My New Sleep System
For all my readers, I’m very sorry it has been so long since I’ve posted. I was in Kenya for a month and didn’t realize that I wouldn’t be able to use WordPress while I was there. So it’s been a long time coming, but I’m happy to say that I have finally started getting all my first looks posted for all the new gear I’ve gotten, starting with my sleep gear. Thanks to the awesomeness that is the BPL Gear Swap, I have recently been able to change out my entire sleep system for my JMT hike! I’ve had my reservations about paying the $5 for the forum membership, but in this case it was worth it. I picked up two new things: A Enlightened Equipment Revelation X 20 Degree Quilt and a Thermarest Neo Air Original.
Enlightened Equipment Revelation X 20 Degree Quilt
I’ve been using my old Kelty Cosmic 35 Synthetic Bag for the better part of three years and it has served me well, but I felt like it was high time that I upgraded to something warmer and something with down. If you’ve read this previous post, you know how much I love saving money on backpacking gear, so when the time came for me to look for a down quilt, I wanted to see what I could get used first. I don’t do that for just any type of gear, but when it comes to down, it can last forever if you care for it properly. So if I find something that is in good condition and the previous owner didn’t compress it for long periods or wash it improperly, it can be a really great buy with some great money savings. I was choosy. I had time to be, my trip isn’t until the end of August and I went looking in April. I still ended up with a quilt that was a little different than what I would have gotten if I had bought new, but I’m thinking it’s going to be a good thing.
I snagged an older Enlightened Equipment Revelation X quilt with the karo baffles. It’s a 1-2 year old 20 degree quilt with one once of extra down and since I sleep cold, I’m thinking that I’m going to really appreciate that extra ounce of down. The thing I wasn’t really planning on having so much of, is length. It’s a regular all around and that means it’s made for a 6′ tall person. At 5′ 3″ it’s a bit of overkill for me, but it could be a real advantage too. My quilt covers over my head and I still have some room to stuff extra clothes in the foot box. While that means I’m carrying extra weight, I may find it’s worth the weight. I could also choose to take a row off the top, but I’ve learned that before you alter any gear, you want to take it on a few trips to make sure you’re not going to miss something and sorry you started cutting. The down in it is 850 fill and I’m amazed at how much it lofts and how much it compresses compared to my synthetic quilt. After this, I really can’t see myself carrying anything but down unless the conditions warrant it. I love the way the strap system works on this quilt as well as the foot box closure. It does have a small gap in the foot box that may create some draft, but it is very small and is easily plugged up with a spare shirt. The weight of the quilt with the pad straps and stuffed inside the Zpacks Medium Pillow Dry Bag weighs 25.2 oz (1lb 9.2 oz) or 23.6 oz (1 lb 7.6 oz) without the dry bag. This is a major weight savings compared to my old synthetic bag which weighed 38 oz (2 lb 6 oz). That’s a difference of 14.4 oz, not quite a full pound. My old bag was a 35 degree bag and this is a 20 degree quilt with an extra ounce of down. Not only am I cutting almost a full pound of weight off, but I’m adding an absurd amount of extra warmth! I’ve only used it once or twice, but I think it’s really going to be one of my favorite things I’m taking with me on the JMT.
Thermarest Neo Air Sleeping Pad
This was actually a bit of an impulse buy. I wasn’t looking for a new pad at the time, but the price was right and knowing how hard it can be to find the old Neo Air with the squared corners that I wasn’t willing to let this pad get snatched up by anyone else. I had been wanting to replace my small REI kids pad with something a bit more comfy and lighter weight, but I wasn’t planning on doing it this trip. Now that I have it, I’m so glad I got it. When I got my Neo Air on the scale, I found mine weighs 12.5oz which is a weight savings of 6.5 oz off my old REI Kids pad and 1.5 off my Thermarest Zlite pad. One of the things I was concerned about was the crinkle factor. So far, I haven’t had too much trouble with it, but I think I’ll have a better idea of it after my JMT trip. I have to say I didn’t think I’d care about the extra space that a bigger pad would give me, but I really love having the space to stretch out. It’s not much more, but it feels like a lot when I lay on it. The size when it is all packed down is also a really big positive for me. I’m not as attached to this pad as I am my new quilt, but I’m very excited to see how well it performs.
Putting the whole sleep system together, I’ve been really happy with not only the items that I’ve got, but the weight and space savings has been really nice. On my whole kit that I was going to take with me I started out with a total weight of 53.6 oz (3 lbs 5.6 oz). Not too bad, but not super ultralight and I was very concerned about taking a 35 degree bag since the Sierras have been known to get snow as early as late September/Early October. With my new setup, my sleep gear weighs in at 37.7 oz (2 lbs 5.7 oz), almost a full pound off my original system and this will get me down much lower in night time temps than previously. The weight and size savings are great, but I think the thing that makes me the truly happiest about my new setup is the boost in temperature ratings. I’m going to be really excited to get back and have 20+ nights of use to review!!