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Topic: your down sleeping bag smells like ?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 4:32 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wondering what others have to say about what their down sleeping bags smell like?  Like a rose eh?

This thread may be more practical in the Gear forum but then more amusing here.  For some whether or not their sleeping bag smells or smells not at all may be of considerable, modest, or no nuisance at all to an individual.  Obviously some people have no issue being stinky and many of our ancestors lived pretty much their whole lives so until their fellow villagers got sick of them occasionally and like dealing with an uncooperative dog long johns and all tossed them into a soapy tub.

The sense of smell varies considerably between people so what is foul to one person might be no big deal to the next. Those who smoke cigarets for instance often have a poor ability to smell subtle odors. There is a tendency for people to habituate to strong smells which is something that happens when one visits various third world cities with open sewers and all.  At first getting off an airliner one may be rather nauseated, but a week later may hardly notice the general aroma.  So instead of stating your bag doesn't smell at all, get up and open that closet, pull it out some and get a fresh sniff.  THEN please tell if you dare.

Of course a brand new bag is going to both feel and be clean with no smell at all.   However as one uses a bag, it increasingly changes.  Some backpackers regularly wash their down bag after each season so their sleeping bag is likely to have a pleasant laundery soap odor.   But I'd bet most of us just chuck it in a closet without any cleaning where it collects dust for a few months until maybe spring warms.   A few others like me avoid washing a bag for as many years as possible by just keeping it clean.  

People vary greatly in natural body odor so what one person can get away with may be different than others. Some people tend to sweat a lot while others like this person not.   More importantly most backpackers tend to rarely take daily jumps in cold streams or lakes so on multi day trips they increasingly bring dirtier, smellier clothing and body inside a down bag.   Especially after a long sweaty dusty day on a trail.   When one gets inside a bag in the cool evening, all that sweat may have long dried off but it is still there so may still migrate to the surface of of the nylon.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 4:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

One can keep a bag fresh for a long time by:

1.  Wearing long johns and socks to sleep.  I use silk long johns and polyester liner socks to keep weight down.

2.  Wipe down the bag with a clean, damp cloth after each trip -- esp. the hood and chest sections (the opening area) -- then air out until thoroughly dry -- before storing.

A little bit of care goes a long way.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 4:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mine smells fine. I naturally don't produce body odor like "normal" people, even when sweating. I haven't found a scientific reason yet or a doctor who can explain it to me but I'm sure there must be a medical reason.

I do know that often, lower quality down fill will have a musty odor when wet that can seriously put off some unpleasant odor.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 4:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Tigger @ Jan. 22 2013, 2:38 pm)
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Mine smells fine. I naturally don't produce body odor like "normal" people, even when sweating. I haven't found a scientific reason yet or a doctor who can explain it to me but I'm sure there must be a medical reason.

I do know that often, lower quality down fill will have a musty odor when wet that can seriously put off some unpleasant odor.

How you smell has a lot to do with what you eat.

Processed foods and foods with a lot of non-natural ingredients will stink up you sweat.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 4:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mine all smell fine. I wear clean baselayers and socks in it. Plus I air it out for several days after I get back from a trip. I also use some Febreeze on it occasionally.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 4:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(desert dweller @ Jan. 22 2013, 1:43 pm)
QUOTE

(Tigger @ Jan. 22 2013, 2:38 pm)
QUOTE
Mine smells fine. I naturally don't produce body odor like "normal" people, even when sweating. I haven't found a scientific reason yet or a doctor who can explain it to me but I'm sure there must be a medical reason.

I do know that often, lower quality down fill will have a musty odor when wet that can seriously put off some unpleasant odor.

How you smell has a lot to do with what you eat.

Processed foods and foods with a lot of non-natural ingredients will stink up you sweat.

Adding to the above, I also suspect that daily use of deodorants which artificially dries the skin and kills bacteria actually renders unbalanced the body's own ability to perform same.  And when some folks go on multiple-day hikes and leaving their deodorants at home to save weight and hassle -- they sweat more and stink more quickly than "normal".


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 4:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I just washed my down bag and my synthetic bag, after a couple years which included some 5 day river trips in hot weather.  Prior to that, I didn't notice a distinct order (does sand have a smell?) but knew they were due for a cleaning.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 6:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Likes others here ... we wear long underwear, long sleeve shirts, socks, and balaclavas in our down sleeping bags. We've never had a problem with odors.

That said, we just had our bags professionally cleaned this past summer (for the first time) because a marmot managed to chew his way into our tent on a basecamp trip while we were dayhiking, and did some serious messing around with the bags. I was quite surprised how much loft was restored to the bags after doing this. So even if you don't have any odors present, probably not a bad idea to get your bag cleaned after about 100 nights.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 6:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Since I'm another who sleeps in long underwear and socks, mine generally smells more like feathers than anything else.  The exception was after the trip  when I got pneumonia.  I did a ton of heavy sweating (due to high fever) and by the end of the trip my bag stunk in a way I have never smelled before or since.   I washed it and it was fine, but--wow!

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 7:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My sleeping bag smells faintly like the desert, enough to make me nostalgic when I'm packing for a trip, but not enough to be consciously aware of most of the time.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 7:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My sleeping bag smells clean. Its very warm and fluffy.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 7:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I sleep in longs in my down bag and hang in the breeze every morn.  Smells like feathers.  I wash my summer synthetic at least once a year since I use it a lot more.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 7:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"More importantly most backpackers tend to rarely take daily jumps in cold streams or lakes so on multi day trips they increasingly bring dirtier, smellier clothing and body inside a down bag.   "
So unless you can jump in a river you  cannot have a wash ?
I almost never jump in the water (I can't swim) but always have at least a "sponge" wash, that is I just fill my S2S 5 L bucket with water add a couple of drops of Brommers and that is enough to wash me heat to toe (I use a kitchen cloth to wipe and air dry)
When water is scarce, I still wipe off the grime just by using a lot less water.
After I have done that I put my night layers on (could be just a T and shorts but they are elusively used at camp)
BTW, this routine works best (particularly when cold and or wet) if you can set up your shelter fast so that you are at it when still warm from the walk.
So 5-10 minutes after you stop, not one hour later...
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 8:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This topic reminds me of one of my least favorite requests:  "smell this and tell me if you think it's OK".  If the question came up, my money is on "no".
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 8:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mine smells like feathers too! We wear longs in ours too, and sometimes even use the liner.

I have an incredible sense of smell, and I can't stand for any of my stuff to stink. I have bat hearing, too - I overhear things that sometimes, I wish I hadn't.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 8:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I always change into pj's and fleece socks at night, and believe in carrying and using baby wipes, deoderant, and taking a dip in a stream or lake whenever I can - so my bag stays relatively clean.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 8:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As sweet as when I bought it .. honest.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 10:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Jan. 22 2013, 1:47 pm)
QUOTE

(desert dweller @ Jan. 22 2013, 1:43 pm)
QUOTE

(Tigger @ Jan. 22 2013, 2:38 pm)
QUOTE
Mine smells fine. I naturally don't produce body odor like "normal" people, even when sweating. I haven't found a scientific reason yet or a doctor who can explain it to me but I'm sure there must be a medical reason.

I do know that often, lower quality down fill will have a musty odor when wet that can seriously put off some unpleasant odor.

How you smell has a lot to do with what you eat.

Processed foods and foods with a lot of non-natural ingredients will stink up you sweat.

Adding to the above, I also suspect that daily use of deodorants which artificially dries the skin and kills bacteria actually renders unbalanced the body's own ability to perform same.  And when some folks go on multiple-day hikes and leaving their deodorants at home to save weight and hassle -- they sweat more and stink more quickly than "normal".

I think you both may be onto something. I don't eat many processed foods at all, dislike sweets and junk food, and rarely drink pop.

I also tried deodorant when I was a kid and it gave me a rash so I gave up and haven't used it since.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 23 2013, 11:48 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You folks that responded keep your sleeping bags fresher and cleaner than I would have expected in this group.  Good to hear many wisely only sleep in a base layer. Very light, takes up little pack space.  

I've seen quite a number of grubby looky sleeping bags with both those I've backpacked with and met in the backcountry.   Easy to check by simply looking at the nylon surface at the head end of a bag laying about campsites.   So suspect those with dirty sleeping bags probably did not want to publicly admit such haha.  At least I know who likes being clean here and not surprisingly many are the gals.   Well done!

Ben2World  >>>"...2.  Wipe down the bag with a clean, damp cloth after each trip -- esp. the hood and chest sections (the opening area)..."

Yeah that is something I performed for the first time a few months ago and will be performing regularly now that I've figured out how to do it easily.   A link to a thread I posted in the fall with instructions and an image of how to clean only the nylon surface of a down sleeping bag:

http://forums.backpacker.com/cgi-bin....senesac

desert dweller >>>"How you smell has a lot to do with what you eat.  Processed foods and foods with a lot of non-natural ingredients will stink up you sweat"

Indeed quite true.   I'll also speculated those with regular meat and fat diets may generate strong body odors. Yeah you bacon lovers.   Of course a fair amount of fat ends up releasing via skin and hair as aromatics.  This person tends to eat a lot of vegetables, legumes, juices, grains, dairy.  The greasy and meaty stuff tastes great but only eat such infrequently.  

Franco >>>"...I almost never jump in the water (I can't swim) but always have at least a "sponge" wash..."

Good point.  Indeed that is an effective way to stay clean for those not willing to submerge.

yosemite girl >>>"...I have an incredible sense of smell, and I can't stand for any of my stuff to stink...."

Yeah me too.   And you probably really like being in fields of fragrant wildflowers too!

tarol >>>"I always change into pj's and fleece socks at night, and believe in carrying and using baby wipes, deoderant, and taking a dip in a stream or lake whenever I can - so my bag stays relatively clean."

An expert's advice and one will feel better for it.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 23 2013, 1:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Like others, I regularly sleep in a base layer and dry socks, usually with a hat as well.  Bag stays pretty clean, haven't noticed any issues to date.

At least not from me.  Years back I was sleeping on a porch during a layover between trip legs in Forks, WA.  I was out for the day running errands, and my host's cat peed all over my bag.  Blech.  I washed it at the local laundromat before heading out the next morning, but man it stunk that night.  I put my layers on and only used the foot of the bag, which was still dry.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 23 2013, 2:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mine usually smells just fine but my son's after a longer trip?...  Holy Cow!!  :p

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 11:06 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I store my bag with Downey dryer sheets to ward off smell and pests. It's always fresh smelling.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 5:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Bateauxdriver @ Jan. 24 2013, 8:06 am)
QUOTE
I store my bag with Downey dryer sheets to ward off smell and pests. It's always fresh smelling.

No, now it smells like stinky fake perfumes!  :D

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 5:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mine usually smells like cat. I don't have any place to hang mine.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 7:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

I do wash mine and usually wear a base layer, at least bottoms. I also try to be somewhat hygenic while on the trail. However, without washing it, I'm pretty sure it would smell like feet.
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