Searching for a sleeping bag

By Helen Guilford

Sleeping bag – you know, that thing that becomes a vital part of your backpack if you are planning to be out overnight on the trail.

A good bag must meet certain criteria – compact, lightweight and warm. A friend had one that seemed to meet these requirements and I could borrow it. Now, I wasn’t really hiking but it was one of those overnight stays inside where you bring your own pillow and bedding.

That bag did meet part of the requirements – it was compact and lightweight. It was purported to keep the user warm in ridiculously low temperatures like minus degrees. I was sure I wouldn’t need such warmth but its compactness appealed to me. I spread it on my twin size mattress that night, crawled in, snuggled down – and thought I would freeze. I finally had to find an additional cover to get any rest at all.

I do have a sleeping bag I got at a garage sale. But when sleeping bags went up for sale at a benefit auction, I saw their compactness. Often, when going on a mission trip within our own country, cargo space is at a premium and that is the way I use a sleeping bag now. The price was right and I bought one.

My first use of it was at an overnight training session and we would be in a nice dorm.

Confidently, I removed the cover and shook out the bag. Imagine my surprise when I saw it was decorated for a child’s appeal. Well, I could still use it, but not only was it printed to appeal to a child, it was child size! This would never do. I would have to drive home for the night. A friend to the rescue – knowing the facility better than I did, he found a bag I could use.

I packed that one up, labeled it “child size” and put it in a give-away pile.

When summer came, so did garage sales. Again, I found a sleeping bag – compact and in its own carrying bag. It was very reasonably priced and marked “new”. I bought it.

In preparation for a team mission trip to Kentucky, I opened it. That in itself was no small task as its carrying bag was not much bigger than the sleeping bag itself. Would I be able to roll it tight enough to put it back in its carrying bag?

Well, I finally got it out of the bag, shook it out on my bed and gaped in surprise! Too small again? No! This one was a double size bag! Great, I guess, if two people will be using it and also if the bed is that size. Once again, I had a nice new bag that wouldn’t fit the bed and, thus, wouldn’t fit me. Imagine trying to keep a double size slippery nylon sleeping bag on a twin size bunk! Pack it up for give away again!

Oh, well! Fortunately, I still have my old faithful but bulky bag.

Sizes of things become important to us but the size of God’s love for us cannot be measured. Suffice to say, He loves us enough that He sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross of Calvary to pay for our sins – yours, mine, everybody’s. Our only requirement is to believe and ask Jesus into our hearts. (John 3:16)

Have you done that?

By Helen Guilford