Have you noticed these loops featured in your sleeping bags? For a very long period, I used to ignore them, and their purpose maintained a mystery to me. Over the years I’ve learned what they are for and frankly – I’ve never stopped using them ever since. Let’s dive into it and figure out what are the loops on my sleeping bag for once and for all.
In this article, I will describe the needs your sleeping bag loops come to answer.
The loops featured on your sleeping bag are there to attach your sleeping bag to your sleeping pad, backpack, and liners. Also, they are there to help you hang your sleeping bag to dry and to pack it back inside into its carrying bag.
After that, I will try to show you what is the right way to put the bag in its carrying sack and how to tie it to your backpack when the straps are missing.
One purpose for these loops is to secure the attachment between your sleeping bag and your sleeping pad.
Before I started to think what these loops are for, I merely placed my sleeping bag upon my pad and went to sleep.
Countless times, in the mornings, I found myself sleeping on half a mattress since it wasn’t fixed in one place.
This technique somewhat mimics the Big Agnes Sleeping System, which is also known as the pad-sleeve system. With these sleeping bags, you can slide the entire sleeping pad into its compartment within the bag, turning it into a composited bed.
The pad-sleeve system may work both with inflatable and foam sleeping pads, as long as they are thin enough to slide in.
That brings me to the obvious question – which one works better – the pad loops or the Big Agnes system? Well, after using both I do have my verdict, which I will present later on.
Help You to Pack The Bag Away
While hanging and pad loops may be at the bottom or the sides, loops which assist you with packing the bag away have to be where your legs are.
There are many techniques for rolling your sleeping bag appropriately – which one is preferred will also be discussed later on.
The most common way is to fold the sleeping bag in half and then to roll it slowly while applying pressure to reduce its volume. Before doing that, of course, you have to make sure the bag is wholly zipped and closed.
As you can see in the following video, the guy who is rolling up his bag uses the strand attached to the loops to put some pressure and squizz the sleeping bag in a way it will be able to get in its carrying sack.
Not every sleeping bag comes with these strands – but even when their primary purpose is to hang it or connect to your sleeping pad, you may improvise and buy those separately.
My sleeping bag came with loops and nothing else, and that is what I did – this way I was able to both hang it up to dry and roll it up tightly, using the same strings.
Many times I woke up in my tent with a damp sleeping bag. The articles I’ve just linked to discuss the reasons for this phenomenon.
I won’t get into it deeply in this current article, but I do find it necessary to mention that one of the common reasons is leakage due to touching the tent from the inside.
When you wake up with a wet sleeping bag there are two main options – you may pack it and keep going, or otherwise – hang it up to dry.
Well, if your sleeping bag is down-filled, perhaps cramming it wet would compromise its ability for thermal insulation.
When I realized that, I many times took half an hour to let my sleeping bag dry. Before I thought of using its hanging loops, I merely placed it on trees branches as it is.
Luckily that hasn’t ended up with a tear, however, ruining a sleeping bag for that reason is ridiculous.
Sleeping bags usually feature hanging loops on the sides, so when you hang them, they wouldn’t touch the ground and get dirty.
Attach a Liner
If your sleeping bag features loops from the inside, they are probably there to attach to your liner. Now, you probably ask – why should I even bother connecting the two? Why not using it as a blanket at home?
The answer for that relies on the fact that you have little room for manipulation within a sleeping bag.
In opposed to your home bed, in a sleeping bag, you are covered from all sides tightly, and you somehow need to add a liner to that package.
That narrow gap is responsible for continued friction between the inner wall and your sleeping liner.
That, in turn, will push it down to the bottom. I’ve found sleeping bag liners to be necessary – however, it is essential to use them right.
Tie to Your Backpack
This one isn’t an official purpose for sleeping bag loops, at least that is what I think.
Sleeping bags usually attach to your backpacks from the outside, especially when there is no compartment designed to store them.
To tie your bag to the outer part of your backpack, you must have straps on your carrying bag and adjusted loops on your pack. Then, you slide the straps through the loops and create a fixed package.
In some cases, the carrying sack doesn’t feature those and the solution for that will also be discussed later on in this article.
The loops on your sleeping bags come into place when the sack is missing. Again, that is not an official purpose; however, I found that improvisation impressively useful.
All you have to do is to roll your sleeping bag and tie it up with strings or straps you brought along the way, using the loops at the bottom. Later on, I will explain this approach more deeply.
In general, I highly suggest you get yourself a few elastic cords before taking off since they are lightweight and may serve you in a wide range of scenarios.
What is The Right Way to Roll my Sleeping Bag?
There are two main ways to get your sleeping bag into its sack – you can roll it tight while applying pressure, or you can stuff it back in as it is.
Some people claim that the main factor in the equation is the type of sleeping bag, which may be synthetic or down-filled.
Frankly, I do not believe that the material got anything to do with it since the results maintain the same either way.
The right way to get your sleeping bag in the carrying sack is by stuffing it inside as it is. When you roll up the bag tightly, you end up with two problems in the long haul.
First, you create a compressed line when you consistently fold it in two which will eventually stay there permanently.
Second, you flat the filling in a way that some parts in your bag will be stuffed and some wouldn’t.
If you wish to maintain your bag evenly stuffed, you shouldn’t roll it up tightly like people usually do. As I’ve been searching across the internet ways to prove my point I came up with this video.
One tip he mentioned, which I haven’t taken into account yet, is to turn a down-filled sleeping bag inside-out first.
The idea here is that the outer layer is usually water resistant and pushing it into the sack this way would end up with a swollen package.
My Carrying Bag Doesn’t Feature Straps
Modern sacks usually feature straps which attach the sleeping bag to your backpack’s loops from the outside. If your carrying bag doesn’t feature any straps, connecting it to your pack may be a problem.
One way to go around this is to put the bag inside the backpack – some packs even feature a special compartment for that purpose.
If that is not the case, perhaps you have to improvise with the following method.
All you have to do is to buy four pieces of twine that would strap your bag up. Use two of these to loop your bag tightly and the two others to connect the bag to the loops on your backpack.
That is where the loops on your sleeping bag also come into play – use the same twine to attach these to your backpack loops.
What is The Right Way to Hang my Sleeping Bag?
As I’ve mentioned before, some of the loops featured on your sleeping bag are there for hanging it up to dry.
That might sound simple. However, you should take a few steps when you do it to avoid obstacles.
If you chose to hang it on tree branches, my first advice to you would be using a long one.
Short branches increase the chances of your sleeping bag getting hit by the trunk itself, which isn’t smooth and may tear your bag.
Also, I recommend using long twines for that purpose. When using short ones, it is more likely for your bag to rub against the branch and get damaged. If you hanging loops are at the bottom, I suggest you pick a high branch for it to dry on – for two reasons.
First, this way it is less likely that your bag gets damp and dirt by touching the ground underneath.
Besides, when hanged high your bag is more exposed to wind and would dry up much more quickly.
Pad-Sleeve System vs. Pad Loops?
As I’ve mentioned before, the loops sleeping bag feature are sometimes there to connect to your sleeping pad.
On that matter, I’ve suggested that the fixation resembles the Big Agnes Sleeping System, in which the pad slides right in a built-in compartment.
So what is the verdict – which one works better? After using both techniques, I highly favor the pad-sleeve system over the loops.
The reason for that is that loops are many times not enough, and the pads may keep sliding to the sides overnight.
The down-side with the Big Agnes Sleeping System is that the bags which feature it are usually more expensive. If you wish to get the maximal comfort, I do believe that they are worth the extra money.
What is a Compressible Sleeping Bag?
A compressible sleeping bag is one that can be packed very small. The term may be referring to the carrying sack or otherwise – to the sleeping bag itself.
When talking about the sack, manufacturers usually imply that it features compressive straps that allow additional compression after packed.
Regarding the bag itself – a compressible one would be able to shrink significantly before packing.
That would apply to either synthetic or down-filled sleeping bags; however, those with down usually pack smaller and are lightweight.
The benefit of these sleeping bags is that they occupy less space in your backpack, yet, you shouldn’t be dazzled by the term since most modern sleeping bags are impressively compressible anyways.
The purpose of sleeping bag loops is many times obscure; however, when digging a little deeper into it, you may be surprised how useful they are.
When waking up in a damp sleeping bag, they do a great job with hanging it up to dry. To do so, I recommend you use long twines and that you hang it high enough.
The loops also assist you when you are about to pack everything up – you may use them to compress the bag, so it fits its carrying sack properly.
When featured in the inside of your sleeping bag, their purpose is usually to attach your liner, so it doesn’t slide overnight.
For that, you should also make sure that the liner features a proper attachment mechanism as well.
If the carrying sack is somehow missing, you may use the loops to connect the sleeping bag to your backpack, using twines in this case as well. Fours twines may be the best solution in this case, right as described above.
I hope my article finally answered your question and perhaps would make your future to come journey more beneficial.
Let me know about your hesitations on that matter by leaving a comment below!