This sleeping bag really stinks in the heat |

This sleeping bag really stinks in the heat

Nate Peterson

My sleeping bag once kept me toasty while camping in the snow at a truck stop outside of Toledo, Ohio. It has performed exceptionally well during many chilly summer nights spent in the Colorado backcountry.

When it’s sticky hot, however, it’s only useful as a mattress.I discovered this deficiency – unfortunately – during a recent four-day camping excursion in Tennessee at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. (See story, page 47).In the unforgiving humidity and heat, I felt like I was in an Indian sweat tent, or the meat and rice in a Chipotle burrito.

I paid a premium price at REI (around $200 three years ago) for the goose-down lining in my bag because it promised to keep me warm in temperatures below 10 degrees. On that end of the thermometer, I have no complaints.But above 70 degrees? Let’s just say this: Goose-down bags are not like beer cozies or lunchbox thermoses. They’re only capable of keeping you warm, which doesn’t work really well when the only thing you want to do is cool down after a long, hot day.Of course, REI and a number of other companies sell warm-weather bags (35 degrees and up), and three-season bags (15-32 degrees).

To me, it just seems like overkill to have two – or three – different sleeping bags. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned. Maybe I’m just upset because I didn’t get much sleep in Tennessee (and lost 5 pounds in the process).Now I’m wondering if there is a way to wash my bag without damaging it. The inside of it smells like a 2-year-old gym bag, even though I’ve aired it out twice since the festival.I guess that’s my punishment for trying to sleep in a bag, designed for high-alpine excursions, in the middle of a Tennessee cow pasture during the summer.

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