Chapter 69: How to Keep Your Sleeping Bag Right Side Up

Since ultralight sleeping bags usually have most of their insulation on top, it’s important to keep your bag right side up. There’s a technique to do this.

Western Mountaineering routinely puts 60% of the insulation in their ultralight bags on top.  Since many of these bags have continuous baffles, a lot of hikers shift an even greater percentage of the down to the top in cold conditions.  Of course you need good insulation beneath you to make this work.

After most of the insulation is moved to the top of the bag, it’s important that you keep the bag right side up to stay warm.  Many hikers roll over in their sleep and have the bag roll with them.  This may work well to keep the hood around your head, but if the bag rolls with you, the insulation moves to the side or bottom and you get cold.

If you toss and turn while sleeping, you need to develop a system to keep the top of your sleeping bag and its insulation on top.  This is more difficult in narrow mummy bags.  With a little practice you can do this without fully waking up.

Before you turn your body, “pin” the bag with your hand or elbow, or both.  You’ll probably find it helpful to pin the foot section with one foot, too.  Whether you tend to change sides by rolling over the top or underneath, you’ll want to reach in front of you with your arm and leg to pin your sleeping bag in position before you turn.

You can get better and better at it, and do it almost in your sleep.