Friday, May 3, 2013

Thermarest Alpine Sleeping Blanket Review

Thermarest Alpine Blanket
I slept wonderfully under my new Thermarest Alpine blanket during my Green Swamp backpacking trip!  The overnight air was 48 degrees around 5:00 AM that morning, and I never got cold during the night.  I wasn't too hot either.  I cannot say that of camping before, I was always too hot or cold, off and on all night when sleeping out.  In my case this was because the old sleeping bag I used had lost its loft.
I have always liked down comforters, having slept under one during the winters up north when I was young.  I spent several years sleeping deep in a feather bed with tons of blankets piled on top.  The down comforter was my favorite cover because there was no weight to it, unlike the heavy wool blankets of which we had too many.
What makes this Thermarest down blanket (I prefer to call it a quilt) so comfortable are the draft tubes sewn along the sides and the foot box design and its light weight.  The foot box is created by snapping the quilt together to make a pocket at the bottom that wraps underneath you while sticking your feet inside.  Your feet just stay there warm all night, they don't wander out from under the covers at all.  There are 2 snaps to really close in around your feet and lower legs.  The draft tubes along the sides of the quilt stop drafts of cold air from coming in where the quilt may get pulled back along a side as you roll around or turn over at night, something I do a lot of.  This is a large model, the regular sized measurements seemed too narrow for me, so with an extra 4 inches width and one additional ounce of fill, it seem to be just right for me, at the same price.  The 700-fill goose down was more than enough quality feathers to keep me very warm while staying lightweight.  I slept that night wearing my REI lightweight long underwear, smart wool socks and a knit cap.
Sleeping on top of my older 48 inch long RidgeRest Sleeping Pad and with my backpack tucked under my legs, I never felt the first breeze of cold air all night long.  That is with one tent door open for fresh air, as there was no wind or rain that night, just lots of thin, high clouds passing above.
I like the look of the quilt with the deep blue color and the dark gray underside.  I didn't need to use any of the straps Thermarest offers to attach around the sleeping pad.  I can see where a small sheet on the sleeping pad could be nice in warmer weather and I may investigate that at some time.  This quilt is so very light, it doesn't interfere with sleeping at all, and it packs light too, at just 24.1 ounces or 1 pound 8 ounces on my scale, a few ounces lighter than advertised.
However, for sleep comfort, my older RidgeRest pad was just too thin.  After the first 5 hours of sleep that night, whenever I rolled onto my side I woke up from a pain in my hip, a pain I didn't have anymore once I got up.  I had purchased a Z Lite SOL mattress that I did not get to use, thinking the older sleeping pad would work just fine and because it would be more convenient to carry.  Oh well, I should have taken the Z Lite SOL pad with me and will do so from now on, packed inside my backpack.  It is thicker than the older RidgeRest pad and I have slept very comfortably on one recently.   When it gets cold out, the shiny side of the Z Lite SOL should reflect a few degrees of my own heat right back to me.
I had used many different sleeping pads and air mattresses in the past, any many worked very well.  I wanted to get away from the air-filled mattresses though because they eventually fail and I don't want to mess with repair kits anymore.  That is unless the Z Lite just doesn't pad my body enough for a full nights sleep.
For the Thermarest quilt, it is the best of anything I have ever used for cover when sleeping outdoors.  It was comfortable and felt regular, just like I was sleeping in a bed at home.  For backpacking, I keep it waterproofed inside my pack in a trash compactor bag, and for sleeping, my tent will keep me dry in foul weather.  I am very pleased with my purchase and highly recommend it to backpackers looking to replace their older sleeping bags with something more comfortable and lighter.

1 comment:

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