Camino de Santiago, Camino Gear

The Search for the Perfect Camino Sleep System Continues

June 13, 2014

At our end-of-the-year staff party today, one of my colleagues jokes with me about a duvet cover being offered as a raffle prize. “You could use it as your ‘sleep system‘”, she smirks, clearly referring to my numerous Facebook posts regarding the elusive perfect sleep system and all my thus far failed attempts to create it. I laugh and make a joke about carpet tape (something I was thinking about using to put together one of my creations), then express my hope that there will be a package from REI awaiting me when I return home and that it will contain my PSS (perfect sleep system).

Happily, when I arrive at my building, there is a small-ish, very lightweight box from REI on top of the mailbox and gleefully, I dash upstairs with it, slicing open the top with my key as soon as I enter my apartment.

REI Halo +40 Sleeping Bag: Women's Regular It didn't even occur to me that I needed the women's long. Turns out that the regular is for people up to 66" tall and I'm 69" tall. What now?

REI Halo +40 Sleeping Bag: Women’s Regular
It didn’t even occur to me that I needed the women’s long. Turns out that the regular is for people up to 66″ tall and I’m 69″ tall. What now?

I can hardly wait to get the bag out of the giant white cotton sack (clearly not a compression sack). I pull it out, and lay it out on the living room floor, reveling in the brilliant green, enjoying the puffy softness in my hands.

Once it is spread out, however, I eyeball it with suspicion.

It looks short.

Very short.

I unzip it and crawl inside. My feet touch the bottom of the fluffy bag. I can’t get the hood around my head.

It is short. Too short.

I grab my laptop and go online, searching for the specs. I read the line, “Fits up to 66 inches.” Shoot. I’m 5’9″ or 69 inches, which makes me three inches too tall for this bag. I am Jack’s total dismay. (Sorry, couldn’t resist. 100 points for you if you can name that movie.)

Back to the drawing board.

Except, I’m seven days away from the first day of my Camino and five days away from my flight. Although the Nanowave 55 I have in my possession was inexpensive, it doesn’t keep me warm enough. (In hindsight, it would have been fine.) Should I take it anyway? Make do?

It takes me about 30 seconds to decide that I don’t want to spend forty days “making do”. I log in to my REI account and order the darn Halo in “long”. It occurs to me that I need to pay the two-day shipping fee if I want this bag to arrive before I leave.

I’m actually not all that dismayed. What I am is thankful…thankful for a computer, for a home I love where these various items of gear can be delivered, and grateful for all the resources at my disposal that make it possible for me to take this trip. When push comes to shove, even if I depart with nothing more to my PSS than a 5 X 8 permethrin-treated sheet and a borrowed silk liner, I will be totally fine. in fact, I know where I can purchase a decent bag either the day I arrive in Spain or when I hit Pamplona on foot some days later.

I am Jack’s grateful heart. (Sorry, once again, couldn’t resist).


What was your sleep system? How did you like it?

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  • Sally August 17, 2015 at 14:05

    Hi There,
    You are the only person I have found that makes reference to noise blocking headphones to help sleep and block out snorers in Albergues. I’m wondering, how did those work out for you? Did you also use a white noise app at night? I’m thinking that this is a very clever idea and would like to hear if it is effective.

    • Sometimes She Travels August 24, 2015 at 19:06

      Hey there,
      Yes! And yes again! Two years in a row my sleep system for noise has stood me in good stead. I put in a pair of foam ear plugs, then wear my Bose headphones over those playing white noise on my iPod. I was grateful every night for this system Sally.

  • Sally Forester April 28, 2016 at 15:15

    Hi again! Stupid question- but how did you get the white noise to loop on your ipod so that it is continuous? Didn’t that drain all your battery- how did you manage that? Just curious- I leave in a week and am definitely a white noise addict…
    Thanks! Sally

    • Sometimes She Travels May 17, 2016 at 20:01

      Hi! I’m so sorry that I missed this question and I hope you found an answer before you left! My iPod will last the entire night on a loop, if not longer, so I could charge it with my portable charger during the day or before I went to bed. Buen Camino!

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