In this guide, we showcase the very best sleeping pads on the market, the ones we use the most. We back up these recommendations with a data-based analysis of weight, warmth, & cost as well as extensive field experience in a broad range of conditions. With better sleep comes more spring in your step, more alertness on the trail, and wider smiles all day long. Sweet dreams!

The SingFin Portal 2 is a significant tent! At less than 3 pounds, it may be the lightest, 2-person tent that can handle four-season conditions. As such, it adds a margin of safety and protection that most 3-season tents can’t provide.

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa Fanny Pack is an ultralight way to make key gear quickly accessible on the trail without having to take your pack off. it makes a great catch-all for the day’s trail food, maps, sunscreen, lip balm, iphone anything else that you want to quickly grab while walking. And it makes an excellent small fanny for minimal day hikes.

Keep it simple, nutritious and save weight: I take inexpensive trail foods which are both tasty and nutritious. Specifically, foods that give you calories, protein, good fats, vitamins and other micro nutrients. This keeps you healthy and cruising along the trail with a spring in your step. Just as important…

For much of the US hammock tent camping is fantastic & arguably the best way to sleep in the backcountry. This is true anywhere with trees—nearly all of the eastern US & much of the Mountain West.

The Hammock Gear Wanderlust Complete Kit for Hammock Tent Camping raises the bar for an ultralight, low cost, easy to use, complete hammock kit. It has the some of the best thought out features and easy to use components/hardware we’ve seen…

At a scant 1.8 pounds the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dirigo 2 Tent is a serious contender for the title of “strongest, lightest and most storm-worthy backpacking tent” on the market.

Kammok with their Mantis UL Hammock Tent, brings modern Hammock Tent camping into mainstream camping, backpacking and thru-hiking culture as viable option to traditional tent camping. 

This post takes the BS & mystery out of finding the right camera. A camera that meets YOUR needs & YOUR budget. And you don’t need an expensive camera to take superb backpacking photos. Some of the best lightweight backpacking and hiking cameras cost far less than you think. You might already own one!

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.