How to Maximize Warmth Inside Your Sleeping Bag - Appalachian Mountain Club

How to Maximize Warmth Inside Your Sleeping Bag

June 23, 2015


  1. Unstuff your sleeping bag well before bedtime, letting it fully regain its loft and warmth.
  2. If it’s chilly out, place a chemical heat warmer or hot water bottle in your sleeping bag about an hour before bedtime to kickstart warmth.
  3. Eating a dinner high in fat on cold nights generates longer-lasting heat than a carb-heavy meal.
  4. Wearing a liner balaclava while you sleep provides head and neck coverage. Bonus: It doesn’t shift around or fall off when you toss and turn.
  5. Don’t breathe into your hood. The moisture will collect in the insulation and slowly compromise warmth, especially in down sleeping bags.
  6. In the morning, stuff your sleeping bag tail-first to prevent the footbox from ballooning. Turn the bag inside out if it has a wind-resistant shell.
  7. Invest in a compression stuff sack. This will reduce the size of your stuffed bag by a third or more.
  8. At home, never store your sleeping bag compressed in its stuff sack. Doing so will permanently crush the insulation and reduce the bag’s warmth.

This story originally appeared in the May/June issue of AMC Outdoors, alongside the column “Choosing the Right Three-Season Sleeping Bag.”

Equipped is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.

Search AMC Outdoors and Blogs

Search for:

Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.