How to Attach A Sleeping Bag To A Backpack

How to Attach a Sleeping Bag To a Backpack Properly

A sleeping bag is one of the essential pieces of equipment for any backpacking trip, as per A sleeping bag will keep you warm at night and allow you to get a good night’s sleep, even in the most extreme conditions. But how do you attach a sleeping bag to a backpack? And what are the best ways to do it?

This article will provide all the information you need to know on how to attach a sleeping bag to a backpack. We will also give tips on making the most of your sleeping bag so that you can have a comfortable and enjoyable backpacking trip.

But before we dive in, let’s look at some common questions about attaching a sleeping bag to your backpack.

What Kind Of Straps Do I Have?

The type of backpack and sleeping bag you have determines the best way to attach a sleeping bag to your backpack. This also depends on your adventure and how long you will be camping.

backpack with sleeping bag straps
backpack straps

First, ensure your backpack has straps specifically designed to hold a sleeping bag. Such sleeping bag backpack straps are found on many, but not all, backpacks made specifically for hiking and backpacking.

On these occasions, the best option is to use the bag’s existing straps. However, a backpack with sleeping bag straps will give you an alternative to attach the bag, such as having two sets of straps.

Related: How to Make Backpack Straps Shorter: Best Guide for 2022

Does My Backpack Have An Internal Or An External Frame?

Many backpacks have a hard skeleton, usually made of light metal or hard plastic, that helps the bag maintain its shape. A frame prevents bunching or sagging when the bag is empty or fully loaded. 

When the frame is external, you have more options for attaching a sleeping bag. You can attach the sleeping bag to a frame using rope, then place the bag in any position you prefer.

How Big Is My Backpack? 

The ideal location for attaching your sleeping bag changes depending on the size of your backpack. A larger backpack could have a sleeping bag compartment. This way, your bag will be kept dry and secure.

backpack for sleeping bag
backpacking backpack

The disadvantage is that storage capacity is minimized. Also, the height of your sleeping bag’s top will only be comfortable if the sleeping bag reaches your head. Consider placing it on the bottom or the sides.

How Much Stuff Do I Have To Bring? 

Where you put your sleeping bag while traveling depends on how much gear, food, and water you’re bringing with you.

You may only need to pack some of what you need if you’re going on a short adventure that lasts just one or two days.

It is frequently easiest to pack your sleeping bag inside your bag along with everything else if there is extra room.

On the other hand, you should prepare to carry your sleeping bag outside of your bag if you need to bring a lot of supplies and are having trouble fitting everything inside.

Some people with backpacks with internal compartments for their sleeping bags prefer stuffing them with other supplies and carrying their sleeping bags outside the bag.

Also Read: How To Carry Your Tent While Backpacking (5 Simple Ways)

How Do You Attach a Sleeping Bag To a Backpack?

The five simple options below explain how to attach a sleeping bag to your backpack. Let’s go over each of them.

1. Putting It Inside The Backpack

Due to their size and bulk, carrying sleeping bags inside a backpack is not the best choice as it minimizes storage space. This is best for backpacks with extra room or a sleeping bag compartment. 

how to pack sleeping bag in backpack
woman carrying a camping backpack

Compressing your sleeping bag will ensure that it occupies the least amount of space when carried in a backpack. The best sleeping bags to carry are those with little padding because they naturally roll up smaller.

Another difficulty is how the sleeping bag is packed with everything else in the bag.

If you place it at the top of the bag, you won’t be able to access anything below, but if you place it at the bottom, you’ll need to unpack everything else to get to it.

The best option is to place the sleeping bag in the middle of the bag and pack the items you need during the day on top and the items you need for the night below.

This helps you access everything you need while hiking, camping, and backpacking.

2. Using Straps At The Top

One of the most common ways to attach a sleeping bag is by using the straps at the top of a backpack. Depending on the bag type and the available straps, there are various ways to do this.

strapping sleeping bag to backpack
straps strapped on a backpack

On A Backpack With An External Frame

It’s best to tie your backpack directly to an external frame. This is simple if the frame of your bag extends above the lid’s top.

If so, you can secure a rope to the top of the frame, then wrap it around your bag before tying it to the lowermost part of the frame that you can access.

You’ll need to get a little more innovative and use some loops to firmly attach the sleeping bag to the top of your bag if the external frame stops below the lid.

One of the best external-frame backpacks includes the Vargo Exoti AR2.

On A Backpack With An Internal Frame

This method depends on the nature of your backpack. You must use straps to secure your sleeping bag to the top of your backpack if it lacks an external frame.

If you don’t have straps either, you should be able to locate something to which you can tie a rope to get a firm grip. 

One of the best internal-frame backpacks includes the TETON Sports Scout 3400.

how to pack a sleeping bag on a backpack
Folded sleeping bag


The advantage of carrying your sleeping bag using straps at the top is that it will remain safe and dry when you put it down.

Additionally, when your sleeping bag is on top of your bag, it is best protected from branches and bushes, helping you to avoid issues like ripped and torn sleeping bags.


The only drawback to storing your sleeping bag on top of your backpack is that you might need to take it off to get to anything inside the bag’s main compartment.

It’s not a big deal to do it once or twice, but it can become tedious and time-consuming if you do it frequently.

Also Read: How to Attach Trekking Poles to Your Backpack in 5 Simple Ways

3. Using Straps At The Bottom

Another common way to attach your sleeping bag to a backpack is by carrying it using straps at the bottom. You might prefer this option if you’re sensitive to objects limiting your head and neck’s range of motion.

how to pack a sleeping bag for backpacking
sleeping bag on a backpack

Additionally, you can easily modify most backpacks. Manufacturers of backpacks frequently place the straps needed to carry the sleeping bag in this location. Tie the sleeping bag to the external frame if there are no straps.


Some people may find walking slightly more comfortable while carrying their sleeping bags at the bottom of their backpacks. You won’t need to take it out when you access your bag.


If you attach your sleeping bag to the bottom of your backpack, it is more likely to become dirty or wet.

4. Using Straps On The Side

Since most backpacks have compression straps at the side, it’s usually very simple to find a spot to attach your sleeping bag to the side of a backpack.

backpack sleeping bag attachment
backpack straps attached on the side

Your sleeping bag should fit perfectly between the cavity and the compression straps. Better yet, many backpacks have clips on the compression straps, making it simple to attach and detach your sleeping bag.


Your sleeping bag is much easier to attach and remove when on the side. Offloading your bag may be optional. This is an excellent alternative if your bag needs to have straps designed specifically for carrying sleeping bags.


Attaching a sleeping bag to the side of a bag can affect your walking balance or restrict arm movement.

5. Using The Lid Of The Backpack As A Strap

Another standard option is using the backpack’s lid as a strap to attach your sleeping bag. 

How to Attach A Sleeping Bag To A Backpack
man carrying a backpack

In this instance, you are covering the top of your sleeping bag with a lid. You’ll need some extra room in your backpack to do this. This is an easy way to carry a sleeping bag, especially if it lacks specific straps. 

NB: If the lid is partially open and there is a gap, your bag may become wet inside.


Attaching the sleeping bag with straps is very simple, and you are assured of its safety.


If it’s raining, your bag may become wet inside. You’ll have to detach the sleeping bag whenever you need to access something inside your bag.

Final Thoughts

sleeping bag attached to backpack
sleeping bag

Your sleeping bag is likely the heaviest and largest item you carry when camping or hiking. Make sure you figure out a comfortable way to carry your backpack.

If you have a large sleeping bag or a small backpack, you can attach it to the outside. Still, if you want to maximize backpacking and protect your sleeping bag, you should get a bigger pack.

Please feel free to share in the comments if you have additional thoughts about attaching a sleeping bag to a backpack.

Related: How to Organize a Backpack for Travel (6 Useful Steps)

How do you fit a sleeping bag and tent in a backpack?

Position the tent in the middle of the backpack. Since your tent is one of your heavier items, placing it in the middle relieves the least stress on your back. Your sleeping bag should be at the bottom of the backpack, followed by the tent.

Do sleeping pads go inside or outside of the sleeping bag?

You can protect yourself from cold ground temperature by using sleeping pads. If you are sleeping on the floor, it is essential to put sleeping pads underneath the backpack. 

Do I need a sleeping pad if I have a sleeping bag?

Because most of their insulation value is lost when sleeping bags are compressed, they make poor insulation. A sleeping pad can significantly improve your ability to stay warm because many of them are made to be compressed while still providing insulation.

Why do sleeping bags have loops on the bottom?

Loops for hanging: If your sleeping bag has loops on the bottom, they aim to hang it up to dry. To maintain an insulation loft, hang your bag to dry rather than flatten it.

Should I bring a sleeping pad backpacking?

It is vital that you bring a sleeping pad on your backpacking trip. The bag adds extra comfort for cuddling up at night and insulates you from the ground.

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