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Packing sleeping bag at bottom of pack or at the top?
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Dan Momii
(DanMomii) - F

Locale: Santa Cruz County, CA
Packing sleeping bag at bottom of pack or at the top? on 04/27/2011 20:21:07 MDT Print View

Hi everybody,

I have been going back and forth on whether to keep packing my sleeping bag( I have a Montbell super spiral UL #3) on the bottom of my frameless pack or start packing it at the top kind of loose to save the loft. It is in my experience a little easier to pack everything tight when you start with your sleeping on the bottom and pack everything on top. I'm just wondering if it is worth packing it loose on top to save the loft. I also pack it as loose on the bottom as I can, I never use the compression stuff sack. Thanks.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Packing sleeping bag at bottom of pack or at the top? on 04/27/2011 20:29:11 MDT Print View

Bottom. Do you really want to pull it out every time you need something in your pack?

Derek Kind
(berethorn)
Bottom on 04/27/2011 21:13:01 MDT Print View

I put my clothes on the very bottom, then the sleeping bag, then the rest on top where I can access them. It's the last thing I need to take out of the pack, except for the clothes, which I don't need until I'm in my tent, and the heavier, more accessed gear feels better when it's top-weighted.

But try it both ways! Then you'll know for sure

Patrick S
(xpatrickxad) - F

Locale: Upper East TN
Re: Bottom on 04/27/2011 21:21:09 MDT Print View

I throw mine in the bottom and compress as much as possible. Food is always on top and easy to get to. Has anyone actually had negative effects of over compressing down? I mean first hand. I stuff as much as I physically can and have a down bag and jacket that I've stuffed on a regular basis for years and even over the course of a 5 and half month thru hike and they still loft great. I ofcourse don't store them stuffed when I'm not on the trail.

Derek Kind
(berethorn)
Re: packing bag on 04/27/2011 21:30:45 MDT Print View

I'm going to try a new trick I just learned on the forum - packing the sleeping bag in a dry bag. That way it can be compressed and "molded" into a more economical shape than the rugby balls compression sacks give us (and keep it dry, too).

Eric Palumbo
(palumbo) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: packing bag on 04/27/2011 21:52:10 MDT Print View

"I'm going to try a new trick I just learned on the forum - packing the sleeping bag in a dry bag"

I'm using a Granite Gear eVent brick that is perfect for this. Pack it so it just fits the width of the bag and then put it in the bottom. In my Gorilla,it makes a great flexible foundation on which to pack, helping to distribute the weigh on top of it. If you need more room it will compress and give it too you because the air can escape easily.

Todd Taylor
(texasbb) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Packing sleeping bag at bottom of pack or at the top? on 04/27/2011 23:11:31 MDT Print View

Pack it wherever it fits for you. If it's a down bag I don't think stuffing it hurts the loft noticeably on trips and certainly not permanently. Either way, it should be waterproofed. There are two kinds of hikers: those who've fallen during a creek crossing and those who will.

For my money, it's easier to waterproof the bag if it's in a stuff sack. I wrap that in a well-closed turkey bag. (I have a second stuff sack/turkey bag for my extra clothes.)

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Bottom on 04/28/2011 04:44:32 MDT Print View

A couple years back I did a light duty survey of people using down bags. It turns out that for most compresions of 10:1 or less there is no damage to the down or lofting. This was for high fill power downs, not for lower fill power downs. 700FP and above was my cut off(by EN measurements.) It doesn't really matter if you use a tight compression.

Dampness, wet, or real compression (say with a hard object pressing down on it) can damage it to some degree. But generally down is very forgiving. Shaking it out good is generally all that is needed. A blast of warm air in a dryer when you get back will restore it if it does get damp. Warping of the fibers due to water is NOT permanent. But, be carefull not to damage the shell with heat.

I usually use a compression bag these days to save packing volume. It is compressed till it *just* fits into the bottom of my bag (also my down camp jacket and sleeping socks.) Roughly, this is about an 8:1 compression. The eVent dry bag also keeps things pretty dry. Other than 2 day rainstorms, it never even gets damp.

But, the compression/dry bags weigh about 2.5-4.0oz or so. Heavy for just water protection. Worth it on a canoe trip through the ADK's. You are better off with a pack liner (compactor or turkey roaster bag) for just hiking, though. Mike C.'s book had a humerous description, LOL. Lots'a laughs in that book...

carl becker
(carlbecker) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: Packing sleeping bag at bottom of pack or at the top? on 04/28/2011 06:01:52 MDT Print View

I had a 20 year old NF down bag. I replaced it because it was more than I need and heavy. I stuffed it tight when hiking and stored it loose all other times. It did not seem to lose any loft. Now days I put my Montbell spiral #3 in its sack and place it in first as I need last. The bag goes in with any extra clothing next to a veritcal tripod, then pad and shelter. Food and rain gear go in last. I don't think you will have any damage to the down as long as it is not stuffed tighter than the OEM stuff sack.

William Brown
(MatthewBrown) - F

Locale: Blue Ridge Mtns
Bottom on 04/28/2011 06:26:24 MDT Print View

I like to pack the sleeping bag on the bottom for a few of reasons:

1. It's the last thing to come out when my shelter is set up.

2. It makes a good give and take cushion for setting the pack down and reduces any pressure areas that could push out against a hard ground object and tear the bottom of my pack.

3.My sleeping bag is light. I would rather have a heavier clothes, shelter, or food bag higher up in my pack and closer to my Center of Gravity. (This is different for my wife. She likes the load lower, due to her CoG.)

4.I'm using a Mountainfitter dry bag as a compression bag and couldn't be more pleased with the performance and I dont feel guilty at .5 oz.

Ryan C
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Compression Ratio on 04/28/2011 07:31:48 MDT Print View

"It turns out that for most compresions of 10:1 or less there is no damage to the down or lofting."

How are you measuring compression ratio? Volume of puffed up bag compared to volume in a stuff sack?

I have a WM Apache MF that is 8x16" in the stock stuff sack which is huge in my pack compared to a Marmot Helium I tried. Compressing it to something smaller would be nice. Granite Gear eVent sacks are nice but I don't like the "line lock" style compression straps on the new ones.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Compression Ratio on 04/28/2011 08:44:17 MDT Print View

Compression ratios are roughly figured according to laid out ready to be used and stuffed for packing. 10:1 is about hand compression in a bag. My 40F bag, stuffed in a compression bag just fits into a 12" wide X 7" space, neatly. Never really measured it beyond that, I think you can actually get it into a really tiny sized cylinder, 4"x8"long. For myself and wife we fit in both bags into the same space, easily, with no apparent damage at 20-30:1 ratios. I don't use the stock bags at all. I think these are close to 100:1. But, I don't believe these cause any real damage either.

Dan Momii
(DanMomii) - F

Locale: Santa Cruz County, CA
Sleeping bag at the packed at top or bottom of pack? on 04/28/2011 10:45:37 MDT Print View

Hi guys,

Thanks a lot for all your feedback. The consensus seems to be packing the sleeping bag at the bottom is the way to go, for convenience, packability, and lack of loft loss. I will continue packing my down sleeping bag at the bottom loosely, without the worry of losing to much loft. More advice or suggestions welcome. Thanks again.

Dan Momii
(DanMomii) - F

Locale: Santa Cruz County, CA
Sleeping bag packed at top or bottom of pack? on 04/28/2011 10:46:34 MDT Print View

Hi guys,

Thanks a lot for all your feedback. The consensus seems to be packing the sleeping bag at the bottom is the way to go, for convenience, packability, and lack of loft loss. I will continue packing my down sleeping bag at the bottom loosely, without the worry of losing to much loft. More advice or suggestions welcome. Thanks again.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Packing sleeping bag at bottom of pack or at the top? on 04/28/2011 14:18:06 MDT Print View

I've always packed my sleeping bag at the bottom. I'm seriously thinking of trying the sleeping bag at the top (but below my insulating clothing, which is at the very top). I'd like to be able to leave my pack mostly packed between trips, and I certainly can't leave my sleeping bag stuffed. This would save a lot of preparation for a quick trip (inspired by Ryan's "24" trips). It would let me make a fast exit (probably holding the sleeping bag uner one arm) if we in the PNW get an earthquake similar to Japan's (could happen any time, the geologists tell us).

I will try this out and report back. It does help that, being female, I have a lower center of gravity than most men so need the heavier weight lower in my pack. Also, everything I need during the day, except for insulating clothing and raingear, is packed in my pack's outside pockets, as is my shelter.

Edited by hikinggranny on 04/28/2011 14:22:11 MDT.

Richard Roberts
(dameunmate) - F

Locale: Thames Valley, England
not top or bottom or middle! on 12/11/2011 06:14:27 MST Print View

I keep my down sleeping bag on my Thermarest mattress both inside my bivvy bag (waterproof sleeping bag cover), and roll them all up together. To set up camp I just roll 'em out and puff into that mattress valve, under some form of shelter or tarp if I expect rain or frost.

I pack the rolled up combination like a long sausage on the side of my Ortlieb pannier (I'm cycle touring). This means that I can get it out any time I fancy a quick nap without taking everything else out, but I can still get at the other stuff.

It also means that sleeping bag compression varies depending on the size of my pack and how much I stuff down the side next to it. I'm considering putting a divider in there too, kind of like a lee cloth.

I'm the fast & light type, in the morning I like to just roll up and go in 60 seconds.

Edited by dameunmate on 12/11/2011 06:16:40 MST.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Packing sleeping bag at bottom of pack or at the top on 12/11/2011 09:32:03 MST Print View

Concerning losing loft, more important than how you stuff a down bag in your pack is how you store it at home!

Some hang them in a closet, but I stuff mine very loosely in an extra-large breathable bag. I have down bags from the 1970's that still loft up as good as new.

If you think your bag is losing some loft it may simply mean you need to wash it. I've had very good luck restoring lost loft via careful washing and drying.

chris kersten
(xanadu) - F

Locale: here
bottom on 12/11/2011 12:59:41 MST Print View

I'm sure someone said in the above posts, but on the bottom since you can pack inside/under your shelter. I have never had one get wet doing it that way.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
BOTTOM on 12/11/2011 14:54:04 MST Print View

Bottom of my pack, next to my Thermarest Prolite, in a light OP dry bag from a 3-piece set I picked up at Wally Mart.

Edited by Danepacker on 12/11/2011 14:54:49 MST.