If you’ve ever been camping or hiking with a backpack, you’d know how easy it is to overpack. After all, items like your sleeping bag can take up a good portion of your backpack.
This can be a problem especially if you don’t have room for essential items such as tools, utensils, or food. The solution to this is attaching your sleeping bag to your backpack. Most backpacks these days have all the provisions needed for the attachment.
How To Attach A Sleeping Bag To A Backpack?
There are 5 ways to store your sleeping bag to the outside of your backpack, and all of them are very easy to learn.
Should I Store My Sleeping Bag On Top Of My Backpack Or Below It? And Does It Matter?
Yes, this does matter, at least what I’ve found.
Keeping your sleeping bag tied to the bottom of your backpack makes it much more likely to swing around, and come in contact with the damp ground.
However, keeping your sleeping bag tied to the top, or the side, of your backpack, is a much safer alternative. Not only are the chances of it getting wet lower, but I’ve also found it’s much more comfortable with it at the top, as I have less back fatigue.
What’s The Best Way To Attach A Sleeping Bag To A Backpack?
For me, besides attaching the sleeping bag to the top of the backpack, I highly recommend attaching it to the side as seen when using the compression buckles.
Not only does this keep the sleeping bag in place, but pulling your sleeping bag out or storing it is very easy. Check to see if your backpack has any compression straps on the top, bottom, or sides.
You also want to distribute weight evenly, so you may want to look into alternative placements for the sleeping bag if carrying it at the side is adding too much uneven weight.
You may want to consider having it at the bottom, as this will keep the weight more balanced, but at the cost of possibly damaging your sleeping bag.
What If I Want To Store My Sleeping Bag Inside My Backpack?
No matter how hard you try, you may just not like how your sleeping bag is packed. The weight is off, the straps keep falling off, and no matter what you do your sleeping bag just feels damp. If this sounds like your experience, you may want to consider just storing your sleeping bag inside your backpack.
To do this, however, you will need to be a careful packer. This means only packing the essentials you’ll absolutely need and nothing else.
So compass, maps, food, water, your tent, and other essentials need to have higher priority over more frivolous things. Yes, a pump that allows you to drink from a river and remove the bacteria and microbes sounds great, but if you’re going to a campground with running water, you won’t need it.
As I mentioned earlier, pack for the occasion as opposed to over-packing. If you’re still worried about spacing and how you can carry all your supplies, practice packing at home before you go to the camp or hit the trail. This way you can better organize and not have to worry about wasting time fiddling with your pack while on the trail.
How Do I Avoid My Backpack Getting Wet?
If you’ve decided to carry your sleeping bag on the outside of your backpack, you’ll want to take into consideration that your sleeping bag will be exposed to the elements and can get damp or have debris falling into the folds as you make your way through the trail.
There are a few ways to deal with this problem, and the first is to pick a good sleeping bag. One that’s water-resistant and can keep you warm.
Another thing you’ll want to do when carrying your sleeping bag on the outside is to double-pack the sleeping bag itself. All sleeping bags are sold with a carrying bag, but as you might quickly notice, even if you pull the strings as tight as possible there will be a small hole at the top of the bag.
This can lead to water getting into the bag, and making the sleeping bad unpleasantly damp. To overcome this obstacle, I recommend double-packing your sleeping bag. Find a water-resistant trash bag and roll your sleeping bag into it.
Now put the sleeping bag and trash bag into its carrying bag. As you do so, keep the opening of the trash bag facing inward and not outward.
This double-packing method, as well as keeping your sleeping bag stored on top of your backpack, is a great way to keep water away!
Now, this being said, there are those that prefer to keep their sleeping bags hanging below their backpack. I recommend keeping the straps around the sleeping bag to be as tight as possible.
Why Attach A Sleeping Bag To A Backpack?
First, ask yourself why you should attach your sleeping bag to your backpack? After all, if it’s on the outside it’ll get all wet and no one wants to sleep in a damp cold sleeping bag.
I’ll cover how to avoid your sleeping bag getting damp in a moment, but for now, let’s look at the benefits of keeping your sleeping bag outside and attached to your backpack.
For starters, you’re saving space, and lots of it! Sleeping bags take up precious space that can be filled with other essential camping gear.
Along with space saving, having your sleeping bag on the outside of your backpack can help with weight distribution. Having a heavy load focused on one part of your back will cause back strain, compared to an even weight distribution.
Most hikers and campers carry their sleeping bag on the outside of their backpacks to save on valuable space, and it’s not a bad idea for you to do the same, especially if you’re one who tends to over-pack.
Keeping your sleeping bag attached to your backpack on the outside is a great way to save on interior space, but at the same time, it may be more beneficial to keep your sleeping bag on the inside.
None of the methods I went over today for storing your sleeping bag on the outside of your backpack were hard, and most can be done in a few minutes.
Enjoying the great outdoors is a personal experience, and so is packing and carrying your gear. You want to prepare for any scenario, but also not be lugging a very heavy pack either.
The best advice I can give about attaching your sleeping bag to your backpack is to always consider how long you’ll be gone, where you’ll be going, and any possible issues that are likely to occur.
Once you’ve packed for that trip specifically, see if you can fit your sleeping bag inside your backpack. If not, take into consideration our double-bagging method and then secure your sleeping bag to the side or top of your backpack.