Therm-a-Rest by Cascade Designs has been setting the standard of comfort in camping world ever since they released their first self-inflating mattress in 1971. More recently, their designers decided to investigate the efficiency of the traditional sleeping bag design. They discovered that the part of the sleeping bag that gets compressed between our backs and the ground is nearly useless when it comes to keeping us warm. The solution: cut the sleeping bag in half to create a sort of “backcountry comforter” that relies on the inherent insulating properties of the sleeping pad to keep your back warm! Surely, sleeping in the backcountry will never be the same.
The Alpine Down Blanket comes in two sizes (regular and long) for different user heights.
The Therm-a-rest Alpine Down Blanket is an ultralight, down-filled comforter rated to keep you warm in temperatures down to 35F and bring the “… comfort of home deep into the backcountry”. This blanket is constructed of box-baffled, 700-fill goose down and 20D nylon which helps to make it exceptionally light (1lb 5oz), highly compressible, and toasty warm. It features an elasticized foot box, long side baffles, and perimeter snaps that allow you to integrate it with most Therm-a-Rest mattress pads to create your own customized sleep system. The Alpine Down Blanket is available in blue and comes with a stuff sack and larger storage sack.
I’ve been wicked impressed with the Alpine Down Blanket so far and I think it would make a great companion for the 3-season kayak camper. It packs smaller and weighs about half as much as most traditional, down-filled sleeping bags of this size and temperature rating. It fits into a day-hatch no problem when packed away in its stuff-sack. Try that with a full-sized sleeping bag! Also, this blanket is WARM; so much so that I’ve found myself taking it to bed with me at home on some of the cooler nights this fall. Who needs to be burning oil when you’ve got a down blanket like this one?? I’m totally confident that the Alpine Down Blanket will keep me warm and comfortable throughout the night at its rated 35F and maybe even down to freezing.
The best part about the Alpine Down Blanket is that there are so many ways to integrate it into your backcountry sleeping arrangements. My favorite way to use my Alpine Down Blanket is to curl up with it in my hammock. It’s amazing how much more comfortable it is to sleep in a hammock with a blanket than in a sleeping bag! I’ve also installed a Therm-a-rest snap kit on my NeoAir All-Season mattress pad to integrate the blanket for use in a tent. The down blanket is at least as cozy as traditional sleeping bag in this configuration and the side baffles do a great job of keeping out any drafts. However, I do recommend picking up a set of Therm-a-rest fitted sheets to cover your mattress pad. I’ve found that things can get a little sweaty if you’re lying directly on the pad on a warmer night!
There’s really not too much about the Alpine Down Blanket to complain about. One thing that I’m not a big fan of how the elastic “closure” at the top opening of the blanket works when set up in the mattress pad configuration. I’d much rather see a draw-string here so I could close the blanket down around my shoulders a little better. My only other gripe is that I’d like to see the teeny tiny cinch closures on the stuff and storage sacks replaced with ones that are a little bigger.
Overall, I’m wicked impressed with the Alpine Down Blanket. It’s warm, light weight, highly compressible and sure to take your next backcountry camping experience to a new level of comfort!
Pros: Warm, Lightweight, Highly Packable, Lots of integration options.
Cons: Cinch closures on stuff sacks are very small. Draw string on top end of blanket would be nice. Only comes in one color (Blue). Made in China.