Saturday, 17 May 2014

A sleeping bag is awakened with a kiss

Back to mundane matters - in this case sleeping bags, and in particular an old sleeping bag that was in a cupboard in my home, and could be washed, aired, and used on my Welsh Tour (which is less than two weeks off now).

In the past I have associated sleeping bags with nights under canvas, and (very rare) nights on a camp bed, when for instance moving into a new house. No matter how snug I actually was in my sleeping bag, nights like that were not ones I'd want to repeat. I did not enjoy the family's tenting holidays in Cornwall. Tents were not at all my idea of comfortable accommodation. Nor have I ever liked roughing it in a strange house. I absolutely refuse to do it.

You can see then that, given their negative associations for me, sleeping bags have never been my first choice as caravanning equipment. When I'm pitched somewhere, and it's bedtime, I treat myself to a down-filled duvet laid over a couple of fitted sheets, exactly as at home; and it hasn't occurred to me to deviate from the 'home' model for years. In a real sense, the caravan interior is like a compact hotel bedroom, with bathroom and kitchen included. Sleeping bags have no place in a hotel bedroom, now do they?

But my bad back - easing off now, thankfully, but not completely comfortable yet - has made me wonder whether I'd really be wise to adopt usual practice, and make up a conventional single bed in the front end of the caravan. It would involve some awkward back-stretching, to tuck the sides and ends of sheets to lie on under the mattress, and pull them smooth. I think that would put strain on my back much too soon after this latest bout of pain, and spoil my holiday in a moment. And that's why, seeking an alternative, I remembered that I had a sleeping bag stowed away.

Well, I dug it out. It was intact, unblemished, and seemed quite clean; but naturally I washed it, hung it out to dry in the sunshine, and then draped it indoors overnight to complete the process:

The next night - last night - I spread it over my king-sized bed, and slept inside it - to try it out. Success! It was comfortable. Long enough and wide enough so that I didn't feel confined. And it kept me warm but not too hot. The zip worked smoothly too. Altogether it looked good and performed pretty well for what must have been quite an old bag.

Hmmm, old indeed! The label was faded:

It said (skipping the washing instructions):



Filled with 100% polyester hollowfibre
Cover 50% polyester 50% cotton
Lining 50% polyester 50% cotton
44oz   1247g


No hint of a date. No Tog value mentioned. Surely a bag from the 1990s. I found a photo of it in my archives, showing that it was packed for weekend use on 24 March 2002, on the night before the maiden voyage of the first caravan M--- and I bought together (a second-hand Elddis Whirlwind of 1992 vintage):

However, it must have been purchased some time before 2002. So let's say it's now at least fifteen years old, and maybe more than twenty. I certainly didn't buy it myself, and I don't think it was ever Mum's. Perhaps M--- bought it originally.

Anyway, after its wash, the bag was now clean and fresh in every way - and tested. It would save my back to use it. It could be kept rolled up during the day. This would avoid having a conventional single bed permanently made up on one side of the front end. The caravan interior could then look like a proper lounge, with all of the pleasant seating fabrics on view. 

It wouldn't be much trouble to pack conventional bedding for later on in my three-week holiday. Then I'd have a choice, something different to use after a week or two.

And who knows, I might return from Wales with a brand new luxury sleeping bag, picked up in some big town. A bit more practical than the Welsh Love Spoons I recall buying on my last visit to North Wales!

1 comment:

  1. You can't afford a new bag Lucy, remember, you are strapped for cash aren't you? That bag will do won't it?
    Shirley Anne x


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