How to Compress a Sleeping Bag to a Small Size

The sleeping bag is often one of the largest items in a backpack. Making it smaller, or compressing it, can save a lot of space. Sleeping bags compress well because they are constructed from synthetic insulation or down, both of which are highly compressible. The easiest way to compress a sleeping bag is with a compression sack, sometimes called a stuff sack.

Things You'll Need

  • Sleeping bag compression sack


  1. Stuff Sack

    • 1

      Open the stuff sack and push the sleeping bag in. Close the stuff sack.

    • 2

      Position the enclosures of the stuff sack on either end of the sleeping bag, which is how most stuff sacks are designed to be operated.

    • 3

      Pull on the compression straps, which will shorten the distance between the two enclosures on either end of the sleeping bag stuff sack, compressing it.

    Bag Stuffing

    • 4

      Load your backpack with whatever other gear you are taking with you. Try to load heavier gear towards the rear of the backpack, or the side that will be closest to your back. Leave your sleeping bag out.

    • 5

      Stuff your sleeping bag in to any cracks and crevices that are in your bag. Use the sleeping bag to take up any extra space found inside your bag.

    • 6

      Close your backpack and secure any compression straps on your bag. With this technique, the sleeping bag fills in any gaps in the internal compartment of your backpack, which will help stabilize the internal load of your backpack.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not store your sleeping bag in a stuff sack. The compression, over the long term, can damage your sleeping bag. Instead store it inside a large, aerated bag, or loose, in no bag.
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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages, Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

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