Therm-a-Rest Alpine 35 Down Blanket

Therm-a-Rest Alpine Down 35 Degree Quilt

Therm-a-Rest Alpine Down 35 Degree Quilt

Last summer I was on the fence about switching from a sleeping bag to a quilt (see The Tentative Quilter), but I’ve been camping with a Therm-a-Rest Alpine Down Blanket (35F) this spring and I’m now a convert. As a side sleeper, I’ve spent years trying to get used to sleeping on my back, the sleeping position that most mummy bags force you to assume at night. While I’ve learned to force myself to sleep that way, I’m much more comfortable if I can go to sleep on my side and not have to fight my sleeping bag all night.

Blanket or Quilt?

Although it’s labelled as a ‘down blanket’ and not a quilt, make no mistake, this product is a full fledged down sleeping quilt like the ones used by hardcore ultralight backpackers. While it’s got fewer bells and whistles and only has 700 fill power down, instead of the 850-950 fill power down used by high-end specialty manufacturers, it’s a perfectly viable and effective way to eliminate an entire pound or more from your gear list and significantly reduce the volume capacity requirements of your backpack.

Weighing just 1 pound 6 ounces, the Therm-a-Rest Alpine Down Blanket is lighter weight than most mummy or rectangular sleeping bags because it’s open at the back and there isn’t a zipper or a hood. Instead, you lie directly with your side or back on your sleeping pad and drape the blanket/quilt over you to stay warm. There’s a elastic enclosed foot box to keep your feet covered on all sides – useful if they stick out beyond your sleeping pad – as well as lightly insulated tubes that hang over the sides of your sleeping pad to prevent side drafts.

The lack of underside insulation in a quilt doesn’t effect your comfort as long as you use a properly rated sleeping pad. Camping quilts save weight by taking advantage of the fact that the back of a sleeping bag provides minimal insulation value: when you lie on insulation, be it down or synthetic, you force all the warm air out of it, effectively preventing it from retaining any heat.

Draft Protection using a Bivy Sack

Additional Draft and Moisture Protection using a Bivy Sack

There are still some weight trade-offs that you need to be cognizant of, particularly in early spring or late fall when it is cooler at night. If you sleep with a quilt, you might want to wear a winter hat or balaclava to bed to keep your head warm since it won’t be covered by the quit. Additionally, if you prefer an open or floorless shelter like a tarp, you might want to put your sleeping pad and quilt inside a bivy bag to keep it from getting wet or to further protect against side drafts. (I use a Therm-Rest Xlite Sleeping Pad and Mountain Laurel Designs Superlight Bivy Sack, for this purpose as a standard part of my gear list)

Temperature Rating

Therm-a-Rest rates the Alpine Down Blanket at 35 degrees. That’s a bit generous and I’d peg it closer to 45 degrees based on my experience using it. I’ve taken it into the high 30′s and low 40′s in New Hampshire’s White Mountains and been cold until I donned a hooded insulated jacket to augment a fleece hat.

Materials and Construction

There’s nothing terribly exciting about the fabrics, 700 down fill, or construction of the Alpine Down Blanket. The external fabric is a relatively thin 20D nylon shell with a light DWR coating requiring somewhat delicate handling. The top baffles have a box construction with lightly insulated side tubes running along the length of the blanket/quilt and a elastic foot box. Side snaps attached to the outer edges let you attached the blanket\quilt to an optional fitted sheet system that covers your sleeping pad or adhesive patches (fast and light mattress snap kit) that attach directly to your sleeping pad. Neither of these are necessary, but it is actually clever system that gives you a lot of comfort options depending on whether you’re a car camper, camping as a couple, doing a hut overnight or you’re an ultralight backpacking force of nature. For more info on these options, check out this youtube video from Therm-a-Rest.

Recommendation

If you’re a side sleeper, a hammock hanger, or simply want to reduce the weight of your gear list, switching from a sleeping bag to a quilt can definitely increase your comfort and lighten your load. It’s not a transition to be taken lightly however, and may require that you augment your current sleep system with a better sleeping pad, a bivy sack, or additional clothing layers that you don’t own or are not used to using in a complete sleep system.

Given the nature of that transition, I like the Therm-a-Rest Alpine 35 Down Blanket because it provides a cost-friendly way for people to experience all of the benefits of an ultralight quilt at an affordable price from mainstream outdoor retailers who have flexible or unlimited return policies, in case you decide that you’re not quite ready to made the switch on a permanent basis. With the exception of Golite, there really aren’t many (if any) direct-to-consumer manufacturers that offer a comparable quilt with a long term return policy.  If you have made the sleeping bag to quilt transition already, then the Therm-a-Rest Alpine 35 Down Blanket remains an attractive option if you want the option to share a lighter weight quilt system with several different family members or extend its use with some of the more luxurious car camping or couples-appropriate add-ons provided by Therm-a-Rest.

Likes

  • More comfortable for side sleepers or hammock users
  • 700 fill down helps reduce cost with a negligible weight penalty
  • Snap system and add-on components provide a lot of flexibility for a wide range of camping ‘styles’

Dislikes

  • Temperature rating is a bit optimistic
  • Exterior fabric may be too delicate for younger & less experienced hikers and campers

Disclosure: Therm-a-Rest provided Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) with a complementary Alpine Down Blanket 35 for this review. 

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37 Responses to Therm-a-Rest Alpine 35 Down Blanket

  1. Tim May 21, 2012 at 3:20 am #

    Hey,
    Great review -
    I have a question about blankets/quilts like this – can they be used on top of another bag to make a combo and gain a little be of extra warmth? Say take a 15* bag and a 35* quilt for a 0* trip?

    Thanks
    Tim

    • Earlylite May 21, 2012 at 8:28 am #

      Great question – I know people who do this, but I don’t think the warmth increase is 100% cumulative because the upper layer will compress the lower layer to a certain degree and limit the amount of loft (warm air) it can retain. Personally, I boost the warmth by wearing more clothes like a synthetic jackets with hood, insulated pants, long underwear, rain jacket and pants, etc. to achieve a similar effect, but that also has limits.

      Tommy – you do this. Want to chime in?

    • Steve May 21, 2012 at 10:50 am #

      Hi Tim, I’ve done this.

      I own a GoLite 20F bag and a GoLite 20F quilt, both down. I was able to layer them (and cover the dog with part of the quilt), for an overnight in January that saw us waking up to -20F. I’m a warm sleeper but found myself very comfortable in this combination, some points “too warm”, but nothing a quick escape for a mid-night pee didn’t solve. The only augmentation I had was wearing my down booties and my Icebreaker base layers while sleeping. I used a thermarest Z-Lite small and Prolite 3 regular (72″ tall) as my pads and we were sleeping in a 3 walled shelter/lean-to.

      Of course, at this temperature, a VBL liner would probably have been a good idea, but we did not realize the temp was going to be that low (we were expecting 0F).

      As for upper layers compressing the lower layers, I think the level of compression depends on how heavy your top layers are. my quilt weighs 1.5lb, so there’s not much compression going on of my sleeping bag underneath (especially with most of the weight in the foot box). And from what I understand, the insulation level of down reaches close to it’s peak at something like 80% loft, so even a bit of compression won’t make a huge difference.

      If you sleep comfortably at, say 68F, and the bag is rated to “20F”, then it’s giving you about 48F of insulation. So another bag capable of 48F of insulation should then conceivably get you down to around -20F. This was my experience. I hope to test this theory out more next winter.

      • Tim May 21, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

        Thanks for the replies – i figured it wouldn’t be cumulative, but was interested if it was practical. Back in the Day in scouts we would just stuff sleeping bags inside one another and that worked OK, depending on the size and quality of the bags. That said, it seems kinda wasteful to carry two sleeping bag bottoms and hoods when most of the value is in the loft.

        I did -20 once, but where we are is more in the 0s. I have a 20* down bag for the other 3 seasons. I am trying to decide what to get next (0*, -10*, quilt, synthetic, etc).

        Thanks
        Tim

        • Steve May 22, 2012 at 12:35 am #

          Always a tough choice, it all depends on your non-peak lows. I use my 20F quilt all the time, it’s my go-to “bag”, even at much higher temps, because it’s so easy to “open up” and keep cool. Plus at it’s weight I’d have to spend a lot of money to get a, say 45F, quilt that saves me a worthwhile amount of weight.

          when I’ll be well below 20F is when I take the 20F bag as well. The nice thing about a bag at much lower temps is it definitely makes managing drafts much easier. of course, a nice VBL bag liner+quilt would probably go a long way for the same effect. something I intend to play with next winter.

  2. Sean May 21, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    I like the idea of a quilt. I’m also a side sleeper. I do ok in a mummy bag though. The bag just rotates with me on my side.

    • Earlylite May 21, 2012 at 8:31 am #

      Montbell super spiral bags are good for side sleepers because they have elastic sewn into the shell that lets them conform to contortionist sleepers. I don’t have Montbell bags and I really can’t get 100% comfortable in a mummy.

  3. Herb May 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    I’m curious which size of quilt you got, “Regular” size appears to be 48″ at shoulders, which admittedly can work but is narrower than many want in a quilt. Many first-time quilt users would balk at that width; I know I’m one of them and I’m not big at 5’10″ 155 lbs. The Alpine 35 “Large” size appears to be 52″ at shoulders, which is what I’d consider “regular” but it weighs a couple of ounces more:
    http://cascadedesigns.com/therm-a-rest/sleep-systems/insulation/alpine-down-blanket/product

    Probably a given since it’s using 700-fill down, but I don’t think the weight/warmth ratio is especially good for the Alpine 35. E.g., Enlightened Equipment has a quilt that in “regular” 6’0″ size weights 16.5 oz, rated at 30 degrees (I’m guessing more than 5 degrees better than Thermarests 35 deg rating) and has dimensions of 52″ at shoulder. You can even save two+ more ounces by requesting their new 8d fabric at same cost (not listed on site yet).
    http://www.enlightenedequipment.com/revelationx.html
    http://www.enlightenedequipment.com/revelation.html

    Even the synthetic (Climashield Apex material) quilts offered at Mountain Laurel Designs and Enlightened Equipment have as good or better warmth/weight ratios as the Alpine 35, while offering the same or more generous dimensions.

    • Earlylite May 21, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

      All valid points Herb and I appreciate you listing these other manufacturer’s products for people who are looking for ultralight quilts, are willing to purchase products from cottage manufacturers that may have much longer lead times to manufacture, or less flexible return policies. Jacks R’ Better also makes excellent quits in the same general price point, while Katabatic Gear and Nunatak’s are much more expensive.

      http://www.jacksrbetter.com/Rectangular%20Quilts.htm
      http://katabaticgear.com/shop/category/sleeping-bags/
      http://www.nunatakusa.com/site07/arc_products/arc_specialist.htm

      As you can probably tell, I wrote this review for primarily for people new to the quilt concept who might want to dip their toe and try one before they commit to chucking out their old sleeping bag. While there was a time about 2 years ago where I wrote exclusively for ultralight hikers who were willing to buy custom products from cottage manufacturers, I’m not convinced that non-ultralighter’s buy products on weight alone, nor that many people want to wait 3 months to order something from Mountain Laurel Designs that won’t stand up to boy scout/family use and is completely non-returnable. A case in point, I was looking at Ron’s (MLD) Climashield Apex bag last night and decided it was not worth buying to save a few ounces because I’d have to wait until next year before I could even use it!

      The Revelation X however is an interesting alternative to the Alpine Blanket and definitely worth looking into for people who want a somewhat lighter weight product and the ability to customize the fit more. It also does NOT have the vapor barrier layer that I’ve also associated with Enlightened Equipment quilts, and which always seemed too fussy to me for 3 season use.

      Regarding temperature ratings for quilts….I have even less faith in them than temperature ratings for sleeping bags. My advice is try before you buy. I certainly wouldn’t trust anything anyone writes on their web site, without at least validating it with other users reviews.

      Regarding quilt size – also a very valuable point. I have the size regular Alpine blanket which is rated on the CD web site as being 48″. This include the width of the top part of the quilt and the additional width of the side draft tunes that extend beyond it. Do you know for a fact that all quilt manufacturers are using the same system of measurement in the specs they publish ? – I checked this measurement with a ruler BTW.

      • Herb May 21, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

        Regarding size, so far as I know all standard quilt measurements are for the section of quilt that has insulation. As far as what you call “side draft tunes”, if they’re what I think then most quilts don’t even have them. JacksRBetter has some addons that I assume are similar that they call “quilt wings”:
        http://www.jacksrbetter.com/Quilt%20Wings.htm

        I have a JacksRBetter Hudson River quilt that is 48″ wide and it’s good but like I said before the width is a touch too small. I think those wings would help situation, though you’d want to make sure that the insulation-less wings end up entirely beneath your body, not open to drafts.

        Rather than fiddle with adding the wings I just ordered a synthetic quilt from Enlightened that’s 52″. I live in PNW and figure it’s good to have both synthetic and down quilt; I expect I’ll prefer the 52″ synthetic but may keep the down one anyway.

        By the way, JacksRBetter also sells 52″ width quilts that may be more appropriate for us ground sleepers:
        http://www.jacksrbetter.com/Wearable%20Quilts.htm
        :
        Your point about reliability of temp ratings is of course well taken. I haven’t yet received my Enlightened quilt but from quite a bit of feedback in web forums I trust that Tim Sawyer of Enlightened does pretty conservative ratings. Also, for standardized insulation like the synthetic (e.g., 2.5, 4.0, 5,0 oz APEX material) there’s plenty of forum feedback on warmth that should apply regardless of who makes your quilt (or if you make it yourself).

  4. Herb May 21, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    Whoops, I said “Tim Sawyer” was of Enlightened Equipment, but his name is Tim Marshall.

    I understand that order wait time can be an issue with cottage manufacturers, but I don’t think returnability is.

    MLD Spirit quilts are returnable, as I understand it, so long as you order one of the standard sizes. They build custom sizes but in that case they’re not returnable.

    • Earlylite May 21, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

      You might want to do your homework there. It’s not quite as flexible as you might think. I’ve thought about publishing a list of all of the cottage manufacturers’ return policies and shied away from it because I didn’t want to start a war between them. Their margins are low enough but get much worse if we make them throw in unlimited return policies and free shipping. I like buying gear from them and don’t want to drive them out of business. I just think you need to be a more educated buyer.

      • Herb May 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

        Here’s my homework. . .

        The MLD website says: “All standard (non custom) equipment can be returned if in New and Unused condition within 30 days of receipt for a full refund of the product price.”
        http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/info.php?p=w

        The page for MLD Spirit quilt specifies standard dimensions for small, medium, and large, and x-large sizes and after those standard sizes it adds: “Custom non returnable sizing is available: Example: Reg Width / XL length.”
        http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=42&products_id=133

        I don’t think MLD could be much more clear that standard quilt sizes are returnable but custom size quilts are not.

        Having said that, there is a range of “returnable” policies spanning the gamut from somewhere like REI that apparently lets you return used items whenever you want and cottage manufacturers that (justifiably) have less flexible policies.

        Also, like you I would have some moral hesitation at returning to a cottage manufacturer, knowing I’m causing some hardship, that I wouldn’t have at a place like REI. Especially if I’m slightly on the fence about keeping or not, which at least partly explains why I ended up keeping my 48″ quilt from JRB. . .

        I of course agree returnability is an important issue and people should research before buying..

        All of this is apart from the main comment I wanted to make about your blog post, which was that 48″ is going to seem narrow for most first time quilt users. I can’t think of any reason for going that narrow if you’re not an ultra-lighter. I have heard others say, and from my experience I now agree, that the number one thing most likely to driver a “quilt trier” back to a sleeping bag is starting out with a quilt that’s too narrow.

        Maybe the “side tunes” things you reference on Thermarest Alpine quilt help, but in any case I think the narrowness of width — and available width ranges — is something that could use some more discussion in a piece written for first-time quilters.

        • Earlylite May 21, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

          I’m a good 50 pounds heavier than you and the same height, and the width didn’t bother me a bit. I don’t mean to pester you on the point, but can you tell me where you heard that narrowness is the main factor that drives people who try quilts back to sleeping bags? It’s plausible; I’m just wondering if it’s true. Everyone I know who’s every tried a quilt fell in love with it and never looked back.

          • Herb May 21, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

            If you read through archives at BackpackingLight or WhiteBlaze I think you’ll find plenty of people complaining about too narrow quilts. 48″ is narrow enough that it’s difficult or virtually impossible to side sleep without a draft, and even shifting a bit while fully on your back can create drafts. At least for many.

            I asked Tim Marshall at Enlightened about difference between the “regular” dimensions sold by MLD and his own “regular” specs at Enlightened, since his specs are quite a bit wider. He said he wouldn’t want to sell me one narrower than 52″ and he didn’t understand how MLD could sell theirs as “regular” size without generating a lot more returns.

            I think your Alpine35 may be different than most quilts. The typical quilt has a single top and bottom surface with insulation in between, and that’s it. The single surface is bent around you in use. The “side draft tunes” on Alpine 35 appear to make wrapping and securing the quilt easier. But are you sure that the 48″ measurement _includes_ the width of the side drafts. Seems to me like it would still feel narrow to you if combined width including tunes is indeed 48″, but perhaps not.

            • Earlylite May 21, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

              I think you may be right. Thanks for talking to Tim by the way – I was about to start calling up the quilt manufacturers I’m close with and ask them about their return rates based on quilt width.

  5. Hiking Dude May 21, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    Great to hear you’re a quilter! Another option is making your own, like I did for my AZ Trail hike this spring. Mine worked fine every night in the desert, down below 20F. You can make it as long, wide, thick as you want. Mine’s long enough I can wrap it over my head since I have no natural insulation up there. :-) Ray Jardine has a kit that works well as a starting point but they’re really simple to design yourself.

  6. Chris May 21, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    Wow — great discussion. Thoroughly enjoying as I am trying to learn about all the quilt options both mainstream and cottage. The discussion about return policies for cottage manufacturers is particularly interesting. I would be interested in a dedicated post about this — not as much for the list of policies and how they compare, but some of the reasoning behind the policies and how the companies decided to go with them. I think it is important to know how their perspective is different from large outfits like REI. As you deal and talk with many of these cottage manufacturers and their lead people perhaps it might shed light on the return policy conundrum.

    • Earlylite May 21, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

      I’n glad you got something out of the discussion – I find the comments as informative as the posts, although I was afraid the Herb might go homicidal. :-)

      The return policies of cottage manufacturers are largely based on cash flow and material inventory. They need to be able to dedicate a rather large portion of their income to buying new material in small frequent batches because they don’t have the cash reserves to buy more at once. Having longer term return policies means they have less money to dedicate to raw materials, which increases the price they need to pay for materials and eats into their profits.

      REI has a completely different business model since they have 6 million paying customers and they sell mostly sell products that other people manufacture. The reason they take unlimited returns is largely competitive with other retailers, and because it lowers their new customer acquisition costs, since they hold onto their existing customers with the returns. They also liquidate the returns in garage sales, pretty close to wholesale cost, which further limits losses.

      • Herb May 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

        “I was afraid the Herb might go homicidal. :-)”

        Sorry, if I gave that impression. If I added verbiage to soft-shoe everything it would double the length of my already long comments. (The first time I scanned your comment I subliminally interpreted it as ‘. . . might go suicidal’ ;) )

        I think you’re right that cash flow and inventory issues are main factors making returns a more difficult problem for cottage companies than large corporations.

        However, it’s important to remember that most cottage companies also have a factor in the mix that arguably makes accepting returns more important than it is for larger vendors, at least larger brick-and-mortar vendors like REI. That is: for most cottage manufacturers you can’t see the gear in person without first buying it and having it delivered. Any business with a policy of “you can’t see it till you buy it” and “no returns” is going to have a tough go of it.

        I think my main issues with cottage company returns have more to do with the fact that I’m bringing bad news to an owner, a person whose financial well-being is directly affected by the return. Contrast this with REI where you’re dealing with the paid employee of a huge organization. So I naturally am a little more hesitant to return cottage gear, although the interaction with the owner is also something that (for me) makes cottage companies more pleasant to deal with generally. You’re dealing with a real person(s), not a large faceless entity.

  7. Tom Murphy May 21, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    Doubling Up Quilts vs Sleeping Bag

    I have found that the construction features of a mummy bag [intregrated hood, trapped dead airspace, chest and zipper baffles, etc] outperform the addtional insulation of a second quilt layer.

    In the winter I double up my sleeping bags with good results. I combine a mummy down 15F bag inside a semi-mummy syn 15F bag and been warm down to -10F.

    The insulation of a quilt or sleeping bag is primarily related to its thickness [loft].

    US Army Quartermaster insulation table
    temp … sleeping
    40F ………1.5″
    20F ………2.0″
    0F ………2.5″
    -20F ……. 3.0″
    -40F ……. 3.5″
    -60F ……. 4.0″

    In practice, commerial sleeping bags exceed these loft numbers, so they are probably on the low side.

    • Steve May 22, 2012 at 12:38 am #

      Tom,

      I assume that loft chart is for down?

      • tmurphy May 22, 2012 at 9:35 am #

        I should have added more qualifiers.

        The insulation material is down and was based on testing of army soldiers [young, fit, male] and is from the 70s. :)

        The table should be used a a reference of the trend or relative relationship between loft thickness and temperature rather than as absolute values.

        Thanks for the push to better define it

        I wouldn’t want someone thinking a 4″ down quilt will be good to -60F; that would be hazardous to your health.

        • Steve May 22, 2012 at 9:41 am #

          They’re not too far off though depending on conditions.

          I have about 3.5″ to 4″ of loft between my bag and quilt I’d say. Assuming the temps got down to between -20F and -30F over night, I could probably have pushed another -10F and been fine to sleep. This of course assumes enough dinner fuel to keep the internal furnace going. Having a dog laying next to me may or may not have helped my situation either.

          that said, -60F at another 1/2″ of loft may be pushing it a bit

  8. Oscar May 23, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    I literally just ordered this quilt – had been wanting one for a while – and I did not see the postings on width until after I hit “place order”but the width conversation have me now confused. Philip – did you get L or regular? I prefer to sleep on the side and was looking for a late spring/summer/early fall quilt. I am 5ft 7″ and 180 lbs – thanks

    • Earlylite May 24, 2012 at 7:50 am #

      I’ve got the regular – I think what Herb and I concluded is that the Alpine Blanket is constructed differently than cottage manufactured quilts because it has side wings that drop down from the inside of the quilt to prevent side drafts.This makes width comparisons misleading for this particular product. I’d give the regular a whirl. I’ve got 10 pounds and 3″ on you and the regular works fine for me. Wil yo be using it with a bivy, or in a tent?

      • Oscar May 24, 2012 at 8:01 am #

        thanks for the reply – will be using it in my tarptent. Will be doing the Presidential traverse in the middle of July so look forward to testing it out then. Once I get it and try it I’ll post my thoughts…

  9. Ed May 25, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    Thanks for a great review.

    How does this compare with Golite’s UltraLite 800 Fill 3-Season Quilt? Golite is selling them direct for $150, is this a classic “too good to be true”?

    • Steve May 25, 2012 at 11:59 am #

      I have that quilt. I really like it, but 20F is only if you’re a warm sleeper like me.

  10. Tim Marshall June 8, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

    Hey guys TimMarshall from enLIGHTened equipment here.

    I don’t have an official return policy but will always exchange a quilt if it doesn’t fit and if it just isn’t for you I can process a return. I don’t want a bunch of buy to try returns but if you research and think mine is the one for you and get it, put a few nights on it and find it is all wrong for you we can do a refund no problem.

    Also, width isn’t the only way to judge if a quilt will fit you. The taper also needs to be considered. I use the half taper for my reg and wide as it offers the most coverage (same as rectangle but lighter as foot is tapered) compared to ARC and straight tapers which are lighter. Two 52″ wide quilts of different tapers won’t feel anything alike in coverage and this can make it even harder to find the right fit. This is why I go half taper (other than because I Invented it *not too complicated I admit* it is more likely to fit more people)

    I am always available to answer questions, but you better go look at my website to find my email. Better check out the quilts while you’re looking ;)

    -Tim

  11. Reed August 30, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

    Reading various articles on this website has given me some excellent ideas to experiment with.

    I have a NeoAir L pad, a BA Deer Park 30 bag, and just now bought the Alpine Blanket. I also have a bivy shell. On my next cold hike I’m going to put my NeoAir with the Alpine Blanket inside of my BA Deer Park. If I feel like I need it, I might even put the bag in the bivy shell. Having a multitude of options to use, depending upon conditions, is very…liberating. I love the flexibility.

    I’ve picked up a lot of these ideas in ones and twos from various but different articles here. I’m thinking that the Alpine Blanket inside of my BA bag should save me from having to buy a new 0 bag for cold weather use. What do you think?

    I’ve only been backpacking for a couple of years now and still learning and experimenting. I have learned a lot from this website – from both the articles and the reader comments. Great community here.

    • Philip Werner August 30, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

      I’m not sure it will take you to zero, but you should get close. I used the alpine blanket outside of a 20 degree down bag last winter on top of a Thermarest All season pad which has a much higher R-value than the Xlite. I’d recommend you augment your xlite with a foam pad like a ridgerest or an zlite since the ground is cold and you’ll need more insulation.

      • Reed August 31, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

        Yes – I should have mentioned that. That’s exactly what I plan on doing. Thanks.

  12. nate October 15, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    Great review! 1lb 6oz, was that large or regular? Do you know of any other affordable 40 degree quilts, on the market? this product will save me 18oz on my current summer set up and I already use a thermarest prolite, with a fitted sheet.

    • Grandpa October 15, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

      I was shopping for a down quilt the other day and found Golite has 30ºF down bags with a full zip on sale for under $200.00. The bag has 850 fill down and weighs 1 lb. 6 oz. I went ahead and bought one. I figured I could always unzip it to make a quilt.

    • Philip Werner October 16, 2013 at 7:06 am #

      Regular. Another less expensive option is to get a rectangular bag and unzip it, but it will be heavier than a quilt.

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