Sleep­ing bag whiffy?

Trail (UK) - - CONTENTS - Ja­son Churchill, via email

QMy sleep­ing bag is emit­ting a bit of a smelly odour but I’m hes­i­tant to put it in the wash­ing ma­chine. Are there bet­ter ways of clean­ing my bag?

Trail says

Yes, there’s a cou­ple of easy ways to help keep your sleep­ing bag smelling sweet. To be­gin with, and it may sound ob­vi­ous, al­ways sleep in fresh, clean clothes so you don’t be trans­fer the sweaty whiff of a day in the hills to your sleep­ing bag. This may not al­ways be an op­tion, though, in which case con­sider in­vest­ing in a sleep­ing bag liner – th­ese add extra warmth and are much, much eas­ier to wash and dry.

Aside from th­ese tips, it’s crit­i­cal the only time your bag is com­pressed in its sack is when you’re walk­ing. Com­press­ing the in­su­lat­ing fi­bres means you’re con­ceal­ing the musty odours and not let­ting them breathe.


1 Flip your sleep­ing bag in­side out and leave it hang­ing in the sun for eight hours to aer­ate – this will neu­tralise any odour. 2 Lay the in­side-out bag on the grass and in the sun – the chloro­phyll from the grass will help nul­lify the whiff. If the smell won’t dis­ap­pear nat­u­rally, take it to a dry clean­ers or hand­wash it your­self. 3 All sleep­ing bags come with their own clean­ing in­struc­tions, but your safest bet is to hand­wash it your­self. With this gen­tle ap­proach, you must only use a mild de­ter­gent or pure soap flakes so you don’t dam­age the bag.

Pick a good out­side dry­ing day (fine, warm, dry and a bit breezy, wher­ever pos­si­ble), wash it in a bath then hang up to drain and dry. En­sure that it’s fully dry be­fore you pack it away ready for your next ad­ven­ture. The smell of a damp sleep­ing bag that’s been left to moistly fes­ter in its own juices means even the midges won’t want to stay with you when you un­pack it!

Al­ter­na­tively, if your bag is only a bit grubby, a quick spray and wipe with a ded­i­cated gear cleaner and a damp cloth may be all that’s re­quired.

Shake out and air your sleep­ing bag each day it’s in use to help main­tain its loft and keep it smelling clean and fresh.

Cot­ton or fleece sleep­ing bag lin­ers cost from a few quid up to the lux­ury mum­myshaped silk op­tions, like this Rab one at £55.

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