Over the years I have purchased a lot of gear to choose from depending on things such as weather, length of trip and type or trip (backpacking vs canoeing). This was the year though to downsize and make smarter choices on the type of gear that I would be using. The methodology behind purchasing a smaller canoe pack was to refrain from bringing everything including the kitchen sink… but in order to be able to squeeze everything into such a space, thinking about how I camped had to be tweaked slightly.
I love my assortment of sleeping bags, ready for any temperature range but I found that I was always sleeping on top of them (not inside of them) in the dead of summer. I also found that not all of them lent to sleeping on my side which would lead to a restless night trying to get myself properly situated. This year I decided to make the leap to trying a quilt which felt odd as 95% of the camping sleeping market seems to be geared to sleeping bags. Always aiming for versatility I decided on the Corus HD Quilt from Therm-a-Rest because it was lightweight, packed small, and could work for three seasons. It is recommended to 7°C (45°F) and has a limit of 2°C (35°F).
Filled with lightweight 650-fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down™, it only weighs 0.64 kg (1 lbs 6 oz) and packs small. I found the down lofty throughout three seasons and didn’t clump in wet conditions like my old non-treated down sleeping bag. The down is secured into baffles that are stitched together (top layer of quilt is stitched directly to the bottom layer) and while that may let some warmth seep through, it makes for a lighter bag. Therm-a-Rest tries to help remedy the issue by using ThermaCapture™ seams.
When tripping, I kept the quilt in a waterproof dry bag with cinch straps which compressed to a little larger than the size of a Nalgene bottle.
The Corus Quilt has an elasticized foot box which fits over your sleeping pad and keeps it in place. From there, again tying in versatility, you have a few options on how to use the quilt. You can simply leave it draped over yourself giving you the most freedom of movement throughout the night, or (more likely in the shoulder seasons) you can attach it to your pad to trap in more heat. There is something always welcoming about coming back to your tent at the end of the day to the loft of down. It kept me warm during the twilight hours and was easy to regulate.
The quilt comes with snaps around the perimeter that you can attach to the included loop kit. Each loop has a backing that you can peel off and permanently stick to the side of your sleeping pad. If you don’t want to do that or want something a little softer than sleeping directly on the pad itself, check out the Therm-a-Rest Synergy Sheets. They are made from brushed polyester, stretch over your sleeping pad giving you a softer place to lay and offer built-in loops for your quilt to snap in to. Either way you choose, the quilt also has full-perimeter sleep baffles to prevent drafts and help with trapping in heat.
Having a smaller sleeping bag didn’t prevent having a sore back after a long day of portages or hilly climbs, but it was a catalyst to not only packing less, but packing lighter and having a more versatile and comfortable sleep system. I’m a side sleeper and enjoyed being able to stretch out without being confined like a sleeping bag resulting in a peaceful sleep. Thanks to the small size you might even take it with you on a chilly Autumn day-hike, or as an extra layer in your existing sleep system to weather a cold-snap in your tent.
The Corus HD Quilt comes in a regular size (193 cm/76 in) and a Large size (203 cm/80 in) and both the nylon sack (for taking it camping) and a mesh sack (for storing it during the winter) are included. There is also a small pocket with a snap button on the outside that you could stash your phone in for the night.