Whether you are planning to go camping, hiking, or mountaineering, it is always a challenge to fit all your stuff inside your backpack. Once you start walking along the trails, both your hands must be empty and unoccupied. This is to make sure that you keep your body well-balanced at all times. On exposed trails or those parts of the trip that are very risky and more prone to accident, empty hands will help you balance your whole body.
This is why it is highly recommended that you use a backpack and not any other type of bag during a climb or a hike. Backpacks are less likely to strain your back as they distribute instead of concentrating all the weight to one side of the body.
Pack efficiently. Bringing only what is necessary is the best way to go. But packing efficiently does not always mean packing lightly. Some trips will require you to pack more stuff which will make it unavoidable to pack so many things. Now it will be more challenging to place them all inside the backpack.
Every backpacker’s necessities checklist is a sleeping bag. Sleeping outdoors is an enervating idea in itself already, how much more will the real sleeping experience be? Imagine walking for hours through challenging trails and slopes just to end up sleeping on wet grass or sharp rocks. Why would you not want to reward your worn-out body with the most decent sleep you can ever get in the middle of the mountain or a forest? Not bringing the proper sleeping bag will make your tired body even sorer the next morning when you wake up.
Campers, hikers, and mountain climbers see to it that they bring the most comfortable sleeping bag that they have. Especially those who will need to finish the trail for a couple of days or more who want to make sure that they will have a good night’s sleep to regain their energy for another day of tiring walking and climbing. For this reason, any backpacker will surely look for a space to bring with him the most suitable sleeping bag for the trip.
How to Carry Sleeping Bag on a Backpack
Sleeping bags usually weigh around 3 pounds. The weight will depend on the size and the material of your sleeping bag. Thermal sleeping bags tend to be heavier since they are layered with more fabric to keep hikers warmer in cold places. Almost all types of sleeping bags are meant to keep you warm and maintain a healthy body temperature while you sleep while camping. Thus, to keep sleeping bags warm and clean during your trail walking or climbing, it is best to place the sleeping bag inside your backpack. However, in circumstances where putting the sleeping bag inside the backpack is not possible, below are ways on how to carry a sleeping bag on a backpack.
Pack it inside
It is a basic expectation that all your stuff will be packed inside the bag. The idea of a backpack is to carry all your stuff safely and securely inside it. This is also why there are different types of backpacks so you can choose the best capacity size for your specific trip. Ideally, longer trails or higher climbs will need bigger backpacks.
When placing your sleeping bag inside your backpack, you can place it on top of everything. Especially if your sleeping bag is quite heavy, placing it on top will benefit your lower pack and spare it from back pain after the trial.
If you are bringing a moderately light or very light sleeping bag, then it can stay at the side or in the middle of the bag. Just make sure you fold it neatly so it will easily fit amongst the other stuff inside the bag. Folding it will also ensure its cleanliness. Always avoid placing your sleeping bag beside water jugs, food, or something that will wet or soil it. Use a waterproof cover to secure it.
Backpack loops or tent straps
Some backpacks have a predesigned and designated location where your backpack should go. Read your backpack’s user manual or learn from reviews or websites if your specific backpack has this support feature for sleeping bags.
Using these loops and straps is very easy and efficient when it comes to storage. Having an allotted place for your sleeping bag will give you one less worry for preparing for the hike or climb.
Place it on top of the backpack by closing the lid and cinching it down through the top straps
This technique is best for thermal sleeping bags which are usually heavier. Placing a heavy item on top of the rest distributes the weight of the item to the entire body and will concentrate it to your middle or lower back. It also supports your balance.
Tie it at the bottom
In case you find yourself unable to fit your sleeping bag inside or on top of your backpack, you can opt to tie it below your bag. Make sure you have a cover for your sleeping bag because if not, it will not be protected from dirt or moisture. There is also a tendency for it to become loose along the trail and dangle back and forth while you walk.
DIY or buy straps
If your backpack does not have loops or straps that you can use to attach your sleeping bag, you can make your straps or buy generic straps. It is easy to place it on your backpack and it will also be safer to keep your backpack and sleeping bag intact along the trail, compared to just tying the sleeping bag.
- Know your backpack and read from the manuals or learn from reviews the best space where your sleeping bag should go.
- Before trying other options, first, you must try to fit all your stuff inside the backpack. As a general rule, your items are meant to stay inside the backpack. If you find it daunting to fit everything inside your bag, reassess each item if it is needed for the trip. Only bring things that are essential to your trip. Always pack light and say no to extra baggage.
- If you decided to place your sleeping bag outside your backpack, make sure to place it inside a cloth bag or cover it with anything that could keep it clean and dry. It is best to use a waterproof cover. You may need to sit down or go through a narrow trail and your exposed sleeping bag might become dirty. You do not want to sleep in a soiled or damp sleeping bag, do you? The worst thing is, it will get damaged by a pointy branch or a rough rock.
- Do not place it beside something that will get wet, eg. hiking boots, tent, etc.
Keep your sleeping bag rolled inside out to keep the interior dry and clean.