Therm-a-Rest Alpine Down Blanket
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps
Price Paid: samples provided by Therm-a-Rest for testing and review
Therm-a-Rest sleep systems include various combinations of insulation, pads, and pillows for different temperatures, climates, and activities. By combining different products, it's possible to tailor the (more or less) ideal sleep system for the activity of your choice.
I tested a Therm-a-Rest sleep system that combined the following products:
NeoAir All Season pad (2011 prototype, Regular size)
Alpine Down Blanket (35°F/2°C, Regular size)
Fitted Sheet (Regular size)
(Read the full Therm-a-Rest Sleep System Review.)
Therm-a-Rest sleep system.
The total sleep system is wonderfully flexible for different uses and is especially well suited to cooler weather. It's very comfortable, but I paid the price in weight and minor inconvenience.
At 3 pounds 6.3 ounces, the total system is heavier than my usual combination of a synthetic EMS Velocity 35 sleeping bag and a cut-in-half Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest closed-cell foam pad. Additionally, the NeoAir is a real challenge to inflate.
Best For - System
This Therm-a-Rest sleep system is best for camping and weekend backpacking trips in hot weather, and longer backpacking trips in colder weather. As the weather cools, or your tolerance for sleeping on hard surfaces decreases, the increased insulating capacity and comfort this pad supplies outweigh the minor penalties in weight and challenging setup.
Best For - Blanket
The Alpine Down Blanket is best for summer and fall backpacking in drier climates, and as a supplement to another bag for deep winter trips.
anti-slide straps work!
NeoAir All Season pad is difficult to inflate
system is a bit heavy
Fitted Sheet is heavy and doesn't add warmth
blanket snap system is clumsy
blanket system makes snuggling difficult
Setting up the Therm-a-Rest sleep system requires inflating the NeoAir All Season pad and affixing the Fitted Sheet and Alpine Down Blanket. I learned to shorten the setup by leaving the fitted sheet on the pad when storing it in my pack.
The NeoAir All Season pad is lung busting to inflate without a pump. I have massive lung capacity, but inflating the pad required 20 lung fulls, and often ended in me seeing stars and sitting down! If getting a little hypoxia bothers you, and you're willing to carry a few more ounces, I would recommend the forthcoming NeoAir Pump Sack. I'd probably still forgo the pump, to save weight; that's just me though.
(For January 2012, Therm-a-Rest will offer a NeoAir Pump Sack, a stuff sack that lets you fill a NeoAir pad with two bags of air, and then converts into a camp seat, stuff sack, or pack liner. The new-for-fall 2011 NeoAir AirTap Pump Kit works similarly, using a plastic bag)
Affixing the sheet is a challenge, as the full length of the pad needs to be passed through a series of grippy, rubberized straps. A small, toughened port in the sheet allows the pad's inflation valve through, but isn't quite large enough.
Once the sheet is affixed, the down blanket attaches to small plastic snaps around the perimeter of the sheet. The snaps are small, and it was difficult to snap them securely with cold fingers. Further, vigorous movement can unsnap them easily.
Alpine Down Blanket, bottom view.
I tested the Alpine Down Blanket as part of the sleep system. The blanket and pad both kept me warm in temperatures right at the edge of the blanket's rated capacity of 35°F. (The NeoAir All Season pad has a 4.9 R-value.)
Despite the draft collars running the length of the down blanket, drafts still snuck in however. Snapping the blanket to the sheet seemed to make the problem worse. Additionally, when I rolled over, the snaps would often pop off.
After some trial and error, I left the bottom of the quilt snapped to the pad, and unsnapped the top several snaps. With the upper half of the quilt loose, I could wrap it around myself, increasing warmth and decreasing drafts.
I seldom use down insulation for most of my hikes in Maine, because frequent rain and high humidity make it prone to lose loft. However, this blanket, filled with 700-fill down, retained loft well, despite cold, rainy weather, and moderate humidity.
The shell of the quilt shed a few droplets of condensation that formed in my tent on several occasion, but absorbed water quickly when I accidentally dipped the foot box area in a small puddle that formed at the base of my tent. Because the shell isn't very water resistant, I wouldn't recommend this blanket for very humid, rainy environments.
Alpine Down Blanket, showing draft collar.
Despite frequent packing and unpacking, the Alpine Down Blanket proved durable. The seams still look tight, and the shell fabric didn't tear, and hasn't pilled at all after seven nights out, and 14 days of additional "bag time" around the house and yard.
The blanket lost several feathers along the seams, but no more than five to 10.
The entire sleep system takes a bit longer to pack up then I like. After a cup of coffee, the system takes nearly three minutes to pack up.
Deflating the NeoAir All Season pad is a bit slow, and removing the Fitted Sheet is clumsy because of the rubberized straps on the bottom. To save time, I tried deflating the pad with the sheet on. This is faster than removing it, but increases the bulk of the deflated system considerably. If you're short on time, try leaving the sheet on. If you're short on space, remove the sheet and pack it separately.
The NeoAir pad rolls up fairly small, and can even be fitted into a frame-less pack as a supplemental frame! The down blanket compacts easily, and lofts quickly after unpacking.
The combination of the NeoAir All Season Pad, Fitted Sheet, and Alpine Down Blanket makes for a versatile, warm, comfortable sleep system. As configured at 3 pounds 6.3 ounces, it's a bit heavy for my backpacking style, but for this small penalty in weight, you get a very flexible, comfortable system.
I'm going to continue to use this system together for my winter hikes and bike trips. Alone, the down blanket is slowly replacing my synthetic bag. I'm also going to be experimenting with using the down blanket as an "enhancer" in an attempt to create a deep winter sleep system in conjunction with a light synthetic bag.
I would recommend Therm-a-Rest's NeoAir All Season Pad, Fitted Sheet, and Alpine Down Blanket highly as a general purpose sleeping system for shorter trips. Together with a closed-cell pad, an all-season adventurer would need no additional pad. For ultra-light trips, a closed-cell foam pad would suffice. For more comfort, the NeoAir would be ideal. For deep winter trips, both pads could be combined for ultimate warmth.
Read the full Therm-a-Rest Sleep System Review.
Seth atop Maine's Deasey Mountain on the International Appalachian Trail, with hiking buddy Steve.
I tested the Alpine Down Blanket, as part of the sleep system, for approximately 60 days in spring and summer. During this period, I tested the pad:
- While camping for three nights in northern Maine. The elevation was only slightly above sea level. Temperatures ranged from a low of approximately 36°F overnight, to a high of approximately 43°F overnight.
- While on a four-day backpacking trip north of Maine's Baxter State Park. I traveled approximately 12 miles per day, bushwhacking and often fording rivers. Weather was cool, humid and rainy, with the last day warmer and sunnier. Nighttime temperatures went as low as approximately 46°F. Day time temperatures were between 56° and 70°F.
Alpine Down Blanket
Claimed Weight: 1 lb 5 oz / 624 g
Tested Weight: 1 lb 7.3 oz / 662 g
Where to Buy
The Alpine Down Blanket is your favorite down comforter with an ultralight, technical twist, bringing the absolute comfort of home deep in the backcountry. We saved precious ounces with a zipperless design and eliminated a traditional sleeping bag’s wasted, compressed insulation beneath you, relying instead on the inherent warmth of your mattress. The finest 700-fill goose down provides exceptionally light and compact warmth, and an elasticized foot box and perimeter snaps allow you to integrate it with most Therm-a-Rest mattress in one of three ways: with our Fitted Sheets for maximum comfort, Mattress Snap Kit to save weight while still minimizing drafts , or on its own for the lightest weight alternative.
- Light and Compact: Highly compressible, box-baffled 700-fill goose down and ultralight 20D nylon create a blanket that weighs just 1lb.5 oz.
- Exceptional Comfort: Unhindered movement and zipper-free ease of entry—just like home.
- 3-Season Warmth: Box-baffled down, long side baffles and elasticized foot box keep drafts at bay.
- Adaptable: Perimeter snaps offer multiple mattress integration options.
Made in China
Here's what other sites are saying:
Key Features of the Therm-a-Rest Alpine 35F Down BlanketLight and Compact700-fill Goose DownUltralight 20D NylonZipper-free3-Season WarmthAdaptableTherm-a-Rest Alpine 35F Down BlanketEnjoy long hours of warm and comfy sleep with the Therm-a-Rest Alpine 35F Down Blanket. This blanket's zipperless design showcases ease of entry so you can immediately wrap yourself whenever you feel cold. Its 700-fill goose down delivers excellent warmth while its elasticized foot box and perimeter snaps allow it to work well with most Therm-a-Rest mattress. You can use it with Therm-a-Rest's Fitted Sheets for maximum comfort, as mattress snap kit to reduce weight, or as a standalone sheet for the lightest weight alternative. Feel comfy and have a luxurious sleep even while you're camping in the woods. This blanket is really lightweight so you can add it to your pack without thinking twice. With the Therm-a-Rest Alpine 35F Down Blanket, even the ice-cold weather won't disturb you from your deep slumber.
Updated for 2013! The Alpine Blanket is a favorite of backpackers and thru-hikers who appreciate minimalist performance. Unique construction and ultralight down insulation make it a lighter, more packable alternative than most conventional sleeping bags. The full blanket shape offers more comfort, versatility and freedom of movement, allowing you to roll, stretch and move across the entire span of your mattress. The Alpine Blanket integrates seamlessly with your mattress and an elasticized foot box and loop kit seal out drafts in temperatures down to 35F (2C). Features : Sleep Securely: Blanket Construction offers free movement and temperature regulation. Sleep Warm: Insulated Baffles and an elasticized foot box create a seal around your mattress that keeps drafts at bay. Versatile: Included Loop Kit allows a wide range of attachment options. Carry Less: Lightweight, highly compressible 700-fill goose down insulation. Specifications Regular Long Color Blue Blue Weight 1 lbs 9 oz / 715 g 1 lbs 12 oz / 803 g Fits Up to 5' 10" (178cm) Up to 6' 4" (193cm) Girth, Shoulder 48 in / 123 cm 52 in / 132 cm Girth, Hip 48 in / 123 cm 52 in / 132 cm Girth, Foot box 25 in / 63.5 cm 25 in / 63.5 cm Width 48 in / 122 cm 52 in / 132 cm Length 76 in / 193 cm 80 in / 203 cm Fill 700-fill goose down 700-fill goose down The Alpine is inspired by ultralight traverses over heather slopes and rolling ridgelines.
- Mountains Plus
Free Shipping. Therm-A-Rest Alpine 35F Down Blanket DECENT FEATURES of the Therm-A-Rest Alpine 35F Down Blanket Sleep Securely: Blanket Construction offers free movement and temperature regulation Sleep Warm: Insulated Baffles and an elasticized foot box create a seal around your mattress that keeps drafts at bay Versatile: Included Loop Kit allows a wide range of attachment options Carry Less: Lightweight, highly compressible 700-fill goose down insulation The SPECS of the Therm-A-Rest Alpine 35F Down Blanket Temperature Rating: 35deg F / 2deg C Fill: 750+ goose down Shell: 30D Nylon Ripstop with DWR Lining: 30D Nylon The SPECS for Regular Weight: 1 lb 9 oz / 715 g Fits Up To: 5 feet 10in. / 178 cm Girth: (Shoulder x Hip x Foot): 48 x 48 x 21in. / 123 x 123 x 53 cm Stuff Sack Size: 6 x 9in. / 15 x 23 cm The SPECS for Long Weight: 1 lb 12 oz / 803 g Fits Up To: 6 feet 4in. / 193 cm Girth: (Shoulder x Hip x Foot): 52 x 52 x 24in. / 123 x 132 x 61 cm Stuff Sack Size: 6 x 9in. / 15 x 23 cm This product can only be shipped within the United States. Please don't hate us.
The Alpine Blanket, from Therm-A-Rest, is a favorite of backpackers and thru-hikers who appreciate minimalist performance. Unique construction and ultralight down insulation make it a lighter, more packable alternative than most conventional sleeping bags. The full blanket shape offers more comfort, versatility and freedom of movement, allowing you to roll, stretch and move across the entire span of your mattress. The Alpine Blanket integrates seamlessly with your mattress and an elasticized foot box and loop kit seal out drafts in temperatures down to 35 F (2 C).