The best way to pack your sleeping bag has to meet three main goals.
- The sleeping bag has to stay clean and dry. Make sure to protect your sleeping bag from direct sunlight, and try to avoid traveling with such a sensitive piece of equipment exposed to the elements. I mean, don´t tie it to your car´s roof rack.
- It must remain unscratched, thus assuring a good protective performance.
- It has to be placed where it doesn´t forbid your ability to walk or climb. When all displacement is going to be on foot or cycling, placement is key. Even though compression packs can seem like a good way to avoid the proverbial bulkiness of the sleeping bag, it's not recommended at all for natural feather-filled sleeping bags or most synthetic filled ones.
- As sleeping bags are usually not weight intensive, they should be placed near the top of the backpack. Always keep in mind that it has to stay dry so put it under at least a layer of waterproof fabric. Packing the sleeping bag in the carrying bag provided by the manufacturer is not going to add much weight and will provide an extra layer of protection.
- Most backpacks accept something as big as a sleeping bag between the top cover and the body of the pack. If yours does not, still try to attach it to the top of the backpack, and include an extra cover in the upper part of the pack.
- Always follow the sleeping bag manufacturer´s manual´s instructions for storing, packing and general care.
Combining the effectiveness in those three fields is the best way to pack your sleeping bag. If you are going on a road trip, or car camping, the issue is not so delicate.
Depending on the brand and model, some sleeping bags can be compressed for shorter periods of time (i.e. when hikig or climbing), but all sleeping bags have to stay hanged when stored.
Any edition of "Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills" by Don Graydon and Kurt Hanson.