How to Fold a Sleeping Bag Like a Pro

How to Fold a Sleeping Bag Like a Pro


George Cummings
November 23, 2021

One of the worst parts of any camping trip is when you have to try and roll up your sleeping bag when it’s done.

As one of life’s biggest struggles, most people end up giving up and just stuffing it back in the sack, then regretting that fact that they did when it’s time to use it again.

How do you fold a sleeping bag correctly? There are five simple steps to follow when it comes time to fold up a sleeping bag, including shake, zip, fold, roll, and pack.

Once you master each of these separately, you’ll find it a cinch to have your sleeping bag rolled up perfectly and in no time at all.

If you’re ready to level up your camping skills and want to start with your sleeping bag, this is the guide for you.

We’ve got how to fold sleeping bag tips and the easiest method to use that will ensure you do it right the first time, every time.

How Important Is It to Fold Your Sleeping Bag Correctly?

How Important Is It to Fold Your Sleeping Bag Correctly?

When you’re packing up after a long camping trip and dreaming about getting back to your home, the last thing you want to do is meticulously fold your sleeping bag.

We’re all guilty of just stuffing it into the bag without any real rhyme or reason, or even throwing it in the back of the car and promising ourselves we’ll do it when we get home.

Although it can seem harmless, it’s not a step you want to skip over anymore. Taking the time to learn how to roll, fold, and pack away your sleeping bag is an important camping skill and will ensure your gear is kept in good condition for years to come.

There are lots of downsides to neglecting a sleeping bag and as an adult, there’s no good reason you should still be stuffing it into the bag and calling it day.

The correct method is easy to learn and ensures you take the best care of your expensive camping gear, so there’s no excuse not to do it right once you learn how.

Steps to Folding a Sleeping Bag

Steps to Folding a Sleeping Bag

Many people struggle with folding their sleeping bags once the camping trip is over, but with five simple steps, this doesn’t have to be you. Follow these closely and you’ll find the dreaded sleeping bag roll is no longer as daunting:

  1. When you’re ready to pack it up, take your sleeping bag out of the tent and shake it out. This will remove any crumbs, debris, and random items from it, as well and get it in the best shape to be folded up and put away.
  2. Bring the sleeping bag back into the tent and lay it down on the ground, zipping it to the top. Pay special attention to the zipper and make sure you get nothing caught as you’re closing it up.
  3. Fold the sleeping bag in half, lengthways, and make sure to line all of the corners up perfectly. Spend some time flattening the sleeping bag so that it’s as thin as possible for the next step.
  4. Start at the very end of the sleeping bag then roll it tightly around, and each time you roll, push the air out of it. If you need assistance, use your knees to push down on it to expel the air. Fasten the sleeping bag with its straps, if it has them, and keep it in a compact package.
  5. Turn the sleeping bag sack inside out and place the edges of the bag on the edges of the sack. As you push them on, slowly roll the sack around the bag and make sure it’s all in neatly.

Saving Space With Your Sleeping Bag

A sleeping bag might be lightweight when compared to your other camping equipment but it can potentially take up a lot of space.

Learning how to fold it correctly means you’re leaving more room for other things and making the journey a lot easier on yourself as well.

With a tightly folded sleeping bag, you’ll be able to carry it on your person as well.

Many sleeping backs can attach to a hiking backpack and their relatively low weight makes them a breeze to transport, but they must be folded up tightly and packed away in their sack as recommended.

If you want to save even more space, you can use a compression sack to stuff the sleeping bag into, with some hiking-friendly sleeping bags already coming with one of these included.

These work by compressing the contents down to an even smaller size and they’re a favorite among lightweight backpackers and campers who prefer to travel with just a small amount of gear.

Keeping Your Bag in Good Shape

Keeping Your Bag in Good Shape

A sleeping bag is a big investment when looking at your camping gear, and if you’ve spent a lot of time and money finding the right one, you’ll want to take care of it.

Improper folding and handling of a sleeping bag can change the shape of it, leave it vulnerable to tears and damage, and lose some of the comfort factors that made it such a good choice, to begin with, so you have to be committed to doing it right.

When you arrive home, unroll your sleeping bag again and hang it out somewhere inside to dry and air out. This will give it enough time to air out and get rid of any lingering moisture or aromas, and then you can roll it back up again.

Follow the same steps you used at the campsite and then store the bag away somewhere safe until your next adventure.

Tips for Packing Your Sleeping Bag

Tips for Packing Your Sleeping Bag

If you’re still struggling to fold the sleeping bag like a pro and feel like giving up, have no fear. With a little time and effort, and the following tips, you’ll soon be the most efficient folder on the campsite.

  • Grab a tent pole: While you practice rolling the sleeping bag, you can use a tent pole or other slim object to help you get started. Use the pole at the bottom of the bag and roll around it, then slide it out gently once you’re done.
  • Use compression straps: Consider upgrading to a sleeping bag that has straps included in it. this helps the bag to stay compressed and means it will slide into the stuff sack a lot easier at the end. It also helps it to keep its shape even when it’s stored for a while.
  • Have a quality sack: The better the sleeping bag, the easier it will be to roll up. Cheaper sleeping bags tend to get lumpy and misshapen after just a few users, so think about upgrading for a night of better night sleep and an improved folding experience.

Learning the Bag Basics

Your sleeping bag can seem like such a minor thing in the grand scheme of camping, but as your bed for the entirety of the trip, it’s more important than you realize.

With our simple tips and tricks, you’ll ensure your sleeping bag is rolled as efficiently as possible, so it lasts you and your camping trips a whole lot longer.

Related Questions

There are so many things to remember to bring along on a camping trip that it can get overwhelmingly fast.

If you have questions about the most important items to take when you head to the outdoors, we’ve answered some common ones that might be able to help you get started.

What Size Tent Do I Need for Camping?

The general rule of thumb is to choose a tent that offers 20 square feet of space per adult sleeping in it, but even this measurement can be on a small size.

It’s best to test out a tent first to get a true idea of how much space is inside and know what dimensions you need to fit comfortably inside.

What Does a Sleeping Bag Rating Mean?

What Does a Sleeping Bag Rating Mean?

Sleeping bags are generally categorized by their temperature rating so that campers can what the lowest temperature that they’re suitable for is.

With these ratings, you can compare the weather where you’re going and make sure that your chosen sleeping bag is rated to match the forecasted temperature at night.

Can You Put A Tarp Over Your Tent?

A carefully placed tarp above your tent can provide another layer of protection against the sun, wind, and rain.

If you’re planning on camping in wild weather, secure a piece of tarp above your tent so that it protects you from the elements, and you’ll find it a lot more comfortable inside.


George Cummings

George Cummings enjoys connecting with nature, meeting new people, and making friends from all over the world. RVing and camping create the perfect opportunity for [him/her] to take part in these activities. After spending several years on the road and exploring the great outdoors, George Cummings shares some of his best pieces of advice on how to make the most of your time while camping. TourTheOutdoors is his way of helping outdoorsy individuals like [him/her] start on a right footing with amazing recommendations and buying guides.