How to Get the Most Out of Your Sleeping Bag

A technical sleeping bag is a necessary investment for mountain hunting. Understanding how to use and care for your sleeping bag will ensure you keep your pack as light as possible while staying warm and rested for long days in the field.

At Stone Glacier, we believe in the systems approach when it comes to choosing gear for a hunt. Our apparel line allows you to customize your kit to match the hunt. This same philosophy applies to our sleeping systems, which is why we offer three options: the Chilkoot 0°, Chilkoot 15°, and the Chilkoot 32° Quilt. Pair one of these with a compression sack and a quality sleeping pad, and the only thing keeping you up at night will be that herd bull you saw at last light. 

Chilkoot Sleeping Bags: Why We Use Down 

Down has long been known for its ability to insulate—just ask any goose. This light plumage is found under the feathers of geese and ducks and keeps them warm and dry. Down is also incredibly compressible and light, making it the perfect insulating material for a sleeping bag. We use 850+ fill power down, which provides an outstanding warmth-to-rate ratio. Even so, there is one major drawback to down, and we tackled it head-on. 

When down gets wet, it loses loft and the ability to insulate. Your bag isn’t entirely useless when it gets wet, but a wet down bag isn’t something you want on the side of a mountain in November. To keep you warm and your down dry, we use water-resistant HyperDRY™ 90/10 grey goose down in our Chilkoot bags. We will spare you the molecular details on how HyperDRY works but know that each down cluster is treated with a natural wax-based compound that allows water to bead and roll off. If you want proof of how this works, watch the Stone Glacier science team in our water cooler test:


Down works its insulating magic only when it’s allowed to fully loft. This is why we incorporate Pertex Quantum fabrics in the exterior shell and interior liner. Made from incredibly fine yarn, this tightly woven fabric is light and soft, allowing the 850+ fill down to blossom to its full potential. A durable water-repellent finish adds yet another layer of moisture protection to the already water-resistant down. 

In the Field: Sleeping Pads and Compression Sacks 

An integral part of your sleep system has to incorporate the right sleeping pad for the hunt. Pads provide relief from the ground, and they also serve as an insulation layer based on the R-value of the pad. Stone Glacier carries two Thermarest sleeping pads that will fit your kit and your hunt. 

The Neoair® XLite is a versatile, ultralight pad that provides insulation in every season thanks to its 4.5 R-value. Packing down to the size of a Nalgene bottle, this three-inch-thick pad weighs just 12.5 ounces. For extreme winter conditions, the Neoair® XTherm is also three inches thick but provides a 7 R-value. Weighing just a few more ounces than the Neoair® XLite, the Neoair® XTherm has the best warmth-to-weight ratio in its class. This is achieved by using two key pieces of new technology: a Triangular Core Matrix™ and ThermaCapture™ technology. The video below digs into the science behind this ground-breaking sleeping pad.

For summer scouting, early-season hunts, or hunts that take you to the desert, the Chilkoot 32  Quilt and the Neoair XLite is a lightweight combo that’s adjustable depending on those overnight lows. Tighten the quilt’s straps for colder conditions, or loosen them to allow more airflow. To see how this works, check out this video:

The quilt weighs just 1lb. 6.6 oz., and when compressed is slightly larger than a standard Nalgene bottle. You’ll never know it’s in your pack. Packing your Grumman Goose Down Jacket will also give you additional warmth while sleeping if needed, in addition to serving as lightweight insulation on the hunt.

Stone Glacier Chilkoot 32° Quilt compressed next to Nalgene bottle

As the season progresses and the mercury dips, the Chilkoot 15° and the Neoair XLite will get you through everything but the most extreme nights. Most of us at Stone Glacier run this combo. If we need a little extra warmth, we put on our Grumman Jacket and Pant or upgrade our pad to the Neoair XTherm. If you’re heading into the late season to chase a battle-weary bull or rutty mule deer buck, consider pairing the Chilkoot 0° sleeping bag with the Neoair XTherm pad. 

If you’ve ever run a synthetic bag, you know that it doesn’t pack down as compact as your buddy’s down bag. That is one of the main reasons we love down: its compressibility. To protect your bag while maximizing its packability to free up space in your pack, we recommend using a compression sack. All of our bags come with a stuff sack, and a compression sack is simply another bag with straps that allows you to compress your bag even more. Compression sacks weigh next to nothing and also provide a level of waterproof protection. The Chilkoot 0° bag takes a 15-liter compression sack, while the Chilkoot 15° takes a 10-liter. You can fit the Chilkoot 32° Quilt, along with the Grumman Jacket and Pant, inside a 10-liter sack as well. 

Proper Care of Your Down Sleeping Bag 

We understand that our sleeping bags are an investment, and we want you to help make your bag last as long as possible. These simple steps can keep your bag performing at its peak level. 

  1. After each trip, hang it up and air it out.
  2. For long-term storage, use the mesh bag and not the stuff sack. This helps to preserve the loft. 
  3. A simple spot-wash will usually take care of any problem areas or smells. 
  4. When you air out your bag, inspect it for any small rips or tears. These can be repaired using Tenacious Tape and Seam Grip

We don’t recommend washing your down bag or garments unless absolutely necessary because over-washing can damage the down clusters. If you must wash your down, follow these steps carefully or watch our step-by-step video:

Washing Down 

  1. Fill a large tote or bathtub with warm water. 
  2. Use a product like ReviveX Down Cleaner. DO NOT use fabric softener or bleach. 
  3. Massage the bag in the water, scrubbing any problem areas. 
  4. Let it soak for 15 minutes. 
  5. Remove it from the bath and wring out as much water as possible. 
  6. Toss it in the dryer on a low heat setting and don’t forget to toss in a few tennis balls, which will prevent the down from clumping. DO NOT skip the tennis balls. 
  7. Drying your bag could take 3-5 hours. After each dryer cycle, check for clumps of down and gently pull them apart with your fingers. 
  8. Be sure the bag is completely dry before storing it in the mesh bag. 
  9. If you ever have questions, just give us a call at 406.404.0641