How to Restore Loft to a Synthetic Sleeping Bag?

A woman resting in a synthetic sleeping bag.

So, you’ve noticed something’s gone awry with your trusty synthetic sleeping bag. Let’s say you’re currently not in a good situation (financially wise) to obtain a new one. Faced with such an issue, you start to wonder: is there a way to restore loft to a synthetic sleeping bag?

The next thing you do is type that very same question into your Google search bar. A couple of seconds later, you’re reading these words. That’s how it happened right? Well, we ain’t no master of prediction, but we sure do know the answer to the issue of whether or not can one restore loft to a synthetic sleeping bag. In the text you’re about to read, we’ll gladly share our findings with you!

The easiest way to restore your synthetic sleeping bag’s loft is to implement the so-called shaking & beating strategy. Simply shake the sleeping bag from the foot end without being too aggressive. Once that’s over, let it rest on the floor for a whole day. Lastly, hang the sleeping bag and beat it using a badminton (or tennis) racket.

Now, there’s no way every bit of info you’ve got to know can fit inside three lines of text. That being said, feel free to read the tips you’ll find below!

Table of Contents

Synthetic sleeping bags 101

Okay, so before we tackle our main issue for today, let’s consider some basic info revolving around the subject of sleeping bags. Synthetic sleeping bags, that is. For instance, we might want to see exactly what they are, what they’re good for, or are they better than regular down sleeping bags. Stay tuned!

What are synthetic sleeping bags?

Well, it’s a sleeping bag that’s made out of synthetic material instead of down. The name says it all. What else could it be? Here we’ll stop joking, sorry. Anyway, the synthetic insulation that manufacturers use to fill synthetic sleeping bags is usually made out of polyester fibers “pieced together” to form sheets. The sheets we’re talking about are then sewn into the sleeping bag.

Also, you’ll want to know that synthetic sleeping bags are cheaper than their down counterparts. That’s why they’re pretty popular with beginner campers or folks that don’t use their outdoor equipment much. If you’re looking for numbers, know that you can save several hundreds of dollars buying a synthetic sleeping bag instead of a model filled with down. Lastly, some of you might imagine that sleeping bags aren’t really necessary if you’ve got an underquilt. You’ll want to click here to see if that’s right.

How long does a synthetic sleeping bag last?

There can’t be a straightforward answer to this question since it all depends on how much you use your sleeping bag. However, we can provide you with some basic statistics concerning the lifespan of synthetic sleeping bags. Usually, they’ll last you about 3-4 years in top condition, meaning the bag will maintain its best qualities, the ones folks look for in a comfy sleeping bag.

Let’s cut the whole “it depends…” part. In general, down sleeping bags last longer. Their average lifespan is about 10 years, which is, you’ll agree, downright outstanding. Also, down is more expensive, but there’s a good reason why that’s so, as you can notice. For more info, read the article we’ve published a while ago about whether or not a 950 fill down is worth it.

Okay, so we know that down bags have a longer life expectancy, but does that mean they’re also the better kind of sleeping bags?

Are synthetic sleeping bags better?

Another question we can’t give a straightforward answer to. That’s because, as they say, not all sleeping bags that belong to the same type are made equal. It all depends (here we go again…) on the way you plan to use them. In other words, you’ll need to ask yourself: what do I need in a sleeping bag? If your answer is: I need a bag that’s pretty lightweight, warm, and cleverly designed, you’ll want to opt for a synthetic sleeping bag. 

If, on the other hand, your answer to the question in the paragraph above is: longevity and warmth-to-packability ratio, you’d probably say that down sleeping bags are an obvious choice for any camper. Unfortunately, you’ll rarely find one that doesn’t smell if certain conditions are met.

Alright, now that we’ve answered some basic questions circling ’round the infamous synthetic sleeping bags (sounds like a poorly made-up band name), it’s time to consider the main question everyone’s eager to discuss: how to restore loft to a synthetic sleeping bag?

A man wearing a wool cap, sitting on a synthetic sleeping bag.

How to restore loft to a synthetic sleeping bag?

First of all, let’s give a quick definition of loft. So, what exactly is loft inside a sleeping bag? You’ll want to know that the so-called loft is the measure of fluffiness a certain sleeping bag possesses. And where do we get that fluffiness? Well, it comes from the air trapped between the fibers.

Anyway, restoring the loft to a synthetic sleeping bag means that you should do something to evenly distribute the fill inside it. Otherwise, you’re left with a sleeping bag that doesn’t “function” the way it’s supposed. In other words: it doesn’t provide you with the warmth and insulation you deserve when sleeping outdoors. That’s a good enough reason to seek help when restoring it, don’t you agree?

Let’s see how should one restore loft to a synthetic sleeping bag!

Restore loft to a synthetic sleeping bag with these few tricks

There’s a method that’s suitable for both down and synthetic sleeping bags and it’s called shaking and beating! Even though it sounds a bit aggressive, it will help you restore your synthetic sleeping bag’s former glory without much hassle. Shall we take a closer look?

Now, this is most probably the easiest way to do this: you’ll simply need to shake the sleeping bag from the foot end. Here’s a little suggestion: just try not to do it in a vigorous manner. Once you’re done shaking it, lay your trusty sleeping bag on the floor and let it rest for a whole day. Lastly, hang the sleeping bag and beat it using a badminton (tennis) racket.

Another way to do this is to treat your synthetic sleeping bag just like a pillow. You’ll want to punch and clap it; imagine you’re waking up in the middle of the night, trying to adjust your pillow’s fluffiness. Also, instead of being aggressive – try to massage it and find the dense clumps which you’ll break up by using your hands.

Now, if that doesn’t work out…

…you’ll want to try something else. To phrase it differently: you’ll have to wash your synthetic sleeping bag. Did you know that synthetic sleeping bags lose loft because of all the oil and body sweat buildup? Now that you do, washing your sleeping bag doesn’t sound like such a surprising option. A little disclaimer before we start: down sleeping bags better react to washing (more loft is restored), so don’t expect the same results.

Anyway, here’s how it works. First, you’ll want to unzip the sleeping bag and remove the drawcord. Next up, set your front-loading washer on a gentle cycle. Should you use warm water? Well, the answer’s most probably a YES, but it’s best if you check out the care label. You don’t want to use clothes washing detergent, trust us. Only use a soap that’s made with the intention to be used with a synthetic fill.

Don’t forget to give your sleeping bag a second rinse since you want to flush all that soap out of it. Once you’ve washed your sleeping bag, make sure to put it in the dryer. Keep in mind that wet down is pretty darn heavy. That being said, you might want to support the bag from underneath just so you avoid damaging the baffles. Set your dryer on air only, as heat can easily harm your trusty sleeping bag.

After you’re done drying it, simply hang it in front of a bright window and check your synthetic sleeping bag for cold spots. The thing is: light shouldn’t pass through your sleeping bag. That’s how you’ll know the work’s done.

If all else fails (again)

Unfortunately, we don’t have a suggestion here. You’ll probably have to deal with the inevitable (sorry for the tragic tone). If the tricks above don’t work, that might signal that it’s time to obtain a new sleeping bag. However, there’s another option (if available): contact the manufacturer and see if you can send them your bag so they can add more fluff.

Bonus round: Prevent delofting

Of course, prevention is better than cure. That’s why we’ll introduce you to a simple method of prevention called keeping your sleeping bag clean. In other words: try to sleep in clean clothes so that a whole day’s worth of dirt doesn’t find solace tucked inside your sleeping bag. Additionally, try using a liner or a mat on the ground before you sleep, and feel free to air out your bag during the day.

One last tip: here’s a cool article on how to roll up a Coleman Biscayne sleeping bag.

Final words

Alright, folks, now you know how to restore loft to a synthetic sleeping bag! Also, you’ve learned how to prevent the so-called delofting by using the simplest method out there: keeping your sleeping bag clean as a whistle! For more tips on various camping-related topics, make sure you visit our blog page.

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