Product Review! REI Co-Op Magma 15 Sleeping Bag unboxing

I got a new sleeping bag! I finally have the bag I plan to take to Yosemite and I wanted to show you not only the look of this bag (which is brand new on the scene) but my entire sleep system. It is VERY warm and has great compression. Enjoy!

Here is a peek at that Sea to Summit Compression sack before it is filled. I am loving these and have a few. Sea to Summit is also a brand I have heard a lot of excellent things about from other backpackers. The compression sacks have worked really well for us and I look forward to trying more of their products in the future.

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When I first tried to get the bag in the compression sack, I have to tell you, I was not sure it would go in. hahaha It is such a fluffy sleeping bag! It feels huge! It makes my Coleman bag feel comparatively thin. Yet, it all went in because compression sacks are backpacker magic. Which is why I frequently say to REI, “Take all my money!” Backpacker magic. Camping magic. Harry Potter is real! Okay, so maybe I can’t use a wand here, but it is really helpful.

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I put this Nalgene (the water bottle that will never die – ever – even if you wish you could get a new one haha) next to it to give you an idea of how large the compression sack is compared to that huge bag. Also, before you buy your compression sack, make sure you know the specs. Most bags will tell you how much space they need even when compressed. Otherwise, you will find yourself in a pickle, my friends.

Here are the steps to my sleep system. This Klymit Static V is EVERYTHING. I need to do a separate product review for just it because it is one of my favorite purchases EVER.

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Can you tell that I am excited about this bag? So the REI Co-Op Magma 15 sleeping bag is very cozy and comfortable. It has a flap inside that you can pull up to your neck to keep you even warmer and has cinching straps that tighten the bag down around your face to keep even less of you exposed to the elements. As I mentioned in my video, it comes in long and regular so that you can get the right length for you. I am only 5′ 1-2″ (the doctors debate between 1 and 2 inches so I feel it is my duty to let you know that I am somewhere in there. I wouldn’t want you to feel deceived ha) so I do not fill up this bag. I will just stuff some extra stuff in the bottom to create extra warmth. With my daughter’s sleeping bag, we have also tied off the extra part of the bag with rope or a rubber band and that helps her, so there is another option for you. On my last trip, I stuffed the bottom with my fleece while I wore my puffy to sleep and it was perfect for that weather. I will keep experimenting though. I did not experience any leakage of air through the zipper which is a common issue with sleeping bags that are a more reasonable price. Do you have any other questions about the bag or my sleep system? I’m happy to elaborate!

Until then,

See You Outside!

Prepping for Our Austin Spring Break Mini-Vacation

My friend gives us some insight into her family and their mini vacation!

Accepting the Unexpected Journey

We were only a couple weeks into the school year when our fourth grade daughter came home with an announcement: “This year we get to do a city project and I want to do Austin!”

I looked at her a little skeptically. After all, she had just started Texas state history and I was certain she was going to learn more throughout the year that might change her mind. Aware that the actual city project would be assigned in the weeks leading up to Spring Break, I locked it away in my memory and put it aside for a couple months, aware that if she did in fact have Austin, Spring Break would be the perfect time to get information in person.

Spring Break has been our go-to for extended spring camping trips. The weather usually cooperates and is a healthy balance of not too hot and not too cold…

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A Deep Breath For Your Family – Guest Post

As a mother of quite the circus, getting outside isn’t just another activity. Getting outside is how we save our sanity, decompress, and have fun all at the same time. If you didn’t know, nature is magical like that.

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Our family recently made a big move from Louisiana up to the land of unending snow, polar vortexes, wind advisories, and school cancellations. You might know it as Ohio, but we have nicknamed it “Snow-hio”. This nasty weather has really put a damper on my family’s mental and physical health. I know some hard-core midwesterners who would laugh at us, hiding in our house until warmer temperatures, but our long, leisurely walks and bike rides just can’t happen with wind chills in the negative 20’s. In Louisiana, it hardly gets cold enough to hunker down inside. Maybe wet, raining, and muddy, but not lock-yourself-in-the-house-and-binge-baked- goods freezing cold.

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It has certainly been a reminder of how much my family requires times spent outside. It’s like being unable to take a deep breath and then suddenly you’re free to go outdoors and you can breathe again. All the fresh oxygen comes rushing in and you feel so connected with your family, and life, and if you’re a spiritual person, God.

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That’s how serious we are about getting away from our regular lives and responsibilities. Just taking a walk for an hour and not talking about homework, being in trouble at school, last night’s argument, or finances. No phones, no television, no begging to play a video game. It’s like a deep breath for your family. Five stars. Highly recommend.

I’m sure that evening strolls and bike rides aren’t possible for some families. There’s work schedules, practices, projects, and some have nowhere to walk. But I would encourage you to carve out some time, any time, to take a walk with your family. My kids love to find animals, leaves, acorns, sticks, mud puddles, watch airplanes fly overhead, run, skip, eat flowers our neighbor says are edible… it rejuvenates them. I’m certain it would do the same for your family.

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We are so close to Spring here in Snow-hio, and I’m guessing in your part of the country, too. So get ready, dust off your sneakers and your bike helmets, and go fill your lungs with some fresh air!

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Allison Pickett is a mom of four wild ones and married to a giant, bearded man. Reading, crying about things she reads, Netflix, crying about things she Netflix-es, eating cookies, crying about eating cookies… these are some of her favorite hobbies.