Sleeping bag age?

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sierra

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I pulled a Marmot 20 degreee bag out of my storage, expecting to get rid of it. Its been in there, since 2006. It was stored cleaned and loose in a large very breathable nylon sack as recommended. Here's the rub, it seems perfectly fine. Is this possible for a sleeping bag to last this long stored? Im going to CO next month and will be car camping, I'm wondering if I should give it fresh was and use it or just get a new one to be safe.
 
No expert on the topic by any means but isn't the issue that ruins sleeping bags the compression of the down/fibers for extended periods? Even though it has been in storage for a long time I'd think if it was stored lofted and dry the whole time it would still be OK. I'd try stuffing it into the compression sack you use to hike for a few days then take it out and see how it behaves. If it relofts like normal I'd think it would be fine.
 
If it's down, you aren't going to have any degradation in the insulation if it was stored properly. Shell damage should be obvious. I've been sending my quilts back to the manufacturer when the shell starts to split to have the down put into a new quilt. The down in my quilt is at least 14 years old at this point. I have down bags my parents used in the 70s that still work fine. If it smells and looks ok, you can probably skip the wash and just toss it into the dryer on low heat with a damp washcloth and some tennis balls to get all the loft back. Synthetic insulation might be a different story. The bag should still be ok, but 30* is probably a more realistic rating. I have synthetic Mont Bell stuff from around 2005 that still works but doesn't loft as much.
 
I have a cheap550 or 650 down 5degree EmS branded bag I got in 2001 that lives in its storage bag. Every few years I bring it out for a late season outing and it is always very toasty and lofty. I have probably gone ten years at one point without using it and it was nice and fluffy. I always thoroughly dry it before storage and never any issues.
 
If it's down, you aren't going to have any degradation in the insulation if it was stored properly. Shell damage should be obvious. I've been sending my quilts back to the manufacturer when the shell starts to split to have the down put into a new quilt. The down in my quilt is at least 14 years old at this point. I have down bags my parents used in the 70s that still work fine. If it smells and looks ok, you can probably skip the wash and just toss it into the dryer on low heat with a damp washcloth and some tennis balls to get all the loft back. Synthetic insulation might be a different story. The bag should still be ok, but 30* is probably a more realistic rating. I have synthetic Mont Bell stuff from around 2005 that still works but doesn't loft as much.
, good tips, but it has retained all its loft. Looks as good as I last saw it.
 
I have two Marmot down 20s that I store on hangers in a cedar closet. They both have been washed at least once in their 15 year lifetime and both are still looking good today.

I would not hesitate to use them as a Fall bag in the 20-30 degree range.
 
I recently acquired a new bag because it was on sale for such a good deal I couldn't turn it down... otherwise, my newest sleeping bag is over 20 years old (with plenty of use in that time!) and still doing just fine. As with anything, proper care and maintenence goes a long way- you take care of it, and it will take care of you!
 
Update: Thank you everyone for the fantastic feedback. I aired out my bag for a few days and it still had just a hint of mustiness. I decided a good wash might help, so off to the cleaners to use an industrial front-loading washing machine and then followed up with a light tumble dry in another big machine, boom, my bag is a good as new. It will now be going back to Colorado for a vacation where ironically, I bought it many years ago.
 
Update: Thank you everyone for the fantastic feedback. I aired out my bag for a few days and it still had just a hint of mustiness. I decided a good wash might help, so off to the cleaners to use an industrial front-loading washing machine and then followed up with a light tumble dry in another big machine, boom, my bag is a good as new. It will now be going back to Colorado for a vacation where ironically, I bought it many years ago.
I've had good luck using the GearAid Revivex down cleaner to restore loft. Using that and drying with tennis balls, my down gear gets a whole new lease on life.
 
I bought a down 20 degree bag used from the IME basement somewhere around 1999-2000. I have to confess, I wouldn't say it's a 20 degree bag any longer, but it works for to the low-40s.

I just bikepacked from Banff to Whitefish, MT, and when we returned I thought it was time to wash it. It's not just the loft, but rather also keeping the down dispersed that gives me issues with the bag. It tends to clump in some spots with empty nylon in others. I'm interested to see if that changes now that I washed it.
 
I bought a down 20 degree bag used from the IME basement somewhere around 1999-2000. I have to confess, I wouldn't say it's a 20 degree bag any longer, but it works for to the low-40s.

I just bikepacked from Banff to Whitefish, MT, and when we returned I thought it was time to wash it. It's not just the loft, but rather also keeping the down dispersed that gives me issues with the bag. It tends to clump in some spots with empty nylon in others. I'm interested to see if that changes now that I washed it.
Thats a riot, because in 1984 I bought a -30 degree bag from the IME basement that was used, turned in by a guy who just came back from Denali. I was worried about freezing to death cutting my teeth in the Whites, so I felt good about the rating. It was synthetic and Huge!! even with a compression sack, it took up half the space in my pack. But it was toasty, spent the night out in -30 and it kept me warm, although I could feel the air coming in the seams still. I got a lot of good gear and a lot of help from Rick Wilcox back then.
 
My favorite sleeping bag is a North Face 5º down bag I purchased new in about 1993 or '4. It still works very well, though I haven't tried it in much below about 15-20 in the past few years. Ratings were different back then.

Washing is also good to get out all the sweat and things like sunblock and bugspray.
 
I picked up a used Feathered Friends Eider -10F bag w/6oz overfill last year, according to FF the serial number puts its manufacture around 2000. Whoever owned it before took care of it like his life depended on it because I think you’d seriously have a hard time telling it’s not new from looking at it. The thing lofts up to around 9-10” thick and touches my Marmot Hammer at both ends (it’s a 6’ bag.) I’ve used it one night at about -10F with my Xtherm and was almost uncomfortably warm in it with merino baselayer and socks.
 

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Our local scouts would borrow winter bags from the local national guard for winter use. The guard would send out stored bags every year to be dry cleaned whether they were used or not. The dry cleaning chemical did a number on the down in the bags, so they were probably bordeline on rating (and weighed a ton). Definitely do not dry clean down bags, its strips the natural oils from the feathers and drastically reduces loft.
 
Thats a riot, because in 1984 I bought a -30 degree bag from the IME basement that was used, turned in by a guy who just came back from Denali. I was worried about freezing to death cutting my teeth in the Whites, so I felt good about the rating. It was synthetic and Huge!! even with a compression sack, it took up half the space in my pack.

Funny, I bought a -40 synth bag from consignment there probably 6-7 years ago. I have my doubts about the rating and it's massive besides so I've never actually used it in the backcountry. Soon after I moved on to hammocks so it'll probably never see any real use. But it's handy on frigid winter nights when I've slept in the car.
 
I have a minus 25 Western Mountaineering “Puma” bag (because, of course) that I bought in advance of my 2015 climb of Denali. Also used for Rainier V2.0 in 2016 and Shasta in 2019.

Way more bag than I’ll likely ever need for anything else at this point, but I’m gonna use it every chance I get … including car/resort camping in Alabama/Florida last year. It’s the bomb and easy enough to unzip or sleep on top of if you don‘t need all of that rating.

Having said that, I’d have no issue taking it back into serious cold, including Greenland, which I continue to ponder. It is just as bulky and substantial as the day I bought it.
 
I recently went car camping w/ my wife in the ADKs, her EMS 20' down bag stored its whole life in original stuff sack since our 1st backpack in 1979 was like new. Well almost like new. She's used it maybe 20 trips.
 
bought my NF Ibex in early 70s. Still puffs up.
 
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