How to Fold a Sleeping Bag Step-by-Step

If you’re going camping, learning how to fold a sleeping bag is an essential skill. But if you don’t know how to roll a sleeping bag, then half the fun of the adventure will be gone. It may look challenging to stuff an enormous sleeping bag into a tiny sack but rest assured it’s not rocket science.  Just knowing the tips and tricks of folding the bag properly will be enough. You’ll become a pro folder in no time.

So, let’s go over these simple steps, one by one.

Step 1: Check the Instruction

Different types of sleeping bags have different methods of packing. Some are meant to be rolled or folded, but some may be permanently damaged if you try to fold them. So, it’s better to check the manual and read the instructions clearly before attempting to fold your bag. Most sleeping bags are foldable, and generally, these come with straps or cords attached to the bag. These attachments are clear indicators that you can fold the bag without worry. However, down and synthetic insulation bags should not be folded, rather stuffed, so the insulation doesn’t get ruined.

Step 2: Shake out the Bag thoroughly

Before folding, first, pick up the sleeping bag and shake it around a couple of times. This will clear out any dirt or food crumbs from the bag. Check whether any items are left inside by mistake. You won’t be able to fold the bag properly with camping gear still within the bag interior.

Step 3: Fold the Bag in Half

Lay the bag on a flat surface of clean and dry ground. Apply pressure to get all the air out and flatten it. Then zip up the bag all the way to the top and fold it in half lengthwise.

Step 4: Roll the Sleeping Bag Tightly

Check to make sure the corners and edges are perfectly aligned before rolling. Start rolling from the bottom and continue until you reach the opposite end of the sleeping bag. Use one knee to press down on the sleeping bag to keep it neat and tight. If you’re having trouble with the roll, you can use a tent pole or straight stick across the end of the bag and roll the sleeping bag around it. You can also put a heavy object on the top of the bag and roll it from the bottom.

Step 5: Secure the Bag with Straps

Clamp the rolled portion down with your knee and keep your knee there even after you have finished rolling. Press one knee tightly into the center of the bag while pulling the straps evenly over the rolled bag or tying the cords around it. Most sleeping bags come with straps or cords to tie the bag so you won’t need to worry over it. In case there are no straps or cords, you can easily use nylon strings to tie around it. After securing the bag, carefully pull the tent pole or the stick out of the middle of the bag and put the rolled sleeping bag into its sack.

folded sleeping bag


  • Never leave a damp or wet sleeping bag folded for too long; otherwise, it could grow mold and get ruined
  • Always clean the bag before folding, at least wipe down the exterior while packing on a trip
  • Check for food, dirt, or perishable stuff inside so it doesn’t smell terrible later
  • Tightly roll the bag while camping. For long time storage, do not compress it. Instead, pack it into an oversized, breathable storage sack instead.


As you can see, folding a sleeping bag isn’t that difficult if you know the steps and follow them correctly. Try it at home beforehand and make yourself familiar with the steps. That way, you won’t get caught unprepared on your trip later and be able to fold your sleeping bag without any hitch.

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