When backpacking there are so many things to bring along and trying to fit it all into your pack can be challenging.

One way to literally squeeze more into your pack is to use a compression sack for your sleeping bag or a series of compression sacks for all your various gear. Compression sacks are stuff sacks with straps around them that you can pull to squeeze a larger sack into a smaller compressed size. Often times these will squeeze down to half their original size or even less. They come in many sizes, styles, and weights for you to choose from.

Using a compression sack is a simple process with the sleeping bag. First, grab the end of the sleeping bag and push it in as far as you can stuff it. Keep stuffing in one handful at a time. Stuff sacks are called stuff sacks for a reason, instead of rolling or folding it is best to stuff the gear inside of it. Over time, folding a sleeping bag can create creases in the materials which will create cold spots and wear out the sleeping bag installation faster. Stuffing, instead of folding your sleeping bag, will keep the insulation lofty and warmer over time. Once it is all inside, hold the drawstring tight and pull the loose straps evenly over the ends.

I recommend putting the sack on the ground and then pressing your knee into it as you pull the straps. This easily pushes everything together while taking the stress off the straps and off the strap stitching. Hold on till all the straps are evenly tight. It might look about like a soccer ball. Along with your sleeping bag, adding your pillows, pajamas, or extra clothes inside the compression sack so it all packs down as small as possible can be a good idea. When packing it’s important to distribute your gear weight. Place the heaviest gear is in the middle of the pack so that the weight of the pack goes to your hips while not sinking too low.

Some sleeping bags will come with a compression sack when purchased, but often they will need to be bought separately. When choosing the size of your compression sack it is good to get a bag with a looser fit. Often, stuff sacks will have a fit guide on the packaging, but sometimes a test fit is the only way to know if it will work for your needs. Be sure to never store your sleeping bag compressed as it will also break down the insulation. Compression sacks can be the missing piece to your pack loading equation. There are many sizes, styles, weights, and brands. So, if you have any more questions - feel free to stop by our stores or give us a call.