​Sleep Systems & Compression

A topic like sleeping bag or sleeping quilt compression may seem insignificant, but can have an impact on how much gear you can fit in your pack, as well as how it carries on you. Generally, folks fall into two organizational categories. Keep reading to learn more.

Individual Stuff Sacks

Some hikers prefer the organization of individual ultralight stuff sacks, and we include an ultralight stuff sack with every sleeping quilt we sell to suit this strategy. This approach has the advantage of quick access to items as well as keeping items clean and organized. The disadvantage of this strategy is it creates dead space between several densely compressed stuff sacks and can throw off the weight distribution of a packed backpack.

All Together

Many ultralight and thru-hikers prefer the simplicity of throwing every item within a trash compactor bag as a pack liner. This has a few advantages. First, everything in the liner is waterproof. Second, because everything is surrounded with the compressed quilt, there is no dead space, and pack space can be utilized optimally. The disadvantage of this approach is that access to any part of the liner bag means that any part can get wet, including a quilt. Need to grab a jacket during a downpour? Some water might end up in the rest of your gear.

Hybrid Strategy

The author personally opts for a combination of these two quilt compression strategies. Namely, keeping the quilt and any food in the bottom of a trash compactor bag, and using ultralight Ditty bags that can freely compress to organize and keep gear clean. Any wet gear or items that need quick access can live outside the liner bag either on top or on external backpack pockets.

Warning about quilt compression

Long-term significant quilt compression can impact the bag’s ability to loft long-term. Generally, this means, more time under compression = more time needed to properly loft. To combat this, we provide a cotton bag that allows the quilt to sit uncompressed. Synthetic quilts are less affected by this, but we highly recommend storage in the cotton bag rather than an ultralight stuff sack.


Dry Sacks - A waterproof stuff sack with a fold over closure that protects from rain and immersion in water.

Stuff Sacks - A bag of usually waterproof material that does not have a waterproof closure

Ditty Bags - Smaller stuff sacks that are usually not waterproof and are meant to provide organization.