If you have just got a sleeping bag that is too big for your backpack and you don’t know how to fit that in your pack’s sleeping bag compartment, I’ve got a few tips for you. A lot of premium bags compress to a super small size if you stuff them in a stuff sack, but some bags just don’t pack small. Also, some bags don’t come with an included stuff sack. If you are having trouble fitting a sleeping bag into your backpack, it means that either your backpack is super small or you’ve got a really big sleeping bag. Keep in mind that down sleeping bags are much more compressible than that of synthetic bags. Even if you get a zero degree bag, it will easily fit into the bottom compartment of your pack.
So these are a few tips to consider if you want to fit a relatively big sleeping bag into your backpack.
Compress your Bag into the Stuff Sack
This is something that a lot of people get frustrated with but it doesn’t have to be that way. First, you need to get the loft out of the sleeping bag before you start. By getting some of that air out slowly and controlled, you’ll be able to get it in that stuff sack a little easier.
To start, fold your sleeping bag and start pushing some of the air out of it. Do that a couple of times and get all that air out of there. Once you’ve kind of got it rolled up, you can kind of tuck it right there under your arm. Grab your compression bag and start sliding it right in. Keep it under your arm and try to get it all the way to the bottom. Once the bag is inside, cinch that cord to close it. You can further compress it by using the compression straps on your stuff sack. Use your body weight to compress it down, not the straps. Now your bag is ready to go into your backpack. Make sure that you are using your body weight to compress. It’s an extremely important thing. You also just won’t be able to get it this small.
Try a smaller Stuff Sack
If you want to further compress your bag, you can try a smaller stuff sack. Your bag will compress even smaller because most bags compress really well. Keep in mind that compressing it down smaller than the recommended size may hurt its loft.
Stuff the Bag into the bottom pocket without the Stuff Sack
If the compressed size if still large, try to stuff the bag directly into the sleeping bag compartment. You’ll want to try that before buying the stuff sack if your bag doesn’t come with one. Also, make sure the material doesn’t snag on the zipper. You can also take out the aluminum stays and put them in a nylon sleeve to prevent your pack from cracking. Don’t forget to unzip the compartment completely.
Attach it to the outside of the Backpack
If your backpack has loops on its back and your stuff sack has straps, you can also attach it to the outside of your backpack. Just pull the straps through the circles and tighten everything up. If your pack has straps on both top and bottom, try to attach the bag at the top because you don’t want your bag to be dirty and wet.
Switch to a larger Backpack
If nothing solves your problem, you may want to switch to a larger backpack. It won’t cost you too much if you don’t have one already. If you haven’t purchased your bag yet, get a lower-volume bag instead.
Go for a Down Bag instead of Synthetic
As I mentioned earlier, a down bag will compress much smaller than a synthetic bag. They are also very lightweight and provide excellent warmth to weight ratio. Most modern down bags come with the treated feathers, which resist water and dry quicker than traditional down.
There are a variety of ways to fit a bag in a backpack. The above-mentioned tips are solely my own opinions, which worked for me. Do what works for you, experiment with different things and you may find a better way.