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Trek Hacks: Using A Sleeping Bag Efficiently

Trek: Annapurna Base Camp

Heading into the mountains is fun and exciting, but mostly the temperature remains pretty low and in such cold conditions it is difficult to get a good night’s sleep. However, sleeping bags came to our rescue. Cold temperatures are not just uncomfortable but also pose the risks of conditions like hypothermia. No matter where you camp, and in whatever conditions, a sleeping bag keeps you warm and ensures a good night’s sleep. But the first one needs to know how to use it correctly.

Many times we get concerns about breaking/locking of the zipper, breathlessness, etc. Many also find it difficult to pack the sleeping bag on the cover. Here are some hacks of how to use and pack a sleeping bag correctly and effectively.

Know The Sleeping Bag

Before you get all technical, you must understand the mechanism of working a sleeping bag. There is velcro at the top of the sleeping bag only near the zip ends to close the opening. The sleeping bag zip is designed such that it can be opened both from the inside and outside of the bag. Look closely and you can see that the zip can shift inwards as well as outwards. There is also a string towards your head to tighten the opening of the sleeping bag for your head. The end of the sleeping bag, a section for your feet, has a fleece lining on the inside to keep the feet warm.

Using the sleeping bag

Here’s how you pack your sleeping bag. First, lay it flat on a mat and open the zipper halfway by unlocking the zipper flap. Line your sleeping bag with a liner and then slip it into the bag. Adjust yourself until your feet touch the bottom of the bag. Lie down and keep the hood under your head. Now slowly zip your bag from the outside and seal the lock of the flap. Tighten the hood if needed for a comfortable sleep.

Packing sleeping bag

After a good night of sleep, put the sleeping end towards your feet inside the cover first. Continue applying pressure until there are no air gaps and keep pushing, forcing little parts inside. Once the entire bag is inside the cover, tighten the straps. Then pull the string to close the opening. Your sleeping bag is ready to be moved!

Some Helpful Tips

– Always remove any thick jacket or fleece before going inside the sleeping bag. For the first 5-10 minutes you might feel cold, eventually, your body heat regulates inside the bag, warming you up. With a down jacket or fleece on, you will feel hot and start sweating. A fleece jacket is recommended only if it is extremely cold.

– Usually, our feet tend to remain cold despite the fleece lining. If this causes discomfort, try to cover your legs with fleece or jacket first then put your legs inside the sleeping bag. Layering your feet will help keep them warm.

– Don’t use your water bottles below your feet to keep them warm, unless you are sure the bottle won’t open and spill water.

– For short heighted people, never go completely hidden within the bag, this may cause suffocation. Either shorten the bag as mentioned earlier or try to keep a tiny opening for continuous air circulation.

– Keep your phones, power bank inside the bag to avoid battery drain.

Using the sleeping bag properly ensures a good night’s sleep and also helps maintain the longevity of the bag.