When you go on a camping trip, you can toss your sleeping bags in the trunk with the rest of your gear. But when a true wilderness experience beckons, and you're faced with fitting all your food, tent, and other necessities in a pack that you will carry for miles on end, the size and weight of your sleeping bag begins to matter a great deal.
When backpacking, it is important to pack sensibly, if not scientifically. The length of your trip will determine how much food and water you will have to carry while increasing the chances that you'll run into rain or other conditions that require additional gear. If you're traveling with a companion, especially a child, you may end up having to attached multiple sleeping bags to your backpack.
Step 1: Different Methods for Different Bags
Larger rectangular sleeping bags are typically bulkier and heavier and do not pack down very compactly. Mummy bags, by contrast, typically pack up into small nylon bags not much larger than a football. They also tend to weigh between 2 and 7 pounds, making them extraordinarily user-friendly when backpacking. Before deciding how best to carry multiple sleeping bags, evaluate the types, you've got to pack and proceed from there.
Step 2: Folding Up Rectangular Sleeping Bags
If there is more than one rectangular bag to carry, provided it is dry enough outside to do this, unzip the sleeping bags fully and lay one on top of the other. Next, fold up the sleeping bags like you would a single bag, rolling it up in the appropriate manner using your knee to keep it tight. Once rolled up, use either a length of cord to tightly tie the rolled bags in at least two places.
Step 3: Fasten to Backpack with Bungee Cords
If you have an exposed-frame pack, lay it on the ground with the pack facing up. Hook two bungee cords to the frame somewhere in between the frame and the pack towards the bottom of it. Hold the rolled-up sleeping bags sideways against the bottom of the bag and bring one bungee cord at a time around and underneath it on either side. Most packs have extra loops or grommeted holes to attach things. Hook the other end of each bungee to one such hole. If the hold is too loose, move the bungees up to a higher part of the frame.
Step 4: Using Cord
If you do not have any bungee cords, parachute cord, durable rope, or twine will work as well to secure rolled-up sleeping bags to the bottom of a backpack. For balance purposes, avoid attaching the sleeping bags to the top of the pack.
Step 5: Bagged Mummy Bags
Mummy sleeping bags often come with a nylon bag and a zip cord. Being very lightweight, position the bagged sleeping bag upright against the side of a backpack and tie the bag's cord to the frame or a spare grommet or loop on the pack. Use a length of cord or bungee to secure the bag to the side of the pack so it won't jostle around as you like.
However you manage to do it, make sure you're comfortable if you are tasked with carrying multiple sleeping bags during a backpacking trip. With bungee cords and/or parachute or other versatile rope on hand, you can always find a way to make something work.