Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Search for the Suitable Stuff Sack

The gray one will do quite nicely, thank you.

You’d think that buying a stuff sack for a sleeping bag wouldn’t be such a big deal. Not the case, as it turns out.

The one we purchased at REI last week is too small, no matter how tight we try to roll up the down sleeping bag I’ve owned since the early 1980s. (In spite of years of storage in the garage, no critters got to it. And after airing it out for two days in the back yard, it smells almost new.)

Yesterday Eddie and I made a return trip to REI but discovered that the next larger stuff-sack size was out of stock. Eddie didn’t leave the store without lightening my wallet, however; he found a travel pillow, one of the suggested items on his International Student Volunteers list, that rolls up into a tight little cylinder.

At Dick’s Sporting Goods, we found a large, varied, and colorful display of stuff sacks. But just like a variation of the “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” story, they were either too big or too small. None just right.

Walking into the Gander Mountain outlet store, we both experienced a weird vibe. It looked as though we had entered someone’s idea of a supersized garage sale. The clerk, a young man sitting at what appeared to be a makeshift counter, turned his head in our direction but didn’t remove his bored expression. To his credit, though, he did point us in the right direction when I asked if there were any stuff sacks in stock. What we found was made of flimsy material and suitable only for the type of collapsible chairs you see everyone carting around nowadays.

Eddie plans to resume the search on his own today.

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