How To Attach A Sleeping Bag To A Backpack, Quick And Easy Guide.

A group of three campers walking with backpacks gear

How to attach a sleeping bag to a backpack? This question won’t make sense to people that do not camp. After all, if you have a sleeping bag and you want to bring it with you on a camping trip, why can’t you keep it inside your backpack?

That sounds like such simple reasoning, but I can tell you right now that things are rarely that simple. Packing a backpack is far from easy.

The device is supposed to simplify the process of transporting your essentials. But comfortable camping requires so much gear that it isn’t always possible to find room for your sleeping bag.

Keep in mind that sleeping bags are one of the most critical items in your luggage.

It took me a long time to realize that attaching a sleeping bag to a backpack leaves additional room on the inside that I can use to carry extra supplies.

Keeping your sleeping bag on the outside also prevents your backpack from bulging so you can have more space to store the essentials. But how do you attach a sleeping bag to a backpack?

This is the question I intend to answer.

A group of three campers walking with backpacks gear

What You Need

The tools you need will depend on your method of choice. You have quite a few options to choose from. In most cases, you will need to make sure you have the following:

  • A sleeping bag
  • A backpack
  • Plastic wrapping
  • Twine/rope or compression sleeping bag straps

Two preparatory steps must be taken before you attach your sleeping bag to the backpack:

Ties and straps are the basic equipment you will need

1. Packing the Backpack

The way you pack your backpack matters. This must be done before you attach the sleeping bag. It isn’t just a question of saving space.

You must also distribute the weight appropriately to prevent the backpack from straining your back once you add the sleeping bag.

While there are various techniques for packing a backpack, you are typically encouraged to insert the most cumbersome items first.

These are the items that you are unlikely to retrieve during your journey. If you had chosen to keep your sleeping bag inside, it would have been one of the first items to enter your backpack along with shoes and clothing.

As you have noticed, the bulky items should be accompanied by soft and padded contents to create a simple shock absorption system. The heaviest items should be at the very centre to improve stability.

2. Rolling the Sleeping Bag

One of the first steps after getting rope is to roll up sleeping back
Not all sleeping bags can fit in a internal frame backpack so rolling up your dry sleeping bag is one of the first steps you must take.

It would be best if you rolled the sleeping bag tightly before wrapping it in plastic. Any waterproof bag will do. People prefer to keep their sleeping bags inside the backpack because that prevents a wet sleeping bag and from items getting wet.

Keeping the sleeping bag on the outside increases its chances of becoming damp and dirty, especially if you encounter problematic weather.

One way of keeping the sleeping bag dry is to place it in plastic or any other waterproof material before attaching it to your backpack.

How to Attach a Sleeping Bag

There are several ways to attach your sleeping bag to a backpack if there is not dedicated sleeping bag compartment. The method you choose will depend, not on your tastes and preferences, but on the type of backpack you have.

Some packs have unique sleeping bag straps or stuffing sack straps and loops that you can use to attach items like sleeping bags.

Others don’t have this option, and you must improvise. There is no right or best way of attaching sleeping bag to your backpack. It is a question of the type of backpack you have purchased.

This is why you should make sure to endeavour to learn all the methods. This is the only way to ensure that you are prepared for every type of backpack you come across. Your options will include the following:

1. Compression straps and Loops

Tie using rope but not too tightly

Look at the back panel of your backpack. It probably has loops and straps. Most people have no idea what those loops and straps do. You are supposed to use those straps to attach and secure items like sleeping bags.

If you don’t have straps, you can use rope, bungee cords, and twine. Pull the cords around the sleeping pads and through the loops before pulling them tight.

2. External Frame

If your backpack doesn’t have loops, you can tie the sleeping bag to the outer frames. A lot of people have external frame backpacks with tie points at the bottom, but they don’t understand the purpose they serve.

You can use them to attach items like sleeping pads.

Some backpacks have straps in these areas to emphasize the role the tie points are supposed to play. As with the loops, it is a simple matter of wrapping the straps around the metal internal frame or external frame to secure the sleeping bag.

3. Compression Buckles

Sleeping blanket bag tied and rolled

Some bags have compression buckles that tighten the bag when it is filled to give it additional stability. You can use these buckles to attach your sleeping bag to your backpack in a manner that distributes its weight evenly.

Buckles are typically spaced evenly along the sides of the bag. This arrangement will keep the sleeping pad from disrupting your balance.

4. Internal Frame

If you have one of those backpacks with an inner frame, the kind that forms a cylindrical chamber, you have probably noticed the lid on top.

This lid has strings that you use to tighten the contents of your bag once it is full. You can place your backpack on top before using the strings to secure and tighten it along with the other contents of the backpack.

5. Twine

You need ties and straps

If your backpack doesn’t have features or internal frames that you can use to attach your sleeping pad, you should improvise.

Make sure to start by tying and attach a sleeping pad with two pieces of rope. Tie the ropes (or twine) in a manner that forms loops.

Pass two other pieces of rope through these loops before tying them to the backpack, securely attaching the sleeping bag.


Final sleeping blanket bag resulte tied onto backpack

There is no real science involved with attaching a sleeping bag to a backpack. You bag may be needed internal if it’s raining but if It’s convenient to just tie the sleeping bag to the backpack, reread this article to cover all the steps.

That pretty much it, all that changes is the method. You can use buckles, straps, loops, or twine. 

I won’t pretend to know everything. Some of you have far more camping experience, and you have probably stumbled upon several ingenious methods of attaching a sleeping bag to a backpack.

If that is the case, feel free to share in the comments.

You can also share any other opinions you might have about the tutorial above. I’m always eager to hear from you.