Everything you get in an outdoor store these days comes in a stuff sack, doesn’t it?

I mean, I got used to buying sleeping bags that came in their own nylon drawstring bags.  You ram the sleeping bag down inside them randomly, so the stuffing in the bag doesn’t eventually line up and separate in weird stripes from repeated, organized, anal-retentive folding and rolling of the bag.

Disorganized, chaotic people like me LOVE those kinds of instructions.

Which is why I’m not as keen on my tent’s stuff sack.  Only by carefully laying out, folding up, and properly rolling do you have any hope whatsoever of returning the tent to the bag it came in.

Back to the point- I’ve bought camp towels that came in stuff sacks, I’ve bought campstove gear which by it’s very nature cannot be stuffed down any smaller than it is, in a stuff sack- or at least in a nylon bag with a drawstring closure.  Which counts as, I believe, a stuff sack. What else comes in stuff sacks?  Sleeping pads, camp chairs, jackets, shirts, climbing harness, hats, throw rope, first aid kit, Christmas gifts from my brother, and… well, you’ll see, if you haven’t bought one lately yourself and have figured out what we’re talking about.

My oldest son needed to upgrade his sleeping bag.  He had a sort of kids bag that wasn’t going to work well on Boy Scout trips.  You could tell it was substandard because it didn’t come in a stuff sack.  It came in some nylon clippy strappy thing with his name embroidered on it.  Cool, but it’s not a stuff sack.  So we got him a new one.  It came with it’s own stuff sack, of course, but it was newer and better than the ones that came with my old Kelty bags- bought nearly twenty years ago now.  It came with a compression sack.  That, and the fact that it’s made out of some nano-age fabric that’s apparently spun from something so high-tech it’s almost air, means that it packs down to a size you can overlook in the big duffel bags I usually pack our gear into.

Impressed, I vow to buy compression sacks for our older sleeping bags and pack ’em down modern-style.  So I went to get new stuff sacks.  I got some high-tech looking things that my brother wouldn’t look silly owning, so I figured I was in the gold, here.  Not so much.  My bulky old sleeping bags strain at the tiny little cords that serve to compress the bags, so you’d pull on one side only to feel the other side go ‘Vvvip!’ and give way.  Damn.

So when I saw a slightly lower-tech model at the Scout Shop, that was 2/3s the price and had big honkin’ nylon straps instead of fine little filament sized cord, I got that.  Better.  Much better.

Of course, by now, you’ve guessed what the stuff sacks were packaged in.

Yep.  Their own stuff sacks.  I have no idea what to do with them.  Maybe I need to give tiny little Christmas gifts this year, wrapped in these little stuff sacks.