What size compression sack for a sleeping bag?
If you’ve been asking yourself this question, you’ve arrived at the right place.
This comprehensive guide is designed to help outdoor enthusiasts unlock the convenience of packing.
We know the struggle of trying to fit everything into your backpack for a camping trip.
Join us as we dive into the specifics, providing practical insights to help you choose the right size compression sack for your sleeping bag.
Understanding Compression Sacks
What is a Compression Sack?
A compression sack, often called a “stuff sack,” is an outdoor enthusiast’s best friend. It’s like a storage superhero, transforming a fluffy, bulky sleeping bag into a compact, portable bundle.
At first glance, it might look like an ordinary bag. But the magic starts when you stuff your sleeping bag into it, cinch it tight, and the sack compresses the bag to a fraction of its original size.
How Do Compression Sacks Work?
Think of your sleeping bag as a loaf of bread, and the compression sack as your breadbox. The sack has an inner compartment where you put the bag, and a lid you tighten with straps. As you pull the straps, the sack squishes your sleeping bag, forcing out the air and reducing its size.
This doesn’t harm your sleeping bag, but it’s like giving it a temporary shrink-ray treatment. It’s a simple but effective technology that makes packing for an outdoor adventure much easier.
Advantages of Using a Compression Sack
Compression sacks offer a ton of benefits. First off, they save space. This is crucial when you’re packing for a backpacking trip where every inch of backpack real estate counts. They also protect your sleeping bag from the elements, keeping it dry and clean, extending its lifespan.
Lastly, they help organize your gear, making it easier to find what you need when you need it.
Imagine this scenario. It’s been a long day of hiking, the sun is setting, and all you want is to crawl into your sleeping bag. But instead of wrestling a bulky sleeping bag from your backpack, you pull out a neatly compressed sack, undo the straps, and voila! Your cozy sleeping bag is ready for you.
Types of Compression Sacks
1. Basic Stuff Sacks
Basic stuff sacks are your entry-level options. They’re essentially durable bags with a drawstring closure. You stuff your sleeping bag in, pull the string tight, and there you have it. They’re straightforward, affordable, and get the job done. However, they don’t offer much in terms of compression, hence are best suited for lightweight summer sleeping bags.
2. Compression Stuff Sacks
Next up, we have the true compression sacks. They work like basic stuff sacks but with an added feature: compression straps. These straps cinch down to compress the contents, reducing your sleeping bag’s size by up to 50%. They’re perfect for bulkier three-season or winter sleeping bags.
3. Vacuum Compression Sacks
Vacuum compression sacks are the cream of the crop when it comes to reducing volume. They work a bit like those vacuum storage bags you use at home. You put your sleeping bag in, seal it, then suck out all the air using a vacuum pump. This can reduce your bag’s size by up to 80%. They’re perfect for packing heavy-duty winter sleeping bags for long-distance backpacking trips.
4. Roll-top Compression Sacks
Roll-top compression sacks offer a balance between simplicity and compression. You put your sleeping bag in, roll down the top a few times, then clip it shut. The rolling action forces out air, compressing your sleeping bag. They’re not as effective as other types of compression sacks, but they’re waterproof, making them perfect for kayaking or rafting trips where your gear might get wet.
Types of Sleeping Bags and Their Sizes
1. Summer Sleeping Bags
Summer sleeping bags are designed for warmer weather, typically rated for temperatures of 32°F (0°C) and above. They are usually lightweight, with less insulation, and therefore take up less space. Typically, they measure around 72-78 inches in length and 30 inches in width when laid flat.
2. Three-Season Sleeping Bags
Three-season sleeping bags are a step up in terms of insulation, rated for temperatures between 10°F (-12°C) to 32°F (0°C). They are more versatile, designed for spring, summer, and fall camping. Expect them to be slightly larger, with a typical length of 78-84 inches and a width of 33 inches.
3. Winter Sleeping Bags
Winter sleeping bags are the warmest of the lot, designed for temperatures below 10°F (-12°C). They come packed with insulation and features like draft collars and hoods for extra warmth, making them bulkier. These bags measure around 85-90 inches in length and 34-36 inches in width.
4. Understanding Sleeping Bag Dimensions and Volume
When shopping for a sleeping bag, it’s crucial to understand its dimensions and volume. Dimensions refer to the bag’s length and width when laid flat. Volume refers to the space the bag takes up when stuffed or compressed. The table below illustrates this.
|Type of Sleeping Bag||Dimensions (Length x Width in inches)||Estimated Volume when Compressed|
|Summer Sleeping Bag||72-78 x 30||6-7 liters|
|Three-Season Sleeping Bag||78-84 x 33||8-10 liters|
|Winter Sleeping Bag||85-90 x 34-36||11-14 liters|
Matching Sleeping Bag Sizes with Compression Sacks
How to Measure Your Sleeping Bag for a Compression Sack
To find the perfect compression sack for your sleeping bag, you’ll need to measure your sleeping bag. Here’s how:
- Lay your sleeping bag flat on the floor.
- Measure its length and width.
- Roll or fold it up as you would when packing, then measure its height, width, and depth.
- Use these measurements when choosing a compression sack.
Compression Sack Size Guide: Which Size Fits Your Sleeping Bag?
Compression sack sizes are usually measured in liters, referring to the volume they can hold. Here’s a rough guide to help you match your sleeping bag with the right compression sack.
|Type of Sleeping Bag||Recommended Compression Sack Size|
|Summer Sleeping Bag||6-10 liters|
|Three-Season Sleeping Bag||10-15 liters|
|Winter Sleeping Bag||15-25 liters|
Remember, these are rough estimates. If in doubt, always size up.
Special Considerations for Oversized or Unique Sleeping Bags
If your sleeping bag is larger than usual, like an oversized or double sleeping bag, or has a unique shape, consider getting a custom-sized compression sack. These are available from some outdoor gear manufacturers. Another option is to use multiple smaller compression sacks, dividing the sleeping bag into sections. This might be more manageable and help distribute the weight better in your backpack.
Remember, finding the right compression sack might take a bit of trial and error. But once you find the perfect match, you’ll wonder how you ever packed for a camping trip without it!
Sizing Guide for Compression Sacks
Measuring your sleeping bag dimensions
Before you can decide on a compression sack, you first need to measure your sleeping bag’s dimensions. Here’s a refresher on the process:
- Unroll your sleeping bag and lay it flat on a level surface.
- Using a tape measure, capture the length and width in inches.
- Roll up your sleeping bag as you normally would when packing it away. Measure its height, length, and width.
- Note down these measurements for when you’re choosing a compression sack.
General guidelines for choosing the right size
The size of the compression sack should ideally be a bit larger than the volume of your rolled-up sleeping bag. If the sack is too small, you may have difficulty fitting in the bag, or it may cause unnecessary strain on the sack’s material, leading to early wear and tear. If the sack is too large, it may not compress your bag effectively.
Size recommendations for different sleeping bag types
The size of the compression sack you need depends on the type of sleeping bag you have. Here’s a general guide to help:
|Type of Sleeping Bag||Recommended Compression Sack Size|
|Summer Sleeping Bag||6-10 liters|
|Three-Season Sleeping Bag||10-15 liters|
|Winter Sleeping Bag||15-25 liters|
This is a general guide. Sizes can vary depending on the specific design and material of the sleeping bag.
To know more: How Much Can You Compress a Down Sleeping Bag
Material and Durability Considerations for Compression Sacks
Choosing the Right Material for Durability and Weather Resistance
Compression sacks are often made from nylon or polyester, both of which offer good durability and some degree of water resistance. Some compression sacks have a water-resistant coating, while others may feature waterproof fabric and seams for maximum protection. When choosing a compression sack, consider your needs. If you’re likely to encounter wet conditions, a waterproof sack might be the better choice. For dry conditions, a water-resistant sack should suffice.
The Trade-Off Between Weight and Durability
There’s often a trade-off between the weight and durability of compression sacks. Lighter sacks are great for backpacking where every ounce counts, but they may not be as durable as heavier ones. On the other hand, heavier sacks are often more robust and can withstand harsher conditions and treatment but add weight to your pack. You’ll need to balance your needs for durability and lightness based on your specific camping or backpacking conditions.
How to Pack Your Sleeping Bag in a Compression Sack
Step-by-Step Guide to Efficiently Packing Your Sleeping Bag
Packing your sleeping bag in a compression sack isn’t difficult but following a systematic process can ensure the best fit and longevity of both your bag and the sack. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Lay the Bag Flat: Start by laying your sleeping bag out flat on the ground. Make sure it is completely zipped up.
- Roll Tightly: Begin rolling the sleeping bag tightly from the bottom end towards the hood. As you roll, press down to expel any trapped air.
- Insert into Compression Sack: Once the bag is rolled, place it in the compression sack, hood end first. It’s usually easier to handle this way.
- Compress: When the bag is inside the sack, pull the compression straps tight to reduce the volume further.
- Adjust: If necessary, loosen and tighten the straps until the bag fits snugly within the sack.
Tips to Maintain the Quality of Your Sleeping Bag in a Compression Sack
Even though compression sacks are designed to minimize the volume of your sleeping bag, keeping a bag compressed for extended periods can damage its insulation and reduce its ability to keep you warm. To maintain the quality of your sleeping bag, only use the compression sack during transportation. When you’re not traveling, store your sleeping bag either flat or hung up in a cool, dry place.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Compression Sack Size
Sleeping bag size and type
The size and type of your sleeping bag will greatly influence the size of the compression sack you need. As mentioned earlier, a winter sleeping bag will need a larger sack compared to a summer one.
Material and insulation of the sleeping bag
The material and insulation of your sleeping bag also matter. Synthetic bags tend to be bulkier and may need larger compression sacks, while down bags are easier to compress and can fit into smaller sacks.
Desired level of compression
How much you want to compress your sleeping bag also plays a role in the sack size. If you need to maximize space, you might want to compress your bag as much as possible and go for a smaller sack.
Weight and size restrictions
If you’re backpacking or hiking and have weight and size restrictions, you’ll need to take these into account. It’s always a balancing act between reducing volume and maintaining durability, so choose your compression sack accordingly.
Selecting the Right Compression Sack Size for Various Sleeping Bag Types
Mummy Sleeping Bags
Mummy sleeping bags, characterized by their tapering shape and a hood, are designed to maximize warmth and minimize weight. As they’re already quite compact, a medium-sized compression sack, typically 10 to 15 liters, should suffice for most mummy bags.
Rectangular Sleeping Bags
Rectangular sleeping bags are bulkier due to their more generous cut, offering more space for movement. They’re also often less expensive. Because of their larger size, a larger compression sack, between 15 and 20 liters, is typically appropriate.
Double Sleeping Bags
Double sleeping bags are essentially two sleeping bags in one. They provide room for two people or plenty of space for one. These require larger compression sacks due to their size, with a 20 to 30 liter sack usually being appropriate.
Quilts and Blankets
Backpacking quilts and blankets are lightweight, easy-to-pack alternatives to traditional sleeping bags, suitable for warmer weather. They are relatively compact and can generally fit into a smaller compression sack, with a 6 to 10 liter sack being a good starting point.
|Sleeping Bag Type||Typical Sleeping Bag Size (when uncompressed)||Suggested Compression Sack Size|
|Mummy Sleeping Bags||Length: 75-90 inches, Diameter: 15-18 inches||10-20 liters|
|Rectangular Sleeping Bags||Length: 70-80 inches, Width: 30-40 inches||15-30 liters|
|Double Sleeping Bags||Length: 80-85 inches, Width: 55-65 inches||30-45 liters|
|Quilts and Blankets||Varies greatly depending on size and thickness||5-15 liters|
Please note, these are approximate suggestions and actual sizes may vary depending on the specific sleeping bag’s materials and insulation. Always remember to measure your sleeping bag when fully lofted to get the most accurate measurement.
Read more: About Sleeping Bag Weigh
Comparing Different Compression Sack Brands and Models
Reviews and Ratings of Popular Compression Sacks
In the market, there are several brands offering high-quality compression sacks. Each model varies in terms of materials, compression capabilities, and durability. It’s always a good idea to look at user reviews and ratings on outdoor gear websites and forums to get a real-world perspective on a product.
- Sea to Summit’s eVent Compression Dry Sack is well-rated for its waterproof capabilities and durable construction.
- The Outdoor Research Ultralight Compression Sack is known for its lightweight design, suitable for backpackers.
- ALPS Mountaineering Compression Sack is praised for its strong straps and ample size options.
Price Ranges and Value for Money
The price of compression sacks can vary from around $15 to over $50, depending on the size, material, and brand. Expensive doesn’t always mean better. Be sure to read reviews and consider your specific needs before making a decision.
Tips for Properly Packing Your Sleeping Bag in a Compression Sack
Now that you know how to choose the right size compression sack, let’s look at some tips for packing your sleeping bag efficiently and safely.
Folding vs. Rolling Your Sleeping Bag
The traditional method of packing a sleeping bag is by rolling it up tightly. However, folding can often result in a more compact shape, making it easier to fit into a compression sack. The key is to ensure the bag is folded evenly and tightly to minimize air pockets.
Efficiently Compressing Your Sleeping Bag
Start by stuffing the foot of the sleeping bag into the sack, followed by the rest of the bag, pushing it down as you go. Once the bag is in the sack, tighten the compression straps evenly, but not all the way. Then, shake the sack to distribute the sleeping bag evenly. Finally, tighten the compression straps fully, starting from the bottom and working your way up.
Avoiding Over-Compression and Damage
While it’s tempting to compress your sleeping bag as much as possible, over-compression can damage the insulation and reduce the bag’s effectiveness. As a rule of thumb, stop compressing once you feel strong resistance.
FAQs About Compression Sack Size for Sleeping Bag
How do you size a compression sack for a sleeping bag?
Can you put a sleeping bag in a compression sack?
How many liters is a sleeping bag compression sack?
What size bag will fit a sleeping bag?
Are compression sacks worth it?
Should you roll or stuff a sleeping bag?
Choosing the right size compression sack for your sleeping bag is essential for efficient packing and the longevity of your sleeping bag.
The size of the compression sack you need depends on the type and size of your sleeping bag. Measure your sleeping bag when it’s fully lofted and consult sizing guides to determine the right sack size.
Consider factors like the size and shape of your sleeping bag, the material and insulation, your desired level of compression, and any weight or size restrictions you might have when choosing a compression sack.
When packing your sleeping bag, fold or roll it tightly to minimize air pockets. Avoid over-compressing your bag to prevent damaging the insulation.
This guide should provide you with the knowledge to choose the right compression sack size for your sleeping bag and pack it effectively. Happy camping!