05 January 2009

Ethel arrives!

Today, by some miracle, both my Big Agnes dual core insulated sleeping pad and my Big Agnes Ethel sleeping bag showed up on the same day. Here are some highlights.

They said that the rolled pad was about the size of a nalgene bottle. Well, not exactly.

But this is the pad and it is way comfortable. The Big Agnes Dual Core Insulated sleeping pad with primaloft and air. It is 0 degree rated. Took about 30 deep breaths to blow it up completely. Every bit as comfortable as my REI thermarest knockoff.

Here it is blown up full size. I was a bit worried when the pad wasn't as tall as I was. Short by about 2". But I'm nothing if not hopeful.

And here is the lady herself: Big Agnes Ethel.

Note that it says Petite. Yes, Petite. That is because petite is supposed to be appropriate for people up to 5'8". As I am only 65.5" tall, no worries, right?

Ok, the pad is inserted into the sleeve of the sleeping bag. It's about as hard as putting a pillow case on a very large pillow.

Here it is upside-down with the pad inserted into the sleeve.

Right side up. Trust me, this is lush and plush.

It has a pillow compartment for my pillow.

I am really impressed with the little touches. It has a little smiley that tucks around your chin to keep out drafts. It has a double draft tube (top and bottom) to keep air from seeping in around the zipper. The mummy head wasn't constricting when loosened, and had drawstring cords to tighten it in really cold weather. Although, I admit having quite a bit of trouble zipping it up all the way. The shoulder area was tight. I couldn't get the hang of zipping it from the inside with my arm across my chest. And apparently, I have shoulders like a football player. That mummy part is going to take some getting used to.

So Ethel is great. It's too bad she is also going back. Remember the part about the petite size? Well, when I got in, my feet were straining against the bottom. Apparently, my XL size feet take up that extra 2.5" and then some. So I have to reorder the regular size, and the regular size in the pad as well. The good news is, I will gain 5" in the foot box and 2" in the shoulder area by going with the regular.

So I spent about 45 minutes on the phone tonight with Backcountry.com (where I got the sleeping bag) and Altrec.com (where I got the sleeping pad) and both were out of the size stuff I needed. Bummer! But, both are on backorder and will get me an even exchange (I think) since I got both on sale.

I would like to thank Sus' husband, whose name I think is possibly Joe (but Liv tells me is probably Alex) for all his advice in the sleeping bag department. This was a fantastic suggestion for me. And is it ever light compared to that clunker of a synthetic bag I tried last time out.

I think I may just be turning into a real outdoorsy woman. I'm even thinking I want to go camping when the ground is frozen outside just to see if this thing is going to work. Blame Liv. She's encouraging this.

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