How To Attach A Sleeping Bag To A Backpack


There’s nothing more rewarding or enjoyable than heading out on a camping adventure that involves hiking between spots. But there’s also something highly annoying about such a situation; carrying all of your things!

If you don’t pack properly then you’ll find it uncomfortable and challenging to take all of your essentials with you. One essential is much larger than others and that’s your sleeping bag so you need to find an appropriate way to transport it so that you don’t have to sacrifice space and you can move around freely. 

How do you do this? By attaching it to your backpack. But while this is a common thing to do, a lot of people are still unfamiliar with how to attach a sleeping bag to a backpack. In this guide, you’ll learn exactly what to do to securely attach your sleeping bag so you can focus on enjoying nature!

Why Should You Attach The Sleeping Bag To The Outside Of The Backpack?

Before you get started, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with why you would want to attach the sleeping bag to the outside of your backpack. A lot of people immediately raise the issue of the sleeping bag getting wet. We will look at this in more detail later on but it isn’t too much of a problem when you do things correctly. 

Having your sleeping bag attached to your backpack means that you’ll free up a ton of space inside your bag. While many people like to keep things basic when camping, there are still quite a few things that you’re going to need. With a sleeping bag inside your pack, you might not be able to carry all of these items.

Moreover, when you keep the sleeping bag on the outside of the backpack, you’ll find that the weight of everything is much more evenly balanced. If you have all of the weight on one particular part of your back, you’re really going to feel the strain. Spreading it out is much better for your physical health. 

Can’t I Just Store My Sleeping Bag Inside The Backpack?

We’ve already touched upon some of the reasons that keeping the sleeping bag inside the backpack isn’t the best idea. But you should also consider whether it would even fit! This all depends on the size of the sleeping bag and the size of your pack. 

There may be some instances that it would be better to store it inside so we’d always recommend making sure that it will go in should you need it to. For example, if you’ve had it on the outside and found that the sleeping bag is starting to feel damp, it might need the protection of being inside your pack. Other times, you may find that attaching it to the outside just doesn’t feel secure and the sleeping bag keeps moving around. The whole point of this is for convenience and comfort so if neither of those things are achieved, it’s all a waste of time.

If you are going to store the sleeping bag inside your backpack then you’ll need to be very mindful of how you pack everything. There’s a high chance that you’ll have to sacrifice some items but make sure that the most important take priority. This includes things like maps, water, a compass, food and other crucial items.

What Is The Best Way Of Attaching A Sleeping Bag To A Backpack?

We’re going to go into detail on some great ways to attach your sleeping bag to the outside of your backpack later on. But first, let’s consider which of these methods is going to be the most effective.

Most people would agree that having the sleeping bag attached to the side of the backpack is the best option. You can do this using compression buckles and we’ll cover how to do this shortly. 

The reason that this is such an effective method is that it will hold the sleeping bag in place far better than anything else. This means it won’t swing or move around when you’re hiking, which is much more comfortable for you. What’s more, you’ll find it a lot easier to take the sleeping bag on and off the backpack so much simpler.

There is one downside to consider here and that’s weight distribution. You might find that having it on one side or the other throws the balance off a bit. For some, this isn’t an issue but for others it can be a real pain; literally! If you find this too much then we would suggest attaching it to the bottom although this comes with the added stress of the sleeping bag potentially getting dirty. 

Attaching Your Sleeping Bag To Your Backpack - The Options

When it comes to attaching your sleeping bag to your backpack, there are some brilliant ways to do this. Which you choose will largely depend on what you find most comfortable and the equipment you have. Here are some methods to try.

Compression Buckles

If you want to make sure that your sleeping bag is really secure then using compression buckles is an almost surefire way of achieving this. There is far less likelihood of the bag swinging around as you move which is excellent news if you’re going to be on the go a lot. 

You’ll need to check whether your backpack has compression straps but for the most part, it will. These are a feature that manufacturers add to ensure the backpack remains secure in the event of overpacking. Provided you haven’t overloaded your bag then these straps could have the dual purpose of attaching your sleeping bag. 

All you need to do is undo the buckles and pop the sleeping bag in. Close everything back up and you’re good to go. It’s that easy!

Tie Points On The Backpack

On the bottom of external frame backpacks, you will notice that there are tie points. Using this method is pretty much the same as the previous one as all you’ll need to do is slide the sleeping bag into place and then tighten everything up. If you have an internal frame backpack then there may be tie points that function in the same way and this is ideal if you want something hassle free as it’s one of the easiest methods. 

Make Use Of Straps And Loops

Check to see whether your backpack has loops on the rear. In almost all cases, there will be but it’s important to keep in mind that not every sleeping bag will come with straps. If it doesn’t, then you unfortunately won’t be able to use this method. 

However, if it does then it’s as simple as putting the straps through the loops on the backpack and pulling them tight. That’s it! Although, we should point out that this method might not be the most secure. If you’re going on long hikes or moving over very uneven terrain, you may find that the sleeping bag swings around too much.

Use A Lid Tie

On the bottom of an internal frame backpack, there will be a tightening strip and you can use this to compress your sleeping bag. You should pack your backpack before attaching the sleeping bag and when you’re done, put the sleeping bag on the top. Now bring the compression strap up and tie it around the pack which will hold everything in place. 

This is a good method but there is one serious downside that you’ll need to consider; there is more risk of water getting in. This is because you may end up with a gap. If the weather is dry then it won’t be much of an issue but if it’s raining or you’ll be going into lots of wet environments, this probably isn’t the best option.

DIY Method

Earlier, we talked about a method that required your sleeping bag to have straps. Since a lot of sleeping bags don’t have straps, there is still a way you can put the loops on your backpack to good use. Try this DIY method; it’s easy and all you’ll need is an elastic rope or some twine and buckles.

Take two pieces of your rope and wrap these around the sleeping bag tightly. Now use the other two pieces to attach to your backpack loops. You can now join the two together and be on your merry way. We told you it was easy!

Is There A Risk Of My Sleeping Bag Getting Wet If It’s Stored Outside My Backpack?

If you carry your sleeping bag on the bottom of your backpack then there is a higher chance that it will get wet. So, if you want to minimise this risk as much as possible then it’s a good idea to always carry it on the top or the side. If you must carry it on the bottom of your bag, make sure that you keep everything as tight as possible.

That said, regardless of where you place your sleeping bag, if it’s not inside the pack, then there is some risk of it getting wet or damp. If it’s absolutely hammering it down with rain then it’s probably not wise to keep it attached to the outside. Even the most water resistant sleeping bags will struggle if they’re over exposed to water. 

That said, it does help to buy a high quality, waterproof sleeping bag. The better this feature is, the more resistant it will be so if there’s just a bit of drizzle, you might not need to worry. Moreover, most sleeping bags come with a carry bag so make sure you use this as it will act as a barrier between the sleeping bag and the elements. 

The one problem with a lot of these carry bags is that there will be a gap where the drawstring does up. This may let in moisture but a great way to avoid this is by wrapping your sleeping bag in a piece of waterproof material before you put it in the carry bag. 

Conclusion

Packing everything perfectly when you go on a camping trip isn’t always easy. You need to make sure you have all of your essentials but sometimes, you can’t get them all into your backpack. Short of buying a much bigger pack, you’ll have to come up with another way of transporting everything. 

That’s why we think carrying your sleeping bag attached to your backpack is a great idea. As long as it isn’t going to be heavily exposed to water, you’ll be able to attach it so that it is secure and well balanced. This will free up space inside your pack for those other important items.

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