How to look after a down sleeping bag?

How to look after a down sleeping bag?

You love sleeping warm and comfortably and that's why you chose a down sleeping bag. However you are a bit worried about how to look after it, as you have always heard that down is a little complicated.
Follow our advice so that all goes well and you always enjoy getting to sleep when bivouacking.


Looking after your down sleeping bag in 4 steps

  1. 1 Wash and dry
  2. 2 Restoring its water-repellent properties
  3. 3 Storage
  4. 4 Repair

How to look after a down sleeping bag?

How to wash a down sleeping bag?

Washing a product that contains feathers is much simpler than it appears, so long as you take a little care: down doesn't go well with water and clumps when it is damp.
Avoid washing your sleeping bag too often if you can and use a sleeping bag liner.

How to clean a sleeping bag?
You will have to fluff up the feathers and down at all stages in the washing process:
- Zip up all the zips on the sleeping bag and place it in the washing machine
- Add wash balls or 2 or 3 tennis balls (ideally worn ones to avoid loss of yellow fibres).
- Start a wash cycle at 30°C using your usual washing product (smaller dose than usual) or a washing product for duvets, that preserves their insulating qualities
-Rinse twice and set on very delicate spin to avoid feathers clumping together


How to dry a sleeping bag?

Generally speaking, using a tumble dryer is much more efficient and less tedious than line drying. it is time to check out the local laundrette or ask someone to borrow their dryer!
- Tumble dryer
Place the sleeping bag in the tumble dryer, with the tennis balls or washing balls. Start 2 to 3 delicate drying cycles and beat/shake the duvet between each cycle to break up clumps of feathers and down.
- If you cannot get to a tumble dryer?
Dry the sleeping bag flat on a clothes rack and beat/shake it regularly to prevent feather clumping.
Ideally, dry it in a warm place at room temperature (not on a radiator... I see you! ). If there are still feather clumps, it hasn't dried properly.


How to restore the water-repellent properties of a sleeping bag?

Almost all sleeping bags are water repellant but not waterproof as waterproofing would prevent good evacuation of the body's moisture: it is therefore impossible (and useless) to waterproof them.
To make them waterproof, it is best to use a sleeping bag cover.

However, water repellency can be re-activated, meaning its ability to repel water and not absorb water droplets on the surface.

The different steps to restore the water-repellency of a sleeping bag:
- Washing: follow the instructions below.
- Wash-in product: use a water-repellency reactivation liquid in a tub of water (30°C and 15 minutes of soaking) or in a machine with tennis balls (in the softener compartments, delicate cycle at 30°C).
- Activating it: it is activated either by heat or tumble dryer (follow the instructions below), or on a clothes rack, using a hair dryer on gently heat.


How to store a sleeping bag in its cover?

Good news, most sleeping bags are now designed to be tidied away easily: no need to fold them carefully to get them into the cover (even for the ultra-compact ones)!
It is particularly true for feather duvets: you must always stuff the sleeping bag into its carry or compression cover, because if you always fold it the same way, the feathers will crease and flatten. A flat feather is less insulating than a feather with intact structure.

Before storing your sleeping bag, check that it is dry to avoid moisture. Then place it in the cover, starting with the feet, to remove air, up to the hood.

How to store a sleeping bag

Do not keep it compacted over long periods

For a down sleeping bag to remain efficient over time, it must be stored outside its compression cover. Indeed, compressing feathers can break them and clump them, which will affect their thermal quality.
Some manufacturers sell storage covers so that you can allow your sleeping bag to breathe when you aren't using it. The down will retain its fullness and insulation.
If you do not have a storage cover, you can keep it unfolded in a plastic trunk.

Do not store in a damp place

Another important detail is to store your sleeping bag in a dry place. Once again, feathers do not like water, a damp environment could clump them together, and they will lose their fullness and the fabric may rot.


How to repair a sleeping bag?

how to twin a sleeping bag

Zip problems

Before talking about repairs, we are going to talk about how to use your sleeping bag correctly. A lot of customers contact us saying that the zip on their sleeping bag looks broken. Most of the time it is simply an issue with cursor alignment.

Indeed, most Forclaz sleeping bags are designed to be twinned. A clever idea that enables you to share a sleeping bag with your trekking partner's (with explicit consent from both, of course). However, because the zips are completely open, aligning and putting together the cursors requires some dexterity.
Let us draw you a diagram so that it is clearer.

Also take the time to close your sleeping bag completely to avoid getting fabric caught in the zip and having to force it.

Zips can also break: if this happens, we recommend you bring your sleeping bag back to the store or ask a seamstress to replace the zip.


Holes and feather loss

Important: loss of feathers can happen even if there is no hole. Despite our best efforts, small feathers can sometimes work their way out through stitching on the sleeping bag and there is no need to worry about it, it is normal.

Have you made a hole in your sleeping bag? You are going to have to repair it to stop feathers getting out!
It is up to you to decide if you want to sew it up yourself or use a professional.

If you choose to repair it yourself, chose a stick-on repair patch! Simply cut out a rectangle with rounded corners one or to centimetres more than the size of the hole then stick it on the clean and flat fabric.


With all this information, you should be able to pass down your feather sleeping bag to your grandchildren in 2080, well that's what we wish you in any case. Do you have any other ideas to share? Please leave a comment! 


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