A few years ago I had a strange fascination with living outside on the edge where the frost or dew greet me every morning. Not JUST when backpacking but ALSO when backpacking. I had MCS or Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and I went into nature to heal. It was where I could get grounded and get away from the toxins inside modern houses. I wanted to make nature my home and not a mere ‘camping’ experience. That meant bringing the most comfortable things that didn’t compromise quality of life. But there was no safe camping gear. Everything was synthetic and toxic. So I started playing with designs for natural fiber camping gear. I discovered how sleeping with wool outside was as delicious as walking barefoot on the ground. The quality of sleep that wool provides is unparalleled. And sleep is where we heal. I needed to be outside AND to sleep. They actually go together perfectly, but I had to find a way to make it light enough to carry.
I researched the history of sleeping bags and the early origins built by the Inuit Indians from seal skins and fur that weighed 18 pounds for the frigid Arctic winters. There was never a lightweight wool sleeping bag sold to the outdoor gear market. Was it possible and if so, why hadn’t anyone done it yet? I was either wasting my time or about to discover something that would set a new standard for sleeping bags. I started playing around with materials and prototypes testing them for hundreds of nights sleeping under the sky in all conditions. Of course, no one understood what I was doing, but as an inventor, I was totally used to this. I also built a backpack and tent and was elated with my new system. Even in the rough early stages…it rocked! As my health improved I could extend my limits farther and kept tinkering. I know this was the biggest NO NO in the outdoor culture. I was about to violate a taboo: “Thou shalt NOT use wool for sleeping bags.” It was a sacrilege. And the reasoning was no one had ever put a sleeping bag together from the right combination of fabrics and batting. I don’t know why, but this is a fact.
Well I thought about it and with some special tweaks of materials and design, and searching the planet for the very hard to find ingredients since wool has become so little known and respected, I came up with a bag that is crazy competitive in weight and temperature rating to the modern synthetic bags. I designed my first prototype in 2012 and tested it extensively in all kinds of weather. I lived several months of the year including winter in a tipi or under the bare sky often when traveling. I would wake up in the morning having the best sleep I can remember and have no idea that within inches of my skin it was subzero temperatures and that I was even sleeping outdoors. When sleeping in wool, I actually felt as if I had no covering, because the air flows so well from the skin. I felt just the perfect temperature and didn’t feel compressed from piles of heavy bedding. I slept so well and could sleep right through a dense fog or dew without noticing a clammy feeling. So, in February 2016 I launched Lucky Sheep™ and have since evolved to the current line of natural fiber outdoor gear. Click this link to read the story: The Tipi Experiment Part One: Minimalism to the Extreme.