How to Replace Feathers in a Down Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bags on a white background.
  • 4-8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-500
What You'll Need
Scissors/seam ripper
Sewing machine
Sewing pins
Plastic trash bag
Down refill

A down sleeping bag is filled up with fluffy, down feathers that create its lightweight properties and high warming capabilities. Down feathers are only found on birds underneath the layer of outer feathers and, unfortunately, they can get damaged and worn out. The only way to fully maintain the bag’s functionality is by replacing its feathers when they get damaged.

Step 1 - Prepare

The first thing you need to do is to get down re-fill that matches the specific needs of your bag. You need to consider whether you want to completely replace the filling with new down fill or whether you want to simply replace some of it. So make sure that you have enough down re-fill to complete the task.

Step 2 - Open the Seam

To replace the down filling you need to open up a seam using either scissors or a seam ripper. It is highly recommended to use a seam ripper to avoid damaging the sleeping bag. You will need at least a 6-inch opening to be able to properly work in comfort. So get your seam ripper and gently cut away at the stitches.

Step 3 - Remove the Fill

If you have chosen to simply add more fill to the already present down feathers in your bag you should now press down all the filling way from the rip you have created in step 2. Press the filling inwards and away from the hole. If you have chosen to fully replace the down filling you should start emptying the bag from down fill. So start grabbing handfuls of the down filling in your sleeping bag and take it out through the hole you have created. Make sure to place all the unwanted down filling in the plastic trash bag to avoid getting it mixed up with the new down re-fill.

Step 4 - Stuff in the New Down Fill

Once you have made space for the new down fill you can start re-filling the sleeping bag with the new filling you bought. Pull handfuls of down fill out of the re-fill bag and insert them in the sleeping bag through the rip. Use the end of a broom to press the filling deep down into the sleeping bag. Keep on doing this until your sleeping bag has regained the full texture it originally had.

Step 5 - Finish Up

At this point you should have filled in your sleeping bag with new down fill. You can now use your sewing pins to pin the seams in place. Once the sewing pins are placed you can use the sewing machine to close up the rip.

Discard the damaged fill and store any down re-fill that may be left over. This is the easiest way to replace feathers in a down sleeping bag. Remember not to overstuff the sleeping bag and to fill it up only until it becomes fluffy and soft.