The Therm-a-rest brand, by Cascade Design, is best-known to outdoor enthusiasts for their sleep-transforming, self-inflating mattress pads. More recently, they released a line of down blankets in an attempt to bring backcountry comfort to a new level. These blankets were designed to integrate with the mattress pads in a way that provides the warmth of a sleeping bag while cutting the weight and bulk in half. I found the Alpine Down Blanket to be a wonderful piece of gear but felt that it was lacking a few features that would take it from very good to excellent. It seems as if the designers at Therm-a-rest were at least a step ahead of me (and I’m sure they are)!
Therm-a-rest will be expanding their sleep collection to include an entirely new line of sleeping bags! These revolutionary sleeping bags are slated to hit the shelves in January 2013. Much like their down blankets, these new sleeping bags are designed to synergize with a Therm-a-rest mattress pad. The underside of the bag contains only a thin layer or insulation in order to cut down on weight and features a pair of stretchy band that allows you to secure the sleeping bag directly to any sleeping pad under 25inches wide. They also decided to add some room to the upper body, a draw-string closure, and a hood to round out the design. The line-up will consist of 5 sleeping bags (3 down-filled and 2 synthetic-filled). Here are the specs:
These new sleeping bags sound very exciting to me for a lot of reasons. The distribution of the insulation and “no-slip” integration with the mattress pads are two notable improvements over conventional sleeping bags. Overall, I loved the warmth and freedom of the Therm-a-rest blankets but found the lack of a draw-string closure and the stickiness of the mattress pad against my back to be frustrating at times. It seems to me that these new sleeping bags may offer the best of both worlds!
Be sure to check back for updates on the release of these sleeping bags and for future product reviews!