How To Fold A Sleeping Bag And Pack It?

How badly do you struggle when you need to fold a sleeping bag just before leaving your campsite? Well, for first-time campers or trekkers, the struggle is something they wouldn’t like to remember!

Even I struggled a bit to fold and pack my bulky sleeping bag at the Shitkari Campsite during my Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. However, after learning and practising the correct process I was comfortable handling them. Thanks to one of my experienced trek mates, I learned something new!

The way you fold and roll a sleeping bag largely determines how easily you can pack and carry it along with your backpack. So, if you are facing this frustration of being new to camping, here’s my guide for you.

With the right procedure, you will easily be able to fold a mummy sleeping bag and strap it to your rucksack. Once I tell you how to do it, packing your sleeping bag will take only a few minutes.

How To Fold A Sleeping Bag And Pack It

How To Fold A Mummy Sleeping Bag Properly?

1. Shake The Sleeping Bag Out

To fold your mummy sleeping bag, lay it flat on the ground. Unzip it and take out the things that might be stored in it. Now, shake it outside thoroughly so that there are no crumbs, dirt, or leaves attached to the surface.

Run your hands to smoothen it across the surface so that the trapped air escapes from the bag. This will give it a nice, flat, and foldable shape. If your sleeping bag is resistant to water and wind, turn it inside out. This way, you can easily remove the air trapped in it and roll it tightly.

Among different options, good quality sleeping bags are easy to fold, roll and attach as they are not only flexible and lightweight, but also warm in cold weather.

Sleeping bag for packing

2. Zip The Bag Up And Fold It In Half

Now, it’s time to zip the sleeping bag. When you pull up the zipper, make sure to push out the air from the top. This will help to fold it up while keeping it straight.

Now that you have zipped the bag, fold it in half. Before you roll a sleeping bag, make sure to line up all the edges and corners perfectly. Otherwise, it would be difficult to roll it properly, and the stuff sack will become bulky.

3. Roll Your Sleeping Bag Up

Now that you should know how to roll a sleeping bag, start with the end with the opening. Fold it inward as tightly as you can and roll it in. Also, push the air out when you roll the sleeping bag. Apply vertical pressure using your knees to ensure a tight roll. This will help you roll it by eliminating the air in the bag.

When you manage to roll your sleeping bag perfectly, it will form a fine, compact bundle. However, if you are finding this process challenging, roll the sleeping bag along a tent pole. This way, you can roll it evenly and tightly.

If there is any strap attached to your sleeping bag, these attachments will help you make the roll tighter. Fasten these straps to achieve a more compact package that you can put into the sack.

Rolling the sleeping bag

4. Strap Or Attach it After Rolling

Having rolled and strapped the sleeping bag, it’s time to put it into the stuff bag. Simply slide the compact bag into the sack, just like you use a pillowcase around your pillows. The process might be a bit challenging if there’s no strap to fasten the bundle. In these cases, it would be a good idea to turn the sack inside out.

The end of your sleeping bag should be pushed against the sack’s bottom. Then pull the sack’s edges up around the sleeping bag while you turn the right way around. This will help you pack the sleeping bag into the stuff sack.

Where To Put Sleeping Bag On Backpack?

In this section, I will tell you where to put sleeping bag on backpack.

During most of my treks, I take care that the sleeping bag remains protected from moisture as well as wear and tear. So, I pack the sleeping bag in the backpack at the bottom.

However, when the rucksack remains fully loaded, I recommend my trek mates store the sleeping bag outside. A framed rucksack helps to accommodate the sleeping bag in an easier way. Check the top-quality trekking bags that can pack sleeping bags well.

Rolled sleeping bag ready to attach

How Can You Attach The Sleeping Bag To Your Backpack?

If you are about to take on your first camping, you might be wondering how to attach your sleeping bag to the backpack. Well, this process is easy, as I have already talked about how to put the sleeping bag in backpack. Now that it comes to the strapping part, I will guide you through the process under this section.

Step 1: Choose A Suitable Rucksack

Use a water-resistant and spacious rucksack to pack the sleeping bag. Seal this bag fully to keep the sleeping bag safe. While trekking, weather conditions might change drastically. You can end up with a wet sleeping bag unless you secure it properly in the sack.

Step 2: Pack The Sleeping Bag At Last

Apart from the sleeping bag, pack all your trekking accessories and travel gear into your backpack. The last item left to be attached to your backpack should be the sleeping bag.

Step 3: Strap The Bag

In order to attach sleeping bag, you would need a pair of accessory straps. If you have forgotten to bring these straps along, use a rope to strap the sleeping bag to your backpack.

Now, you need to place the sack containing your sleeping bag under the main rucksack compartment on the frame. Carefully balance it in the centre, aligning it between both sides. Also, strap the sleeping bag close to the backpack.

Locate the connection points or the metal frame around your backpack. You need to strap sleeping bag around these points. Wrap each of these straps on one side of the bag. Leave a gap of two inches from both ends.

Step 4: Use The Buckles

In order to attach your sleeping bag to your backpack, you need to pass the strap through the buckle. When you pull the accessory straps, they will secure the bag tightly.

At last, use the inbuilt buckles to secure it in place. Through the buckle, push the first strap up and pull it to make it tight. Next, through the lower slot, you need to push it back. For the second buckle, repeat the same process.

Step 5: Make Adjustments

To secure the sleeping bag stably, make the necessary adjustments. I recommend digging the straps into the sleeping bag to the extent that the bag won’t fall off or bounce away when you walk.

Step 6: Fix The Straps And Buckles Properly

Finally, check out for dangling or lose straps that you need to tuck away. This ensures that they won’t get entangled in anything when you walk. Evidently, it’s easy to attach a sleeping bag, and I would recommend you to practise it a few times to get used to the process.

Sleeping bag without stuff sack

Packing A Sleeping Bag Without A Bag (Stuff Sack)

There have been times when I had to pack a sleeping bag without a bag or stuff sack. I would recommend a few guidelines that should help you pack it in this way.

Stuff The Sleeping Bag Into Your Backpack

One of the most efficient ways to pack a sleeping bag without a bag is to stuff it into your rucksack directly. Avid backpackers often follow this technique rather than attaching it as a freestanding component under the backpack.

Stack it at the bottom of the backpack, and then load other trekking accessories on it evenly. Rather than consuming a cylindrical space in the bag, the sleeping sack will take up the spaces between your gear.

This way, you can make your backpack less bulky and bumpy for your camping trip. Besides, you won’t have any additional weight bogging you down with strings, compression sacks, and rings.

Mount the sleeping bag on the rucksack’s frame

While trekking, I have often seen my fellow hikers mount their sleeping bags on the frame of their rucksacks. Once you roll a sleeping bag, tie it to the outer frame of your backpack.

If the rucksack has metal bars on its exteriors, you can attach it to these parts. Use a shoe string or a thin rope to attach the sleeping bag to the frame.

I have also seen experienced trekkers use D-rings to mount their sleeping bags to the external frame. Simply slide the strings or ropes through the bag and tighten them around the external frame.

Roll the sleeping bag using strings

If you want to pack your sleeping bag without a stuff bag, use strings to roll them up.

  • Pull the zip and lay the sleeping bag flat.
  • Now fold the bag longways into half (hotdog style)
  • Roll the sleeping bag by grabbing it from the bottom and rolling it upward.
  • Under this compact roll, place a couple of shoe strings. These should be around 5 inches away from each of the edges.
  • Around the top, wrap the strings and pull them tightly.

Backpackers and trekkers often pack a sleeping bag without a bag, but I wouldn’t recommend it under adverse weather conditions. Watch this video to see the whole process visually-

Hopefully, you will be able to fold a mummy sleeping bag into a perfect roll the next time you go out camping. It pays to have your travel accessories packed up neat and tidy. The last thing you would expect is to damage your sleeping bag or get it wet in the rain due to improper packing methods.

Exploring trek routes amidst sub-zero conditions appeals to me, just like hundreds of travel lovers. When you are right in packing your sleeping bag into your backpack, you can explore these terrains without worrying about losing your balance or damaging your sleeping bag.

Photo of author


Author, NatureDiary
Rishi is a travel writer from India, known for his poetic perceptions evident in his travelogues. His writings are rich in insights into tourism, and he pens down his first-hand experiences based on his interaction with the folk he meets and the gears he uses during his hikes, treks and travels.

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