Good quality insulation products are some of the biggest ticket purchases you’ll make in your entire gear collection. And for good reason too. High-quality sleeping bags, top-quilts, and underquilts can be the difference between a cosy evening under the stars and a bone-chilling battle with the cold, harsh night. Designed to last a lifetime, these items are considered a worthwhile (and necessary) investment by many. And like most investments, its value and lifespan is greatly dependent on how well you care for it.
Be it down or synthetic, insulation can be damaged if stored incorrectly. Compress them too often or too much and these precious fibres can be compromised - letting the chill-in during your next sleep-out. But there’s hope. Preserving and extending the life of your sleeping bags and quilts can be quite simple, starting with these four storage tips.
A clean quilt is a happy quilt. If you’ve been using your insulation products sensibly (i.e. not soaking them in mud or leaving them out in the snow), your sleeping bag or quilt can be adequately cleaned with a good airing and solid shake. Reduce the need to wash them very often by making sure you’re clean and dry before hopping into bed. Where this is unavoidable, spot cleaning with a damp wet cloth can be very effective.
And finally, when you need to wash them properly, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. This generally means using a specialist insulation washing detergent and hand washing where possible. Please never dry clean your insulation products and do not put them in a top loading washing machine. Dry cleaning often involves heat and harsh chemicals which may compromise the specialist fabrics or fillings. And some top-loader washing machines are equipped with an agitator that can strain or rip seams. (More like RIP, insulation gear.)
Insulation products are a lot like us actually, in that they really love fresh air. Ensure that your sleeping bags and quilts are properly aired-out at the end of every trip, and that all moisture is eliminated before storage. Moisture fosters mould and other funky unmentionables that we’d rather not snooze with on our next trip. So please, always dry your gear out properly after every trip or wash. Dry, shaded and adequately breezy areas provide the best conditions for drying a sleeping bag or quilt. We say shaded because direct sunlight and excessive UV exposure may degrade the specialist fabrics in your insulative gear.
And to be completely thorough, all components of the bag or quilt should be opened, unclipped and unzipped, as waterproof coatings can block the dissipation of water. Sneaky.
No surprises here. Hot and sticky situations make most insulation products (and people) rather uncomfortable. Extreme temperatures and humidity both present degradation risks to your specialist fabrics and fillings. Store your bags and quilts in a spot that isn’t subject to severe temperature changes or high levels of humidity. Bedrooms and storage closets are usually the best option at home. Avoid locations like attics, basements, sheds, garages and car boots.
We cannot stress the importance of loft in an insulative product. Without that lovely loftiness, insulation will not keep you warm. It’s science. To capture heat, both down and synthetic fills need to expand fully. Your body warms the air around it, the fill maximises that air’s surface area and traps all that great warmth for your benefit.
Although down and synthetic insulations are effective at fluffing back up after being compressed, their resilience is limited. Long periods of compression will irreversibly compromise the insulation's ability to loft. Which is bad news for vacuum bags.
Extend the life of your sleeping bag or quilt by removing it from its stuff sack and placing it in a specialist storage sack when it’s not in use. These sacks are large, breathable and provide ample space for the insulation to remain lofted when not in use. We recommend cotton sacks over mesh as they’re much better at fending off dust.
The Alton Goods Down Storage Sack is crafted from 100% cotton and expertly designed to help your down equipment breathe, and guard your gear from dust while maintaining loft and longevity.
Large enough to store almost any down quilt or sleeping bag, and suitable for preserving both down and synthetic equipment, this premium Down Storage Sack comes equipped with a Lifetime Warranty. Yep! you read that correctly.
Ready to invest in unparalleled warmth and comfort? No worries. This market-leading storage sack will keep your insulation gear performing for many years to come.
Ready to learn more about retaining unparalleled warmth while you’re hammock camping? Read on.
When winter rolls around, the wrong equipment can leave you vulnerable to a hammock camper's worst nightmare - ‘cold butt syndrome’.
The secret to avoiding CBS is to create a layer of insulation on your underside that maintains its loft throughout the night.
This can be achieved with an underquilt or a sleeping mat. Find out which option is right for you.