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Fear Not the Maytag-Plus Other Bag-Care Tips

AT HOME

2004 Buyer's Guide: Sleeping Bag Care

» Always THOROUGHLY AIR OUT your bag after a trip to be sure it's dry. Full sun will help kill odor-causing bacteria.
» Even a frequently used sleeping bag spends most of its time stored. Use a big storage sack to LET IT BREATHE AND RELAX.
» Every sack needs a real washing at some point. Use a large, front-loading washer and mild soap or down-specific detergent. NEVER DRY-CLEAN a down bag—the cleaning solvents wash away vital oils in the material.
» Handle a heavy, wet bag by SUPPORTING IT COMPLETELY in a big ball. Letting it hang can tear the interior baffles. Dry it on the lowest heat setting and toss in a couple of tennis balls to help break up clumps of down.

IN THE FIELD
» Even if you're a minimalist, under-the-stars camper, USE A GROUND CLOTH, or dirt will work its way inside and abrade the bag.
» A silk or cotton liner adds a few ounces but a lot of comfort, and it keeps your backcountry bed much cleaner.
» Base-camping for several days? Rein in your inner neatnik and LEAVE YOUR BAG OUT AND OPEN. Constant stuffing and unstuffing does it no good. If possible, HANG THE BAG UP each morning so air can circulate through it and banish moisture.

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