Setting the scene: It’s October and we are camping at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The elk are in rut. We hear them bugling all around us. They walk mere yards from our tent. It’s sunny and predictably chilly. Night falls and we slip into our sleeping bags for a good night’s sleep. We wake up to find snow has fallen. It’s 21ºF and we are not eager to make breakfast so we do the best thing in the situation: we jump in the car and head into Estes Park for a warm breakfast and a hot cup of cocoa.
I’ve often heard parents bemoan the change in lifestyle that comes with starting a family. No longer can you hop in your car and head for the mountains for a camping or hunting trip. I have found the opposite to be true. Prior to having children, I often found myself at home watching movies or reading a book. Having children actually spurred me into heading outdoors. With memories of my own childhood camping and hiking trips with Mom, Dad, and my sisters, I wanted to create similar memories for my own children. At three months of age, my daughter went hiking in a backpack) and camping in the Swiss Alps. I haven’t stopped taking her and my son with me on all sorts of outdoor adventures.
As hunters, we love to be outdoors. We not only hunt, we fish, hike, climb, and camp. And while it’s great to get away from everything, we also want to include our family with us in our outdoor adventures. Whether it’s taking your daughter on her first hunt or hiking the Grand Canyon with your son, we know how important it is to pass on our love for the great outdoors to our children.
But when it comes to spending the night outside, it is especially important to make sure your children feel comfortable. One way you can help them have a good time on an outdoor adventure is to make sure they stay warm and comfortable at night so they can get a good night’s sleep and be refreshed in the morning. A good sleeping bag goes a long way to making your child feel comfy in the tent.
We’ve tried many sleeping bags through the years. We started with toddler-sized sleeping bags for the kids when they were little. We find these to be great for indoor sleepovers with friends but unless you go high-end, they do not have the insulation nor the cushioning needed for cooler temperatures and a hard-packed ground. We have tried mummy bags and full-sized bags. We’ve found features we like and textures we don’t like.
Recently, the kids have tried SKJ’s SlumberJack Boy’s/Girl’s Go-N-Grow bags. The Go-N-Grow is a mummy bag rated to 30ºF that lengthens the bag by 10” at the foot of the bag. This works great for our kids because as they grow, the bag lengthens with them. When the foot section is zipped up, the bottom of the bag is bulkier and keeps the feet warmer and when the foot section is unzipped, the length extends and provides more room for the kids’ growing legs. The kids tell me the sleeping bag is roomy and silky which makes moving around in the bag easier.
Some features the kids really like are:
- built-in pillow pocket that keeps the pillow in place through the night
- interior pocket that is handy for keeping tissues
- absence of cold spots (unbeknownst to them this is due to the two-layer, off-set construction and differential cut)
- shoulder straps on the stuff sack
Check out the Go-N-Grow mummy bags by Slumberjack. And by all means, take your children with you on your outdoor overnight adventures! You will instill your love of the outdoors in them.