How Long Do Sleeping Bags Last?

Sleeping bags can be an important investment. A high-quality sleeping bag can be expensive, but if you’re spending time camping, especially if you’re camping in colder weather, you want a sleeping bag that will keep you warm and cozy.

For these reasons, it’s a good idea to think about how long a sleeping bag lasts, how you can prolong the life of your sleeping bag, and when it’s time to get a new one.

How Long Do Sleeping Bags Last?

How long do sleeping bags last?

The lifespan of a sleeping bag depends on several factors, including what type of sleeping bag it is and how it was cared for.

However, on average, a sleeping bag will last between 5 and 15 years. At a minimum, even when they’re not properly cared for, sleeping bags will last for about 3 years. When any sleeping bag is properly cared for, it should last at least 5 years, and it will last longer if it’s made of durable, high-quality materials.

What makes a sleeping bag break down?

Many things can make a sleeping bag wear out or break down over time. Many sleeping bags simply wear out from normal use. Even if you’re very careful about how you care for the bag, it won’t last forever.

Dirt or mildew can also break down a sleeping bag’s materials. This leads to a much more rapid deterioration of the bag.

How a sleeping bag is stored can also cause the bag to wear out more quickly. Improper storage can put stress on the materials and seams.

Storing a sleeping bag in a poor location can also lead to the buildup of dirt or may result in the sleeping bag becoming damp.

Dampness leads to mildew, and this, in turn, leads to the sleeping bag breaking down more quickly.

rolled up sleeping bag

When is it time for a new sleeping bag?

There are a few signs to check for to see if you might need a new sleeping bag. First, older sleeping bags will be less fluffy, as the down or batting becomes compressed over time.

You can still use flattened sleeping bags, but they won’t lock in warmth. Down sleeping bags trap heat in the air between the feathers, but if the sleeping bag isn’t fluffy, there won’t be as much room for trapping warmth.

If you’re camping on a chilly or even cold night, it’s not a good idea to use a worn-out sleeping bag.

If the sleeping bag smells like mildew, it’s probably time for a new one. Mildewed sleeping bags can be cleaned, but it’s often very hard to completely remove the mildew.

A properly cared for sleeping bag should last at least 5 years.

You should never sleep in a mildewed sleeping bag, as you’ll be breathing in the mildew all night. This can cause a range of problems, from interrupted sleep and an allergy to respiratory issues.

You might also notice that the zippers on the sleeping bag don’t work as smoothly as they once did. They may get stuck in places. It’s important that zippers work easily and that you’re able to completely zip up the bag.

If you see stray threads or notice that the seams on the bag are coming apart, or if you see any holes, it’s also time for a new bag. Holes and loose seams are places where warmth can escape.

You can often sew these areas back together, extending the life of the sleeping bag, but when it’s too much to patch and you’re losing heat, it’s time to invest in a new bag.

zipped open sleeping bag

Quality Materials

Although they may be more expensive, sleeping bags made with quality materials are usually a better choice. These materials are designed to be more durable and to lock in heat more effectively.

Not only will a sleeping bag made with high-end materials be more comfortable, but it can last for as much as 10 years longer than an average sleeping bag.

High-quality sleeping bags are also often constructed with more care. They’re less likely to show signs of wear and tear, such as popped seams or damaged zippers, early on.

woman looking at a sleeping bag in store

Storage

How you store your sleeping bag greatly affects how long it will last. If possible, don’t roll your sleeping bag tightly to store it. Instead, lay it flat. This puts less strain on the seams and the material.

Always store the sleeping bag in a clean, cool, dark space. Heat and sunlight can damage the material, making it brittle. However, never keep the bag anywhere that has too much moisture.

Damp places are much more likely to have mildew outbreaks. You might want to seal your sleeping bag in a secure plastic case to protect it from moisture, mildew, and dust. Dust or other dirt can also break down the bag’s material.

In some areas, moths can also be an issue. You can use mothballs or natural cedar pieces to keep moths and other insects away.

sleeping bag storage

Cleaning

Even if you don’t use your sleeping bag too often, it’s a good idea to bring it out of storage every few months to air it out. You can also shake it or wash it to free it of any lingering dust. It’s also important to wash your sleeping bag after every camping trip.

Use a Sleeping Bag Liner

Sleeping bag liners serve a number of purposes. They can add an extra layer of warmth, depending on how thick they are.

They can also add some padding, making camping more comfortable. A sleeping bag liner can also extend the life of your sleeping bag. They help to keep the sleeping bag cleaner and free of dust, dirt, and sweat.

It’s often much less expensive to replace a sleeping bag liner than it is to replace a sleeping bag.

woman holding a rolled up sleeping bag

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