Saturday, February 17, 2007


I’m off in an hour or two for two days solid paddling and my last overnighter before the Everglades Challenge drags off the beach at 0700 on March 3. And it’s going to be a chilly one with night time temperatures dropping down to -7C (19F). Dawn (AKA SandyBottom) will be out with me. With her roomier Kruger Dreamcatcher she’s promised to bring the firewood, and I pledged the hipflask of Courvoisier. Fair deal.

One of the
specifications for the EC is a synthetic sleeping bag, something I’ve no real experience in as I’ve always used my NZ Macpac Neve or Solstice down bags, even when kayaking. So a few boxes have UPS-come and gone from the house as I’ve tried to figure out which one to finally use. EC regulations specify a synthetic bag suitable for a range from 32°F (0C) Gale Force Wind/Rain to 90ºF+ (32C) and bright sun or rain.

With all my research, I decided I needed Primaloft Sport fill for the bag. I started off with the Marmot Pounder – took it out of the box, and it had no loft whatsoever. So back it went. And then a fellow Watertriber recommended Wiggy’s Lamilite. Never heard of it, but reading Wiggy’s website and talking with Wiggy himself on the phone certainly enlightened me. Unfortunately for Wiggy, I’ve only got hatches with a 17.78cm (7”) diameter, and even with the bag’s stuffsack, his beautiful blue UltraLight just wouldn’t fit. So back it went. Off I went to REI, and I’m now the proud (and hopefully warm) owner of an REI Nooksack 30F (1C) – they even gave me a 15% discount because of the EC. (But why, REI, do you only make right-hand zips on women’s bags?!)

If I do get a bit chilly, I’m also taking with me one of my favourite pieces of kit, my Macpac Snowflake, a toasty zipless inner down bag which stuffs down to near nothing, and I’ll pop that inside the Nooksack. And inside that is my Macpac taffeta liner, again adding a few extra degrees and also keeping my outer bags clean from all my gruesome EC sweat and grime.

As the Verizon chap didn’t say, “Can you smell me now?”


Michael said...

You should be plenty warm enough! Why, we Canadians are just putting on long sleeve T's and pants now the temps have dipped below 0°F...
Oddly enough I'll be in Tampa on the 3rd, but at the airport, not the beach. It would have been fun to see you folks off. Maybe I'll catch you at some point. In any case, much luck!

Kristen said...

You're quite right, Michael! I read your site and feel a right wooss with the weather you're having.