November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Long-term storage of quilts
Display Avatars Sort By:
Brian Hedden
(BRHedden) - F

Locale: Massachusetts
Long-term storage of quilts on 09/16/2012 12:16:17 MDT Print View

I've heard that it's a bad idea to keep quilts/bags compressed for a long time, whether they're down or synthetic. What I don't get is why this should be the case.

I can see that compressing a quilt could produce micro-breaks in the insulating fibers, which could reduce loft or something like that.

But if the problem is fractures in the fibers, then it would seem that you'd want to reduce the NUMBER of times you compress it, not the length of time you keep it compressed. I mean, once it's compressed, whatever fibers are going to break will have already broken.

Am I right, or am I missing something?


Miles Spathelf
(MilesS) - MLife
Resistance to compression on 09/16/2012 12:39:32 MDT Print View

I suppose I always looked at this issue as over time the resistance to compression would (could) lessen...meaning the materials would deform or break further the longer they are compressed. Imagine if a crossbow was left cocked for an extended period. The limbs would deform under the pressure over a long period of time. So when the item was decompressed there would be issues of it returning to its original structure. Perhaps graphite and a diamond would be too long of an example :)

Edited by MilesS on 09/16/2012 12:42:02 MDT.

Vince Contreras
(pillowthread) - F

Locale: like, in my head???
# of times is correct... on 09/16/2012 13:47:49 MDT Print View

You've got it, Brian. As I understand it, the number of times one cycles through compression/expansion is the real culprit...I remember reading a thread here on BPL that testified to that fact...something about a high-quality down bag being found in storage and unpacked after over a decade under high compression, and once it was allowed a few days to loft up it was good as new. I'd like to say that I saved that link, but I didn't...

Edited for grammatical purposes only.

Edited by pillowthread on 09/16/2012 14:22:03 MDT.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Long-term storage of quilts on 09/16/2012 14:18:17 MDT Print View

I know nothing about this, but some materials can take a set or undergo permanent deformation if stressed long enough. Maybe down and synthetics do, too.

In any case I always stuff my quilts/bags loosely in large, breathable sacks. I have down bags going on 35 years now that loft up good as new.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Under the on 09/17/2012 21:39:17 MDT Print View

bed. Just put it there and all is well. Or put it in the big storage sack that came with your bag and hang it in the closet. Come to think of it, I just fully unroll my pad, put it under the bed first, put a few towels on top of it, then put the bag on top. If you have cats, the ole' under the bed trick is not recommended though.

Miles Spathelf
(MilesS) - MLife
Any real info on 09/17/2012 23:54:56 MDT Print View

I've tried digging up more information on this subject but it seems to lack any substantial evidence. I've read a few reports from people that their sleeping bags will bounce back "as good as new" from being compressed...but if it takes a few days to loft it really isn't as "good as new" ...not to mention any real measurements given. However survival bags put in fighter planes are vacuum sealed under high compression to save space...but I suppose they are not meant for years of service. While it may not really hurt to leave a bag compressed I don't see a reason to unless your living quarters are severely restricted.

David A
(DavidAdair) - M

Locale: West Dakota
Re: Any real info on 09/18/2012 02:42:51 MDT Print View

Envision a fluffy down cluster and setting a book on it. Take the book off and it springs back into its normal three dimensional shape. But leave it compressed long enough and the cluster fibers will begin to take a set into the two dimensional shape. Its still elastic, it just wants to spring back to the flat shape. Relieved of compression the fibers will only slowly relax back into a three dimensional shape. Some fluffing and perhaps some fluctuation in humidity will help speed the process along but it could take a while (days to weeks) to regain a 3-D set. Once the 3-D set is re-established the cluster will quickly rebound from a short term compression cycle. See there -data is for people with no imagination.

Miles Spathelf
(MilesS) - MLife
Thought exercises are not proof on 09/18/2012 10:57:29 MDT Print View

Yeah...imagination is all well and good...but I prefer having actual data.