Camping here in the States is beautiful during winters.
So, while camping, especially during this winter season in the US, you need to keep yourself dry and warm. For that, most campers use a sleeping bag and that is very necessary.
But if you are using a sleeping bag, one thing that you have to make sure is that it isn’t wet or there is no condensation on it. Imagine yourself on a cold night inside a tent and you are just about to go to sleep when you open your sleeping bag and see that it is dripping wet.
So, instead of a comfortable night, you are stuck with a wet sleeping bag and lots of chills to worry about.
That is why we are here with an article on How To Keep A Sleeping Bag Dry While Camping, just dives right into it and make your camping night warm and cozy.
What Makes Sleeping Bag Wet And Why Keep Them Dry?
Just like with any situation of life, if you want to solve a problem, you have to know about the problem first like why is it a problem and how did it arise.
So, for a sleeping bag, what does make them wet? Well, the reason for your bag getting wet is the environment and partly your bag as well. A sleeping bag gets wet because of condensation. Now, there are different scenarios of condensation.
- In warm weather conditions, your sleeping bag is very likely to get wet on the surface even inside tents. The humidity is usually high during warm weather and that means the presence of water vapors in the air. These water vapors, when they come in contact with the relatively cooler surface of your sleeping bag condenses and makes it wet.
- In cooler weather conditions, vapors present in the moisture inside the sleeping bag condenses on the shell material.
- Inside the sleeping pad, the breath of the user can also get condensed on the surface of the sleeping pad.
- Condensation under the sleeping pad occurs because the sleeping pad may be rested on a cold tent floor.
- Finally, while sealing sleeping pads, moisture can get trapped inside a sleeping bag. Then, if the dry bag is used for paddling or boating, this vapor can get condensed.
The condensation can cause a lot of problems for you but the most significant is the problem it causes in not letting you sleep. You cannot sleep on a wet sleeping bag, simple as that. In rainy seasons, you don’t even have the luxury of drying your bag, so in such situations, you have to keep your sleeping bag dry.
Also, one issue with wet sleeping bags is that wetness can lead to the formation of mold. Mold and mildew can mean that your sleeping bag cannot last for long and a new sleeping bag needs to be bought earlier than expected.
How To Keep A Sleeping Bag Dry While Camping
Condensation is a natural phenomenon that no one can stop, but what makes the vapor condense more are these situations listed below.
- After a hot humid day, the evenings get chilly
- The big temperature difference between the inside and outside of your tent
- More people inside your tent
- No air circulation inside your tent
- The proximity of your tent to water bodies like lakes, ponds, etc.
These problems exist it doesn’t mean that you have to give up on camping because of it in rainy or cold weather. You can use some preventive methods as well as some tips and tricks to play along with nature a bit.
1. Choose The Type Of Sleeping Bag
If you want to enjoy a dry camping trip, you need to begin planning for it even before the camping trip, at the time of buying the sleeping bag itself. You must already be familiar with the two types of sleeping bags available in the market.
- Down bags have a fill of natural materials like wispy plumage found beneath a water fowl’s exterior feathers, the most popular one being of geese. They are very good for comfort and providing heat inside. They are costly though but in terms of portability, down sleeping bags are a very good option.
- Synthetic bags, as the name suggests have a filling of synthetic material on the inside. As synthetic material is cheaper than natural material, synthetic bags are cheaper than down bags. They are heavy and less durable than down bags. But when it comes to water resistance, synthetic bags are the best. Also, they tend to dry very quickly when they get wet.
As a camper, if you prefer comfort, down bags would seem logical, but actually, synthetic bags are the best option. They won’t get wet and even if they do get wet, they will get dried very quickly. So, if you are going camping in wet conditions or cold conditions, you should carry a synthetic sleeping bag.
2. Choose The Right Location Of The Camp
After you are done with choosing your bag and have reached your campground, you need to look for the right place to set up your camp. As you know that if you set up your tent near a water body, you are more likely to face the problem of condensation. So, don’t camp right next to water sources or even hollow places where water can gather.
Other than that, you can choose a semi-open spot for your tent, which isn’t in shade, because that will make the tent cooler. Pitching under trees is a good idea but you have to inspect the trees first whether old branches are lurking above you about to fall off.
3. Pitching Of The Tent
If you have found the right place to camp, next up is pitching your tent. Pitching a tent can affect the number of issues you face with condensation.
You might be inclined to the idea of isolating your tent from any sort of wind flow, but this increases the condensation inside your tent and sleeping bag. So, keep a ventilation system in your tent at all times. No this might not be possible when it is raining outside, but then there will be a natural inflow of wind inside your tent.
Also, your flysheet should be hung in such a way that no rain reaches your tent, but also it doesn’t touch the tent.
4. Covering Of The Sleeping Bag
If you want to keep your sleeping bag away from dew or condensation, you should always use a bivy sack or a bag cover to protect your sleeping bag. You can also wrap raincoats around your sleeping bag and it can act as a water repellent. However, your cover has to be breathable to avoid internal condensation.
5. Use Liners
You can use liners if you are camping in wet conditions. It can prevent your sleeping bag from soaking the moisture from the air. You can use a trash compactor bag with a liner, or just use the trash compactor liners inside of your sleeping bag container. If the weather is extremely wet, you can also use double liners.
Some Bonus Tips And Tricks For Campers To Keep A Sleeping Bag Dry While Camping
The above methods are tried and tested in keeping your sleeping bag dry, but after camping by ourselves for a long time, we found out a few of our tips and tricks to keep a sleeping bag dry.
1. Hang Your Sleeping Bag
Every morning at the camp, you must hang your sleeping bag to dry. This will make it usable at night, after becoming wet in the morning because of dew and condensation. In windy or sunny areas, your bag will dry up quickly but even in wet conditions, you should keep it hanging as long as it takes to dry out.
Synthetic bags work better for this because they dry up quicker than down bags.
2. Keep Bag Away From The Tent Walls
There is a lot of precipitation on the walls of a tent, either on the outside because of rain, dew, etc., or on the inside because of interior condensation. Now, if your sleeping bag touches the walls, your bag is also likely to get wet and you would feel the chills.
So, try to set your sleeping bag in the center of your tent away from any wall.
3. Use A New Bag
There is a waterproofing layer coated on your sleeping bag. This layer slowly gets worn off as the days go by and you wash your sleeping bag. After a while, as your bag gets old, this waterproof layer gets worn off and the water-repelling property of your bag goes with it.
So, it is advisable that you change your sleeping bag after a couple of years or you run the risk of catching hypothermia in the cold with your old bag.
4. Tent Floor Waterproof
When you go camping in a tent, you most likely are going to lie on the floor with a sleeping bag to get into. Now, suppose your sleeping bag is waterproof but the tent floor isn’t, you will face problems then. The water that seeps through the floor will wet the surface f your sleeping bag and make you cold.
So, whenever you are going camping, keep a waterproof floor tarp to enjoy a camping night fully dry.
5. Don’t Wipe Down The Beads Of Water
If you had a sleeping bag in wet conditions, you must have seen droplets of water on the surface of your sleeping bag. This indicates that the waterproof barrier is working. You will be urged to wipe those droplets off the bag, but you shouldn’t do so. It a rookie mistake. When you wipe those droplets, the water seeps deeper into your sleeping bag and can get trapped there.
So, instead of wiping off, you can keep it hanging for the droplets to evaporate into the atmosphere.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
So, you can use several hacks to keep your sleeping bag dry, from some based on choices to some based on execution, but nothing can be done a hundred percent, not even sealing a sleeping bag from the water.
So, your sleeping bag will get wet on the outside and a bit on the inside despite giving your best efforts to keep it dry, but with these tricks, we can assure you that you will get a comfortable sleep on a wet and chilly night.
Do share with us, your stories of camping and what sleeping bags you used, and if these tips helped you in some ways through the comment section below.