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How to deal with down & synthetics

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The weather should finally be getting nicer again and the camping season will officially begin (although some people don’t let the cold weather stop them). Either way, you have to prepare your equipment and sleeping bags are one of them. Are you new to this and don’t really know how to wash a sleeping bag?

Photo: Sotnikov Misha/ Shutterstock


Can you even wash a sleeping bag? Yes, but the correct approach largely depends on the material. A model made of synthetic fibers is washed differently than a bag made of real down.

The down sleeping bag: advantages and disadvantages and how to clean it properly

Photo: Simol1407/ EnvatoElements

The biggest advantage of down as a filling material is without a doubt the warmth it offers and is also lightweight. But precisely because of its strong warming properties, it is more suitable if you are camping in cold weather.

Either way, care is very important because then it can easily serve you for up to 10 years for your camping trips. We also recommend a water-repellent model to make the investment worth it.

Like washing the sleeping bag and protecting the feathers

Foto: JoyNik/ Shutterstock

Handwashing is the key. The down would clump together in the washing machine, so it is necessary to wash the sleeping bag gently. This is also a little time consuming, keep that in mind.

The bathtub is perfect because it has enough space and doesn’t immediately cause a flood because the down filling will absorb a lot of water and become heavy.

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Fill the tub with plenty of warm water. There should still be enough water left after the down sleeping bag has absorbed itself (1.5 meters filled should be enough). Dissolve a suitable detergent in the water. This can be a special down detergent or simple dishwashing liquid, depending on your preference. A mild soap is also suitable. Now you can wash the sleeping bag. To do this, place it in the water until it is soaked and completely covered. Rub the surfaces (hand is enough) and knead a little, but not too hard. Under no circumstances should you lift the sleeping bag as it is now very heavy. The weight could cause the seams to tear. After the massage, let it soak for a few more hours to loosen any additional dirt (one to four hours). Drain the water, rinse the sleeping bag with clean water and fill the tub again. Repeat the above steps until no more foam is produced when massaging the fabric.

It’s important to dry it properly!

The way in which you dry the material afterwards should also not be underestimated.

After draining the water for the last time, squeeze the sleeping bag. But you can not wring out. As it lies spread out in the tub, squeeze it from top to bottom. Fold it over in the middle and squeeze out the excess water again. Now you should be able to lift it easily. Photo: duangphorn wiriya/ Shutterstock

To dry, either use a dryer or let it air dry:

Put it in the dryer the way you took it out of the tub, namely folded up. Set a low temperature. To air dry it, it is best to use a drying rack. Place towels over the stand(s) and the sleeping bag over them, preferably outdoors. It is important that the stand is not in direct sun, but in the shade. The bag should not hang, but lie down. If there is also wind blowing, this is ideal for speeding up drying. If you can, you can choose one day and then spontaneously wash the sleeping bag.

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Washing synthetic sleeping bag

What is very practical with such a model is not only the cheaper price, but also the fact that even moisture does not affect its function. Cleaning is also significantly less time-consuming, as you will soon see. The only disadvantage is the weight. A synthetic fiber sleeping bag is heavier.

How to properly clean polyester

Foto: Simol1407/ Shutterstock

You can wash your synthetic fiber model by hand (like the down sleeping bag) or you can use the good old machine. If you wash the sleeping bag in the washing machine, follow these steps:

Close zippers and Velcro fasteners well before washing. Put the sleeping bag in the washing machine (preferably a front loader). Set a gentle cycle. Use the same detergent as you would for a down sleeping bag: mild soap, dishwashing liquid or a special detergent for sleeping bags.

To dry, first squeeze out the excess water (no spin cycle). Then proceed as you would with the down sleeping bag: either dry the synthetic fiber model at a low temperature in the dryer or on a drying rack (as described above).

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