Shopping for the outdoors (Camping gear part 1)

We decided to go to one of those we-sell-anything-even-remotely-related-to-camping type stores, to buy camping gear for our upcoming trip to the Grand Circle.

We needed a lot of things, since we hadn’t been out camping together before. We spent quite a while in the store and I must say we did pretty well. We bought Platypus water containers (folds up) and Therm-a-Rest mattresses and pillows – all made in USA. I also picked up a new US-made yoga headband from PrAnato keep my ears warm. See how remotely related to camping that item is?

The big problem was the sleeping bags. They were all made in China. North Face, Sea to Summit, Marmot, you name it. Prices varied a lot between brands, from $150 to over $300, but the funny thing was that the tags inside that said “Made in China” and described the item looked exactly the same. So all brands make their sleeping bags in the same place? A super-size sweat-shop factory for sleeping bags!? Probably! No sale. Irritated hubby.

When we got home I decided to search the web a bit. It didn’t take me long to find the cool site of Western Mountaineering, makers of down sleeping bags in California.

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The next day we hurried over to Whole Earth Provision (Western Mountaineering lists retailers on their webpage) and I chose a $360 blue, shiny, fluffy sleeping bag made in the golden state. I had to take some money from my savings account but it was worth it. Oh the joy!

I tried it out on the bedroom floor when we got home. It’s mummy style so it made me very warm, very fast. Let’s just hope it works during the upcoming cold nights in Utah too. We’re hoping to do some back -country camping. We shall see and I’ll let you know.

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*PrAna’s webpage is hard to navigate in terms of which products are US made. I picked up my headband at REI. PrAna seem to be focused on organic, fair-trade products and stand by their goods. Overall I think it’s a good company, though I doubt many items are US made.

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