A long time ago, I bought a great sleeping bag for myself at an REI garage sale. It’s served me well for years, and I never minded the fact that it was a left handed bag. The zipper is opposite where it would be on a right handed bag, and if I gave any thought to it at all, I thought it would be great because most sleeping bags are right handed, so I would be able to zip mine to another if I ever desired to do so. A year later, enter Ben, who is left handed and therefore owns a left handed sleeping bag. Doh!
For years Ben and I have discussed buying the King Solomon bag from Big Agnes. It’s a double-wide bag with lots of great extra features. The cost and fact that we both have perfectly good sleeping bags kept us from buying it, though. It was a pipe dream.
Well, this year I bit the bullet and bought Ben the bag for his birthday. (Ha! Alliteration!) We got a great discount on it through Ben’s job. Let me tell you that it is awesome! But first, let me tell you how this bag led to an epic fail date.
We got the bag, and the stars lined up and Ben had two days off, so we thought we would take it up to wine country and ride our bikes around for the two days and camp somewhere near there. It was on the cooler side and pretty gray in the East Bay, so we figured it wouldn’t be brutally hot around Napa.
Unfortunately, it was imperative that we go to the DMV during that time because our car lacked a front license plate which needed to be remedied asap. Because it was a gray day, we were not at all motivated, and we wanted to get some other stuff done around the house (read: hang art that’s stacked all over our apartment), so we decided to nix the first day of biking, do some research on where to camp and bike, and head up in the evening.
In the end, we didn’t get out the door until 10 pm. We were both sleepy, but we drove the hour to Skyline Park in Napa, only to discover that the gates close at 8 pm. There was plenty of camping; we just didn’t have access to it. So we drove another half hour to the only other campsite listed in the area, near St Helena, to find that it cost $37 to camp there. Seriously? $37? Call me cheap, but there is no way I’m going to pay that amount of money to sleep on the ground. I don’t need amenities; I will happily camp on a forest service road, but apparently those don’t exist in California.
So I refused, on principle, and we dragged our sad, tired bodies back to Oakland at 1 am and put the bikes back in our apartment. I think Napa is beautiful this time of year, but I wouldn’t know because our date involved driving around the countryside for 3 hours in the dark. At least we were laughing.
The next day, we unrolled the sleeping bag on our bed and climbed inside. It’s great! It has slots to stick a fleece in for a pillow, a flap which separates you both if you want to be warmer and there’s space between you, there are these petal-like things that you put around your head to keep the draft out. It’s pretty lightweight, too. We’re excited to test it out in the field, but I think we’ll have to wait a few more weeks for that.