How To Fold A Sleeping Bag: An Easy Step-By-Step Guide

girl holding folded sleeping bag

Anyone who’s ever been camping knows all too well how frustrating it can be to fold your sleeping bag up and get it back in its stuff sack.

The struggle is real.

But let me let you in on a little secret: it doesn’t have to be that difficult.

In fact, by following just a few simple steps, you’ll have your sleeping bag folded and packed in no time, without pulling your hair out in the process.

Ready to learn how to fold a sleeping bag quickly and without any meltdowns?

Keep reading.

How To Fold A Sleeping Bag In 5 Simple Steps

The key to success when you’re folding a sleeping bag is following these 5 easy steps.

Shake, zip, fold, roll and stuff.

Here’s what you need to know.

Step 1: Shake It Out

To begin with, lay your sleeping bag out flat on the ground.

Give it a good, thorough shake to get rid of any dirt, crumbs and anything else you might have left in there.

Run your hands across the surface of the sleeping bag to get as much air out of it as possible, and get it nice and flat.

Note: if you’ve got a sleeping bag that’s wind or water resistant, it’s a good idea to turn it inside out. This will make it easier to get all the air out of it and roll it up nice and tight.

Step 2: Zip It Up

Next, zip your sleeping bag up.

While you’re pulling the zipper up, push as much air as you can out through the top of the sleeping bag.

Zipping your sleeping bag all the way up will make it much easier to keep it straight and even while you’re rolling it up.

Step 3: Fold It In Half

Fold your sleeping bag in half lengthways.

Make sure all the corners and edges line up perfectly.

This is important, or you won’t be able to roll it up as tightly as you need to in order to fit it into your stuff sack.

Step 4: Roll It Up

girl rolling sleeping bag up

Finally – the moment of truth.

Starting at the end of the sleeping bag where the opening is, start carefully rolling the sleeping bag up as tightly as you possibly can.

As you’re rolling it up, continue to push as much air as you can out of the sleeping bag.

Push down on the sleeping bag with your knees as you’re rolling it. This will help push air out and keep everything nice and tight.

If you’ve followed all the previous steps to a tee, you should end up with a nice, compact little bundle.

If you’re still having a hard time with this step, one thing you can try to do is roll the sleeping bag around a tent pole or similar item. This might make it easier to roll it up tightly and evenly.

Note: if you’ve got straps of any kind, either attached to the actual sleeping bag or separate, use these to fasten your bundle once you’ve rolled it up. If the straps are near the head of the bag, begin rolling it from the bottom upwards, instead of the other way around.

Step 5: Stuff It In

Finally, it’s time to get your sleeping bag back in its stuff sack.

If your sleeping bag is fastened with straps, this part should be a piece of cake. Just slide the rolled sleeping bag into its storage sack in the same way you’d put a pillow in a pillow case.

If you haven’t got any straps to fasten your bundle, it might be a bit trickier getting it back in its bag. What I suggest you do is turn the stuff sack inside out. Pushing the bottom of the stuff sack against one end of the sleeping bag, pull the edges of the sack up around your sleeping bag, turning it the right way around again while packing your sleeping bag in

girl holding packed sleeping bag


Q. What’s the difference between a compression stuff sack and a regular stuff sack?

A. A stuff sack is just a regular storage bag to keep your sleeping bag in. Most sleeping bags will come with one of these included.

A compression sack, on the other hand, compresses your sleeping bag further, making it as compact as possible.

This is useful for backpacking, as reducing the size of your sleeping bag as much as possible means more room in your backpack. As every backpacker knows, every last inch of space counts.

Q. Should I keep my sleeping bag folded at home when I’m not using it?

A. No, you should always unpack your sleeping bag and hang it up to air when you get home. After a period of at least 24 hours, you can fold your sleeping bag up loosely and store it, or leave it hanging in your closet while it’s not in use.

Keeping your sleeping bag rolled up over long periods of time will reduce the effectiveness of the bag’s insulation, whether it’s down or synthetic.

Q. How does a mummy sleeping bag fold differently to a rectangular sleeping bag?

A. With a mummy bag, you’ll want to start rolling it from the bottom, finishing up at the top. Other than that, the rest of the procedure is exactly the same, so you can follow the above steps with both mummy shaped and rectangular sleeping bags.

mummy sleeping bags

Q. How does a sleeping bag with synthetic insulation compress differently to a down bag?

A. A down sleeping bag is easier to compress than a synthetic bag. Down is known for its outstanding compressibility, while a synthetic sleeping bag won’t compress nearly as well.

Some bags are filled with a down-synthetic mix, which compresses better than synthetic does on its own, but still not as well as a down bag.


See? Not so hard after all, right?

There’s no need to get your pants in a bunch.

Just shake, zip, fold, roll and stuff.

That’s all there is to it.

Now that you know how to fold a sleeping bag, you’ll be able to pack up camp in a matter of minutes. No more unnecessary hassles at the end of a relaxing camping trip.

Thank goodness for that, am I right?