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Cleaning a Sleeping Bag in the Field

I'm in the military and for deployments and long field ops, I am unable to wash my sleeping bag. I have adopted the practice of spraying the inside of my bag with Lysol and drying it in the sun. Do you see this ruining the bag in any way?

Question:

Dear Kristin, I’m in the military; for deployments and long field ops, I am unable to wash my sleeping bag. I have adopted the practice of spraying the inside of my bag with Lysol and drying it in the sun. Do you see this ruining the bag in any way?

Submitted by - David - Jacksonville, NC

Answer:

I’m no dermatologist, David, but it seems to me that Lysol next to your skin can’t be a very good thing. Plus, my guess is that it’s not good for your bag’s fabric in the long haul, either. But I consulted Bill Gamber, the big cheese at Big Agnes, to get his thoughts and we have a couple of ideas for you:

First, consider a bag liner made from cotton, silk, or polyester. These are much easier to clean—you can do it by hand in the field—and they dry quickly in the sun. Sea to Summit (seatosummit.com) makes a full array of liners in all different shapes and materials.

Second, try just wiping down the inside of your bag with a damp cloth and a little soap, then wiping it again with just water (to rinse). Let that dry in the sun.

If you truly do need just a quick fix for the field, try swapping out the Lysol can for something a bit more benign, like Febreeze Fabric Refresher. Use it sparingly and definitely give your bag a proper washing (in a commercial washer) between deployments. This video shows you the proper technique.

1 Comment

  1. meanolddog

    When I was “in” former SSgt. here, I had my girlfriend, yes back them woemen could actually sew, make me a silk liner which made all the other NCO’s jealous to where I had to lock it up to keep it from being “liberated”!

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