Mattress and bag.

If you recall, I tried sleeping on a Thermarest on our first test camping trip. In a word: disaster. I really wanted to go lean and mean with the very slim and very easy to inflate Thermarest, but the discomfort level was off the scale. I packed my Big Agnes mattress for the last trip and slept much better. The problem: It takes a bit of blowing to get inflated and when you’re tired from a long day of riding and have sea-level lungs, it’s unpleasantly dizzying.

Big Agnes makes a bag that doubles as a dry sack and a mattress pump. I thought maybe there was something special about how it attached to the mattress nozzle (e.g., a rubber gasket) until I read a review where someone complained that the attachment point was nothing more than a drawstring. If that was the case, then I was going to MacGyver my own since I had a few unused rip-stop nylon bags.

I cut a hole in the bottom of the bag just big enough for the nozzle to fit through and then sewed a cord around the opening.

The cord lock cinches the cord against the nozzle and the strip of velcro wraps around the nozzle to guide the air into it.

Now all I have to do is roll up the bag and the air gets pushed into the mattress. It’s not blazing fast, but it’s still faster than me trying to blow it up between fainting spells.

I resolved the too-tight mummy bag problem by sewing a panel of stretch fabric across the section where my legs need to flail. It’s now the sleeping bag equivalent of maternity jeans. Here’s a pic of the bag turned inside out; I still have access to the zipper in case it’s really cold and I have to go back to the olden days of encasing myself like a sausage.

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