|Don's Home Recreation Hiking & Camping Equipment Sleeping Bags|
Car camping bags even with synthetic insulation tend to be too big to fit into a backpack and too heavy for backpacking. Many are cotton or wool which are not recommended for backpacking bags. (Wool is good for clothing, however)
The 2005 European EN 13537 confort rating normalizes the temperatures at which a sleeping bag can be used.
As of the summer 2010 Marmot. REI, The North Face, and Mountain Hardware, were implementing the new ratings, but others are still lagging.
In "Issues Concerning the EN 13537 Sleeping Bag Standard " at OutdoorInsustry.org, Elizabeth McCullough, Ph.D., at Kansas State expresses some concern about the standard.
Warmth is generally a function of thickness of insulation:|
Accumulated body oils, sweat and dirt can rob your sleeping bag of its insulating power. Keep them away from your bag by sleeping in clean, long underwear, socks and a hat.
Liners: (also called travel sheets) Typically made of cotton or polyester, liners add very little weight to your pack and keep your bag clean and sweet-smelling. Plus, they add about 5° F to 15° F to your bag's comfort rating. My silk liner will add about 10° and weighs 6 oz. My poly liner will add 10-15° and weighs 9 oz. A 40° marmot down mummy is 1 lb 3 oz A 30° marmot down mummy is 1 lb 7 oz My Slumberjack Denali Adventure retangular down bag is a 45° bag and weighs 2 lb, 12 oz A vapor barrier (coated nylon) liner may add even more warmth and keep you hydrated, but can become clammy in warm weather. In cold conditions it keeps body moisture from condensing inside your bag.See: Lighweight Warm Backpacking Sleeping Bag
40 years ago people recommended dry cleaning down with stoddard's solvent (naphtha), but as dry cleaners moved to harsher fluids that removed essencial oils from the down and soaps improved there has been a shift to washing with mild soap such as Woolite or Ivory Snow or one of the specalized cleaners such as Nikwax Down Wash.
However the Slumberjack I got in 2006 still recommended dry cleaning with a mild stoddard's solvent.
Use a front-loading washer or a commercial washing machine, cool/warm water, gentle cycle. Rince several times to get soap out. A sleeping bag can be hard on the machine and vice versa because the machine agitates roughly with a large bulky item.
The best way is hand washing in a bathtub, but it takes a lot of rinsing to get the soap out.
Air drying is the safest. Dry on low heat if using a dryer. Add a couple of clean tennis balls when the bag is nearly dry. This will help break up any clumps of insulation and restore the loft.
Synthetic bags can be washed the same way.
Spot cleaning the shell with a paste of laundry detergent, water and a toothbrush is advised before washing the whole thing. This is especially true around the hood and collar where hair and skin oils tend to accumulate. By holding the shell or liner fabric away from the insulation, you can wash and rinse the area without getting the inside wet.
You can keep the bag cleaner by applying a water repellent product to the surface.
See: How to Wash a Sleeping Bag | eHow.com