Big Mo 20 Real Review: Taking Our Toddler to the Grand Canyon | Trip Report #4
The Trip Report series features real stories from real families adventuring with their kids and babies. Have a story you want to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We, like all parents, think our kid is as cute as it gets. But when you need to get some sleep yourself, your kid is cutest when she looks like this:
That’s why we were excited when we found the infant and toddler sleeping bags from Morrison Outdoors.
We stumbled upon Morrison Outdoors via REI while looking for alternatives to all the youth bags out there. The problem with bags made for “big” kids is that all the good, light ones are basically adult mummy bags in miniature. “I want mommy” is my daughter’s favorite refrain, but that’s not going to be “I want mummy” any time soon. Our little monster is a belly and side sleeper, like me. My partner and I sacrifice a few ounces to rock a pair of Nemo “spoon” bags for ourselves, so why should our kiddo be stuffed like a sausage into a bag that’s best for back-sleepers?
Believe me, we tried. Ever pitch a tent in your spare bedroom? We did! Every night we read stories and tried to convince our 24-month-old to sleep in our tent while inside a youth mummy (a nice down one from MEC). No doing. She’s used to being in a sleep-sack, and every sleep-sack I’ve ever seen has arms free and space to move your legs.
So, these Morrison Outdoors folks are onto something here. Kids need to be warm and comfortable, and comfort means replicating their typical sleep routines. This bag does exactly that. It gives the child room to adjust inside the bag—just like a sleep-sack—and it has fully insulated arms so they can crawl and roll around.
Our kiddo loved it! From her perspective it was just a bright green sleep-sack that we kept calling a “sleeping bag” (adults are so confusing). Most importantly, she slept well every night—6 nights on the Tonto Trail in Grand Canyon National Park.
Did she sleep perfectly? Of course not, the Big Mo is a down sleeping bag, not barbiturates. She slept about as well as she would sleep at home. As my partner said to our trip companions, “We have good nights and bad nights at home, but home doesn’t come with these views.”
The Big Mo achieves all that Morrison’s marketing says it does: it’s super light, top quality, packs down to the size of a water bottle, and even looks nice too. I assume the safety features work; we are writing this review after all. We didn’t experience 20°F on this trip (thank goodness) so it was plenty warm for the 35°F to 40°F overnights we had down in the canyon. Either way, venting heat is well thought out.
In a perfect world, a bag like the Big Mo could have some way to let her hands out so it could double as a puffy outside the tent (ever tried to keep a toddler's hands covered during waking hours—good luck).
Overall, the Big Mo is a fantastic piece of gear. If you have a toddler and love camping, the value is there.
In the end, it isn’t about the bag, or even the sleep. It’s about waking up happy, warm, rested and getting out there. It's about seeing your kid playing in the water at Cottonwood Creek with Horseshoe Mesa looming in the distance.
It’s about feeling amazed and proud when your kid climbs over the fieldstone stairs at the Phantom Ranch Canteen.
And it’s about sharing a love for a beautiful place with your entire family, after a restful night.
Alex S. is an office-working dad, cyclist, and a sometimes outdoors-ish (not outdoorsy) person who did not grow up camping and was a reluctant boy scout. His partner Shelagh is similarly outdoors adjacent. She spent summers at her family cabin - a structure that, while also in the woods, is completely unlike a tent. Neither can build a fire from twigs and friction, fillet a fish, or navigate using the stars. Just a couple of very ordinary folks, who want to go beautiful places, and don't let "you can't do that with a kid" get in the way.
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