedspread from dirt or stains, especially if you plan on wrapping your best ultralight sleeping bag in more than one layer of fabric for packing. If necessary, hold the top of the bag open with your hands and pull upward on one edge until it's nice and taught. If you're not sure about how tight it should be, wrap that edge around your arm or leg and then pull up with both hands.

2. Fold in half lengthwise, then width-wise to create four sections

The next step is to fold the fabric in half lengthwise. Once this is done, it should be folded in half again width-wise. This creates four sections, which should be laid out flat on a surface. The two halves of the pillow sleeping bag will be on the left and right, while the middle sections will consist of horizontal creases.

3. Lay one section over the other and fold it in half

Lay one section over the other and fold it in half. Put any remaining sections in the same order as when you first laid them out. Sometimes, the amount you fold the pillow and sleeping bag depends on how big your backpack is and what other items you're bringing. Make sure that there are no creases or wrinkles.

4. Roll up from end to end until you have a tight roll

Being able to pack your sleeping bag and pillow compactly for transporting it is a crucial step when preparing to backpack. Roll up from end to end until you have a tight roll that will fit into your backpack or luggage. Make sure your sleeping bag is completely zipped before rolling it up! You want to ensure that you are not risking the zipper catching on anything else in your backpack.

Pro Tips On Packing Children's Sleeping Bags

You are always on the lookout for that perfect sleeping bag. You have an idea of what your kid wants, but not exactly how to find it. That's where we come in! We've compiled a shortlist of pro tips to help you pack youth sleeping bags.

1. Clothes, bags, and other bulky or heavy objects should be put next to your back

Ideally, clothes, bags, and other bulky or heavy objects should be put next to your back when packing your sleeping bag. This will keep them from getting squished when you roll up the bag adding extra weight in a small space.

2. For quick access, place the things you don't frequently use at the bottom and the things you need right away at the top

For quick access, place the things you don't frequently use at the bottom and the things you need right away at the top. This way, when your kid gets out of their sleeping bag, all the clothes will be at the bottom. The shoes that they wear every day are on top, so they are easy to find.

3. Always remember: Food above fuel. You don't want a leaking water bottle spoiling all of your food for a trip

Ok, this one is more for mommies and daddies. Pack your food first before packing anything else in your backpack. The food should go in the bottom of the backpack, with water bottles on either side. Wrap the food in plastic bags (reusable bags preferred) before putting it into the bag so that no moisture can get to it. This will also prevent bugs or critters from getting into your food.

4. Pack your layers in the reverse order you'll wear them, so you and your child can quickly wear what you need

When you pack your clothes, put the layer you will wear last on top. That way, when you get to camp and need to put on some clothes, it is easy for you and your child to find them.

5. Until it becomes a habit, pack your bag the same way every time possible

Make a practice of packing your luggage the same way every time. This point is important for the following three reasons: 

  • Variations in pack technique lead to the variability of your sleeping bag's loft, and subsequently, its warmth.
  • A poorly packed sleeping bag means a greater chance of losing or damaging parts such as zippers or baffles (the fabric compartment which holds down). It will ultimately lead to a decrease in performance on the adventure.
  • Consistency leads to speed, speed leads to more miles per day, and more miles per day leads to a happier kid! 

Pack technique varies based on temperature rating, gender, etc. Still, these are some general rules that apply to almost all sleeping bags. Yes, even the animal sleeping bags for kids.

6. To keep your dry goods dry, line the inside of your pack with a trash bag

To keep your family dry goods dry, line the inside of your pack with a trash bag. Even in the most torrential downpours, this keeps your kids' belongings dry - actually, everyone's items. For best results, use a waterproof liner bag. You can also put your electronics and food up high and away from the wet stuff at the bottom of your pack, and make sure they're sealed in ziplock bags.

Start packing right away for your kid's next adventure

The key to a good night's sleep while camping? Packing your child's sleeping bag right. There are many ways that parents pack their bags for their little ones, but one of the most important things you need to remember is keeping them lightweight and compact. Some pro packing tips include rolling up clothes instead of folding them or using vacuum-sealed items for bulky objects like pillows.

What do you think about these ideas? Let us know! We also have kids' sleeping bags, camp toys, blankets for camping - everything you'll need before hitting the trail with your little ones in tow! Explore the KidzAdventures store selection today and find everything you need for outdoor adventures.

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