How to Care for Your Sleeping Bag

Jeremiah Pastor “The Bullfrog” – AcadianX Lead Guide and Co-Founder

Sleeping Bag Care & Storage

The key to keeping your bag going strong is careful maintenance and cleaning.

Maintaining your sleeping bag

Dry it out. In humid or wet conditions, take every opportunity to dry your bag by draping it over a rock or branches, or just laying it on the ground. Moisture reduces loft in down bags.

Treat zippers with TLC. If there’s a snag, don’t try to yank the slider free. Instead, pull out the obstruction perpendicular to the track.

Never store your bag compressed. It’s devastating to the loft. Instead, use the large cotton/mesh bag it came with. Or hang it.

Washing

Let me tell you, whether you have a down, synthetic or blended sleeping bag, after a full backpacking season those things smell rank!

Of course, washing a sleeping bag can be stressful. Not only are sleeping bags expensive but they’re essential in keeping you warm and comfortable at night, allowing you to sleep better.

These are the “Do Nots” when washing your bag:

      1. Do not use bleach or softeners as they can destroy the insulation material.
      2. Do not use a top load washer, or washer that’s too small.
      3. Do not dry-clean unless it’s done by a sleeping bag professional.

Usually the manufacturer will list guidelines for cleaning and that should be your go to.  Typically, you will only spot clean when needed using mild soap.  Run your bag through a Laundromat washer and drier once the bag starts to feel gross (you know what we mean). Use a purpose-made soap (Nikwax Down Wash or Tech Wash) and launder your bag alone on a cold, gentle cycle or hand wash setting in a large front-loading washing machine.  Before washing, secure all zippers and snaps, and remove detachable pieces.  Bags with WP/B shells should be washed inside out.  Run the bag through the rinse cycle several times to remove all soap.  Re-treat the DWR coating as needed (see section 3) while still wet and dry the bag in a large clothes dryer using low heat.  Remove the bag occasionally to break up clumps of down, or dry with a few tennis balls.  Squeeze the insulation to check for moisture.

Storing

There are two schools of thought for storing your sleeping bag during the off season:

      1. Hanging them (over a hanger or similar)
      2. Rolling them into a stuff sack

If you don’t have room to hang your sleeping bags you can buy a large stuff sack that doesn’t compress the loft and allows it to breath, a mesh laundry bag works well for this.

Whichever your choose, you will want to store your clean bag somewhere it’ll not be squished, moist or scratched up. Also keep them away from UV light (like the sun) and heat, these both can easily destroy the bag.

Repairing your sleeping bag

Gaping holes Though rare, gaping holes happen due to accidents or negligence, especially along the zipper track. Do your best with duct tape in the field, then send it to the manufacturer or a specialty gear repair shop.

Replace If your tent is filled with feathers in the morning and there’s no visible tear, your bag is in unstoppable decline. After years of stuffing and unstuffing, the stitch holes in the baffles have stretched to larger than down-cluster size. You can delay replacement by layering up, but it will be time to face facts soon. For synthetics, once they’re no longer warm, it means the fill has compressed. That’s a one-way street.

How to fix small tears in your sleeping bag

Trim the frayed edges and ready a patch (McNett’s Tear Aid and Gear Aid’s Tenacious Tape are the standards; duct tape works if it has to, but will leave a mess later when you peel it off). Cut the patch round and a ½ inch larger than the hole on all sides. Apply the patch to the outside of your bag. Smooth out from the center to eliminate any air bubbles. When you get home, paint over the patch’s edges with Gear Aid’s Seam Grip. Let it cure flat before storing.

Pro-Tip: Sleeping bag liners are a great way to extend the life of your sleeping bag. Liners help to keep body oils and dirt off your bag and can add an extra few degrees, making your bag even more cozy!

AcadianX Outdoor Clothing Recommendations

Jeremiah Pastor “The Bullfrog” – AcadianX Lead Adventure Guide

The following document is our clothing brand recommendations for 2020.  These are brands that we have tested and done extensive research on to validate their claims of performance and durability.  The gear is broken down and organized into the “Bullfrog Gear Systems” in order to streamline it with our gear packing lists.  When you see the (UL) designation this means it is an Ultralight Option.  Click on the link below to view the document.

AXU Clothing Recommendations 2020

To learn more about clothing and everything else you need to know about backpacking in the wilderness, checkout our online training courses at:

https://acadianxu.com/

Beginner to Advanced Backpacking Series: Level 2 – Day Hike

Jeremiah Pastor “The Bullfrog” – AcadianX Lead Adventure Guide

This is our level 2 event for our “Beginner to Advanced Backpacking Series”. This is a learning event that features an introduction to backpacking and hiking and a day hike through a local wilderness area where we put into action some of the basic skills that we will cover. Your guide will cover:

      • Planning Logistics
      • Route Planning
      • The “10 Essentials of Hiking”
      • Basic Backcountry Navigation
      • Wilderness Travel

We will spend about an hour going over the three topics followed by a 9.9 mile hike through the wilderness where we will reinforce the basics that were covered. We will hike in 3 mile segments while taking breaks between each segment. A map of the route we will take is provided. You will need to bring:

      • Good athletic shoes or hiking boots
      • Water or sports drink
      • Snacks & a lunch
      • Small pack to keep your hands free
      • Something to take notes on.

Cost for this outdoor course and day hike is $45 and we will provide you with course notes and a map. We will meet at 7:00 a.m. at the Target parking lot in North Lafayette where we will then drive up to the trailhead. You can also choose to meet us at the designated trail head around 9:00 a.m.

Link to download the course document:

Level 2 Day Hike – Course Notes

Link to download the trail map:

Backbone Trail Map

Clark Creek Topo Map

Ticket link:

Jeremiah Pastor Events | Eventbrite

Beginner to Advanced Backpacking Series: Level 1 – Afternoon Hike

Jeremiah Pastor “The Bullfrog” – AcadianX Lead Adventure Guide

This is our level 1 event for our “Beginner to Advanced Backpacking Series”. This is a learning event that features an introduction to backpacking and hiking and an afternoon hike through a local park where we put into action some of the basic skills that we will cover. Your instructor will cover:

      • The “10 Essentials of Hiking”
      • Basic Backcountry Navigation
      • Wilderness Travel – Basic Routefinding Skills

We will spend about an hour going over the three topics followed by a 4.5 mile hike through nature where we will reinforce the basics that were covered. A map of the route we will take is provided. You will need to bring:

      • Good athletic shoes or hiking boots
      • Water or sports drink
      • Snacks
      • Small pack to keep your hands free
      • Something to take notes on.

Cost for this outdoor course and hike is $20 and we will provide you with course notes and a map. You can purchase a ticket or you can bring your payment with you when you arrive. We will meet on the west side of the tennis courts under the small pavilion.

You can download the course documents here:

Notes on How to Start Day Hiking

Level 1 Afternoon Hike – Course Notes

You can download the trail map here:

Acadiana Park Trail Map

Ticket Link:

Jeremiah Pastor Events | Eventbrite

AcadianX Gear Packing Checklists

Jeremiah Pastor “The Bullfrog” – AcadianX Lead Adventure Guide

The following document is our suggested gear packing checklist to be used as a tool to help you stay organized and to record your base weight for your trip.  Inside you will find our backpacking lists for 3-season as well as winter and you will also find our 3-season paddling list.  The lists are arranged systematically into the “Bullfrog Gear Systems” to help you stay organized.  All the gear items listed are merely suggestions and are not required to bring.  Your own preferences and needs will dictate which items you will bring.  Click the link below to view and download the document.

AX Gear Checklist

To learn more about gear and everything else you need to know about backpacking in the wilderness, checkout our online training courses at:

https://acadianxu.com/

AcadianX Gear Recommendations for 2020

Jeremiah Pastor “The Bullfrog” – AcadianX Lead Adventure Guide

The following document is our gear brand recommendations for 2020.  These are brands that we have tested and done extensive research on to validate their claims of performance and durability.  The gear is broken down and organized into the “Bullfrog Gear Systems” in order to streamline it with our gear packing lists.  When you see the (UL) designation this means it is an Ultralight Option.  Click on the link below to view the document.

AXU Gear Recommendations 2020

To learn more about gear and everything else you need to know about backpacking in the wilderness, checkout our online training courses at:

https://acadianxu.com/

AcadianX Backpacking – Beginner to Advanced Trip Series

Jeremiah Pastor “Bullfrog” – AcadianX Lead Adventure Guide

Many have asked for small local trips so that they can break in their backpacking experience.  In order to answer that call we have developed a trip series designed to take a person with little to no experience and build them up through a progression of local trips that will get them backcountry ready.  The list below describes the different levels of each trip and how they are engineered to build you up.  We will schedule each trip in the near future and announce the tips through both our website and our social media accounts so stay tuned.

  1.   Level 1
    • Type: Afternoon Hike
    • Time: 1 – 2 Hours
    • Location: Acadiana Park, Moncus Park
    • Goals: Introduction to hiking
    • Distance: 2 – 4 miles
    • Cost:  $20
  2.   Level 2
    • Type: Day Hike
    • Time: 4 – 5 Hours
    • Location: Clark Creek
    • Distance: 4 – 6 Miles
    • Goals: Long distance hike with difficult terrain. Wilderness travel. Basic Navigation.
    • Cost:  $50
  3.   Level 3
    • Type: Overnight Camp (No weight)
    • Time: 4 – 5 Hours/Day for 2 days
    • Location: Kisatchie – Caroline Dorman Trail
    • Distance: 5 – 10 miles/day for 2 days
    • Goals: Long distance hike with introduction to campsite skills and gear. 
    • Cost:  $75
  4.   Level 4
    • Type: Overnight Camping (with weight)
    • Time: 4 – 5 hours/day for 2 days.
    • Location: Kisatchie – Backbone Trail
    • Distance: 3 – 5 miles/day for 2 days.
    • Goals: Backpacking with full loadout over moderate terrain. Primitive camping. Navigation.
    • Cost:  $75
  5. Level 5
    • Type: Long Distance Overnight Camping (with full weight)
    • Time: 6 – 8 hours/day for 2 days
    • Location: Chicot State Park
    • Distance: 10 – 12 miles/day for 2 days
    • Goals: Long distance backpacking with moderate terrain with full loadout.  Campsite skills. Navigation.  Wilderness Travel.  Trip Planning.
    • Cost:  $75
  6.   Level 6
    • Type: Multi-day Backpacking Trip
    • Time: 6 – 8 hours/day for 3 – 4 days
    • Location: Eagle Rock Loop or equivalent
    • Distance: 8 – 12 miles/day for 3 – 4 days
    • Goals:  Multi-day backpacking over difficult terrain.  Wilderness travel. Advanced navigation. Advanced Campsite skills.  Advanced trip planning.
    • Cost:  $150