How to Roll Your Sleeping Bag

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Rolling up your sleeping bag as small as possible will make your camping trip much easier. By saving how much room your sleeping back takes up you will be able to fill your backpack up with extra camping essentials and creature comforts that will make your trip more enjoyable and convenient. Having a good system and rolling your sleeping bag up the same way every time will ensure that you have a consistent pack size each time you pack away camp. It doesn’t matter whether you are staying in one place for the duration of your trip or backpacking to different locations every night, having a good rolling technique will make sure your kit fits in your bag perfectly night after night.

In this article, we have some information on why you may be struggling to roll your sleeping bag up properly and help you to combat these issues. We have a handy 10 step guide to ensure you are packing your sleeping bag away efficiently in the best space-saving way. Enjoy!

Why Am I Struggling to Roll Up My Sleeping Bag?

There are a few reasons why you may be struggling to roll up your sleeping bag properly. The main issue people come across is not being able to fit their sleeping bag back into the stuff sack properly, forcing them to ram the bag in without a strategy. Struggling to fit your sleeping bag in its stuff sack mainly comes down to issues with rolling techniques, however, some sleeping bags are more difficult than others.

If your sleeping bag is waterproof or made from a slippery synthetic outer layer, then getting a tight roll can be difficult. This is because as you are rolling the material can slip off itself making it difficult to tighten to roll down efficiently. This is easily overcome with a good technique and once you learn the tricks you will be packing your sleeping bag away quickly and tightly time and time again.

Another issue some people encounter when packing their sleeping bag away is getting it from a rolled state into the bag without it unraveling. This can be annoying as you could have rolled your sleeping bag perfectly and super-tight but as soon as you attempt to put it in the stuff sack it unfolds into an unorganized mess. This is where camping gets frustrating and you are forced to re-roll your sleeping bag over and over again, or hastily wrap it up with some cord and call it quits. Luckily for you, if you follow this ten-step guide and keep in mind the tips and tricks mentioned within it, you won’t encounter these frustrating issues again. Before you know it, you will be a professional camper or backpacker that can pack up camp and hit the trails shortly after breakfast, giving you more precious stress-free time in nature.

10 Steps on How to Roll Your Sleeping Bag

  1. Make sure you have shaken out any dirt and debris from the inside of your sleeping bag and left it for an hour or two during breakfast to air out (if possible).
  2. Lay your sleeping bag down on a hard, flat, dry surface. The best place for this is the groundsheet of your tent once you have packed away the rest of your kit. If you are at home preparing for a trip, then any clean floor will do.
  3. Zip your sleeping bag up fully and fold it in half when it is completely flat and laid out on the floor. Make sure there is minimal air left inside the sleeping bag at this step.
  4. Flatten the sleeping bag out again and remove any creases that may have appeared (this is important to getting the tightest possible roll).
  5. Start rolling from the bottom of your sleeping bag where your feet would go. Doing this will help push any excess air out of the head section of the bag.
  6. As you roll, make sure you start as tightly and as small as possible. The tighter your roll at the start makes for a tighter and more compact end result.
  7. Roll your sleeping bag as tight as possible until you reach your “mummy head” or “envelope top” and kneel on the sleeping bag to keep the tension.
  8. While you are kneeling on your rolled-up sleeping bag take some pre-cut twine or paracord and wrap them around the bag. Tighten the cords down as much as possible and tie them up so your rolled bag keeps its shape.
  9. Pack your tightly rolled sleeping bag into its compression sack (or stuff sack). If the roll does not fit, unroll what you have done and try again. This can be frustrating at first but once you have the knack for it, this will become second nature.
  10. Once your sleeping bag is finally in its stuff sack you can tighten the straps to compress it. Make sure you tighten the straps one at a time systematically. Doing this will make sure it tightens down evenly and gives you the most compact and space-saving result from your efforts.


Learning how to properly roll up your sleeping bag will allow you to conserve space better in your backpack giving you extra room for camping essentials and maybe even some home comforts for your campsite. Learning how to pack your sleeping bag effectively will help you become quicker when packing up camp during a hike as well. Once you have mastered the art of rolling your sleeping bag you will be able to pack up quickly giving you more precious time on the trails rather than packing your bags.

Practice the steps in this guide and you will master the art of rolling up your sleeping bag effectively and efficiently in no time. If you fail a few times at fitting it back in the stuff sack don’t worry, simply unroll it and try again. Trying to stuff your sleeping bag into its sack will eventually ruin the integrity of the fibers which will aid in the loss of heat control and insulative value.

When you are home, never store your sleeping bag in its stuff sack either, these are purely for compression while traveling. Storing your sleeping bag under compression long-term is detrimental to is effectiveness and will reduce its lifespan. If you want to find out more about how to store your sleeping back properly check out our article on how to store your sleeping bag. Happy camping!

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