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When it comes to backpacking adventures, packing efficiently is key. One of the bulkiest items in your backpack is likely your sleeping bag. This is where a compression sack for your sleeping bag comes in handy. Compressing your sleeping bag gives it a smaller footprint. As a result, it takes up less space in your backpack and makes it easier to stow and carry.
While you could opt for a smaller sleeping bag, it may not provide the warmth and comfort you need. The Geez has a zero-degree bag from the 1970s. It is both bulky and heavy in comparison to equivalent bags today. However, I can’t fathom the thought of having to spend more money on a new one when my North Face sleeping bag is still perfectly good. This is where a compression sack for a sleeping bag comes in.
Additionally, compression sacks can help protect your sleeping bag from dust, dirt, moisture, and debris while on the trail. In inclement weather, there is always a chance that your sleeping bag will get wet. Waterproof compression sacks offer additional protection from rain and water crossings.
But the benefits of using a compression sack for your backpacking sleeping bag go beyond just saving space and protecting your gear. By using a waterproof compression sack you keep your sleeping bag dry while backpacking. This maintains its ability to insulate you from the cold. There is nothing worse than crawling into a cold wet sleeping bag at night. The Geez knows that all too well, after losing my footing during a stream crossing.
In addition, a compression sack can help protect your sleeping bag from moisture and other potential damage while trekking. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits of using a compression sack for your sleeping bag. We will also provide tips for choosing the right one for your needs.
What is a Compression Sack for a Sleeping Bag?
A compression sack is a type of stuff sack that is used to compress a sleeping bag. It is designed to reduce the overall size of the sleeping bag in the stuff sack. This makes it easier to pack into a backpack and carry on the trail.
The sack is made of a durable material that can withstand the pressure of compressing the sleeping bag. Moreover, it has straps and buckles that allow the sack to cinch down as they are tightened. Thus, it decreases the size of the stuff sack with the sleeping bag in it.
Compression sacks come in different sizes and shapes. They are designed to fit different types of sleeping bags. Some compression sacks are designed for rectangular sleeping bags, while others are designed for mummy-style sleeping bags.
The compression sack you need will depend on the size of your sleeping bag and the type you have. It needs to easily accommodate the sleeping bag before compression. Too small a compression sack means you will have to fight to get your sleeping bag in it before compressing it. Too large a sack means your sleeping bag will fit too loosely and may not compress as much as it could.
Benefits of Using a Compression Sack for a Backpacking Sleeping Bag
The benefits of using a compression sack for your backpacking sleeping bag go beyond just saving space and protecting your gear.
First, it helps to reduce the size of the sleeping bag, which makes it easier to pack and carry. Furthermore, it is easier to find gear on the trail if your backpack is organized.
Second, the compression sack not only helps protect your sleeping bag from moisture and dirt, but by using a waterproof compression sack you keep your sleeping bag dry while backpacking. This maintains its ability to insulate you from the cold. There is nothing worse than crawling into a cold wet sleeping bag at night. The Geez knows that all too well, after losing my footing during a stream crossing.
The Geez considers compression sacks to be an essential piece of gear for backpackers who need to pack light and save space. Let’s look at how a compression sack can help you on your next trek:
- Reduces volume: A compression sack can help reduce the volume between 20 to 30%, allowing you to pack your sleeping bag into a much smaller size. In addition, you may be able to use a smaller backpack for your gear, thus reducing weight.
- Protects your sleeping bag: An important function of a compression sack is to help protect your sleeping bag from dust, dirt, moisture, and debris. This is especially important if you are camping in wet or dirty locations, as it will help to keep your sleeping bag clean and dry.
- Keeps your gear organized: You can pack your sleeping bag into a separate compression sack and then pack it into your backpack making it easier to keep your gear organized while you are on the trail.
- Preserves the loft of your sleeping bag: A compression sack can help preserve the loft of your sleeping bag on the trail. When you compress your sleeping bag for short periods of time, the insulation becomes flattened and loses its loft. However, upon release from the compression sack the loft returns to normal, thus maintaining the original warmth of your sleeping bag.
Overall, using a compression sack for your backpacking sleeping bag can help you save space, protect your gear, and preserve the warmth and loft of your sleeping bag. It’s an essential piece of gear for any backpacker who needs to pack light and stay organized on the trail.
How to Choose the Right Compression Sack for Your Sleeping Bag
Compression sacks are essential tools when it comes to reducing the volume of your sleeping bag and saving valuable space in your backpack. However, choosing the right compression sack for your sleeping bag can be a daunting task, especially if you are a beginner. Here are some factors to consider when selecting the right compression sack for your sleeping bag:
The size of your compression sack should accommodate the size of your sleeping bag. Most come in sizes ranging from 10 to 20 liters. A foolproof way to correctly size your compression sack is to take your sleeping bag’s stuff sack with you when looking for a compression sack. That way you can place them side by side at the store to make sure they are approximately the same size.
A compression sack needs to easily accommodate the sleeping bag before compression. Too small a compression sack means you will have to fight to get your sleeping bag in it before compressing it. Too large a sack means your sleeping bag will fit too loosely and may not compress as much as it could.
The type of fabric your sleeping bag shell is made of should also be considered when selecting a compression sack. Lightweight fabrics such as nylon and polyester are easier to pack and compress than natural fabrics like cotton. Waterproof fabrics protect your sleeping bag from moisture, especially during water crossings. Most importantly, look for waterproof coatings or DWR finishes if you want to protect your sleeping bag from moisture.
Therefore, if your sleeping bag is made of a lightweight fabric, you can choose a smaller lightweight compression sack. On the other hand, if your sleeping bag is made of a natural fabric like cotton, you may need a larger heavier compression sack.
Your sleeping bag’s temperature rating should also be considered when selecting a compression sack. If you have a down sleeping bag that is meant for cold weather, a smaller compression sack may be suitable. The cut of a mummy bag compensates for the decreased volume of a smaller compression sack. However, if you have a rectangular or semi-rectangular bag, you may need a larger compression sack due to its size and shape.
Straps and Buckles
Compression sacks come with straps and buckles that help compress the bag all the way around. Ensure that the straps and buckles are sturdy enough to withstand the pressure of compression without breaking or snapping.
Choosing the right compression sack for your sleeping bag is crucial in ensuring that your backpacking trip is comfortable and hassle-free. Consider the factors above when selecting a compression sack and enjoy the benefits that come with having a compressed sleeping bag in your backpack.
Tips for Using a Compression Sack for Your Sleeping Bag
As a backpacker, compression sacks are a must-have gear item to maximize space in your pack and to protect your sleeping bag from dust, dirt, and moisture.
Here are some simple tips for using a compression sack for your sleeping bag:
Choose the right size:
Most importantly, you need to consider the size and shape of your sleeping bag when you are choosing a compression sack for your sleeping bag. If you choose a compression sack that is too small, there is a possibility it will over-compress your bag’s down or synthetic insulation. Nevertheless, when properly compressed your sleeping bag will maintain its original loft when removed from the sack.
- Loosen the straps: Before stuffing your sleeping bag into the compression sack, loosen the straps to ensure that the sack is fully open and ready to receive your sleeping bag.
- Start at the bottom: Begin stuffing your sleeping bag into the compression sack from the bottom, pushing it down with your hands to remove as much air as possible.
- Stuff the bag in loosely: Stuff your sleeping bag into the compression sack loosely, making sure to distribute the filling evenly. Most importantly, don’t compress the bag too tightly. This can damage the down or synthetic insulation and reduce its effectiveness.
- Compress the bag: Once your sleeping bag is stuffed into the compression sack, begin compressing it by pulling the straps tight. Start at the bottom of the sack and work your way up, pulling each strap tight as you go. Make sure to compress the bag evenly on all sides.
- Tighten the straps: Once your sleeping bag is in the sack, pull the compression straps tight to compress it further.
Additionally, long-term storage of a sleeping bag in a compression sack is not advised. When a sleeping bag remains compressed for an extended period of time, the insulating material becomes compressed as well. This reduces its ability to maintain its original loft when taken out of the compression sack. It is the sleeping bag’s loft that traps heat and protects you from the cold. Therefore, you don’t want it damaged.
Loosely store your sleeping bag uncompressed at home. It will be ready for your next adventure and not lose its original loft. Most importantly, it is the loft and undamaged insulation that maximizes a sleeping bag’s warmth on cold nights.
Furthermore, by following these tips, you can maximize your pack space while keeping your sleeping bag safe and secure.
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How do you size a compression sack for a sleeping bag?
To size a compression sack for a sleeping bag, first, determine the volume of your sleeping bag when it is fully expanded. Then, choose a compression sack that is slightly larger than that volume to allow for easier packing. Finally, adjust the compression straps on the sack to achieve the desired level of compression.
Is a stuff sack a compression sack?
A stuff sack and a compression sack are not the same things. While both are used for packing and carrying gear, a stuff sack is designed to simply hold gear, while a compression sack is designed to reduce the volume of gear by compressing it. Compression sacks usually have straps or cords that can be tightened to compress the contents, while stuff sacks do not.
Should I put my sleeping bag in a stuff sack?
Yes! A standard stuff sack is normally included in the original purchase of your sleeping bag. However, a compression sack is not and must be purchased separately.
Most importantly, a compression sack will reduce the volume of your bag making your sleeping bag easier to pack and carry. But, by also placing your bag into a stuff sack and then compressing your sleeping bag with a compression sack, you will protect your bag, saving you valuable space in your backpack.
Overall, using a compression sack is a smart choice for backpackers looking to save space and protect their sleeping bags. By selecting the right size and material, you can ensure that your sleeping bag remains in good condition and that your backpack is easy to carry. So, make sure to add a compression sack to your sleep system for your next backpacking adventure!