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  • Backcountry Essentials

An Ultralight Sleep System

Yep, I’m a weight geek. I may not drill holes in my toothbrush or cut straps off my pack, but playing the game of cutting grams in the right places helps me push through challenging trips as I get older. In general though, sleep is so important, that my sleeping bag and pad take careful consideration.


Perhaps, the sleeping bag that I am most excited about coming into this spring season is the Rab Neutrino SL Quilt for $260. This quilt uses hydrophobic, 800 fill power, European goose down and weighs less than 17 ounces. The temperature rating is approximately 30 degrees, but sleeping in a quilt with a foot-box is a bit draftier. I counter this by sleeping in layers that I have along with me since it makes no sense to take off perfectly good insulation to crawl into a big sleeping bag when you can combine clothing and a lighter bag to save weight and gain versatility.


The other part of keeping warm while sleeping is dependent on the type of pad you use. All sleeping bags assume a pad as part of their warmth rating because without one the cold ground below will sap warmth regardless of how much insulation may be on top. Even during our summers, I highly recommend insulated pads over the lighter alternatives. The Nemo Tensor insulated 20R is 3 inches thick and weighs 15 ounces. By using a metalized fabric airframe and Primaloft insulation this 3 season pad is quiet and protects from bumpy ground intrusions.

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