herm-a-Rest Vesper Quilt

First Look: Therm-a-Rest Vesper Quilt & Therm-a-Rest Hyperion Sleeping Bag

The 15 ounce! Cascade Designs Vesper Quilt debuted last month at the 2018 Outdoor Retailer show. When paired with the new ½ pound Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Mattress you get a +32 ºF sleep system that weighs a scant 1.5 pounds! That’s less than the individual weight of most sleeping bags or sleeping pads. In summary, with the Therm-a-Rest Vesper Quilt and Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Mattress you get it all — warmth, comfort AND incredibly low weight. As Therm-a-Rest says, “Comfort that weighs ounces not pounds” and “Better Sleep Guaranteed.” I am looking forward to field testing the Vesper Quilt to see if it meets these claims.

And New 16 oz +32 ºF Therm-a-Rest Hyperion Sleeping Bag!

Therm-a-Rest Hyperion Sleeping Bag

In addition, Therm-a-Rest introduced two exciting ultralight sleeping bags: the Hyperion 32 Sleeping Bag rated a +32 ºF and just 16 oz in size regular!, and the Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 20 Sleeping Bag rated a +20 ºF and 1 lb 4 oz in size regular (more on this below). These two bags will be strong and exciting competitors to longtime ultralight sleeping bag favorites like the Western Mountaineering SummerLite, or the Marmot Phase 20/30 or Hydrogen and Atom Sleeping Bags.

Finally, an Ultralight Backpacking Quilt For the Masses? The Therm-a-Rest Vesper Quilt

herm-a-Rest Vesper Quilt

Snug, warm and comfortable: You can see how the Therm-a-Rest Vesper Quilt snugs up around my neck and the side baffles (the obvious bulge on my right) around my sides to keep warm air in. Yes, I am a huge fan of quilts for backpacking. They are cheaper, lighter, and have a higher warmth-to-weight ratio than traditional sleeping bags.

What makes the Therm-a-Rest Vesper Quilt different is that its made by a major manufacturer and will likely be available on-the-shelf at major retailers like REI. Prior to this, for at least 10 years High Quality Ultralight Quilts have been available from a number of cottage manufacturers. These quilts were made to order and took about 4-8 weeks to deliver — an impediment to some prospective buyers. And even if you were OK with the delivery time, some backpackers were still uncomfortable ordering from cottage manufactures. Thus, the on-the-shelf available Therm-a-Rest Vesper Quilts may well open the gates to a new group backpackers to discover the joys and benefits of quilts.

More reading: Learn about the many advantages of backpacking quilts and top picks like a $159 +20 ºF down quilt! in the 2018 Buyers Guide to Lightweight Backpacking Quilts.

herm-a-Rest Vesper Quilt

A 1.5 pound +32 sleeping system! The combined weight of the new Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Mattress and the with the new 15 ounce Vesper Quilt weighs less than most sleeping bag’s or pad’s individual weights.

What Stands out about the Therm-a-Rest Vesper Quilt (and Hyperion Bags)

What follows also applies for the most part to the new Hyperion Sleeping Bags

  • An ultralight backpacking quilt (or sleeping bag) that will be available on-the-shelf from major retailers like REI.
  • The highest quality 900 fill power Nikwax water resistant down. (Most high end bags and quilts are usually 800 or possibly 850 fill power at best.) And it’s Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certified.
  • Therm-a-rest’s ThermaCapture* lining that prevents radiant heat escaping thus increasing warmth. This is also used in the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pads.
  • Side baffles (like wings) on the quilt that better seal around the edges in the critical torso area.

Note: Recently, there have been a few more semi-main-stream quilts available (altho none yet at REI). Most notably, the Western Mountaineering Nanolite +38 ºF Quilt, the Western Mountaineering Astralite +26 ºF Quilt and Feathered Friends line of Flicker Quilts.

Again, for the best of cottage manufacturer’s offerings including a +20 down quilt for only $159 see my 2018 Buyers Guide to Lightweight Backpacking Quilts.


herm-a-Rest Vesper Quilt

Therm-a-Rest Vesper Quilt Specifications

Therm-a-Rest Vesper 32 Quilt – Regular: 15 oz, +32 ºF, $350 – Long: 1 lb 1 oz, $350
Therm-a-Rest Vesper 20 Quilt – Regular: 1 lb 3 oz, +20 ºF, $380 – Long: 1 lb 5 oz, $400

  • Highest quality 900 fill power Nikwax water resistant down. Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certified.
  • ThermaCapture lining that prevents radiant heat escaping thus increasing warmth
  • Side baffles and a sewn/insulated foot box to increase warmth
  • Very light 10 Denier Nylon DWR shell fabric
  • SynergyLink connectors integrate the quilt with your mattress (that is they keep it in place over your pad and reduce drafts).
  • Regular: L x W x Foot, 75 x 58 x 18 inches
  • Long: L x W x Foot, 79 x 61 x 19 inches

Therm-a-Rest Hyperion Sleeping Bag

 

Therm-a-Rest Hyperion Sleeping Bags Specifications

Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 32 Sleeping Bag – Small: 15oz, $349.95; Regular: 1lb, $369.95; Long: 1lb 2oz, $389.95
Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 20 Sleeping Bag – Small: 1lb 3oz, $399.95; Regular: 1lb 4oz, $419.95; Long: 1lb 6 oz, $439.95

  • Highest quality 900 fill power Nikwax water resistant down. Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certified.
  • ThermaCapture lining that prevents radiant heat escaping thus increasing warmth
  • Very light 10 Denier Nylon DWR shell fabric
  • Hyperion size regular fits 170cm – 183cm length (5ft 6in to 6ft) , Girth is 145cm (57in) at the shoulder, 126cm (50in) at the hip and 109cm (43in) at the foot.

*THERMACAPTURE™ (from Therm-a-Rest site)

ThermaCapture Radiant Heat Technology is a proprietary reflective coating that we apply to a range of surfaces. By reflecting radiant heat back to your body that is otherwise lost, this extremely lightweight coating turns that surface into a very efficient heat reflector, amplifying warmth without the excess weight or bulk of added, conventional insulating materials. According to Therm-a-Rest the “ThermaCapture lining treatment does not affect breathability. Breathability limited by the fabric.


Disclaimer

This post contains affilate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on the these links, a portion of the sale helps support this site at no additional cost to you. I do not receive compensation from the companies whose products are listed. For product reviews: unless otherwise noted, products are purchased with my own funds. I am never under an obligation to write a review about any product. Finally, this post expresses my own independent opinion.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Mattress

Lightest Air Mattress the 1/2 Lb Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Mattress

Air mattress comfort at foam pad weights! The new Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Mattress is the lightest insulated backpacking air mattress. To achieve the low weight, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Mattress uses an extremely light high tenacity nylon fabric for its shell. At the show, Jennifer Curto of T-rest assured me that mattresses with the new fabric had gone through extensive testing and had even survived being run over by a Jeep!

Specs Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Mattress

  • 8.8 oz, R 2.0 Size Regular UberLite (72x20x2.5 inches) $180
  • 6.0 oz, R 2.0 Size Small UberLite (47x20x2.5 inches) $140
  • 12.0 oz, R 2.0 Size Large UberLite (77x25x2.5 inches) $210
  • Availability Spring 2019

In comparison To

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Mattress

A 1.5 pound +32 sleeping system! The combined weight of the new Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Mattress and the with the new 15 ounce Vesper Quilt weighs less than most sleeping bag’s or pad’s individual weights. I will post more soon on the exciting new Vesper +32 and +20 ºF Quilts that were also announced at the 2018 Outdoor Retailer Show this month.

new UberLite vs. XLite – How it Works

With the 1/2 Pound Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Mattress, Therm-a-Rest dropped the weight of their lightest full-size air mattress by 25%. This was done with a lighter shell fabric, lighter internal baffling film, and by skipping radiant heat reflecting layers.

Warmth: To save weight the new UberLite eliminates the ThermaCapture* radiant heat reflecting layers used in XLite pads. This in part results in an insulating value of R 2.0 vs the R 3.2 for the standard XLite and R 3.9 for the Women’s which has an additional ThermaCapture radiant heat layer. Nonetheless an R 2.0 should be sufficient for most 3-season campers. For four season I would look to the R 3.9 Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad – Women’s (I’ve been down to +12 ºF with this pad) or for cold sleepers the R 5.7 Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad.

Durability: According to Jennifer Curto, the new UberLite uses a 15 Denier High Tenacity Nylon Shell Fabric and the internal material [that creates the heat retaining baffles] is a super unique ultralight film. So the new shell fabric is 1/2 the weigh of the 30D fabric used in the XLite mattresses. Nonetheless, Curto says: “We cycle tested and field tested the NeoAir UberLite, even driving over it with a Jeep!.. We are confident that it meets Therm-a-Rest performance standards. That being said, the mattress deserves to be treated like any premium piece of ultralight gear.”

 

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Mattress

Conclusion

The success of the new Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Mattress will most likely hinge on the durability of the new 15 Denier High Tenacity Nylon Shell Fabric. Alison and I have had good luck with the durability of our 30D HT Nylon Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pads  since their introduction. We’ve had only one leaker, and that was a very slow leak that only required topping off once each the night to get us through the trip. Post trip, Therm-a-Rest warranteed us a new sleeping pad. While the 15D UberLite fabric is light, manufactures continue to find better and lighter materials and improved construction techniques with performance equaling or close to that of older heavier materials. I hope this is the case with the new Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Mattress. I am on the list to be one of the earlier testers, so stay tuned to learn more.

The other thing of note is the R 2.0 of the pad. This is almost 1/2 the insulation of our favored R 3.9 Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad – Women’s pads. This should be just fine for camping much of the year. But in shoulder seasons where I expect nighttime temperatures to routinely drop below freezing I would consider using the warmer/more insulating R 3.2 to R 3.9 XLite pads.


*THERMACAPTURE™ (from Therm-a-Rest site)
ThermaCapture Radiant Heat Technology is a proprietary reflective coating that we apply to a range of surfaces. By reflecting radiant heat back to your body that is otherwise lost, this extremely lightweight coating turns that surface into a very efficient heat reflector, amplifying warmth without the excess weight or bulk of added, conventional insulating materials.

 


Disclaimer

This post contains affilate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on the these links, a portion of the sale helps support this site at no additional cost to you. I do not receive compensation from the companies whose products are listed. For product reviews: unless otherwise noted, products are purchased with my own funds. I am never under an obligation to write a review about any product. Finally, this post expresses my own independent opinion.

The Big Three

Quick ways to reduce backpack weight

Quick ways to reduce backpack weight

Moving fast and light along the spectacular ridge line of the GR20 in Corsica. A minimal pack (and good pre-trip training) enabled Alison and I to do a 16 day trip in under 8 days. Pictured – the award winning Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Pack

Quick ways to reduce backpack weight. A few may surprise you…

  1. Look at The Big Three: Backpack, Tent/shelter, and Sleep System (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and ground cloth). You stand to loose a bunch of weight from these: as much as 10 to 12 pounds.
    1. Take a Backpack that weighs less than two pounds
    2. Take a Tent/Shelter that weighs less than two pounds
    3. Take a Sleeping bag that that weighs less than 1.5 pounds
  2. Look on The Backpacking Food Page to save a ton of weight at zero cost
  3. Get a weather report (the NOAA hourly weather graph is among the most informative and accurate)—then pack for those conditions! Since 90% of backpackers take 90% their trips for 3 days or or less, this weather report should be quite accurate for the short time you are out. This will let you pack a tent, clothing, and sleeping bag appropriate for actual conditions. It will also deter you from taking inappropriate, “what-if-the-worst-happens!” gear, e.g. 6 pound tent, and a +10F sleeping bag for a balmy weather trip on the Appalachian Trail.
  4. Don’t take extra clothing. e.g. don’t take any more clothing than you can wear at one time.
  5. Take less: Be disciplined and leave a few items at home that you haven’t used in the last three trips. Put stuff like sunscreen and trail soap in smaller containers.
  6. Extra Credit: Browse The Gear Lists Page for other ideas and examples to save weight. This will give you a good examples of what type of gear is available and what is a reasonable weight for that type of gear, e.g. around 6-8 ounces for a rain jacket, or around 1.0 ounce for a pocket knife. Think hard if your gear is 2 to 3x heavier than the examples on these lists.
  7. Read my The Best Hydration — Drink When Thirsty. Use a Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter to drink at the source (lake, stream, etc.). Then only carry a sensible amount to get to your next known water source. I.e. it makes no sense to carry 3 liters of water, almost 7 pounds, when your next water source is only two hours away.
  8. Remember to have fun! That will at least, lighten your spirit and mood.

How Do I Start?

  • Ground yourself in reality: Get all your stuff together and weigh it. If you’re like most conventional hikers, your equipment will weigh around 30 pounds, possibly higher.
  • Get individual weights for your heavier items like tents and backpacks. For stuff in the range of a few pounds or less you’ll want to buy an inexpensive digital scale that weighs up to 10 pounds.
  • See what you can leave at home. Anything you don’t bring is free weight reduction. Think hard about this one. Do you really need it?
  • Put together a spreadsheet (or at least a list) with all your equipment weights. This is an indispensable analysis tool.
  • Try to figure out where you’ll get the most “bang for the buck.” e.g. figure out how much a new item costs and divide that by the amount of weight it will save you over your old equipment. Target the items that give you the most weight loss for the fewest dollars.
  • Don’t try to purchase all your new equipment right away. Many items regularly go on sale or are closed out, e.g. Sierra Trading Post. Watch carefully over the course of a year and you could save 30 to 70 percent on your equipment.

The Big Three – Recommended Backpacking Gear

The Big Three

Moving fast and light along the spectacular ridge line of the GR20 in Corsica. A minimal pack (and good pre-trip training) enabled Alison and I to do a 16 day trip in under 8 days.

To save as much as 10 to 12 pounds with with the minimum of effort, look at The Big Three.  1) Backpack, 2) Tent/Shelter, and 3) Sleeping bag (or quilt). The lighter versions of these are just as functional as their heavier counterparts. They will carry your load and keep you warm and dry. The only thing you stand to lose is a bunch of weight off your back.

And most people do not enjoy being a pack mule. It is rarely the highlight or happiest memory of a trip. Alternatively, unburdened from the misery of carrying a heavy pack, folks become joyful and alert—in the best state of mind to appreciate everything around them—the reason they went backpacking. The Big Three is the fastest way to achieve that goal.

The Big Three

1) Take a Backpack that weighs less than two pounds
(see Recommended Backpacks)

Recommended Backpacking Gear

2) Take a Tent/Shelter that weighs less than two pounds
(see Recommended Tents, Tarps and other Shelters)
Recommended Backpacking Gear

3) Take a Sleeping bag that that weighs less than 1.5 pounds
(see Recommended Sleeping Bags and Quilts)
Recommended Backpacking Gear