I don't cop easily to being a princess, but when it comes to camping, I find my quasi-royal side rising to the surface, as in "I spy, with the small of my back, a little tiny pea." So when I signed up for a multi-day cycling trip down the California coast that involved camping along the way, I realized I'd put myself into a bind: how to set up the bedding for gracious living, get enough sleep to ride 100 miles a day, and still seem tougher than my true nature.
The key, of course, was good equipment. Armed with my down-filled inflatable mat from Exped, my Quixote down pillow, and a brand-new Moonstone 800 Lucid sleeping bag, I set off for San Francisco in early June.
Moonstone prides itself on a less-is-more aesthetic, which is why the Lucid, by not calling attention to its cool features, is in fact one of the coolest-looking bags I've seen. When I pulled it out of its country-loaf-size pouch, the gray Pertex X-Ray ripstop shell positively shimmered, and the bag's full gossamer length unrolled like a well-fitting pair of pants. But more to the point, all that sleek lightness was rated to 20 degrees, meaning my cold-sensitive frame would be protected against any unpredictable coastal weather.
It did get down to a nippy 34 that first night, but I slept straight through without a shiver. The anatomical footbox was not too loose and not too tight, the inset pillow gave me extra padding up top, and, best of all, there were no uncomfortable zippers or flaps hanging around near my face, just a simple drawstring that closed everything up in the best cocoon-like fashion as I drifted effortlessly to sleep.
Temps rose as we moved down the coast toward L.A., but the Lucid remained perfect each night. For 2 a.m. outhouse visits, there was a handy glow-in-the-dark zipper pull, and when I tucked back in, the 800-fill down regulated things on the inside so I never got too hot. This very effective model of minimalism weighs in at just over two pounds, so it has a negligible impact on your luggagesaving enough room, perhaps, for that crown. $260;