Roll Or Stuff a Sleeping Bag? (Find Why Stuffing Is Better!)

Most backpackers while packing for the adventure are wondering whether to roll or stuff a sleeping bag. What is the best way to pack a sleeping bag?

roll or stuff a sleeping bag

Roll Or Stuff a Sleeping Bag?

Sleeping bag manufacturers recommend stuffing. Stuffing allows a sleeping bag to loft better and increases its lifespan. Rolling on the other hand creates a lot of tension in the sleeping bag resulting in damage.

Let’s dive deep to find out why stuffing is better than rolling. I will also come up with the best way to pack a sleeping bag. 

Should You Roll Or Stuff a Sleeping Bag?

You should always stuff a sleeping bag in the stuff sack. Here are the reasons why stuffing is preferred over rolling.

  • Give the sleeping bag a long life– When you purchase a high quality expensive sleeping bag you want it to last as long as possible. Stuffing lets your sleeping bag breathe easily. Rolling creates a repetitive fold down the middle of the bag that can break the fill inside. By tightly rolling the sleeping bag you’re also creating stress in the fabric. Synthetic sleeping bags are more sensitive to compression. You should always avoid unnecessary compression.
  • Lofts better– By stuffing the sleeping bag lofts better and keeps you warm during the night. While rolling will make the bag longer to loft. If you’re wondering how to restore the loft to a sleeping bag then also check out this article. How To Restore Loft To a Synthetic And Down Sleeping Bag.
  • Saves time– You don’t want to spend a ton of time packing the gear. Stuffing will save you time and let you pack your bulky sleeping bag in under one minute. Rolling will take a lot of time. Also by rolling you will still not be able to fit the sleeping bag in the compression sack. It is so frustrating and a complete waste of time and energy.
  • Easier to do– Rolling is harder. Stuffing is easy and convenient. All you have to do is just grab the foot end of a sleeping bag and start stuffing. Within a minute you’re done. Rolling can turn your sleeping bag into a hardball which can be difficult to carry on the trail. It can feel hard in your lower back.

Is It Better To Roll Or Stuff a Sleeping Bag?

When you purchase a new sleeping bag it comes tightly rolled in the stuff sack for shipping purposes. That makes you believe that you should pack the sleeping bag the same way for the rest of your life. 

What you don’t realize is that the new sleeping bag you bought was clean and dry. However, in your case, the sleeping bag is not clean. With daily use, it gets dirt, dust, and moisture. 

It is not recommended to tightly roll a wet dirty sleeping bag in a stuff sack. That can impact the life of the sleeping bag.

Therefore, you should stuff the bag after using it. Stuff sacks as the name itself indicate are made for stuffing.

Sleeping bags and camping tents go hand in hand. If you are also wondering whether to stuff or roll a tent I have written another helpful article on that topic. Check it out as well.

What Is The Best Way To Pack a Sleeping Bag?

The best way to pack a sleeping bag is by stuffing it. Whether you have a synthetic bag or down bag, always stuff it in the stuff sack. Rolling a sleeping bag, especially a down bag, is really hard. 

At the end of a long trip, you don’t have a lot of energy left to spend on rolling the bag. Packing a sleeping bag shouldn’t bother you. Make it easier by stuffing.

How To Stuff a Synthetic Sleeping Bag?

Grab the sleeping bag from the foot end. Place the stuff sack between your feet. Now start pushing the foot end of the sleeping bag in the bottom of the stuff sack. Keep stuffing.

Give your stuff sack a twist when it’s filled on one side. Keep pushing the sleeping bag inside.

Make sure not to leave the sleeping bag loose in the bottom otherwise you’re going to face a hard time packing the sleeping bag entirely at the top of the stuff sack.

Once you fully pack the sleeping bag pull the drawstrings and press the compression sack under your knee. This way you can make the sleeping bag really small.

How To Stuff a Down Sleeping Bag?

Down sleeping bags have a water-resistant coating sprayed on the outside shell. First of all turn the down bag inside out to protect this coating. 

By doing that you will also remove the air inside making the bag flat. Otherwise, you are going to end up with balloons of air making it difficult to pack. Turning the inside out will leave the protective coating in great condition.

After turning the bag inside out, keep pushing the down bag in the bottom of the stuff sack just like the way you did with the synthetic bag. Be gentle. Don’t push too hard. Down bags need more care.

Once the bottom is filled give the stuff sack a twist and keep pushing the sleeping bag inside until it is fully packed in the stuff sack. Then pull the drawstrings and you’re good to go.

The down bag is more compressible and will pack smaller compared to the synthetic bag.

Final Thoughts

Stuffing increases the lifespan of your sleeping bag. If you want the sleeping bag to loft better on your next camping trip, stuffing is the way to go. By stuffing you can pack a sleeping bag really small.

Rolling is harder plus it can potentially damage your sleeping bag. As rolling creates a lot of stress in the sleeping bag. Stuffing gets away with this issue. 

Make the packing convenient and hassle-free by just stuffing the sleeping bag. Not only is it going to save you a ton of time but also saves your sleeping bag from damage.

Stuff the bag so that it can keep you warm and lofts better next time you’re going to use it again. 

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