Therm-a-Rest’s new Vesper Quilt is one of the lightest, most packable quilts on the market. Therm-a-Rest accomplished thisby using a simple, effective design with a trim cut, free of all non-essentials, and by using the highest quality materials available. The Vesper weighs just over one pound and is about half the weight of a traditional down sleeping bag. This quilt comes in two temperature ratings, 20°F and 32°F, and is also available in regular and long sizes. For this review we tested a Long 20°F Vesper.
Vesper Photo Gallery – Long Size
QUICK SPECS – regular 20°F model
LOWER LIMIT ESTIMATE: 20°F (will keep you alive)
COMFORT ESTIMATE: 32°F (will keep you warm)
WEIGHT: 1 lb. 3 oz.
FILL: 900-fill-power Nikwax Hydrophobic goose down (responsibly sourced)
LENGTH: Regular size fits up to 6 ft. tall, Long size fits up to 6’6” (bump up in size if close)
GIRTH: 58 inches at the shoulder/ 51 in. at the hip/ 37 in. at the footbox
PACKED SIZE: 5.5 x 8 in.
WHAT WE LIKE
Ultralight – The Vesper is designed with ultralight packability in mind. Therm-a-Rest left out all unnecessary features to build a truly minimalist quilt. The exceptional quality of the materials used in the Vesper gives it an outstanding warmth-to-weight ratio, meaning we can carry less on our backs and enjoy our time on the trail more.
Compact – The premium down used in the Vesper makes it exceptionally packable. The higher quality the down is, the less of it has to be used to retain the same amount of body heat. Less material means better packability, and ultimately, more space in our backpacks. The compression sack that comes with the Vesper makes it easy to shrink the quilt down to the size of a 1L water bottle, which is fantastically small. Sleeping bags are typically one of the bulkiest items backpackers carry, but with a quilt like this, you’ll have plenty of room in your pack for any other gear you need to bring.
Connectors – The Vesper comes equipped with simple hook and strap connectors that join the quilt to a sleeping pad. The pad connectors help maximize warmth by keeping the quilt centered and aligned on top of the pad, which is crucial on chilly nights. We think the connectors are a nice touch, though they’re fairly simple, and don’t keep the quilt from being drafty entirely.
Quality Materials – The materials used in the Vesper are very high quality. The water resistant 900-fill-down used in this quilt is one of the reasons it’s so amazingly light, packable, and warm.
WHAT WE DON’T LIKE
Warmth Overstated – Therm-a-Rest gives the Vesper a lower limit rating of 20°F, but we wouldn’t recommend taking this quilt on any sub-freezing trips. To be totally honest, this is an issue we have with most of the sleeping bag industry. You’ll probably be kept alive at most lower limit ratings, but you certainly won’t be warm. For that reason, we think comfort limit ratings are a much more reliable measurement. After testing the Vesper in pretty chilly temps, we think it’s realistic comfort rating is somewhere closer to 35°F. Because the Vesper was also a bit drafty for us, we think it’s better for suited for summer backpacking trips when temperatures are typically above freezing. Still, when used in the correct conditions it’s quite cozy.
Narrow Cut – The Vesper saves weight by using a fairly narrow cut. It’s more efficient for your body to warm a less cavernous space, however, the tight fit also means you’ll have limited space for movement without letting cold drafts in. As with all quilts, it’s important to have the edges properly tucked under your body or pad to hold heat in, which we found difficult with the Vesper. We wish there were a few more inches of fabric on each side of the Vesper to keep cold air out, especially for side sleepers that like to toss and turn. For that reason, we recommend the Vesper for smaller backpackers who usually sleep on their backs and don’t toss and turn a lot at night. Also, we recommend bumping up to the long size if you’re close to the edge on length.
Expensive – The Vesper is a bit expensive when compared to other quilts, but that comes with the territory of high-end backpacking quilts. The 900-fill-down used in the Vesper is an upgrade that’s worth the extra cost for excellent weight-savings, warmth, and packability. Also, high-quality down products will last a very long time if treated well.
The Vesper Quilt 20 from Therm-a-Rest has entered the ultralight quilt world in a very competitive way. Well-designed and constructed with high-quality materials, the Vesper is incredibly lightweight, warm, and compressible. We love how small the Vesper packs down in its compression stuff sack and find its size to be a great benefit for ultralight backpacking.
We did find the narrow cut of the Vesper to be a bit drafty on cold nights though, especially when we were shifting from side to side. For that reason, we think this bag will be a good fit for smaller hikers, or those who sleep soundly on their backs without a lot of tossing and turning.
We also suggest choosing the long size if you’re close to the edge on sizing. While the Vesper is a bit expensive for the quilt market, its warmth to weight ratio is excellent and its compressibility is outstanding as well. So if you’re in the market for an ultralight quilt and your build/sleeping style are a good fit, the Vesper might be a great choice.
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