Ultra lightweight sleeping system test

Last weekend I used a:

  • Cumulus Quilt 250 with a control weight of 484g
  • Therm-A-Rest Neoair XLite Small sleeping pad including standard storage bag with a control weight of 211g
  • VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat 8mm with a control weight of 110g. It also doubles as a seat pad. (see photo below)

Total control weight = 805g

HMG Windrider 2400

The Cumulus Quilt 250 is not new gear and I have been using it for about a year now. This is the second season in use. I am happy with the low weight and compactness. When I was using my HMG Windrider 3400 last season, I wasn’t compressing the quilt, and it just laid in the bottom of my pack in a pack liner. Now that I am using a HMG Windrider 2400, I have chosen to compact the quilt into a ZPacks Medium-Plus Cuben Fiber 9.5 Ltr dry bag. I have noticed that when I pack my gear in the mornings that there are some small amounts of goose down from the quilt in my shelter. I’ve only noticed this after I started compacting it. I only use the quilt when temperatures are a minimum 6 or 7 degrees ℃. I’m a bit of a cold sleeper and I use these temps to gauge when I will start using the bag at the start of the season. I’m not saying that this is what you should do, only that this is what works for me. I’ve used it in lower temps around 3 or 4 degrees ℃ and I just didn’t like it because of the draughts and it was just too cold. I regard this quilt as my late spring/summer/early autumn gear. A lot of people complain that when they toss and turn at night that you have to adjust the fastening system to stop the cold air on their backs every time you turn over. This is also my experience. I basically only use the fastening system at the beginning and the end of the season. Otherwise I don’t use the cord system. I had them fastenned on the last hike I did, but they are now removed and I’m ready to use the quilt for the summer.

I have recently purchased both the Therm-A-Rest Neoair XLite Small and the VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat 8mm. These are my findings:

Advantages:
– very lightweight
– you can use the VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat as a sit pad for resting on and as I did, it was great for lying on when I got sick last weekend
– the VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat is a closed foam and therefore doesn’t soak any water up
– the Therm-A-Rest Neoair XLite Small is very comfortable ( I only use these Therm-A-Rest Neoair sleeping pads. I have a regular size that I use in early spring through to autumn, and I have a Therm-A-Rest Neoair XTherm Regular as well which I use all through winter)

Disadvantages:
– I found that travelling on the train and busses that the VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat was awkward and kept getting stuck on corners and hitting people and things etc. I mainly only take public transport, as I am travelling to Sweden all the time, so this is important for me.
– hiking through some brush it got caught often as well. I think that it would rip easily too, but that is nothing a bit of duct tape couldn’t fix.
– when I used the VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat during the day I found it difficult to remove all the twigs and leaves etc. They tended to mould easily into the mat and sat there real good.

Conclusion:

I’m defiantly not against the idea of this ultra lightweight sleeping system and I’m always willing to try new ideas and this is why I used my money and time on it. However, me being over 50 years old, and an arthritis patient (I have arthritis in my spine and have constant pain and therefore take medicine for this), I really prefer my Therm-A-Rest Neoair XLite – Regular, because of the extra comfort I experience on my back.

I said that I have mixed feelings in my recent trip report, because I’m not convinced either way. I will definitely use this system again and continue to experiment. But like I’ve written above, I have this medical condition as well and I guess I’ll just do what I always do and plan every hike like a new one and use the gear that suits that hike.

I had a recent suggestion from Karl on my Facebook page that could be interesting. He uses 4 sections cut off from a Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite SOL. The 4 sections weigh 116 grams which is only 6 grams more than my “awkward” VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat! I could arrange it easily on my pack so that it doesn’t stick out like the Vaude as it will fold more compactly. It will still double as a seat pad too.

I’ll let you know how this develops.

SL1, Sections 3,3A,4,5,6
Cumulus Quilt 250, Therm-A-Rest Neoair XLite Small, Vaude Evazote sleeping mat 8mm, HMG Windrider 2400 Pack for leg support, HMG Cuben Pillow/stuff sack (also storage bag for “Puffy” jacket)

6 Replies to “Ultra lightweight sleeping system test”

  1. Hi Brian,

    Very nice post and very interesting information. Although, I am always interested to reduce the base weight of my gear, due to my preference of winter mountaineering, I can reduce the wight up to a certain point. I always keep in mind that safety exceeds comfort.

    Having said that, I will completely agree with you that going with the X-Lite regular is a better option compared with the combination of the X-Lite and the Vaude pad. When I go backpacking to the mountains, I never leave anything hanging out of my backpack and this is for multiple reasons. One of the main reasons, you have also wrote about and is the easy of move within the bushes.

    Like you, I own and use a Cumulus bag (Panyam 600 Hydrophobic down), and I have been very satisfied. But due to the fact the Panyam 600 is mainly for my winter mountaineering trips, I plan to purchase a quilt for the late spring and early autumn periods (Summer time here in Greece you do not really need a sleeping bag).

    Would you recommend the 250 Quilt by Cumulus? Overall, these 2 seasons you are using it, have you been satisfied?

    Finally, again, thank you for the nice post and I look forward to your reply.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comments and interest in my post.

      This year I started using it from late spring and it is packed ready for this weekend too. Last year, I used it all the way through to late September. There are three attachment points on the back. All through summer I only have a small elastic joining the middle loops loosely and do not fasten it to my sleeping pad, which is the recommend fastening method as pictured on their (Cumulus) website. The temps have to get lower before I start doing that.

      I also have a Cumulus Panyam 450. I use it when it’s too cold for the quilt and I wait until the temps are around zero ℃ before I start using the Cumulus Panyam 600.

      The goose down that I noticed in my shelter when I packed in the mornings is very little (see my remarks above). I think that it would not make much difference no matter which brand you purchased. I’ve had other bags do the same and I have read other reviews where people say the same thing.

      It’s good that you don’t need a sleeping bag for the summer months otherwise the 250 will be too warm down there. Yes, I would highly recommend using this Cumulus Quilt 250 for late spring and early autumn periods, and I’m still a satisfied customer.

      Like

      1. Hi Brian,

        Thank you for your detailed reply with your personal opinion on the quilt.

        With regards the down feathers you have seen in your shelter, i don’t think you should worry (unless the bag is leaking a lot), cause most of the down products (sleeping bags, jackets etc) might loose some feathers every now and then.

        Based on your reply and some other reviews I have read, I will do a further research so I will have the quilt ready for next spring.

        Again, thank you for your kind reply and I appreciate the time you have dedicated.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. So I have finally found out why I was loosing the filling; I found a hole in the outer material where it was coming away from the seam. I contacted Cumulus and they asked me to send it back to them. They have repaired it and at the time of writing this comment, my quilt is on it’s way from Poland. Cumulus has also reimbursed me for the transport cost from Denmark to Poland. This is a great company with great customer service! A review will follow.

      Like

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