Can You Add Filling to A Down Sleeping Bag?


As the temperatures start to drop down into the teens I’m starting to rethink some of my camping gear. My old 0 Degree sleeping bag is starting to feel more like a 30-degree bag as down feathers start to leak out the seams. Unable to spend money on a brand new sleeping bag I decided I would try to get a little more warmth out of my old bag.

Can you add filling to a down sleeping bag? Of course, you can! Armed with a 1/2lb bag of 900 Fill down filling(On Amazon) I decided I would refill my old bag.

Adding Feathers to A Down Sleeping Bag

Is your sleeping bag losing feathers every time you take it out? If your sleeping bag isn’t properly filled up with down you might want to consider refilling it.

Where Can I Buy Down Filling to Refill My Sleeping Bag?

You can always head down to your local Walmart and tear apart a down pillow, but the down quality will be questionable. I would highly recommend purchasing down filling on Amazon or heading down to your local Michaels to pick it up locally. Just make sure you get down with a high “Fill Power”.

Understanding Down Fill Power

Fill power is just a number that indicates the quality level of down. It represents the measurement of cubic inches of loft that 1oz of down fill produces. So a higher fill power means more loft and volume filled at less weight(aka more warmth.

Down sleeping bags range from about 450-900 Fill Power. That 450 Fill bag is probably cheap whereas the 900 Fill Power is about as good as down gets. If you’re trying to save weight and overfill your sleeping bag definitely aim for 750 Fill and above(preferably 900 Fill)

How to Add Filling to Your Bag

You shouldn’t need more than about 1/2 lb of down to refill your sleeping bag. Although you can use synthetic filling with down I’d highly recommend using regular down.

  1. Preparing Your Bag: How does your sleeping bag look? Do you need to completely replace the down in your bag or just add a little filling here and there? If all the down needs to be replaced buying a new bag might be cheaper. Just make sure you have enough down to refill your bag, about 1/2lb (200+ Grams) should do.
  2. Opening Your Seams: To open up your seams you should definitely buy a seam ripper(On Amazon). Scissors work, but a seam ripper is so much easier to use. Plus you don’t have to worry about accidentally damaging your bag. Open up one of the seams just enough to fit your hand in there(about 6 inches).
  3. Remove The Fill or Press it Down: You can either remove the filling or press it down a bit to add more. Press the filling inwards and down away from the hole. Start grabbing the filling by the handful and either remove it or redistribute it throughout the bag.
  4. Stuffing The Down Filling: Once you’ve made enough space start refilling the sleeping bag with your new down. Grab the down by the handful and stuff it through the seam. Use the end of a broom to push it further down into the bag. Keep repeating the process until your bag has regained its loft.
  5. Finishing Up: Check out the other side of your bag and figure out if you need to create another access point. Make sure you add additional stuffing around the hood. Use pins to hold the seams of your bag in place. Once the pins are in place use a sewing machine to close up the rip.

Should You Overstuff a Sleeping Bag

Manufacturers try to fill up their bags to the optimum fill point. This is the point where the additional weight of added down adds less warmth than increasing the size of the baffles.

The baffles should be just barely filled with a little bit of room to be fluffed up. Packing it down further will add additional warmth, but it adds a significant amount of weight. There’s a fine line between optimum warmth and increased weight.

At first, you might not notice a huge difference when overstuffing a bag, but it makes a huge difference as the down loses its loft. The extra down will keep your sleeping bag in that optimally warm sweet spot longer.

It’s Gonna Be A Mess

Ever see the aftermath of a pillow fight in a movie? That’s how your house is going to look if you’re not careful when refilling your bag. Close your doors and get the vacuum ready because there’s gonna be some major cleanup.

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